In theory, European indentured servants voluntarily gave up their freedom for a set period of time in exchange for passage to the new world, but not all were content after their arrival. They had consigned themselves to virtual slavery, after all and it must have been tough.
Yet those that had invested in their passage also had a lot to lose. The Geography of Slavery website site contains many ads like the following…
Virginia Gazette (Parks),
Williamsburg, From October 1736.
Maryland ff. RAN away, from the Subscribers, on Monday Night, being the 12th Instant, from the Town of Cambridge, on Great Choptank River, in a Long-boat belonging to Mr. Thomas Nevett, having a blue Vane, with T.N. on it, the following Persons, viz. Thomas Ablewhite, of a middle Stature, dark Complexion, dark Wigg, Dark-colour’d Coat turn’d ; a red Duffil Great-coat, and blue Broad cloth Breeches. Jane Shepherd, a lusty fat Woman, having a Gold-lac’d Hat, a dark brown Holland Gown, and another striped ordinary One; also Cambrick Pinners and Handkerchiefs, with several Aprons and Shifts ; is an English Woman. Francis O’Conner, a tall spare Irish Man, being thin and poorly cloath’d, wore his own short black hair, a Felt Hat, blue Stockings, a check’d Shirt, and had several other white Shirts, a Gun, a Remnant of coarse brown Holland, and several other Things. Mary Barnes, having a green Silk-Poplin Gown, fac’d with Yellow ; a sickly Countenance, and much bloated. And Jane Harlett, a Scotch Woman, having a strip’d Calimanco Gown, a Platt Hat, and several other Things. Whoever secures the said Persons, and Boat, so that they may be had again, shall receive of the Subscribers, Ten Pounds current Money of this Province ; or for each Person as followeth, if taken separate, For Thomas Ablewhite, the Sum of 2 l. 10 s. For Francis O’Connor, 5 l. For Jane Shepherd, 5 l. For Jane Harlett, 20 s. For Mary Barnes, 5 s. For the Boat, 2 l. As also Reasonable Charges for all or either of them, paid by Thomas Nevett. Thomas Watkins.