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James Drummond MacGregor

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Name  James MacGregor

James Drummond MacGregor

James Drummond MacGregor (December 1759 – 3 March 1830) was a Scottish Gaelic poet, abolitionist and Presbyterian minister latterly resident in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Life and career

MacGregor was a prolific author of Gaelic poetry, reflecting a wealth of inherited oral tradition, particularly relating to the MacGregors of Perthshire. He was the first Gaelic-speaking minister in Nova Scotia (then experiencing a high rate of immigration from the Scottish Highlands) and in 1819 published a book of hymns in Gaelic that he composed in Canada.

Influenced by the Scottish Enlightenment, MacGregor published Letter to a Clergyman Urging him to set free a Black Girl he held in Slavery in Halifax, Nova Scotia (1788). According to historian Barry Cahill, this document "is the earliest and most outstanding production of white antislavery literature in Canada." Historian Alan Wilson describes the document as "a landmark on the road to personal freedom in province and country." Finally, historian Robin Winks writes it is "the sharpest attack to come from a Canadian pen even into the 1840s; he had also brought about a public debate which soon reached the courts."

In the essay, MacGregor writes, "But if they be members of the body of Christ, does not he account them precious as himself? Are they not one spirit with the Lord, of his flesh and his bones?" He also purchased slaves' freedom.

He arrived in Nova Scotia at age 27 (1786) and lived the rest of his life there, dying in Pictou, Nova Scotia, at age 71.


James Drummond MacGregor Wikipedia

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