"many of them are in very great kneed of blankets:" Fr. Fenwick to Fr. Grassi, September 22, 1816

Dublin Core


"many of them are in very great kneed of blankets:" Fr. Fenwick to Fr. Grassi, September 22, 1816


Slaves--Maryland; Slaves--Treatment; Slaves--White Marsh; Catholic Church--Clergy--Correspondence; Society of Jesus


Fr. Fenwick complains to Fr. Grassi that he does not have the resources to feed and clothe the enslaved at White Marsh. The enslaved people need blankets, clothes, and other articles. The current crop will not produce enough income to cover these needs.

Fenwick also informs Grassi of the need to make new infrastructure investments to the plantation. He laments that these things should have been done years before.

This letter is in the Jesuit archives in Rome and is published here with the permission of the Society of Jesus.


Provincia Maryland I 7 3, Archivum Romanum Societatis Jesu


Georgetown Slavery Archive




Andrew Dial


Do not republish without permission of the Archivum Romanum Societatis Jesu.









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September 22nd- 1816 White Marsh

Revd & Dr. F. Supr.

Your Revd has requested me to keep the balance of our wheat for flour; but I forsee it will be impossible, unless there be some other means prescribed me by your Revd to get our Negros clothes and other Articles which will be absolutely necessary from time, to time, before I can expect to get any money whatever, for our present and indeed perhaps uncertain crops of Tobacco. - - for should Almighty God be pleased to send us a black frost soon, it would be very uncertain - at least a great part of it, which is in a beautiful growing state at present But to return, to my subject, suppose nothing of this should happen; and that we make a full crop of tobacco, this will not, as I have above mentioned supply our present want. Therefore I hope your Revd. will reflect very seriously on this subject; as I conceave it would be (in my opinion) an injustice done to our poor people; not to give them a good and sufficient clothing in due time; which is approaching very fast. Besides many of them are in very great kneed of blankets which by right they aught to had last winter; and in deed, I think it would be very hard on them, should we refuse or either omit giving them this - after having gone through my hands sa much money, (which I mentioned to your Revd) when I was there; and for which as it were we are indetted to them most to Almighty God. Moreover; besides the money that is wanten to supply necessity already mentioned; there yeat remains many other things which I apprehend to be of the greates importance; and which I think augh not to be omited on any consideration whatever; as it's the best method in my opinion to follow vz. to buy clover seed & plaster, which will certainly (in a few years if well managed) on our poor land, cause such a production of corn wheat & rye, that it will be a subject of admiration to us all-then we shall be able to furnish Br. Mullen with rye which he wishes me to do; and which I also very much wish to send tomorrow in our cart; but cannot, for fear of having to buy again as indeed I had to do on his account this year in respect to corn. Another thing of the greatest importance to us to do Revd F.-is, to clean up our small meddowes; hier men to ditch them; and get them in propper order: sowe them down in Timothy: build new cow-& Horse stables: then we shall also be able to furnish your Revd with a plenty of good hay & many other things for which you have to pay very dear for now, and will always have to do the same; unless those or the like improvements be made. Therefore let us begin to make them next year with out any further hesitation; for had those improvements been made some years past (as they aught) when the expenses of the family was not so great; and the income of money much greater; we should not be in such pitifull povity at present' getting things as it were from hand to mouth; which maner of activity is certainly the most disgusting; particularly when it proceads from bad econimy- then I besech your Revd F. as soon, as you posibley can, have things fixed perminently that way (whit no doubt) Almighty God for his greater glory; and the good of his most beloved Society will have them. I will then conclude; and not impose any farther on your Revd's patience, to read such a train of unnecessary words; but hoping, the intention with which I write them, will not be taken in the same sence: but on the contrary, I hope to obtain from your Revd every help and assistance in my temporal affairs, to which Almighty God in his wonderful providence seams to place (in some maner) under my care and protection. I remain Revd & Dr Fa. your most

affectionate Br. in Xt - - Robert Fenwicke. S.J.

I most sincerely recommend myself
to my loving God in your prayers & Holy sacrafices




Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu, “"many of them are in very great kneed of blankets:" Fr. Fenwick to Fr. Grassi, September 22, 1816,” Georgetown Slavery Archive, accessed May 20, 2024, https://slaveryarchive.georgetown.edu/items/show/456.