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"Drinks hard, and swears much" White Maryland Runaways, 1770-1774
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"Drinks hard, and swears much" White Maryland Runaways, 1770-1774. Joseph Lee Boyle. Paperback, 2010, Index, xii + 366 pp. Recipient of the Norris Harris Prize conducted by the Maryland Historical Society for the best publication of Maryland source records for the year 2010!
By one estimate, between 350,000 and 500,000 colonists came to America as compulsory laborers. Some came as indentured servants, others as convicts. The transportation of servants into Maryland, in particular, reached its height in the middle of the 18th century, while convicts arrived there in ever-increasing numbers prior to the onset of the American Revolution. For the investors who underwrote the transportation of forced labor—brokers, ships’ captains, landowners—the risks to their investment included death in passage, injury, chronic maladies, and running away. Out of necessity colonial newspapers carried ads offering rewards for the apprehension of runaways and/or notices about their capture. These ads, compiled mainly from a half-dozen Maryland and Pennsylvania newspapers, form the basis of Joseph Lee Boyle’s new book, "Drinks Hard, and Swears Much" White Maryland Runaways, 1770-1774.
In addition to an individual’s age and whereabouts, White Maryland Runaways, 1770-1774 tells us a great deal about the character and physical appearance of runaways than we are accustomed to learning from most source records. Consider the following example: