Benjamin Drew wrote about the blacks in Canada 1856 in his 1856 book "A NorthSide View of Slavery. The Refugee: or the Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada. Related by themselves, with an account of the history and condition of the colored population of Upper Canada "
"The colored population of Upper Canada, was estimated in the First Report of the Anti-Slavery Society of Canada, in 1852, at thirty thousand. Of this large number, nearly all the adults, and many of the children, have been fugitive slaves from the United States"
Some Narratives from the book:
Galt is a busy, growing place, numbering about three thousand inhabitants: forty colored
William ThompsonI was born eighteen miles from Richmond. My master was my father and used me kindly, but gave me no instruction at school. I witnessed no barbarity myself, but have seen slaves handcuffed and kept in jail. I have heard their cries when they were punished. Slavery has no pleasances: it is cousin to hell. A slave cannot pray right: while on his knees, he hears his master, "here, John!"--and he must leave his God and go to his master.
There are in Galt about forty colored people. As a general thing, they are more industrious, frugal, and temperate than the whites. There is but one colored person in this town who has been here longer than myself. There are six heads of families and one single man who own real estate.
I know the sentiments of the colored people here, and they have the greatest detestation of slavery. Freedom is sweet to them. They have tried the bitter and the sweet: nearly all the grown people have been slaves.
My master set his slaves free,--some three hundred of them. Some were sold again, by breaking of the will, or in some way. My brother George and I should have received some fifteen thousand dollars a piece, but for the same reason. I went to meeting on a Sunday after I had seen the gang chained, but the preaching did me no good.I knew a man at the South who had six children by a colored slave. Then there was a fuss between him and his wife, and he sold all the children but the oldest slave daughter. Afterward, he had a child by this daughter, and sold mother and child before the birth. This was nearly forty years ago. Such things are done frequently in the South. One brother sells the other: I have seen that done. True, I have not seen any barbarities, as some have.
The colored children can all go to school here in Galt, and are generally sent to school. The black horse and the white are both ignorant: there is prejudice on both sides. When I came here, colored children were not received into the schools. I fought, and fought, and fought, and at last it got to the governor, and the law was declared, that all had equal rights. Colored people were scarce in Canada twenty-six years ago. There were but five in Toronto.