By Abigail L. Swingen
Read or Download Competing Visions of Empire: Labor, Slavery, and the Origins of the British Atlantic Empire PDF
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Extra info for Competing Visions of Empire: Labor, Slavery, and the Origins of the British Atlantic Empire
The servants were then bound to company lands or sold to individual planters for a certain number of years in exchange for the cost of transportation across the Atlantic. According to Sandys, the combination of an endless labor supply from England and abundant land in Virginia would result in prosperity for all who survived. He promoted the colony by financing the publication of pamphlets and sermons that presented Virginia as a land of opportunity. Sending orphans and children of convicted felons also became Virginia Company policy, and in 1620 the City of London bound one hundred such children to be sent to Virginia.
Enclosures and other disruptive practices seemed to drain entire regions of laborers while creating new populations of unemployed people. 9 Sending vagrants and other problematic multitudes to the colonies was an outgrowth of these concerns, regardless of whether or not population actually increased. The idea of shipping poor and dangerous people to the colonies was not limited to promotional rhetoric. Sending criminals, vagrants, and even potential offenders was officially adopted by the Virginia Company as a means to supply the colony with a labor force.
Such people had been either deceived into serving as indentured servants (sometimes while intoxicated), or had been forced to board a ship heading to the colonies. 35 In the wake of the 1682 case, the Lords of Trade issued proposals to try to prevent kidnapping, which included creating a servants’ registry, into which all indentured servants leaving port cities had to be entered. They also suggested requiring servants to be bound in the presence of local magistrates as well as new restrictions on binding children under the age of fourteen.
Competing Visions of Empire: Labor, Slavery, and the Origins of the British Atlantic Empire by Abigail L. Swingen