White Cargo: The Forgotten History of Britain's White Slaves in America
White Cargo is the forgotten story of the thousands of Britons who lived and died in bondage in Britain's American colonies. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, thousands of people became slaves there in all but name. Urchins were swept up from London's streets to labour in the tobacco fields, where life expectancy was no more than two years. Brothels were raided to provide 'breeders' for Virginia. Hopeful migrants were duped into signing as indentured servants, unaware they'd become chattels who could be bought, sold and even gambled away. Transported convicts were paraded for sale like livestock. Drawing on letters crying for help, diaries, court and government archives, Jordan and Walsh demonstrate that the brutalities usually associated with black slavery alone were also perpetrated on whites throughout British rule.