1833 Bill of Sale for Negroes of the Maryland Mission

In 1835, the Maryland Mission of Georgetown University, a Jesuit plantation, began to sell its slave population. In July of that year a provincial congregation was held in which the Fathers discussed their reasons for making the sale. The reasons presented were as follows: the Fathers in charge of the farms and the Negroes neglect their spiritual obligations, the servants are unprofitable, and the farms would be more profitable if rented to tenants. The Fathers deliberated on this matter for a year. In December of 1836 the final sale was approved for all servants under the following conditions:

I. That thay have the free exercise of the Catholic religion and the opportunity of practicing it.


a) They are not to be sold except to proprietors of plantations so that the purchasers may not separate them indiscriminately and sell them;

b) it must be stipulated in the sale, that the negroes have the advantage of practicing their religion, and the assistance of a priest;

c) that husbands and wives be not at all separated, and children not from their parents, quantum fieri potest.

d) if a servant, male or female, have wife and husband on another plantation they are to be brought together, otherwise, they are no means to be sold to a distant place:

e) that those who cannot be sold or transported on account of old age or incurable diseases be provided for as justice and charity demands.

II. That the money received from the sale be in no way spent in making purchases, nor in paying of debts, but it must be invested as Capital which fructifies. The best way would perhaps be ground rents in the cities especially of Pennsylvania and New York - but in this you shall have to ask counsel both from hours and externs.

Of everything that is done in this matter your Rev. will inform me as on it depends the subsistence of the Province, namely for the Novitiate and scholasticate. Therefore act with consideration and consultation and prayer, in order that the business may proceed for the good of the Province and the Glory of God.