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Ol’ George
Who's Your Nation Daddy—Boy!: George Washington and Runaways
Advertisement for Runaway Servants, 23 April 1775
Tue, Jun 8, 3:28 PM (5 days ago)
Ol’ George never let a white slave get away with running off, did he? Even in the midst of war, he always got his man
-CS

Thanks, CS, what we have here are two expensive crackers. In 1775 the going rate for a runaway cracker was 3-5 pounds and I think the exchange rate with the dollar was 2 dollars to the pound, meaning that George was shelling out double the going rate for a refundable piece of white trash.
The typical purchase price for a laborer was something like this refund, with other highly skilled runaways like school teachers bringing a 20 dollar reward.
Let's take a look at the equipage of these two boys and consider that their behavior might be one reason why George switched to Germans 20 years later...

"Advertisement for Runaway Servants
"Fairfax county, April 23, 1775.
"FORTY DOLLARS REWARD. RUN away from the subscriber, on the 19th instant, at night, two servant men, viz. Thomas Spears,1 a joiner, born in Bristol, about 20 years of age, five feet six and a half inches high, slender made, has light gray or bluish eyes, a little pock marked, freckled, sandy coloured hair cut pretty short, his voice is coarse and somewhat drauling; he took with him a coat, waistcoat, and breeches of light brown duffil, with black horn buttons, another light coloured cloth waistcoat, old leather breeches, check and osnabrug shirts, a pair of new milled yarn stockings, a pair of old ribbed do. new osnabrug trousers, and a felt hat, not much the worse for wear."
"—William Webster, 2 a brick maker, born in Scotland, and talks pretty broad, about five feet six inches high, well made, rather turned of 30, with light brown hair, and a roundish face; he had on an olive coloured coat, pretty much worn, with black horn buttons, duffil waistcoat and breeches, the same as Spears’s, osnabrug trousers, and check and osnabrug shirts. They went off in a small yawl, with turpentine sides and bottom, the inside painted with a mixture of tar and red lead. Masters of vessels are cautioned against receiving of them, and the above reward is offered to any person who will deliver them at my dwellinghouse in this county, or twenty dollars for each, from
GEORGE WASHINGTON.3"

James' Notes
-Osnaburg was a cheap rough canvas material.
-The men's time of service will be extended according to the money spent on their return, converted into time, as well as a week to serve for every day gone on the lam. Additionally they may be beaten up to 30 strokes each and may have time added for any of the clothing they stole that was lost.
-Men such as these could expect to spend all of their healthy productive years in service to the likes of GW or worse, who was so cheap that he would not pay the extra pennies to have George Washington printed in the notice.
-Also note below that Washington had paid 6 men named in the archive footnotes, for the return of these two men on two occasions. I will be interested in getting more information on these men and their occupation as slave catchers. The itemized expenses incurred by James Williams seem to have been ferry crossing and lodging expenses and a wagon for hauling the two men back, who were most likely fettered within.
Footnotes copied from the source:
"1. For an identification of Thomas Spear (Spears), see James Cleveland to GW, 21 May, n.3. Spear was returned to GW sometime before February 1776 when GW paid the tailor for making clothes for Spear (Lund Washington’s Mount Vernon account book, 1772–86, f. 44). For an identification of William Webster, see William McGachen to GW, 13 Mar. 1774, n.1.
2. Webster had run away once before. See Cash Accounts, April 1774.
3. In DLC:GW is a photocopy of a copy of GW’s receipted account with James Williams for expenses incurred in William’s pursuit of Webster and Spear. The signed receipt is dated 23 April, and the account reads:
“Dr Col. George Washington, to James Williams
To my Expenses in pursuit of your two Servt men Wm Webster, & Thomas Spears.
at port tobacco in Marryland
. 1.10
at Nanjemoy
. 2.  
Cross’g the River over to Boyds Hole
. 5.  
Boyds Hole
. 1.  
Stafford Court House
. 1. 3
Dumfries
. 4.  
Wagon 2 Days @ 6/
.10.  
£1.10. 1”
See also Cash Accounts, April and May, for money paid to William Skilling, Thomas Allison, William Johnson, and Thomas Johnson for their pursuit of Webster and Spear. On 2 May William McDaniel was paid £6 “for taking up W. Webster” (Cash Accounts, May 1775).
Virginia Gazette (Purdie; Williamsburg), 5 May 1775.
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Jeremy BenthamJun 18, 2021

“Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in ancient Greek republics: Freedom for slave owners.” - Vladimir Lenin

Fascinating! Ole George is demonized in the current Politically Correct public narrative for having owned black slaves, but no one says a solitary thing about all the white slaves he owned or otherwise employed. Do they? As you have pointed out James, the European/white slavery that was prevalent in colonial/planation America is studiously ignored by modern historians. Almost as if it were somehow an even more shameful practice than keeping African/black slaves, eh? However, in the world that George Washington lived in, keeping people, any people, in involuntary servitude was a perfectly normal and acceptable practice. For example historians estimate that half the population in England in the year 1000 A.D. was held in some sort involuntary servitude, such as a serf or slave. Everything was run for the convenience of the ruling class, not the ‘will’ of the common people. Black or white, most ordinary people lived in their own private hell back in those good old days.

In my mind then, the oppressions of the past make the current freedom and autonomy we modern Americans enjoy (even in these censure culture times) all the more remarkable. Hearing the owner/managerial class in 21st Century America complain about how hard it is to keep employees on the job, I know many would probably secretly support returning to some means of binding workers to their jobs and ending most worker mobility. The ‘cheap labor lobby’ has always had great influence on America government policy. The H1-B visa for one example is a patently obvious means for U.S. tech companies to obtain cheap indentured foreign tech labor (the foreign worker cannot leave the company that holds his visa).

As for why Washington was willing to pay so much to recover these particular runaway ‘servants’, since they were skilled construction artisans, one a brick maker and the other a joiner (joiner: “one whose occupation is to construct articles by joining pieces of wood; a mechanic who does the woodwork (as doors, stairs, etc.) necessary for the finishing of buildings.”), one must surmise that they fled in the midst of some important and expensive building project. If General Washington was anything like the generals I have known, he probably wasn’t a fun person to work for, likely being intense, driven, demanding and extremely detail oriented. He was probably an interesting person to talk to in a cocktail party setting, but definitely not someone you wanted to disappoint when he was in charge and counting on you to do something for him.
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