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'Had a Forged Pass'
Breaking Out During the Colonial Crackdown in Plantation America

Beginning in 1764, the first full year without French and Indian hostilities, the slave masters of Plantation America were intent on returning any and all runaways, war veterans, refugees or freemen who had neglected to acquire a Freedom Pass, back to work. A man who worked off his apprenticeship, indenture, redemption fee, repayment of a loan or other debt, or conviction terms had no proof that he was free, the proof lying on his former master's desk as a pair of matching, signed indented [perforated] forms. A kind master might make out a freedom paper, but kindness was in short supply in the Land of Planted People.

The reaction to the disarmament and disbandment and re-enslavement of soldiers and of the increased shipments of servants, seems to have been team efforts at breaking out. More and more listings feature jailbreak crews working as a team have been noted in the record.

The men below make a good case study as to how one gains his freedom in a total slave society. The aspect of total enslavement that the modern person, unaware of his debt slavery and focused on prisons, does not understand is that when over half of a society is enslaved, one can no longer house them profitably. They must be let range about enough to do their work. This reality brings into being a strong police state, in which every man not of the upper class is viewed as a fugitive from the just, holy and glorious state of servitude to which he belongs as a thing owned.

May 2, 1765

The Pennsylvania Gazette

RUN away from on board the Ship Sarah, James Drew, Master, lately arrived from Bristol, two Servant Men, one named Fergus Kagan, born in the County of Kildare, in Ireland, and bred a Coachman, [1] is about 26 Years of Age, 5 Feet 8 Inches high, rather of a slender make, wears black Hair, which curls in Ringlets down his Neck, has a smooth Face, and appears a likely active young Man, he was dressed in a Check Shirt, blue cloth upper Jacket, and under Jacket of blue and white stripe, coarse Kersey Breeches, Yarn Stockings, and had also a coarse Drab coloured Kersey Jacket, the same of his Breeches.

The other named Patrick Lachay, of Tyrone, in Ireland, a Linen Weaver, about 25 Years of Age, about 5 Feet 5 to 7 Inches high, square set, and a little round shoulder, fair Complexion, has dark brown Hair; had on a light grey Cloth Coat, brown Linen Jacket, scarlet Plush Breeches, and Worsted Stockings.

Any Person that delivers the above Servants to the Subscribers in Philadelphia, shall receive Eight Dollars Reward for each of them, with reasonable travelling Charges; but if secured in any of his MajestyGoals at a Distance, so that the Subscribers may have them again, Four Dollars Reward for each, from WILLING and MORRIS.

N.B. It is said these two Servants went off on Sunday Evening last, in Company with William Mallet, an Apprentice to Nathaniel Cope, Blacksmith on Society hill, and that the said Mallet had a forged Pass, for three People. [2]


1. The phrase "bred a coachman" indicates that his father was a coachman and that he was expected to serve as his father had. This is a hold over from feudal life when the lord owned all who were part of the land he owned.

2. The semantics of the age and our modern slavish devotion to their most benign interpretation shines through in this passage to give a savage glimmer of what America was—a slave plantation.

Stillbirth of a Nation: Caucasian Slavery in Plantation America: Part One

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