"Sales of Negroes for Life": Abp. Carroll expresses his surprise that people were sold against the Corporation's orders, Oct 1815

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"Sales of Negroes for Life": Abp. Carroll expresses his surprise that people were sold against the Corporation's orders, Oct 1815


Slaves--United States--Economic conditions, Jesuits--History--19th century; Slavery and the church--Catholic Church; Catholic Church-Clergy-Correspondence


Archbishop Carroll writes to Francis Neale in 1815 about the administration of the missions. The letter includes a reference to the sale of "Jem's family" from the Bohemia estate and unauthorized sales of people from White Marsh. Carroll expresses concern that the Corporation of Roman Catholic Clergymen would have to refund the purchasers' money if the sales were declared invalid.


Maryland Province Archives


This material has been re-digitized by Booth Family Center for Special Collections, Georgetown University Library, accessible at: Robert Molyneux, S.J. (1 of 4), 1805-01-10-1805-12-16. Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, 119_57.1_15. Georgetown University Manuscripts.


Georgetown Slavery Archive




Adam Rothman, Elsa Barraza Mendoza, Dami Kim


Georgetown University Library









Text Item Type Metadata


Rev. and respected Sir

             Mr. Robinson delivered yesterday your favour of the 1st-, dined with us, and went on in the steam boat at 4 ó clock in the afternoon- if you had come with him yesterday, you would have had time to go to Deer-Creek and resolved on the purchase of Ben Greens place and be back at Port Tobo for this day week- I know not what addition to the spiritual affairs at George Town will be made by your Brother, the Bishops absence, unless it be to supply for him (strikethrough) by saying mass and going once a week to hear the confessions of the nuns and little girls, which might may be done by another, as you have a much more essential and indispensable duty to perform.- Mr. Smith being now ordained priest, will be sent to Deer Creek next week: you have received the price of the Blacks, which belonged to that estate, the rest of Arabia, and amount of sales. Out of this fund he ought to be provided with and with every thing necessary for rigging him out- The few stock purchased in the 6 and cash is bringing an interest,: and with some money, still unexpended for that purchase, I furnished Mr. Smith this day with $100, that is one hundred.

            Mr. Moyniham departed this today for Bohemia. You have been informed already, that all had been done three, which

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depended on me, but Jem’s family are not disposed of; the purchasers for a term of years may  could be had and I had in my own estimation, I had settled that term, and had in correspondent price. But it was necessary to have your concurrence; which is an additional reason for you to come up immediately after your return from Port Tobo. George Trueenys and Miss Howes marriage may surely by done by some other of our Clergymen, Mr. Mathews for instance.

            You must know that without a minute and circumstantial investigation of the claims of the Corporation, my opinion of any proceedings for recovery of the money il supposed to be due from Mr. Ashtons estate would be entitled to no other confidence, that the information entitled to deserves on which I should judge. But I have a strong presumption in favour of the measure of the proposed by you; because you have weighted it maturely, and because poor Mr. Young has continually changed his mind, and as I verily believe, is incapable of forming a rational opinion.

After putting in the claim of the Corporation, you will wait the decision of the court for its admission or rejection, then it may be a subject of further consideration, especially if it be rejected, or contested, what the Corporation should next do.

           All things considered, you would do well to resolve yourself to come up next week or as soon as possible, and with a determination to conclude the concerns of Deer Creek &c.

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            Mr. Fenwick and I were surprised and mortified to learn that in direct contradiction to the humane decision of the Corporation, sales of Negroes for life have been made and are making from the estate of the White-Marsh. I doubt very much, whether such sales are valid; and think that the persons sold may recover, by law, their absolute freedom, leaving the Corporation an obligation to refund the purchases money. I am very respectfully, Rev. Sir,

Yr most obedt Sr

[Signature John Carroll] Abp̄ of Bre

Baltre Octr. 3d 1815-


Rev. Mr. Francis Neale


George Town


Original Format




Maryland Province Archives, “"Sales of Negroes for Life": Abp. Carroll expresses his surprise that people were sold against the Corporation's orders, Oct 1815,” Georgetown Slavery Archive, accessed July 16, 2024, http://slaveryarchive.georgetown.edu/items/show/111.