The Infortunate

The Voyage and Adventures of William Moraley, an Indentured Servant

Edited by Susan E. Klepp, Billy G. Smith

Paperback - £17.95

Publication date:

15 April 2005

Length of book:

208 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271026763

First published by Penn State Press in 1992, The Infortunate has become a staple for teachers and students of American history. William Moraley’s firsthand account of bound servitude provides a rare glimpse of life among the lower classes in England and the American colonies during the eighteenth century. In the decade since its original publication, Susan Klepp and Billy Smith have unearthed new information on Moraley’s life, both before his ill-fated venture as an indentured servant from England to the “American Plantations” and after his return to England. This revised edition features this additional information while presenting the autobiography in a new way, offering more explicit emphasis for students and teachers in college, university, and high school about how to read and interpret Moraley’s autobiography.

“Those of us who have too long savored the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin as being an account of a typical poor man’s rise to wealth and power in the new United States will welcome this account of the more usual fate of a common ordinary person in Colonial and Federal America. . . . Filled with half-truths and whole lies, it nevertheless is a valuable—almost priceless—document about life in the early U.S.”

—Ray B. Browne, Journal of American Culture