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‘An Old Offender’
Another Sailor on the Run

August 29, 1765

The Pennsylvania Gazette

RUN away, in the Night Time, between the 25th and 26th Day of the 8th Month, 1765, from George Ashbridge, of Goshen, in Chester County, Pennsylvania, a Servant Man, named Cornelius Leeson, but may be likely to change his Name;

he came from Ireland, and has been on Shore but about twelve Days;

is about 5 Feet 8 Inches high, [th]in chinned, and a little out mouthed, pretty full breasted, and walks a little stooping, wears brown hair;

had on, and took with him two Check Shirts, a Pair of old Velvet Breeches, and Linen Trowsers, one old light grey Nap Jacket, the Nap partly wore off, not made for him and one old dark coloured SailorJacket, a Pair of brown Yarn Stockings, and half worn Shoes;

he has been in this Country a Servant some Years ago, served Part of his time in Bucks County, and ran away from thence, and got to Ireland again, so that it appears he is an old Offender, and acquainted with this Province;

it is suspected that he will make for the back Parts of this Province, [1] or Virginia, or to Sea again. [2]

Whoever takes up and secures the said Servant in any Goal, so that his Master may have him again, shall have Forty Shillings Reward, and reasonable Charges, paid by GEORGE ASHBRIDGE.


1. The frontier

2. The great number of soldiers and sailor released after the Seven Years War provided many servants for the plantation provinces as unemployment was a capital crime, and any recently released veteran who did not find himself a master would have one found for him. Pennilessness was also a crime and many sailors were discharged without pay as they had been impressed to begin with. Lastly, homelessness was a capital crime and any man not immediately able to secure lodgings for himself would also have a death sentence or a 14 year stint in the plantations hanging over his head. Cornelius had just freed himself for the third time. Would he escape or be returned to bondage?

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

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