Theodore Roosevelt > New York > Page 119
Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  New York.  1906.

Page 119
and Swiss. On the arrival of a ship containing them, they were usually duly advertised, the occupation—as tradesman, farmer, or laborer—for which they were best fitted being specified, and were then immediately sold at auction into what was simply slavery for a limited period; and as they were sometimes harshly treated they were very prone to run away. Judging by the advertisements in the colonial newspapers the runaway white bond-servants were almost as numerous as the runaway slaves. After their term of service was over, some of them became honest, hardworking citizens, while the others swelled the ranks of the idle, vicious, semi-criminal class, clustering in the outskirts and alleys of the town. As a whole, this species of immigrant was very harmful, and added a most undesirable element to the population. It may well be doubted if relatively to our total numbers, we have had any class of immigrants during the present century which as a class was so bad; and indeed it is safe to say that in proportion, eighteenth-century New York had quite as much vice and vicious poverty within its limits as the present huge city; and most of the vice and poverty among the whites was due to this importation of bond-servants and convicts.
  The negro slaves formed a very large portion of the town's population,—at times nearly half,—for over a century after it was founded; then they



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