"4 Sick Grown Hands": Letter from Fr. Brooke to Fr. Neale on a disease outbreak among the enslaved population of Newtown, October 1806

Dublin Core


"4 Sick Grown Hands": Letter from Fr. Brooke to Fr. Neale on a disease outbreak among the enslaved population of Newtown, October 1806


Diseases--Outbreaks; Slaves; Catholic Church-Clergy-Correspondence


In this letter to Fr. Francis Neale, Fr. Brooke describes how a disease outbreak among the enslaved population left his plans for the Newtown mission in disarray.


Maryland Province Archives


Georgetown Slavery Archive




Adam Rothman, Elsa Barraza Mendoza


Georgetown University Library








GSA 106

Text Item Type Metadata


Newtown, Oc.r  26th 1806 

Revd and Dear Sir

             I received your Fav.r of 23d Inst.t to day: your letter by Mr. Thompson last Sunday, and observe their contents.

We have still 4 sick grown hands, and 2 are employed in attending them, it is a comfort y.t they are all convalescents, and there are no new cases in the family. All my plans and endeavours have been marr’d and frustrated by the sickness. Since I saw you, I have been and am little obliged to act master overseer without and within, and Pastor at home and abroad, and this amidst every distress of sickness and loss of hands and overseer, without assistance at home or from abroad. Add to this great and continued rains which have contributed greatly to throw us back. Our Tobo is secured but not all our fodder. Our wheat remains to be sowed; it will be in a strong fallow. Our wheat is to ship and many other considerable jobs to be done. You will reflect on this and the following and make your report to Rev.d  Me Molyneaux. We have bacon, corn, and potatoes, turnips, turkeys etc to share: Even money can be sent and I am ready if it were in my power to beat out corn and procure a boat to send up every article ordered by the Superior; but when the large debts due from Newtown, the every expense of the year, ^ where there is not a single carpenter, or tradesman and many hands gone,  the salaries of 4 priests to be paid (for he supposes I must pay £30 to Revd Me Griffin) I say when all this is considered, I cannot, and must not be responsible for the consequences of debts unpaid or embarasment of the place I manage. All most all preceding transactions of debts and contracts have passed through 

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the hands of Cap.n Josph Fard. Without him and a reference to his accts and papers, the off dues and debts of Newton can not be adjusted so as to be placed in a proper state and view. Times and days have often been appointed by him for this purpose, but what from continual sickness and other impediments on his side, it has not yet taken place. Last week on a serious consideration of Seneuch sickness, so many deaths and his continued weakness, I thought proper to wait on him amidst all the distraction and hurry of my affairs, to get a day appointed for the purpose. Continued rains during the weak [sic] have hindered that and everything else, and I must again as soon as possible amidst all my difficulties try it again. Do not my Dr friend infer from this any unwillingness on my part to send forward what is required (was all the produce of the place ordered I would send it forward) I know the distress of our Noviceship and no one is more ready than myself to contribute to its support. Do but notice what I have written keep the letter by you and let it vouch for me hereafter in all wherein I have not been faulty myself. I congratulate on the progress of the Noviceship and shall not fail to pray for its success. Fr Jonh returns his compts to you and Revd Fr Molyneaux. He is well and hearty. With esteem and affection to you Me Molyneaux &e He Servt

Ignt Baker Brooke


Rev.dFrancis Neale

At Georgetwon College 

Original Format




Maryland Province Archives, “"4 Sick Grown Hands": Letter from Fr. Brooke to Fr. Neale on a disease outbreak among the enslaved population of Newtown, October 1806,” Georgetown Slavery Archive, accessed July 16, 2024, http://slaveryarchive.georgetown.edu/items/show/116.