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Ancestry.com. Bonded Passengers to America (Volumes I and II) 1615-1775 & 1617-1775 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.
Original data: Coldham, Peter Wilson. Bonded Passengers to America. Volume I: History of Transportation 1615-1775. Volume II: Middlesex: 1617-1775. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983.

About Bonded Passengers to America (Volumes I and II) 1615-1775 & 1617-1775

Volume I: History of Transportation

The transportation of convicted felson to remote and inhospital frontier areas to expiate their offences by unremitting hard labour is a practice at least as old as the Roman Empire. Few colonizing powers, however, can have relied as heavilyi and consistently on the wholesale deportation of their prison population as did England throughout two and a half centuries of imperial expansion. By the time America made her Declaration of Independence in 1776, the prisons of England had disgorged over 40,000 of their inmates to her colonies, there, most of them to survive and populate the land of their exile. Often, within the space of their own lifetime, they achieved freedom and respectability, though many remained tied to a form of serfdom which made them little different from bonded slaves. The standard history books have little or nothing to tell us about this great wave of dispossessed human kind or of their significant part in the development of colonial America. Those who were transported for their petty economic crimes were largely illiterate and have left us few records of their sufferings and later achievements; while those who transported them chose to ply their trade well away from the public stage, where few questions were asked of them. The transportation agents performed a useful service. How, and with what results in terms of human misery and degradation, were matters of small public interest. When William Wilberforce and the reformers go to work to bring to notice the atrocities of the traffic in black slaves, the almost equally appalling activiites of the white slave traders were fading from memory - and the more closely regulated transportation schemes to Australia had yet to begin.

Taken from: Peter Wilson Coldham, Introduction to Volume I: History of Transportation, 1615-1775, (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983), 3-4.

Volume II: Middlesex

The County of Middlesex, which enclosed the City of London to the north of the Thames River, was one of the smallest in England, having an area of barely 200 square miles, but for centuries it was the most densley populated county in the Kingdom. over the space of 150 years, Middlesex provided some 15,000 labourers for the American colonies by "due process of law" in the shape of convicted felons who were bonded by the Courts as plantation servants for periods ranging from seven years to life. An official estimate made inthe late 18th century was that one in three of all felons in England was convicted in Middlesex. The English Courts between them may safely be reckoned as having been responsible from 1615 to 1775 for the provision of some 50,000 plantation servants who thus formed by far the largest identifiable class of colonial settlers throughout the period of British rule in the Americas. No other reason is necessary to justify an attempt to identify these pioneers, beginning with this comprehensive listing of Middlesex prisoners sentenced to transportation throughout the period in which this odious traffic was conducted.

The list of which this volume is made up is arranged and intended as a key to sources from which further information may be obtained: it is not in itself a comprehensive statement.

Taken from: Peter Wilson Coldham, Introduction to Volume II: Middlesex: 1617-1775, (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983), xi.

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