The Maryland Jesuits discuss and resolve to sell the majority of their enslaved community, 1813-1814

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The Maryland Jesuits discuss and resolve to sell the majority of their enslaved community, 1813-1814


Slavery; Slave Trade; Slave sale; Jesuits-History-19th century


In these three meetings held at Georgetown College on May and September of 1813, and June of 1814 the members of the Corporation of Roman Catholic Clergymen discussed and resolved to "dispose for a limited time of the greatest parts of the blacks on the different plantations."

The discussion, which spanned over a year, allowed the majority of the managers to give their opinions on the matter. The majority of them agreed to sell their enslaved communities for a term of years before the meeting of September, 1814. However the discussion was moved until June of next year, when they would reach a final resolution. In the meantime, the Corporation granted permission to Archbishop Carroll to sell an enslaved woman and child from the Bohemia Plantation.

Under their final agreement reached in June, 1814, managers of the plantations would select the individuals to be sold, they would not "offer too many for sale at one time," and the sales would be for "a term of years. The profits raised from these transactions would benefit the estates from which the enslaved people were sold. However, the group insisted that their decision was not obligatory nor would they force managers to sell all of the enslaved community of the plantations, as "some may be reserved for domestic and necessary uses."

The clergymen who resolved and drafted this plan in 1814 were Archbishop John Carroll, Bishop Leonard Neale, and Robert Plunkett, S.J.

The decision to sell the enslaved community was repealed in 1820.


Maryland Province Archives


Georgetown Slavery Archive




Elsa Barraza Mendoza


Maryland Province, Society of Jesus


GSA370: The Maryland Jesuits repeal the decision to sell their enslaved community, 1820









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Meeting May 18-19, 1813
It was submitted to the Corporation, whether it would not be advisable, to dispose the whole or greatest part of the slaves on their estates, for a term of years after which they should be entitled to freedom: Resolved that this being a subject of great moment it ought not be immediately decided: but referred to the next meeting; and in that meantime it is earnestly recommended to the members of this board, to pay particular attention to this subject, and take thereon the opinion of their Revd. Brethren of the Select body in the respective districts. 

Meeting September 14, 1813

Tho a majority of the members of the corporation, who have given their opinions on the 4th resolution of the last meeting, respecting the sale of the black servants for a term of years, are in favor of that measure, yet it is resolved to suffer this matter to remain for further consideration till the next meeting when a final resolution on the subject, and the manner of carrying it into effect may be determined. In the mean time, ArchBishop Carroll is authorized to dispose for a term of years, of a black woman and child belonging to the Estate of Bohemia.

Meeting of June 14, 1814

3.The third resolve of the meeting of Sept 14th and 15th, 1813 referred to the present meeting by the last to Oct 1813 the same was now reconsidered & it was thereupon determined 1. to dispose for a limited time of the greatest part of the blacks on the different plantations ascertaining to the select body. 2. To proceed gradually and with due attention to law in the execution of this resolve and not to offer too many for sale at one time. 3. The Representatives of the district, with the managers of the different plantations, shall select the blacks to be disposed of in such proportion the number to be sold at any time and the term of years which they are to be sold. 4. The profits arising from the sales are to be appropriated to the use of the Estates from which the colored people are sold, and vested in some safe fund, approved by the agent of the Corporation.

Original Format




Maryland Province Archives , “The Maryland Jesuits discuss and resolve to sell the majority of their enslaved community, 1813-1814,” Georgetown Slavery Archive, accessed August 11, 2022,