Originally published in the Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science series, this work describes the early land system in Maryland, indenture, fugitive servants, the status of servants and freemen, the servant militia, and convicts. White servitude as it existed in Maryland and the other colonies was only a modified form of the system of apprenticeship which had been in vogue in England for several centuries preceding. The wide use of this system of labor during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries accounts in a great measure for the readiness with which persons in later years entered into a contract of servitude in order to reach the New World. Not only were persons regularly bound out to masters for the purpose of learning various trades, but it was customary in the early part of the sixteenth century for parents of all classes to apprentice their children to strangers at an early age. Used at first for training tradesmen and domestics, the system was extended to agricultural laborers during the reign of Elizabeth.