This advertisement was printed in the ‘Jamaica Mercury and Kingston Weekly Advertiser’, 1779. It offers a reward for the return of a runaway, a young boy called Jack. The reward of two pounds and fifteen shillings was high (about £2000 today). As the enslaved people were such valuable commodities on the plantations large rewards were offered for their capture and return.
Although escape was a common form of resistance to the hardships of slavery, it was not often successful. For a runaway on a Caribbean island, the routes of escape were limited. Capture would almost certainly involve harsh punishment. The more organized attempts at escape and resistance, including by the Maroons in Jamaica and the Underground Railroad in the United States brought some slaves their freedom and hope to others who remained enslaved.
© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK
Accession reference: National Maritime Museum, ZBA2454