The Infortunate: The Voyage and Adventures of William Moraley, an Indentured Servant / Edition 1

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A rare memoir from the early eighteenth century by an Englishman who traveled to the New World as an indentured servant.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The memoir effectually marks a key moment in the Anglo-American past. Editors Klepp and Smith have done scholars and students alike a very useful service by making this remarkably provocative tale readily available for those of us who wish to examine English and Anglo-American culture.”
—Carla Mulford, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography

“Klepp and Smith have provided readers with a valuable glimpse of how those on the margins struggled, however in vain, in the best poor man’s country.”
—Sharon V. Salinger, Journal of American History

“Those of us who have too long savored the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin as being an account of a typical poor man's rise to wealth and power in the new United States will welcome this account of the more usual fate of a common ordinary person in Colonial and Federal America. . . . Filled with half-truths and whole lies, it nevertheless is a valuable—almost priceless—document about life in the early U.S. The editors have provided all kinds of explanatory information in notes and appendices, making this volume indispensable for all people interested in ordinary life in early America.”
—Ray B. Browne, Journal of American Culture

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271008448
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1992
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan E. Klepp is Professor of Colonial American History and American Women's History at Temple University. She contributed the essay on Colonial Pennsylvania to Pennsylvania: A History of the Commonwealth, edited by Randall Miller and William Pencak (Penn State, 2002).

Billy G. Smith is Michael P. Malone Professor of History at Montana State University. He has edited two other Penn State Press books: Life in Early Philadelphia: Documents from the Revolutionary and Early National Periods (1995) and Down and Out in Early America (2004).

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Table of Contents


List of Illustrations ix

Editors' Preface to the Second Edition xi

Editors' Preface to the First Edition xiii

Abbreviations xvi

Editors' Introduction xvii


The Preface 3

1. Moraley and his family. The Infortunate learns Latin and

arithmetic. Bound to an attorney. Becomes a watchmaker. The South Sea Bubble. His mother settles in Newcastle. Reduced to poverty. Sells himself for a term of years into the American

plantations. Before the Lord Mayor of London. Repenting too late.

Calling at Calais. A recognition. 5

2. The story of Sir George Sonds's two sons. 21

3. Life on board ship. Stinted rations. Dolphins and flying fish. Land at last. In the market. Sold as a slave. "A Quaker, but a Wet one." "The Athens of Mankind." Germantown. 23

4. The fortunate Andalousian. 37

5. Burlington. Churches and missionaries. Quaker meetings. The Mayor of Philadelphia. Rescuing a lady. An exchange of wit. A Negro's ghost. The Delaware River. Perriwig Island. An enormous skeleton. Antediluvian remains. 41

6. Plantations in Pennsylvania. Indian corn. "The best poor Man's Country in the World." Wild beasts. Rattle snakes. Horn snakes. Humming birds. Locusts. Butterflies. The Negroes. Slave laws. Bought servants. 51

7. The Indians in Pennsylvania. Their habits, manners, and religion. Colonial currency. The Governor and his Council. The family of William Penn. Charity of the Quakers. Drinks. Fish and fruit. The climate. "The Tennis-ball of Fortune." 63

8. End of servitude in Pennsylvania. "A roving Tarter." Courting adventure. Trent Town and Burlington. Encounter with a panther. Detained for a runaway. Journey to New York. An Indian king. The Governor of New York. Pursued by creditors. 73

9. The Valentian; or, faithful Lover 81

10. Departure from New York. Ducking witches at Mount Holly.

Loading ship. Journey to Maryland. Encounter with a horn snake. Assists a mother and two children. Danger from creditors. Sets sail for Ireland. The man with three wives. 87

11. Voyage to Ireland. Dublin Harbour. Arrives at Workington. "The picture of Robinson Crusoe." "A Grave Quaker." Merry making. Nether Hall. A tankard of supernaculum. Mr. Senhouse's

pleasantries. Crosby. 95

12. Sir Richard Musgrave. Haltwhistle. Belated in a fell. Corbridge,

Wylam, etc. Arrives in Newcastle. 101

Postscript: The author's case, recommended to the Gentlemen of the

law. 105

Editors' Afterword 109


A. The Book and Its Author 121

B. Moraley Genealogy 123

C. The Wills of William Moraley's Parents 125

D. Moraley as a Literary Artisan 131

E. Newcastle, England 135

F. Isaac Pearson's Servants 137

G. The Ghost in Isaac Pearson's Home 139

H. The Witchcraft Trial at Mount Holly 141


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