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    Unjustice for abused Quebec servant girl

    In the case of a poor, abused servant girl, justice in the Quebec village of Sorel was not only blind but most unjust, according to a letter writer in the Montreal Gazette, March 6, 1841.

    The case was “brought by one of the Magistrates there, against his servant girl, for leaving his services,” the report states.

    The girl admitted having left, after being told that she was to be replaced and after having given two weeks’ notice. She said she could stay there no longer “on account of the bad usage she had received from both master and mistress—her master having threatened her severely, struck her in the face with his clenched fist, and otherwise abused her.”

    Despite this, the justices—apparently there were at least two hearing the case—asked her “if she would not go back.” When the girl offered evidence of the treatment she had received, “the poor girl’s evidence could not be taken nor the proof admitted, because the Justices said they had nothing to do with her statement, and would not hear the evidence in her favour, telling her they would fine her ten dollars, if she did not return to her service. The girl, in answer, said she was afraid of her life to go back. She was, accordingly, fined the sum of £2 10s and 3s9d. of expenses, or fifteen days in the House of Correction.

    “A person present told the girl to crave appeal to a higher Court, but was told by the Justices that there was no appeal from their decision. The girl has an excellent character; she is respectable but poor; and her master keeping wages from her, depriving her of the means to pay the fine imposed on her. This induced a number of respectable habitant to look into the case, when they raised a subscription at once, and paid the fine and expenses.”


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    TAGS: Servants, Employers, Employees, Civil Law, Canada, Quebec, Compassion

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