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The Sagacity of Dogs (1857)

(Provincial Freeman – January 31, 1857) Among the many curious, yet well authenticated anecdotes, illustrating the wonderful sagacity of reasoning powers of the canine race, the following deserves a place:

A large New Foundland dog belonged to the captain of a ship engaged in the trade between Nova Scotia and Greenock. On one occasion, the captain brought from Halifax a beautiful, cat which formed a particular acquaintance with Rover; and these two animals of such different natures were almost inseparable during the passage.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

On arriving at Greenock, the cat was presented by the captain to the lady of his acquaintance, who resided nearly half a mile from the quay in whose family she remained for several weeks, and was occasionally visited by her friend and fellow-passenger, Rover, who seemed not a little displeased at the separation which had taken place between them.

On the day, however, when the ship was to leave the port for another voyage, the usual bustle on board gave Rover a hint of what was going on, and he decided on his course of conduct without delay. He jumped on share, made his last visit to puss, seized her in his teeth, much to her astonishment, and carried her thro’ the streets to the quay, just as the ship was about hauling off.

He made a spring, cleared the gunwale, and fairly shipped his feline friend in good order and well-conditioned, in and upon the good ship Nancy, of Greenock; and then ran to his master, wagging his tail, as if entreating that she might remain on board.


About the Provincial Freeman

The Provincial Freeman was devoted to Anti-Slavery, Temperance and General Literature, and was affiliated with no particular political party.

Its prospectus stated, “it will open its columns to the views of men of different political opinions, reserving the right, as an independent Journal, of full expression on all questions or projects affecting the people in a political way; and reserving, also, the right to express emphatic condemnation of all projects, having for their object in a great or remote degree, the subversion of the principles of the British Constitution, or of British rule in the Provinces.”

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