Well, there I am, 20 (ah, to be 20 again!), orphaned, standing on the docks one fine day in 1720, trying to decide which s...
A voyage to america
A voyage to america
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A voyage to america


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A voyage to america

  1. 1. Well, there I am, 20 (ah, to be 20 again!), orphaned, standing on the docks one fine day in 1720, trying to decide which ship to sign on to, to be an indentured servant in the Colonies.<br />Really don’t think I want to go to the Southern Colonies. The plantation system, flourishing under the economic aristocracy of the plantation owners, is the major source of employment for such as I, and from what I’ve read and heard, my chances of surviving the period of my indenture are pretty slim. While perhaps not as bad as in the 17th Century, the unfamiliar diseases and climate still claim many folk’s lives early on, especially since the treatment of indentured servants is stunningly bad on a plantation. In general, these unfortunate folk are starved, bereft of decent clothing, and often treated worse than the African slaves. The chances of being allowed to complete one’s indenture and be released are small, too, with much extending of indentures and larceny on the part of the plantation owners, coupled with the hearty cooperation of the local social justice system. There is no profit to the employer in releasing an indentured servant, and some cost, so these men will go to great lengths to put off the event. None of this sounds all that appealing.<br />The choice between the New England Colonies and the Middle Colonies is somewhat more unclear. The climate in the Middle Colonies is certainly more temperate, and there would probably be more opportunities for an agricultural type job than in the New England area. Probably more opportunities for any kind of job, as at that point the Middle Colonies were doing pretty well. Still that little problem of collusion between the land-owners and the local law about extending indentures.<br />Then, unfortunately, it seems that there was relatively little demand for indentured servants in the New England Colonies. Although in general the Puritans were honest folk, who would not cheat a servant, farming families in general were unable to afford them, beyond perhaps one, because the shorter growing seasons made the land less productive. Many of the Puritans brought their house servant(s) across the Atlantic, and never hired another. <br />Maybe I could get a job with a Puritan family here in England that’s getting ready to emigrate? Probably not, or I would already be working for someone. Sometimes, life just sucks.<br />I think I would probably choose the Middle Colonies, and hope that I got a gig with a nice Quaker landowner, who wouldn’t work me to death and starve me. Then, maybe he’d be honest enough not to cheat me out of my release from indenture and the little plot of land that was customarily given at that time. If it all worked out, life in general would probably be better there than in the North, because it would be a lot easier to get a crop in before the frost came, and it’s just a bit warmer and easier to make it through the winter. Also, as mentioned earlier, the general economic climate in the Middle Colonies was pretty good at that time, with less of that really rich-really poor spread than in the South, and more opportunities for a working man or farmer that in the New England Colonies.<br />The Southern Colonies just sound like a really bad deal, unless you happen to be one of the economic and social rulers, the plantation owners and the rich merchants. Not too hot on the idea of all those strange fevers and fluxes and whatnot, either.<br />Well, gotta go if I’m going to make it onto that ship over there bound for Pennsylvania before it sails. Who knows, maybe I’ll meet a nice girl over there, settle down, and have a bunch of kids! They sure wouldn’t recognize me in East Anglia then, would they! Maybe I’ll become a Quaker!<br />Say, you wouldn’t happen to have a couple of bottles of Bonine, would you? Or some of those nice scopolamine patches? That water looks kind of rough… oops, sorry, wrong century!<br />