"A Dreadful Whipping": Fr. Beschter to Fr. Leavy on the whipping of an enslaved woman at St. Inigoes, January 7th, 1836

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"A Dreadful Whipping": Fr. Beschter to Fr. Leavy on the whipping of an enslaved woman at St. Inigoes, January 7th, 1836


Slaves-Abuse of, Women Slaves, Catholic Church-Clergy-Correspondence


In this letter to another Jesuit priest in January 1836, Fr. Beschter describes the whipping of a cook at St. Inigoes because she witnessed the self-flagellation of Fr. Bolton, an older Jesuit at the Mission.


Maryland Province Archives


Georgetown Slavery Archive




Adam Rothman, Elsa Barraza Mendoza


Georgetown University Library









Text Item Type Metadata


Paradise January 7th. 1836
Reverend and very dear Father in Christ,

I received your kind wishes and those of my dearly beloved Father Dzierozynski and his holy Band with deep and grateful feelings and reciprocate the same from my heart, and will not fail to supplicate at the Altar for obtaining the accomplishment through him who has so mercifully granted, when you prayed for me, your fervent supplications, fore I really believe, that is by the prayers of my friends that I live. Deo Gratias. I am not cured, but I have no pain being able to procure relief by the instrument sent me by Doctor Chatard of Baltimore, with the necessary directions. All I want now, is a happy Death, which I hope also to obtain, not indeed, by my merits, but through the merits of my Redeemer and the prayers of my friends.

I sold our Carriage to the Revd. Mr. Butler president of Emmitsburg, because I had no use for it, and as the crops of wheat and rye have failed, this will partly supply, to pay our servants, for money is scarce in this part of the country. Tho` our crop of corn, and oats was the best of our neighborhood which I have already sold to my neighbours, for fear of the Lynch law, which the scarcity of bread, may bring among us; I hear some people in York are enroliing themselves for that purpose.

I do not expect to be at the Consecration of Father John’s Church, and I do not wish to be in Frederick at that time, my state of health requires now retirement, and solitude, tho` still entertain a faint hope to see Fred’k before I die, yet I say, fiat laudetur et exattitur &c.

[Page 2]

What! All the Hierarchy of the U.S. at Frederick? What to do there? Will there be a national council held there? I have not heard a word of this kind, I do not believe, that my old friend Mr. Schaeffer, will give his consent to such a thing, for so many wishes would turn his head and make him run queasy, and unfit him to celebrate another Lutheran jubilee. Now to some thing else.

Whilst I was with the Novices at S. Inigoe’s, I found there an old negro woman cook, who had served seven masters there, she was more than 100 years old, I asked her if she had never got a wipping [sic] of them? Yeas, Father, she said; when Fr Bolton lived, he give me a good wipping; why? Because I deserved it; I heard some noise in his room, I went to the windows to see what was the matter there, I saw Fr. Bolton give himself a dreadful wipping, next morning I went to him, and on my knees, I begged him not to wip [sic] himself, so what you say, said he, how you know that I wip myself? Why I saw you wip yourself last evening… Well, you say, you saw me… Yeas Fr. said I… Well come here to me after half an hour… Well I went to his room, he bid me to kneel down: I did so, and then he gave me a dreadful wipping for my curiosity…. I hear, Fr Dzierozynski is getting poor and thin, I fear he does as Fr. Bolton did, should any one see him do so, I wish he should beg of him not to do so…and wait for the consequence…

I wish Fr. Dzierozynski would send some of you on a pilgrimage here, to see how people live in Paradise, instruct the ignorant, prepare the children for their first communion, for I am a poor good for nothing being, I hope you will all pray for me.

Your devoted brother in Christ
HW Beschter

Accepi 10th Jaury 1837
The Reverend P. Leavy
St. John’s Church
Frederick City
Fred.K County M.d

[On the left hand side] Hobothstoron Jan

Original Format





Maryland Province Archives, “"A Dreadful Whipping": Fr. Beschter to Fr. Leavy on the whipping of an enslaved woman at St. Inigoes, January 7th, 1836,” Georgetown Slavery Archive, accessed July 16, 2024, http://slaveryarchive.georgetown.edu/items/show/103.