Colonial Justice: Justice, Morality and Crime in the Niagara District, 1791-1849

by David MurrayDepartment of History, University of Guelph. Published with University of Toronto Press, 2002.

As a colony, Upper Canada was obliged to adopt the essential elements of the British legal system. But just how did a system designed for a much more sophisticated society function in the wilds of early Canada? Focussing on the border District of Niagara, Professor David Murray offers some surprising and intriguing answers as he demonstrates how legal processes affected Canadian life and how Niagara’s criminal justice system functioned from the bottom up. Based primarily on court records, Colonial Justice integrates the story of individuals caught up in the toils of justice, including fugitive slave Solomon Moseby, with larger themes relating Upper Canadian social developments to contemporary legal issues and criminal trials.

Reviews of Colonial Justice: Justice, Morality and Crime in the Niagara District, 1791-1849

As a case study of a judicial district, it is excellent...the evidence is clearly laid out and cogently written. Louis A. Knafla, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, vol 36, 2005
David Murray's Colonial Justice is a valuable addition to the growing body of scholarship on the criminal justice system in pre-Confederation Canada. Murray examines the local administration of the criminal law in the Niagara district of Upper Canada from the establishment of the colony in 1791 to the elimination of districts as the primary administrative units of local government in 1849. The book offers one of the most thorough studies of the operation of the pre-reform criminal justice regime in British North America. R. Blake Brown, Law and History Review, vol 22, 2004
This well-researched and very readable book makes a significant contribution to our understanding of pre-Confederation Ontario. It will be a useful addition to any legal history collection. Carolyn Barnes, Canadian Law Library Review, vol 29, 2004