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‘Given Much to Swearing’
Convict Transport, Claudius Taylor, Branded with Gunpowder Letters and on the Run

June 6, 1765

The Pennsylvania Gazette

RUN away, the 26th of May last, from the Subscriber, living in Philadelphia, an Apprentice, named Claudius Taylor, a native of Ireland, about 23 Years of age, 5 Feet 5 or 6 Inches high, round visaged, Pock marked, and marked on his Left hand, by his Thumb, with Powder C T, brown Hair; [1]

had on, when he went away, a blue Saggathy Coat, brown Cloth Jacket, black knit Breeches, new Castor Hat, and new Pumps, with Steel Buckles;

it is very likely he may endeavour to get Work at the Carpenter Trade, he says he served some Time to it in Ireland;

he is fond of Liquor, very talkative, and given much to Swearing.

Whoever takes up and secures said Apprentice, so that his Master may have him again, shall have Three Pounds Reward, and all reasonable Charges, paid by EDWARD BONSALL.

N.B. It is thought he is gone to New York, as he was seen going that Road, in Company with another Man the same Day, and it is likely he will call at Amboy Ferry. All Masters of Vessels, and others, are forbid to harbour or carry him off at their Peril. [2]


1. This gunpowder burned C T brand means “Convict Transport” and marks young Claudius as a convicted felon who has previously escaped and is therefore most likely to be serving 14 years or life. Despite Claudius’ admitted legal status as condemned chattel, he is yet called an “apprentice” in this advertisement, one of myriad indications that terms such as indentured servant and apprentice were often assigned as sham labels for human cattle.

2. Slavery was such an important aspect of Plantation America economics that private citizens like Edward Bonsall had been empowered by the British Admiralty [1743] to threaten British Naval Officers with court marshal and possible death for hiring on escaped chattel!

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

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