The events portrayed in Sold are based on hundreds of hours of research into the conditions of European America’s true forefathers, focusing on the life of Thomas, Hellier, one of the few literate men to be sold into bondage, who fortuitously found himself awaiting his mortal penance in a cell occupied by another literate person, who is assumed to be the narrator and is not among the three protagonists.
That second persona is presented herein as the fictional character Ned Drummond, a composite of two unnamed prizefighters I read about at the Peabody Library in my search for the origins of bare knuckle boxing in late 1600s London. Those old pugs brought this writer to this page.
The third persona, Jeffy Tun, is a composite of numerous servant boys for whom I have little more than names, the conditions of their capture and service and Lord “Jemmy” Annesley, whose sad plight inspired Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson.
The dates covered by this story span from January through September of 1678, in the wake of the simultaneous New England “Indian Warr” and Bacon’s Rebellion in Virginia of 1676, roughly ten years before the first recorded boxing match in London.
The England of the restored Monarch, Charles II, was gaily shedding the morale restraints of Cromwell’s Puritan Protectorate, even as every catchable homeless, jobless or penniless man was shackled and sold abroad alongside every orphan, widow and starving pauper’s child that could be got hold of. One pamphleteer of the day boldly asserted that 10,000 English persons per year were sold into slavery, bound for the plantations. According to my research, roughly 8,000 of those survived the passage by sea, and of those 8,000, 2,000 survived their first seven years in the plantations. From those two in ten tormented souls of English, Cornish, Welsh, Scottish and Irish origin sprang the White American Underclass, reviled as crackers, rednecks and white trash to this day.
This is the story of Thomas Hellier and two of his fictional shipmates, portrayed as realistically as I am able.
This book follows a chronological scheme, with all those events occurring prior to August 5, 1678 to be posted at http://www.jameslafond.com or http://jameslafond.blogspot.com/ and the entire work to be made available in print as soon after the last online posting as possible.