"about the negros who must be sold" McSherry to Roothaan, August 30, 1836

Dublin Core

Title

"about the negros who must be sold" McSherry to Roothaan, August 30, 1836

Subject

Slaves-Slave Trade, Slaves--United States--Economic conditions; Jesuits--Missions; Jesuits--History--19th century

Description

McSherry writes to the Father General in Rome that other opinions must be sought before the enslaved are sold. He argues against keeping them and suggests sending them to Louisiana instead. McSherry also accuses Fr. Dubuisson of falsely reporting slave sales and mistranslating his letters on the subject.

Source

Provincia Maryland 5 II 3

Publisher

Georgetown Slavery Archive

Date

1836-08-30

Contributor

Transcribed and translated by Andrew Dial

Rights

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

Format

Manuscript

Language

Latin

Type

Letter

Identifier

GSA433

Text Item Type Metadata

Text

Georiopoli 30th Augusti 1836

Ad modum Revde in X[Chris]to Pater
P[ax] C[hristi].
Litteras P[aternitate].V[estra]. quibus commendabat ut aliquos F.F[raters]. Coadjutores Socios P. Vanquickenborne darem, accepi, item litteras datas 15 Jan.- et 14 Aprilis.
Misi unum F[rater]. Coadj[utor]. Edmundum Barry. praeter F. Marrelli plures tunc temporis dare non poteram.
15a. Junii dimissus fuit F. Juannes Cotton ob ebrietatem quam corrigere nequibant Superiores.
De Monasterio nullo difficultates existent a 18 mensibus impedivi ne nostri adirant. P. Kohlmann accedit pro Confessionibus Monialium. P. Curley pro celebranda Missa. Laboravi saepius ut Archiepiscopus curam daret Sacerditi Saeculari, sed nulllum habet, quem ad tale officium designare potest.
Non est necesse quod fatear me rarius Scribere ad P[aternitatem].V[estram]. vellem noster melius facere et sentio quantum displiceat P[aternitate].V[estr]a. Sed debeo referre P[aternitate].V[estre]. ad Meas litteras datas Mense Aug 22 anno poscrito. Si amicus semper [unclear: haesco?] ab difficultatas temporales. Si plura falsa scribuntur ad P[aternitatem].V[estra]m. quam vera, et ad haec debeo respondere aeque ac si essent vera; non parum temporis perditur, non parum anxietas augetur. Si tantum non distarem a P[aternitate].V[estr]a. nulla esset difficultas vel parvus saltem. Quom fui in Colleg. Ste Francisci si quae difficultas occurreret P.V aderat, qui Solveret, vix dicere possum quartum passus sum dum quaestio erat cum Missourianis 1834, quantum det spondebam antequam respondi ad litteras P[aternitate]. V[estre].
Cum anno [unclear: maescrito?] accepi litteras P[aternitate].V[estre]. de Congreganda Prov[inciale]. Congr[egatione]. Laetabar multum quod occasio daretur plura explicandi quam per litteras dicere possem, sed video quod nihil factum sit.
P[aternitate].V[estre]. dicit de nigris vendendis; alios audiendos qui in Congre[ganda] Prov[incial]i. locum non habent, qui melius fortasse judicare possunt de isto negotio. Non mihi commisit P[aternitate].V[estre]. ut audirem hos, post litteras P[aternitate].V[estre]. non petii ab ipsis; sed scio bene quid sentient, scio quem valorem dare ipsorum sententiis. Quivis Procurator praedii ubi nigri degunt, difficultatem facere potest, et difficultas consistit in seperatione. Sed unus tantum contrarius est inter Procutratores. Qui contrarii fuerunt in Congregatione noti sunt P[aternitate].V[estre]. nuntiatum P.Vae aliquos nigros venditos &c. vel hoc audivit P[aternitate].V[estre]. a P. Dubuisson vel aliunde si a P. Dubuisson male traduxit meas litteras. Si aliunde nescio qua conscientia tam falsa dici possent, una ex illis venditis habebat magnam familiam, sed nunquam habuit maritum. Dixi P. Dubuisson non posse vendi servos in vicinia, sed quod necesse fevet inveniri Dominum aliquem in Louisiana ubi occasio illis non deerit Religionis ubi etiam omnes simul esse poterunt.
Credat P[aternitate].V[estra]. hanc sententiam. Si nigri retineatur totus redditus praediorum requirentur ad eorum sustentationem, nec novitiatus, nec Scholasticatus existere potest. Patres qui simul sunt missionarii et Procuratores; nec vere missionarii nec vere Procuratores dici poterunt.
Iam quoad terras. Terrae non fuerunt datae ut excolerentur fideles. Loquor de Marylandia quia nunquam fuit quaestio vendendi terras in Pennsylvania. In litteris P. Mulii et tempores vicariasus P. Caraffae et fortasse post videbit P[aternitate].V[estre]. quod difficultates habuerunt nostril cum Barone Baltimorensi; perdidimus nostras terras, quas fideles vel Indi nobus dederunt. Quas nostri nunc possident acquisiverunt pro numero adventantium in Provinciam et partim pecunia numeratas. Terrae non habebantur Ecclesiasticae, sed ob saeculares, quia clerus non agnoscebatur tunc temporis. Baro Baltimorensis eodem tempore quo has terras possidebant pensione, nostris solvebat.
De P. Finegan. Nec P. Dubuisson nec alius recte judicat. Nec sanae mentis nec plene mente captus. Qui loquebatur de ebrietate si berum dicebat, loquebatur de praeterito non de praesenti, et nulla difficultas cum P. Carbery domi est, nec ullum Scandalum Societati, nisi quod talis homo ordinatus fuerit, querelae de hoc invenientur in litteris ad Praedecessorem P[aternitate].V[estr]ae.
P[aternitate].V[estr].a Commendat ut ad studiorum domum constituendam convertam attentionem. Videbit ex superius dicti quam spem habere potero aedificandi vel praeparandi locum ubi nostri Studere poterunt. Oblata est occasion encendi monasterium monalium etiam partem ubi educandae degunt, quia moniales volunt de transferre Baltimorum. Bonum esset si se transferrent, sic essemus liberi a cura ipsorum. Domus ipsarum esset latis ampla pro Theologis et Philosophis, nec nimis distat a collegio sed minori pretio posset aedificari domus sufficiens pro his.
Gratias ago P[aterinate].V[estre]. pro subsidis missis ad novitiatum. Non video quomodo potuissemus sustentare novitiatum sine tali subsidio.
Aute finem proximi mensis iterum ad P.V. dabo litteras
P. Vae me commendo in SS.SS.
Infinem in Xto. [unclear: Scruum?]
Gulielmus McSherry

Georgetown 30th August 1836

To the Very Revd in Christ our Father
In the Peace of Christ

I have received the letters which Your Fathership sent so I gave some to Fr. Van Quickenborne for Br. Coadjutor companions, likewise the letters dated 15 Jan. and 14 April.
I sent one to Br. Coadjutor Edmund Barry except I was not be able to give more to Fr. Marrelli at the time.
On June 15 Br. John Cotton was dismissed on account of drunkenness which the Superiors could not correct.
About the monastery, no difficulties exist since 18 months ago I prevented ours from visiting. Fr. Kohlmann comes for the nun’s confessions. Fr. Curley comes to celebrate the Mass. I endeavor often so that the Archbishop might give the curacy to a Secular Priest, but he has no one, whom he can designate to such a post.
It is not necessary that I admit myself to write infrequently to Your Fathership since I wished to make Ours better and I feel so much displeases Your Fathership. But I must refer Your Fathership to my letters dated Aug. 22 of last year. If anxious always [unclear: haesco?] from temporal difficulties. If more falsehoods are written to Your Fathership than truth, and I must respond to these impartially and as if they had been true; then no less time is lost, no less anxiety is increased. If I had not differed so much from Your Fathership nothing would be difficult or even small. When I was in the College of St. Francis, if anyone would have resisted with difficulties with Your Fathership present, which he would have solved, I can hardly say a quarter of what I suffered while the investigation was with Missouri in 1834, it would offer so much that I promised before I responded to Your Fathership’s letters.
When the year [unclear: maescrito] I received Your Fathership’s letters about the Provincial Congress’s Congregation. I rejoiced greatly because the occasion was given for more of the necessary explanation than I can say through letters, but I see that nothing has been done.
Your Fathership speaks about the negros who must be sold; others must be heard who do not have a place in the Provincial Congregation, who can perhaps better decide about that business. Your Fathership did not commission me so that I would listen to them, and after Your Fathership’s letters I did not ask for these ones; but I know well what they feel, I know what value to give their opinions. Any Procurator of the farms where the negros wait can create a problem, and maintain the opposition through division. But one such great opponent is among the Procurators. The opponents who were in the Congregation were made known to Your Fathership. It was announced to Your Fathership that some negros have been sold &c. Either Your Fathership heard this from Fr. Dubuisson or from another source. If it was from Fr. Dubuisson then he badly translated my letters. If it was another then I do not know who could speak from so false a conscience, one from that sale had a great family, but has at no time been married. I told Fr. Dubuisson that he cannot sell the servants in the neighborhood, but that it will be necessary to find another Master in Louisiana where the opportunity will not be lacking for those Religious where also all could be together.
Your Fathership might believe this opinion: If the negros are retained, the whole produce of the farms would be required for their sustenance. Neither the novitiate, nor the Scholastics could exist. It could be said that fathers who are at the same time missionaries and Procurators; are neither true missionaries nor true Procurators.
I will now turn to the lands. The lands were not given that they would be improved for the faithful. I speak of Maryland because there was never a question of needing to sell the lands in Pennsylvania. In the letters of Fr. Muli and temporal vicar Fr. Caraffa and perhaps afterwards, Your Fathership will see what difficulties ours had with Baron of Baltimore; we lost our lands, which the faithful or the Indians gave to us. That which ours now possess, they acquired for a fee payed partly in immigrants to the Province and partly in money. The land was not held by the church, but in the hands of seculars, who were not recognized as clerics at that time. The Baron of Baltimore, during the same period in which they possessed those lands, was paid a pension by ours.
About Fr. Finegan, neither Fr. Dubuission nor the other judges him rightly. He is held to be neither of sound mind nor full mind. That which is spoken about drunkenness, if he speaks truth, is spoken about the past not the present, and there are no difficulties when P. Carbery is at home, nor any Scandal to the Society, except that which an ordinary man does, the complaints about him will be contrived from the letters to Your Fathership’s Predecessor.
Your Fathership recommends that I direct attention to the home of Studies which needs to be set up. He will see from the above passage that I hope I can have a place built or prepared where ours can Study. An opportunity was offered [unclear: encendi?] monastery nuns and also a part where those being educated stay, while the nuns want to transfer themselves to Baltimore. It would be good if they transfer themselves, thus we would be free from caring for them. Their house would be amply sized for Theology and Philosophy, not too distant from the college yet a small price could build a house sufficient for this.
I thank Your Fathership for the subsidies sent to the novitiate. I do not see in what manner we can sustain the novitiate without such subsidies.
Before the end of next month I will send other letters
I commit myself to Your Fathership in the Holy Spirit.
Infinitely in Christ [Unclear: Scruum?]
William McSherry

Files

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Citation

Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu, “"about the negros who must be sold" McSherry to Roothaan, August 30, 1836,” Georgetown Slavery Archive, accessed September 22, 2021, https://slaveryarchive.georgetown.edu/items/show/507.