"Mercy we will take, and mercy we will give:" protests and justice in early nineteenth century Newfoundland

Trainor, Mark William Thomas (2018) "Mercy we will take, and mercy we will give:" protests and justice in early nineteenth century Newfoundland. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The protests that occurred in the Conception Bay region of Newfoundland, specifically Harbour Grace, Carbonear, St. John’s and Port de Grave, between the years 1815 to 1840 indicate underlying tensions. Newfoundland’s working population collectively resisted the local officials’ decisions in response to their economic, political, social and legal conditions. The residents’ concerns were exacerbated by major changes that occurred in Newfoundland’s society, particularly the decline of the island’s fishery in 1815 after the end of the Napoleonic War and in 1832 after England granted the residents Representative Government. At the same time, Newfoundland’s working population protested the island’s legal authorities’ actions because the fishing servants and families were frustrated that the judges viewed them as criminals. The protests included in this discussion are an anonymous petition that stopped the extermination of dogs in St. John’s, a series of servant marches against merchants in Harbour Grace, a sealer’s strike against the truck system in Carbonear, a demonstration against the gibbetting of Peter Downing’s corpse in Harbour Grace and a rally to reclaim Catherine Snow’s corpse from Edward Kielley in Port de Grave. The protestors successfully stopped Newfoundland’s judges from fulfilling their responsibilities because they did not support the authorities’ actions. Each of these protests demonstrates that groups conflicted with one another in early 19th century because they did not agree with one another over how justice was defined and how it should be implemented.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/13488
Item ID: 13488
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 123-128).
Keywords: Newfoundland History, Protests, 19th Century, Fishing Servants, Justice, Collective Resistance, Social Conflicts
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: August 2018
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Justice, Administration of--Political aspects--Newfoundland and Labrador--History--19th century; Protest movements--Newfoundland and Labrador--History--19th century.

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