Primary Resource

A Servant Demands his Freedom Dues (1624)

On January 24, 1624, members of the General Court heard testimony in the case of an indentured servant called William Mutch who argued with his master over so-called freedom dues, or the payment servants customarily received upon completion of their contracts. In this case, Mutch contended that he was owed corn. Dr. John Pott, who provided the testimony, was a member of the General Court and later served as governor of the colony. Some spelling has been modernized and contractions expanded.

Transcription from Original

Doctor Pott doth affirme that Cominge to Capt Harvey his howse together with him, the said Capt Harvie (william mutch not beinge at home) sent for him to speake with him, and when he came, Capt Harvey desired mutch to deliver him the Covenants formerly drawne, To which he replyed, first lett me see my Corne, Capt Harvey told him he scorned to kepe back his Corne, mutch replyed againe he would have his corne before he should see them, Then Capt Harvie told him he was an idle knave, and that he could find in his hart to Cudgell his Coate, To which mutch answered scornefully, alas Sir it is not in you, whereupon Capt Harvie strooke over the pate with his Trunchione, And he saith further that mutch did give other provokinge speeches,