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tline3open  Slave silversmith runs away in 1775

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Author Topic:   Slave silversmith runs away in 1775
Scott Martin
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Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 12-01-2004 10:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Runaway Slave advertisement from Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg ,
February 18, 1775

RUN away from the Subscriber, at Borton's Tract, in Augusta, a Convict Servant Man named THOMAS HORBERT, about 30 Years of Age, 4 Feet 7 or 8 Inches high, of a sandy Complexion; had on, when he went away, an old brown Cotton Coat, Leather Breeches, white Cotton Leggings, and a brown Linen Shirt. He is a Silversmith, and it is supposed will make for some Town, and endeavor to get Employment. Whoever secures the said Servant, so that I may get him again, shall have 40 s. Reward. WILLIAM ALEXANDER.

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iconnumber posted 12-09-2004 08:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for t-man-nc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tough Business...


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Silver Lyon

Posts: 363
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 12-09-2004 06:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Silver Lyon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A slave? - In name at least, a Convict Servant is a different thing - does anybody know of a reference for looking up the convicts (either convicted in colonial America, or Britain and exported)? - It seems to me that it might be an interesting resource... (This one sounds German?)

How did one acquire a 'convict servant'?
How long did one get him/her for ?
What did one do with them when their term of punishment was finished?
It sounds fun - I want one!!! cool

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iconnumber posted 12-09-2004 09:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sounds like an indentured servant rather than a slave. I believe they were bound by contract to their master, but for a finite length of time. They were not considered property, either. Still, breaking the indenture was a crime.


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Silver Lyon

Posts: 363
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 12-12-2004 01:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Silver Lyon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have been doing some homework:
Slave is probably nearer the mark!
There was an act of Parliament in England in 1717/18 called the 'Transportation Act' which enabled convicts to opt for the Americas in place of disfigurement or execution!!
They were shipped and sold, together with their 'papers' in much the same manner as African slaves - fetching anything from £1-£50.
Most were on 'term' of either seven or fourteen years, after which they were free to follow their own wishes, but in the meantime they provided a source of cheap immediate labor for the growing colonial economy!!
Useful to artisans and merchants but really useful to the planters!

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iconnumber posted 02-11-2009 04:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's a reference that applies to this thread: Coldham, Peter Wilson. Bonded Passengers to America. Volume I: History of Transportation 1615-1775. Volume II: Middlesex: 1617-1775. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983.

From scanning this reference a little, it seems apparent that once convict servants and indentured servants reached America, the way they were sold and employed was indistinguishable. A convict or any other person past the age of fifteen indentured him or herself to a shipping merchant for "free" passage. Once a destination was reached the merchant made his money by selling the indenture.

The fella that lost the silversmith convict servant made out better than some. I just read about one convict servant killing two of his master's young children and about another killing his master in Virginia in the 1770's.

[This message has been edited by bascall (edited 02-11-2009).]

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