The Complete Book of Emigrants in Bondage 1614 – 1775
Peter Wilson Coldham, 1988
(This article lists the English Phelps who were sentenced by legal process to be transported to American colonies. This copied list has been restricted to Virginia primarily. Also included are exerpts from several related books.)
Between 1614 and 1775 some 50,000 Englishmen were sentenced by legal process to be transported to the American colonies. With notably few exceptions their names and the record of their trial have survived in public records together with much other information which enables us to plot the story of their unhappy and unwilling passage to America. These records are now combined and condensed in this volume to form the largest single collection of transatlantic passenger lists to be found during the earliest period of emigration.
The bitterness and controversy aroused amongst certain American scholars when the nature and scale of convict transportation to the colonies were first hinted at have been forced to yield to the weight of documentary evidence accumulated mainly during the post-war years. Marion and Jack Kaminkow were the first to publish extensive lists of transported felons taken from British Treasury records, and it was that work which encouraged me to undertake further research to determine the existence and location of other records in this area.' The scale on which transportation was regularly practised became clear as the annals of the Old Bailey were slowly unravelled and matched against the Treasury papers unearthed by the Kaminkows. The first fruits of this labour were published in English Convicts in Colonial America, Volume I (1974) covering Middlesex, and Volume 11 (1976) London.2 In order to present a more comprehensive account, the records of the Assize and Palatinate courts- covering all the counties of England were then studied one by one and a further series of volumes incorporating Vols. I and II. of English Convicts in Colonial America was then published as Bonded Passengers to America (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1983). Bound in three volumes, it also included a history of transportation from 1615 to 1775. There remained to be examined, however, the scattered records of over fifty Courts of Quarter Session each having the power to impose sentences of transportation, and that work, which has now been largely accomplished, is included in this one comprehensive volume. To facilitate reference to what has grown into a publication of substantial proportions, the,former arrangement by county has been dropped in favour of a completely° alphabetical listing.
The notes and appendices which follow are intended to summarise the history of English criminal transportation and the nature and location of source material used in compiling this book. However, in view of the volume and diversity of the sources used, any who seek more detailed notes and references are advised to consult those which prefaced volumes in the original series of Bonded Passengers to America.
(Several other pages were not copied)
… In addition, many contracts for the transportation of felons, gaolers' accounts, bonds, and lists relating to transportation are to be found in County Record Offices. Further information about most of the felons sentenced to transportation in London and Middlesex may be found in the printed series of Old Bailey Sessions Papers, copies of which are held in the London Guildhall Library and in the British Library at Bloomsbury.
A summary list of references to Public Record Office documents used in the compilation of this volume will be found in Appendix I (pardons issued up to 1717), Appendix II (shipping and passenger lists), and Appendix III (Assize Court records).
Arrangement of this Book
It will be appreciated that the lists presented in this volume are very highly condensed from original records and are intended principally to show the researcher where to look for further information. Each entry is therefore constructed as follows:
a)Surname and Christian name(s) with aliases where given in original documents.
b) Parish of -ongin. (Where none is shown the original bills of indictment should be consulted.)
c) Occupation or status. (Most often shown' as "labourer" in original documents and therefore not transcribed.)
d) Sentencing court, offence, and month and year of sentence.
e) Month, year, and ship (if known) on which transported.
f) Place, month, and year (if known) landed in America.
g) English county in which sentenced.
[The following includes the list of Phelps from the preceding book with possible added information from Bonded Passengers to America, Vol VI]
Edward Phelps Sentenced to Transportation stealing leather breeches Summer, Transportation Bond Sept 1753, Gloucestershire
Hugh Philips of Lyme Regis, Reprieved for transportation for Barbados Feb 1714, Dorset
John Phelps Sentenced to Transportation, March 1745, Devon
John Phelps Sentenced to Transportation, Dec 1756, Middlesex
Mary Phelps Sentenced to Transportation, Lent 1748, Surrey
Thomas Phelps Sentenced to Transportation stealing at Selwick Lent 1752, Herefordshire
Thomas Phelps Sentenced to Transportation stealing lamb & Reprieved for transportation, 14 years Lent 1775, Berkshire
William Phelps, Rebel Transported 1685
William Phelps Sentenced to Transportation Lent Transportation Bond March 1731 Gloustershire
William Phelps Sentenced to Transportation stealing at Bisley Lent Transportation Bond April 1747 Gloustershire
BONDED PASSENGERS TO AMERICA 1663 - 1775, OXFORD CIRCUIT, Vol VI
[My initial review of this book shows the same Phelps information as above, but grouped by the circuit]
This volume lists the names of those recorded in official documents as having been sentenced or reprieved for transportation to the Americas between 1663 and 1775 by the Assize Courts for the counties of Berkshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Monmouthshire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire, which together made up the Oxford Circuit. Some few of the earliest settlers in Virginia have also been included where their names appear in Privy Council Registers of the time of James I.
Those sentenced to transportation by the Courts of Quarter Sessions of the Peace will not be found in this volume save where their names have found their way into State Papers or County Gaolers' lists. Quarter Sessions records are to be found not in London but in County Record Offices.
The documents of the Oxford Circuit, though much ravaged by neglect and decay, are nevertheless remarkably extensive and comprehensive so that it has proved possible for almost the entire period covered to secure from one category of papers the data which has not survived in another. As with previous volumes in this series, the information printed in the following pages is designed as a means of access to fuller trial records and, with a little more effort, to associated documents related to each individual. Some abbreviated examples are given below.
Thomas Ashby (p.1) petitioned is 1743 (SP 36/60/190-191) that the Captain of the transport ship Samuel on which he was embarked for the colonies in 1741 purchased him for his own service. On a subsequent voyage the petitioner was captured by a Spanish privateer from which he was later exchanged
with a Spanish prisoner and unavoidably brought back to England before the term of his transportation order had expired."He now lived in fear of discovery.';
Elizabsth Crosbv (p.3.) was the subject of an appeal from Joseph Acres, rector of Newbury, and Joseph Standen, vicar of Speen, in March 173436131 /68). They say she was condemned for taking away goods of no great value from the shop of Elizabeth Paradise but that she had previously "behaved herself in so honest and obliging a way to her neighbours and acquaintances as to excite for her and her husband, now almost overcome with grief, a compassionate importunity." A petition which had been made Out on her behalf and signed by many of her friends had, by an unfortunate accident, not been delivered to the Judge at her trial. This appeal fell on deaf ears.
William Orowood (p.8), a bargeman, arranged for appeals to 17e lodged by many residents of Reading and by the bargemaster of Abingdon after he had k been c0nvicted on the evidence of John Vickers of receiving stolen goods. The latter had since made a voluntary confession of his own guilt and had then "absented himself, being suspected of other crimes." The petitioners declared that Orpwood had always supported himself by honest industry and had a wife and five small children dependent upon him. The Circuit Judge, to whom the appeal was referred, submitted a full account of the trial and conceded that witnesses on Orpwood's behalf had given him a good character, though one had sworn that he wanted to arrest Orpwood for debt but had been unable to apprehend him. The Judge concluded that Orpwood was not worthy of mercy.
Notes scattered throughout the Assize records indicate the importance attached to the efficient conduct of the business of transportation as a i`maj°r executive arm of justice. At each session the Court appointed a committee of worthies to superintend the business and to contract with a shipping agent: for the Oxford Circuit those appointed usually included senior ecclesiatics and University dons. Only the rather remote county of Monouth reported any problem, and a note from there recorded in the minutes
further pages not copied]
Convict Servants in the American Colonies http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=3614090&place=home03
All Things Considered, July 24, 2004 · The William Brown House, an elegant Georgian brick building built in the 1760s, sits on the banks of the South River in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Now a museum, the house is the last visible structure of London Town, an 18th century tobacco port and one of the Atlantic trading sites where thousands of convicts from England entered the colonies to begin their indentured servitude.
In 1718, the British Parliament passed the Transportation Act, under which England began sending its imprisoned convicts to be sold as indentured servants in the American colonies. While the law provoked outrage among many colonists -- Benjamin Franklin equated it to packing up North American rattlesnakes and sending them all to England -- the influx of ex-convicts provided cheap and immediate labor for many planters and merchants. After 1718, approximately 60,000 convicts, dubbed "the King's passengers," were sent from England to America. Ninety percent of them stayed in Maryland and Virginia. Although some returned to England once their servitude was over, many remained and began their new lives in the colonies.
Amateur genealogist Carol Carman is a descendant of one convict servant who worked in Annapolis and stayed in Maryland. Arrested in London, England, for stealing a silk handkerchief worth two shillings, Carman's ancestor was transported to the colonies and sentenced to servitude.
NPR's Brian Naylor spoke with Carman and Dr. Gregory Stiverson, President of the Historic Annapolis Foundation, about London Town and the indentured labor of the American colonies.
Colonial America: Land of Opportunity for white bonded labor?
Bound for America: The Transportation of British Convicts to the Colonies, 1718-1775 (Clarendon Paperbacks) (Paperback)
by A. Roger Ekirch From 1718 to 1775, British courts banished 50,000 convicts to America--the largest body of immigrants, aside from African slaves, ever sent across the Atlantic--in hopes of restoring social peace at home without posing the threat to traditional freedoms raised by the death penalty or a harsh corrective system. Drawing upon archives in Britain and the United States, Bound for America examines the critical role this punishment played in Britain's criminal justice system. It also assesses the nature of the convict trade, the social origins of the transported felons, and the impact such a large criminal influx had on colonial society.
William Pencak, Penn UNIVERSITY-OGONTZ
COLONIAL AMERICA: LAND OF OPPORTUNITY FOR WHITE BONDED LABOR?
BOUND FOR AMERICA: THE TRANSPORTATION OF BRITISH CONVICTS TO THE COLONIES, 1718-1775. By A. Roger Ekirch. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987. Pp. 277. $45.00.)
"TO SERVE WELL AND FAITHFULLY": LABOR AND INDENTURED SERVANTS IN PENNSYLVANIA, iG82. 1800. By Sharon V. Salinger. (New Rochelle, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987, Pp. xiii, 192. $29.95.)
As Edmund S. Morgan noted in American Slavery, American Freedom (New York: Norton, 1975), economic and political opportunity for white Americans developed along with and in consequence of new and harsher farms of bondage for blacks. These two largely quantitative studies demonstrate that Morgan's thesis can be modified and extended: freedom for some whites (upper- and middle-class) depended, upon harsher farms of bondage far the majority of eighteenth century white immigrants to British North America, if the experiences of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania are typical in this respect. A. Roger Ekirch details how Britain only institutionalized penal transportation in 1718 and sent some 50,000 convicts--80 percent to Maryland and Virginia-by the Revolution. Sharon V. Salinger demonstrates the changing nature of indentured servitude. In late seventeenth century Pennsylvania, predominantly English servants worked about four years for masters in a paternalistic setting and had a goad chance to obtain at least a moderate freehold. By the mid-eighteenth century German and
Scotch-Irish servants worked for four to seven years for English masters and once freed frequently became "objects of charity" or were forced to reindenture themselves. Servitude shifted from a mostly rural to an urban institution as Philadelphia merchants and artisans increased their wealth using bound labor and as the gap between the classes widened. Ekirch and Salinger thus criticize the notion of provincial America as a land of opportunity, a land-rich, labor-poor society where servants commanded premium wages and, after their initial bondage, could join society as equals. Instead, they confirm the image stressed in recent work by James Henretta and Gary Nash of a land of increasing inequality as the Revolution approached.
Both Ekirch and Salinger have undertaken prodigious research. If Ekirch has ranged wider-in British as well as Maryland and Virginia sources-Salinger has probed deeper-into the tax, poor relief, and other records of Pennsylvania. Both have combed newspapers for descriptions of runaways and quantified wherever possible. Ekirch's book is somewhat better written: there are fewer lengthy footnotes and several personal vignettes of convicts which grace his text, But both authors do all that could be reasonably expected with the data, given the obvious limitations of human energy.
Ekirch uses both his own research and the superb recent and voluminous literature on crime and society in eighteenth century England to demolish some long-held stereotypes about convict transports. They were not petty thieves but serious larcenists, for the most part. British justice in fact functioned fairly reasonably, notwithstanding the barbaric statutes, to make the punishment fit the crime. Persons sentenced to transportation rather than death tended to be non-violent, non-repeat offenders. Judges took into account community opinion and the likelihood someone would continue to be a nuisance. Ekirch also nicely shows the ideology behind transportation: Englishmen institutionalized convict servitude abroad because they did not wish to experience visible signs of servitude such as prisons and convict labor at home.
Once the prisoners were out of England, however, concern with justice vanished. The crown contracted with merchants to transport them overseas for a price: some ten percent died on the voyage in the early eighteenth century, in addition to those who perished awaiting shipment. By the 1770s, however, colonial laws against landing diseased convicts and some tolerably humane contractors reduced this rate to two percent. (In the weakest section of her book, Salinger relies on outdated sources and exceptional instances of mortality to argue that about a quarter of indentured servants, who were generally treated better than convicts, died en route to Pennsylvania.)
Even with large numbers of slaves in the tobacco colonies, Maryland and Virginia proved the best markets for the convicts. They worked as both artisans and field hands. Despite frequent complaints that they were disorderly and rebellious-as were the predominantly young, male servants during the seventeenth century-Ekirch finds little evidence of crime among them. This was neither because work was easy nor because opportunity to rise after servitude was good. Ekirch speculates that small, well-controlled rural communities, absence of tangible goals to steal, and lack of cities to escape to and fence goods accounted for the low crime rate. Convicts did run away in large numbers: many returned to England, where chances of being rediscovered were slim.
Salinger develops a three-stage model to explain the history of indentured servitude in Pennsylvania. The paternal, familial indenture closely linked with apprenticeship developed into a more impersonal, lengthier, cash-for-labor connection over the first century of Pennsylvania's history. Salinger's model of the first two stages is interesting yet not thoroughly convincing. She only has a small group of 196 servants for 1681-1687 to serve as a data base for her first stage. Further, an astonishing number of this group died young-over sixty percent before age forty. Does this statistic argue for paternalism or perhaps an unstructured system given the colony's infancy?
' Salinger's description of the decline of indentured servitude is the most interesting and provocative part of her book, which could (and should) be expanded into an account of labor unrest in early national Philadelphia. Indentured servitude decreased because it became more profitable to hire workers temporarily at low wages instead of indenturing them for long periods. In consequence, autonomous protests by journeymen and laborers occurred with increasing frequency after the Revolution. Salinger is alert to the irony: the freeing of labor left it free to be exploited. She points out another irony: the anti-slavery movement in Pennsylvania led to a temporary increase in the number of indentures-freedom for blacks could mean servitude for whites.
Given the limitations of their data, however, I am basically persuaded by Ekirch's and Salinger's argument. But to make a totally convincing case that America was not a land of opportunity for indentured whites someone, sometime, is going to have to discuss the frontier. Ekirch alludes briefly to hordes of former servants migrating to the backcountry and Carolinas; Salinger does not discuss migration out of Pennsylvania or utilize western Pennsylvania sources. In short, they have shown therewas limited opportunity for former servants in the areas in which they were indentured. It would be unreasonable to ask them to perform for North or South Carolina frontier counties the feats of name-tracing and wealth analysis they have done for the seaboard-assuming the data exist. Nevertheless, until the presence or absence of these people in the west is confirmed, historians will continue to debate the problem of economic mobility in early America.