Despite harsh punishments, during the 18th century a large number of convicts ran away from their masters in America without serving their time in employment as servants, and this became very common practice. Newspapers in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania were often published with notices of runaway convicts urging their capture. From the period 1746 to 1775 the Maryland Gazette published notices of around 993 separate Maryland convicts, an average of thirty-three runaways per year. A large portion of these runaways were male, out of 1401 Maryland and Virginia runaways during the mid-18th century nearly 95% were men and boys. Males comprised around 80% of all convicts and their masters were more likely to advertise for their male servants to be captured due to their greater value, while female servants were less willing to choose the runaway option.
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