Infortunate: The Voyage - CL.

William Moraley, Author Pennsylvania State University Press $59.95 (178p) ISBN 978-0-271-00828-8
This memoir, the editors argue in their insightful introductory essay, offers a contrast to the colonial-era writings of wealthy European visitors and rising successes like Benjamin Franklin. Moraley who indentured himself for money and came to the U.S. from England in 1729, spent nearly five years on the lower rungs in the American colonies. His brief, readable account, designed both to inform and entertain, is both an adventure and an ambiguous morality tale: his preface suggests a Calvinist call for individual responsibility, while elsewhere in the narrative he proclaims himself the ``Tennis-ball of Fortune.'' He is something of a scamp: while Franklin, upon arriving in Philadelphia, discovered the locals loved reading, Moraley praised the city's ``many Houses of Entertainment.'' He also describes here his childhood, his failed attempt to clerk for an attorney, his study of the watchmaking trade and his trip to the New World, where he was indentured to a clockmaker and performed diverse tasks. In America, he offers brief descriptions of geography, flora and fauna, and religious practices. As the editors note, Moraley's memoir helps fill some historical gaps; unlike him, most early travelers ignored the role of servants, slaves and Native Americans. Klepp wrote Philadelphia in Transition ; Smith edited Blacks Who Stole Themselves. Illustrated. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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