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The Stolen Shore
Terms and Recollections of Colonial America: Appendix 17


“Kid-nabber,” or kidnapper, an Englishman who abducted children for sale to the colonies

‘Spirit gang’: bands of kidnappers working under the direction of prominent slave-dealers such as “Bonny John” Burnett of Aberdeen, and John Stewart who sold 500 children per year

It is estimated by M. Godwyn in a 1680 London pamphlet that 10,000 children and poor adults were kidnapped out of Britain every year.

“Freight” and “half-freight”

-English legal term for kidnapped adults and children shipped to America

“Out of the swarms that swarme in the place [London]…imprison, punish and dispose of any of those children upon any disorder by them…”

-authorization by the Privy Council of London to the Virginia Company to collect 100 children to be sold in Virginia, 1619

“Our principal wealth”

-Virginia planter John Pory on English slaves, 1619

From 1620 male children sold to the colonies were know as Duty Boys, after a ship by the same name

“…two or more justices of the peace within any county, citty or towne corporate belonging to this commonwealth to from tyme to tyme by warrant…cause to be apprehended, seized on and detained all and every person or persons that shall be found begging, and vagrant…to be conveyed…into any forraign collonie or plantation…”

-London, 1652 [adapted from They Were White and They Were Slaves by Michael A. Hoffman II]

“Concerning the younge women, although we must use force in taking them up, yet it beinge so much for their owne goode, and likely to be of soe great advantage to the publique, it is not in the least doubted, that you may have such number of them as you thinke fitt to make use upon this account.”

-Henry Cromwell, September 11, 1655

“the price was set for a groat a pound for the hog’s flesh and six pence for the woman’s flesh…”

-Richard Ligon, A True and Exact History, 1657

“In better Times e’er to this Land

I was unhappily Trepen’d

…Not then a slave…

But things are changed…kidnapp’d and fooled…”

-from the 1708 pamphlet on kidnapped girls, A Voyage to Maryland

“the ownership of one white man.”

-1717, proposed qualification for election to the South Carolina Assembly

“They were of two sorts, first such as were brought over by masters of ships to be sold as servants, Such as we call them my dear,” says she, “but they are more properly called slaves.”

-Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders, 1722

“Generally speaking, they groan beneath a worse than Egyptian bondage.”

-William Eddis, Letter from America, 1770

“My father’s ancestor, Roy, was shipped off to Canada—sold to a French family.”

-Albertine, 1993

“My husband’s brother researched our family tree. His people were descended from an English slave who escaped from Manhattan into upstate New York.”

-Vista, 1998

“My Grandmother Quaid told me that the name was originally McQuaid. He was an Irishman shipped over to Maryland in the sixteen-hundreds.”

-Ann, 2013

Author’s Note

From the slave narratives and colonial records I have been reading it seems that Virginia and New England had the oldest slavery traditions, with second comers Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the Carolinas having the cruelest habits for dealing with human property. It is of interest to note that the colony of Georgia initially outlawed slavery, as it was settled by Scotts, who were a prime commodity at the time.

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