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Title: Factors in Scottish emigration : a study in Scottish participation in the indentured and transportation systems of the New World in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
Author: Rinn, Jacqueline Ann
ISNI:       0000 0001 3519 5475
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1979
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In the seventeenth century Scottish merchants were effectively barred from trade with the English colonies; first by lack of capital and suitable exports and secondly, by the exclusion of Scotland from colonial trade following the passing of the English Navigation Acts in 1663. Because of the demand for Scottish servants, however, whose martial qualities were considered a good off-set against the threat of slave insurrection and foreign invasion, the English government allowed the import of Scottish servants - though Scottish ships were not allowed to carry colonial products back home. Nevertheless, this demand reinforced by the large supply of conventiclers, vagabonds, and petty criminals which the Scottish authorities were willing to see transported, allowed a thriving though small and partially illegal trade to be established between Scotland and the colonies . After the Union of Parliaments in 1707, when Scotland was given legal access to the colonial market, servants continued to be a regular, though not as vital outward cargo to the colonies. All transatlantic merchants had some contact with the trade, but east-coast merchants or small firms seem to have had the most frequent or large-scale involvement. Unlike the previous century, the majority of Scots indenting went as volunteers, with an increase in numbers seen after times of famine, high prices or following a war when the military no longer served as an outlet for the unemployed or redundant population. The Scottish authorities, however, continued to allow the transportation of criminals, rebels, and in a few cases, vagabonds, even before Parliament gave legal sanction to this in 1766, when the English transportation was extended to Scotland. The importance of the entrepreneurial element upon the trade should not be ignored for many Scots, although dissatisfied with their condition and willing to migrate within the country, would not have considered emigration unless persuaded by recruitment agents to indent. The influence of this element was especially strong in the 1770s when mass emigration was seen from both the Highlands and Lowlands. A large percentage of those departing were financially solvent, particularly in the first waves, but after a series of bad harvests and the 1772 depression a large number of the poorer classes were irretrievably hurt. The willingness of transatlantic merchants to carry cargoes, partially because of difficulties in the colonial sector but also because of the inordinate supply of potential servants, allowed many impoverished Scots to accompany their relatives, neighbours or clansmen. Without the indenture system many Scots would have been forced to remain in Scotland. In fact, during both the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the majority of emigrants leaving Scotland probably arrived in the colonies as servants. Except during the 1770s when a number of families indented, most servants were young, single males (though women servants always proved profitable investments). There were several categories of servants and the treatment and expectations of those within each group varied. Many Scots, such as those apprenticed to Virginia tobacco stores or West Indian surgeons, were servants in name only. Skilled tradesmen, often specifically recruited in Scotland, were also in practice contracted employees who agreed to work for a certain period in exchange for a salary and upkeep. Unskilled servants, and convicts of course, had the hardest service time, receiving only bed and board in return for performing whatever tasks their masters required of them. Yet the unskilled labourer, master craftsman and middle-class tobacco storekeeper were all legally considered bond servants and subject to the same penalties if they broke their contracts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available