Runaway Slave Advertisement
Joseph Barnard of Deerfield, Massachusetts, placed this runaway slave notice in The Boston Weekly Post-Boy newspaper in 1749. Its matter-of-fact tone reveals that slavery was an accepted part of colonial society. Slavery, along with indentured servitude, existed as the most extreme state of unfreedom in a world where patronage and dependency connected people to one another in patriarchal, hierarchically-ordered relationships. Each person was part of what the English writer David Hume called "a long chain of dependence." Coercion and patronage cemented society together as those of higher rank dispensed wealth and opportunities to the "friends" who gave their loyalty in return. This "chain" extended from the monarch at the top on down to the most powerless bondservants and slaves.
Date: October 2, 1749