"Slavery is Good, is Necessary": The Mobberly Diaries, Part II, August 1823

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"Slavery is Good, is Necessary": The Mobberly Diaries, Part II, August 1823


Slavery--Religious aspects; Slavery--Justification; Slavery and the church--Catholic Church


In this section from his Treatise on Slavery, Br. Joseph Mobberly defends slavery as a lawful, reasonable, and necessary institution. This is a continuation of GSA143.


Joseph P. Mobberly, SJ Papers


Diary Part II, Box 1, Folder 7, p. 33-36, Joseph P. Mobberly, SJ Papers, Booth Family Center for Special Collections, Georgetown University

The Joseph P. Mobberly Papers have been digitized in their entirity by Georgetown Univeristy Library. To browse the collection visit Digital Georgetown.


Georgetown Slavery Archive

The Mobberly Diaries were previously hosted by the Jesuit Plantation Project.




Adam Rothman, Elsa Barraza Mendoza, Jesuit Plantation Project


Georgetown University Library











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[Page 33]

+Slavery is good-- is necessary.

It may be asserted with confidence that at least two fifths of the human family are deficient in parts of intellect, know not how to manage for and take care of themselves, or labour under diseases and afflictions or spend their lives in a round of vice and idleness. Walk over the globe and take a view of this great family. What misery, what distress, nay what scenes of des

+Slavery is fully authorized in the book of Liviticus. " Let your bond-men and your bond-women be of the nations that are round about you. And of the strangers that sojourn among you, or that were born of them in your land, there you 

[Page 34]
pair will you not behold! How many will ask for employment in order to be freed from want! How many distressed widows and orphans crying for bread! How many unhappy beggars! A report made and inserted in the Washington Republican of June 1823 gives the following account of pauperism in Europe. "Among the 178,000,000 individuals who inhabit Europe, there are said to be 17,900,000 beggars or persons who subsist at the expense of the community without contributing to its resources. In Denmark the proportion is 5 per cent-- In England, 10 per cent-- In Holland, 14 per cent-- In Paris (in 1813) 102,859 paupers

shall have for servants: and by right of inheritance shall leave them to your posterity, and shall possess them for ever. But oppress not your brethren the children of Israel by might. If the hand of a stranger or a Sojourner grow strong among 

[Page 35]
out of 530,000. In Liverpool, 17,000 in the population of 80,000. In Amsterdam 108,000 out of 217,000. The number of Indigent has since rather increased than decreased."All the above paupers are lost to Society in a two-fold light. Society is not only deprived of their services, but it must also spend its treasures to support them.  If these unhappy people had good masters, they would then be in a comfortable situation. They would be saved from a habit of indolence, which paralizes their every nerve, and entails upon them a crowd of various and afflicting diseases. In their infirmities the medical balm of comfort would be administered,

you, and thy brother being impoverished sell himself to him, or to any of his race, after the sale he may be redeemed. He that will of his brethren shall redeem him." etc. Chap. 25. ver. 44.

[Page 36]
and the soothing care of a kind master would drown their multiplied sorrows. Society would be relieved from a troublesome burden and States and Provinces would be freed from an enormous tax. Where slavery exists, beggars are rarely found. We must therefore conclude that slavery is not only lawful, reasonable and good, but that it is also necessary.




Joseph P. Mobberly, SJ Papers, “"Slavery is Good, is Necessary": The Mobberly Diaries, Part II, August 1823,” Georgetown Slavery Archive, accessed February 26, 2024, https://slaveryarchive.georgetown.edu/items/show/157.