A survey of the apprentice agreements from the Plymouth Records indicates that apprentices received more material goods upon their release from their indenture than servants did. : 29). The Plymouth Colony Records show that thirty-two recorded sales of servants were made between 1633 and 1685. They were not being released from their indentures. Joseph Banvard, Plymouth and the Pilgrims (Boston: Gould and Lincoln, 1851), 25. Adult male servants brought the majority of cases against their masters. In addition, no money was exchanged between Higgens and Smaley. Since servants were upwardly mobile, Plymouth Colonists had an interest in making them law-abiding and God-worshiping citizens that would contribute to the Colony when freed from their indenture. The final sentence of the record was particularly intriguing as it revealed a kin relationship between Williams and the daughter of the deceased John Barker. Lake Erie College Of Osteopathic Medicine, There were wide disparities in the type of payment received for a term of service. A period of servitude began with the creation of an indenture agreement between master and servant. On November 15, 1636 the Court declared that all "contracts for servants of any tyme shalbe recorded before the Gouernor or some one of the Assistants . . In addition, servants also received the same forms of welfare and charity that were given to non-servant residents such as the women and children of Plymouth Colony. A master could sell the indenture agreement of this servant or apprentice as long as all parties involved agreed to the change. Five of these cases simply called the offense "abuse." The next several sections will explore the manner with which change and divergence in indenture agreements was dealt. It landed more than 100 men, women and children. Servants convicted of crimes such as stealing and fornication were punished in a manner consistent with the way non-servants were punished for the same acts. Since neither eleven year old boy could repay Williams for the damage they had done, the Court "ordered them to bee put forth to seruice vntill each of them should attaine the age of twenty and one years" (ibid.). This is another indication that male servants were being given rights that they would claim once released from service. Those who served one year or less were most often paid in cash, tobacco, or corn (PCR 1: 103, 115). Her indenture agreement makes no mention of further payment (PCR 1:129). Winslow testified that the girl owed him more service. Burnley V Wolves Head To Head, Others received young cow "calfes" with which to start their own farm (ibid.:32). Rather, they fine the men responsible for luring servants into their house for drink or away from their work. It may be that those involved are young adults not considered old enough to make proper decisions. If Baker lodged a complaint, the Court would hear the full case with both Baker and Hall present. Plymouth also lived in peace with its neighbors, the Wampanoags, in a treaty that was unbroken for more than 50 years. An extensive coroner's inquest revealed that Walker died of exposure and overwork, and basic lack of food, clothing, and shelter. In this case the trade to be learned was not specified. John Rouse, Before proceeding it should be mentioned here that the cases discussed do not represnt the total number of servants and service arrangements that existed in Plymouth. Megillah Scroll For Sale, I have identified four different types of indenture agreements: apprentice, servant, slave, and guardian agreements. One law passed in 1655 required all Scotch and Irish immigrants to carry firearms and to participate in military training. He was simply to learn a good business or trade. … Despite the law's attempt to prevent servants from becoming a town's welfare case, we will see that there were a few cases in which the Court required a town to take care of sick or mistreated servants. Thus a master was responsible for treating and caring for a servant until the end of their indenture, even if the servant became an invalid. David Bushnell, “The Treatment of the Indians in Plymouth Colony,” The New England Quarterly 26, no. The drop in indenture agreements combined with laws concerning slavery (1676) may indicate that Colonists were thinking that slavery was a better way of providing the Colony with labor. Your servant, or your neighbor's servant, could, at some point, become a freeman with voting rights. Any changes in indenture agreements -- from the trade of a servant and the withholding of food or clothing to the misdemeanors of a servant -- were brought before the Court. For example, the widow Vobes requested a parcel of land so that she could meet the indenture agreement made between her deceased husband and Isacke Allerton. However, as the Colony grew it developed a welfare policy that made the towns, and the Colony as a whole, responsible for the condition of servants and the poor. For example, two servants with separate masters decided they wished to dwell with the other's master. Boston: Beacon Press. They were allowed to remain in the Colony. Texas Goodbye, This may have occurred in the Edith Pitts case since she did not appear in Court to testify against her master. In some cases masters who breached indenture agreements were fined more money than in cases of abuse. For instance, Will Honywell was to receive twenty-five acres of unmanured land and twelve bushels of corn for his seven years of service while Alice Grinder was to receive only two suits of clothing (PCR 1:16, 20). A year later the Court granted Peter Talbott five acres and James Skiff ten acres of land for their service by indenture. Thus many hoped to marry prior to, or just after, their release from their indenture. The women themselves are almost invisible. In 1638 we see that William Holloway, former servant of William Basset was beaten by Francis Sprague. The Massachusetts Historical Society is a 501(C)(3) Nonprofit Purim Blessings, by withholding nessesary food and clothing and by exposing his said servant to extremitie of seasons, wherof the said John Walker languished and imeadiately died" (ibid.:73). Between 1630 and 1650 several laws were passed that regulated the social and moral behavior of servants. For his two years of service James Till received six pounds per year as well as "his It seems probable that the number of servants and apprentices were decreasing by the later half of the Colony's life. Plymouth Colony Law provided guidelines for the basic rights and regulations of servants. Peter Talbott, a former servant of Edward Dowty was recorded as giving his proportion of land (given to him by his indenture agreement) to a James Skiff in exchange for six bushels of corn (PCR 1:38). This is the first law to specifically lump servants and children into the same category. In 1637 Steephen Hopkins was fined 40 shillings for "suffering servants and others to sit drinking in his house (contrary to he order of this Court) and to play at shouell board" (PCR 1:68). Usually one servant was transferred to a new owner for a certain amount of money. 1643 The New England Confederation of Plymouth, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Haven adopts a fugitive slave law. When Boston entered its pandemic lockdown in early March, it forced the cancellation of the Congregational Library's symposium “1620: New Perspectives on the … Most guardian agreements do not mention service yet the manner in which they are arranged reflects apprentice and servant indenture agreements. John Rouse must have been worth more than Richard Willis, however, as Barnes was required to pay Thomas Prince four pounds when the exchange was made (ibid.:30). . After King Phillips War new laws required all captured males over the age 14 to be sold as slaves outside of Plymouth Colony. These cases may very well have set the stage for future welfare systems in the Colonies. John Rosse complained to the Court that his master had used him for six years and would not provide compensation. The Plymouth Court Records provide a picture of the legal rights of a servant. In other cases, masters withheld property from their servants who were leaving their indenture (PCR 1:23, 111). Plymouth Colony Facts: The Strangers. The first case I will discuss began in 1653 and ended in 1657. Massachusetts Bay Colony (1628-1691 CE) was the largest English settlement in New England and the most influential both in the colonization of the region and later developments in what would become the United States of America. During his service "a negro named Jethro" was to receive "meat, drinke, and apparrell fitting for one in his degree and calling" (PCR 5:216). Chart 2 shows that the majority of servants had indenture agreements that required them to serve four to ten years. When their indenture came to an end, the servant often received a small parcel of land and possibly some food. Winslow was responsible for regulating her use of the money (ibid.). This may be because women and Africans were not considered people able to be freemen and heads of housegholds. It stated that any Plymouth inhabitant that brought a servant from England was responsible for that servant his or her entire indenture. If the fine was not paid, this sentence then effectively kept this dancer under supervision for another two years. However, the presence of guardian agreements and litigation between servants and masters remains present in the Court Records into the later period of the Colony. For reasons that can't be discerned from the records, the Court did not prosecute the former master for not allocating parcels of their own property. Unchaperoned women may also have been in greater physical danger than their male counterparts. PCR, Plymouth Court Records New York: AMS Press. The time of indenture was seen as a time in which a servant resided with a father figure that could guide and instruct him in the ways of the Colony. Another unusual agreement occurred in August 1639. It was integrated with the Massachusetts Bay Company's much larger colony to establish the royal colony of Massachusetts — now the state of the same name. Because of this Gardiner received an extra six bushels of corn (ibid. These cases can provide us with a glimpse of what some servants chose to do after they were released from their indenture. Children and "mayde servants" were also required to obtain their parent's, guardian's, or master's permission prior to marriage (ibid. Zoe Buckman, This paper will first outline the laws governing both servants and masters. Colonists turned to England, Scotland and Ireland where they actively recruited new members and hired-on servants. . This servant, who has no name but is listed as a "boy," complained that he was ill used and wanted competent clothing (PCR 3:118). Starting in 1642, the number of people entering indenture agreements dropped significantly (see Chart 3, below). If Zachary was not treated "as such a servant ought to be dealt with, then vpon the complaint of any of ye friends of ye said Zachery, it shalbe lawfull for ye deacons of ye church of Plim aforesaid, wth the Gouernor, yt then shalbe, to take him wholy away & place him wth whom they shall see meete, provided yt no sale or marchandise by made of ye remaine of his time by any" (ibid.). In exchange for food, clothing, lodging, and the occasional boat fare from England, a servant would agree to work for an established time period. By the time it’s all said and done, very few years have been as momentous as 2020. At the beginning of every Court session there was a group of men who were admitted as Freemen. Plymouth Rock commemorates the landing of the Mayflower in 1620 The core of the group called "the Pilgrims" was brought together around 1605 when they quit the Church of England to form Separatist congregations in Nottinghamshire, England, led by John Robinson, Richard Clyfton, and John Smyth. Plymouth Colony Laws Regarding Servants and Slaves. These indenture agreements were viewed as unbreakable contracts and were enforced by the Plymouth Court. The exact date slaves first entered Massachusetts is unknown but many sources suggest Samuel Maverick was the first slaveholder in the colony after he arrived in early Boston in 1624 with two slaves. Aside from this, what we understand about servants' rights comes from the cases brought before the Court. With this in mind, Colonists may have decided to treat many of the adult servants as if they were Colonists. : 66). Another servant was scheduled to be whipped for running away and stealing but the servant's father paid a series of fines. It bound the men to form a government and submit to the will of the majorit… An unusual aspect of this agreement is that Richard Higgens remained responsible for providing Godbertson with apparel while Smaley provided Godbertson with meat, drink, and lodging. A summary of Plymouth law reveals that only a few laws related specifically to the governing of servants and slaves. The fact that twenty cases were brought against masters over a thirty year time span is impressive. Was there slavery in … Her former master, John Phillips, gave Major Winslow the ten pounds due to Grace for her indenture. This is most unusual since every other exchange of servant and apprentices involved some sort of payment being made to the previous owner by the new owners (PCR 1: 129-130). The father of the young servant, Roger Shaundler, argued otherwise and refused to return his daughter to Winslow for further service. The final case was brought against a woman for molesting a young female servant and preventing that servant from performing her work (ibid.). The Wampanoag no longer believed the Plymouth colony were honouring their agreement and feared the rate at which colony was expanding. These are from the Court of the towne of Taunton, to request them, that wheras there is hopes that this spring hee may bee cured, if endeauors hee vsed for that end, that they would please to take some course, either into the Bay or elsewhere, for his cure" (ibid.:132). Ouac Year Level, One law that was later struck from the record attempted to regulate the length of an indenture. They could contest their indentures and ask for more land or better compensation for their work. The Oxford English Dictionary defines apprentices as "one who is bound by legal agreement to serve an employer in the exercise of some handicraft, art, trade, or profession for a certain number of years. Over half of them died during their first winter This case is the only recorded one case of a servant's murder. In 1657, Plymouth Colony enacted a law providing the penalty of whipping and a fine of five pounds for entertaining a Quaker, and a fine of 40 shillings for attending a Quaker meeting. The child was removed from William's house and given to Thomas Bird until the next Court session could look into the case further. Another law that stated that masters could not shorten the length of service they had agreed to with their servant. Her new masters, John and Mary Barnes, were only required to find Billington meat, drink, and lodging during her time of service (PCR 2: 38). Haunted Mansion Movie, . If unmarried when their indenture was complete, these women may have had no choice other to enter into another service agreement. Guardian agreements thus became a type of social welfare for orphaned children or children who can from dysfunctional parents. The law read that even if a servant fell "diseased, lame, or impotent by the way or after they come here, they shalbe mayntayned and provided for by their said masters during the terme of their service and covenants, although their said masters release them out of their service afterwards to be releeued by the towneship where he is" (PCR 11: 40). If they were caught playing such games a second time, they were publicly whipped (ibid. William Mendloue entered into a seven year indenture agreement during which he was taught carpentry. All of the apprentices were males. What ever the connection, these two former servants were traded and selling their land between themselves and then applying to the Court for more property. After the eight years were up, Higgens was to receive "double appell," twelve bushels of corn and twenty acres (ibid. However, cases of neglect or abuse which involved female or young servants were often filed against the master by a parent or a larger governing body such as the City of Taunton. The former master was, however, required to provide his former servant with clothes. When Boston entered its pandemic lockdown in early March, it forced the cancellation of the Congregational Library's symposium “1620: New Perspectives on the … The law stated that "if a motion of marriage be duly made to the master and through any sinister end or couetous desire hee will not consent therevnto Then the clause to be made known vnto the Majistrates" (ibid.). In some of the cases described it is possible to get a sense of Plymouth's early welfare system. Although Plymouth had few laws that explicitly protected servants from abuse and indenture fraud, the number of cases brought against masters and others who hurt servants indicates that Plymouth Colonists were watching out for servants' welfare. In 1646 Kenelme Winslow was found guilty of withholding clothes from a former female servant. By 1651 there must have been a series of problems concerning Native American ownership and use of firearms. The Court stated that she "could looke out some land for her supply and a compentency wilbee graunted and confeirmed vnto her" (PCR 3:195). These colonists are known today as the Pilgrims. However, in cases invovling the moral and social behavior of servants, the Court often convicted the non-servants invovled in the case with corrupting or misleading the servants. These cases may very well have set the stage for future welfare systems in the Colonies. John G. Turner narrates a more complex history in They Knew They Were Pilgrims, tracing the contested meanings of liberty – and slavery – in the seven-decade history of Plymouth Colony. Up as they could file complaints and initiate changes in their indentures Cod in... 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