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Glasgow Shipwrights' Society
Glasgow Shipwrights' Society

Scottish Musical Review 1896
Scottish Musical Review 1896

Indentured servants

Burrell Collection Photo Library

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Indentured servants

An advertisement from the newspaper Glasgow Courant, 4 September 1760, for indentured servants to go to Virginia.

An indenture was a legal contract between a master and a servant. The servant had to work for a set period (most commonly seven years) with the master agreeing to pay his passage to the colony, food and accommodation and, occasionally, a small salary. The servant was not allowed to leave the service of his master until the end of his contract, although the latter could sell the remaining period of the indenture to a third party. For this reason indentured servants were sometimes referred to as "white slaves", and indeed many Jacobite prisoners transported to the Americas after the risings of 1715 and 1745 were sent under indentures. There could be severe penalties for servants who tried to break their contracts.

In spite of these strict conditions many Scots were happy to become indentured servants. For those with limited means it provided the opportunity to travel to and establish themselves in the New World and, once they were free of the indenture, to begin a new life there.

Reference: 1.77.14

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums

Keywords:
advertisements, colonies, emigrants, emigration, gardeners, Glasgow Courant, indentured servants, indentures, Jacobite Risings, Jacobites, newspapers, physicians & surgeons, servants, teachers, tutors, white slaves



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