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6. Records of the Suppression and Restoration, 1713 - 1955

 Series

Scope and Contents

Series 6, the Records of the Suppression and Restoration, document the period of time in which the Society of Jesus was suppressed (by order of Pope Clement XIV in Rome in 1773) and then restored (by Pope Pius VII in 1814). These papers include the Proceedings of the General Chapter and Southern District of the Select Body of the Clergy, which include discussions related to the former Jesuits’ plantations and to slavery; letters from former Jesuits challenging the decisions of the Select Body of the Clergy and the Diocese of Baltimore; correspondence between John Carroll and Charles Plowden, S.J.; correspondence between Charles Sewall and his brother Nicholas Sewall; pastorals, circulars, and homilies written by John Carroll; transcripts of seminal documents and narrative histories that document the Suppression globally; and narrative accounts of the Suppression by Charles Plowden, S.J.; Fidel Grivel, S.J.; John McElroy, S.J.; and George Fenwick, S.J.

These materials reflect the lack of administrative structure of this period, including an absence of the constitutional framework of the Society of Jesus. They do, however, demonstrate important activity on the part of former Jesuits and other Catholics, including institution building during the Early Republic, ongoing communications between American and English former Jesuits, and a longstanding interest of documentarians in placing the experience of the United States in global context.

**Please note: the finding aid contains Scope and Contents notes for each folder. This folder-level description has been imported from an older finding aid. Researchers may encounter outdated or potentially offensive terminology and occasional inaccuracies. If you would like to notify Special Collections of any issues that need correcting, please contact us.**

For more on the Suppression and Restoration and its impact in North America, see Background on the Suppression and Restoration of the Jesuits.

Materials on Slavery

Some folders in this series contain references to slavery, slaveholding, and enslaved individuals. Relevant folders are noted in the finding aid.

Arrangement

This series is organized into a single series.

Materials are arranged alphabetically by subject. Materials in this subseries are from the original MPA placed on deposit at Georgetown in the 1970s as well as the MPA Addenda.

Background

The suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1773 by Pope Clement XIV profoundly shaped the foundation of the Catholic Church in the United States. Even during this time, however, the mission in Maryland and Pennsylvania continued, and former Jesuits remained committed to their work. Between 1773 and 1783, former Jesuit John Lewis served as the mission’s Superior, reporting to the Vicar Apostolic of London. Prodded by John Carroll, Lewis and former Jesuits formed the Select Body of Clergy at White Marsh in June 1783. Anticipating the end of the Revolutionary War, they discussed how to divest their mission from European control, as well as how to maintain ownership of the properties, including plantations, that had belonged to the Jesuits before the suppression. Responding to the Select Body of Clergy’s wishes, the Prefect of Propaganda Fide in Rome designated John Carroll as its Prefect Apostolic in 1784.

In November 1786, the Select Body of the Clergy resolved to seek a Bishop in the United States, explore the possibility of incorporating their property in the state of Maryland, and establish a school to educate youth and nurture future clergy. In May 1789, the Select Body of Clergy recommended John Carroll as Bishop of Baltimore, a selection approved by Pope Pius VI on November 6. That same year, Carroll founded Georgetown College. In August 1790, Carroll was consecrated as Bishop in Dorset, England. In late December 1792, the General Assembly of Maryland chartered the Corporation of Roman Catholic Clergymen to manage the property of the former Jesuits.

As Bishop of Baltimore, John Carroll relied upon émigrés from the French Revolution to help establish parishes throughout the United States. In particular, the members of the Society of St. Sulpice helped minister many churches, including those established by the Jesuits in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Sulpicians also institutionalized Catholic education, establishing St. Mary’s Seminary & University in Baltimore in 1791, serving on the faculty and administering Georgetown College in the late 1790s, and establishing Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in 1808.

By the time the former Jesuits began to reorganize, their property interests and vision had intermingled with the Archdiocese as a whole. Soon after learning that Pope Pius VII authorized the reformation of the Society of Jesus in Russia in 1801, former Jesuits began seeking re-entry into the Society. In 1805, Russian Superior Gabriel Gruber, S.J., recognized the independence of the Mission of the American Federation, admitted six former Jesuits and nine new members, and appointed Robert Molyneux, S.J., as its Superior. By the time Pope Pius VII fully reconstituted the Society of Jesus in 1814, the Mission of the American Federation had established Georgetown College as a Jesuit institution, attracted European Jesuits to help re-establish its missions throughout Maryland and Pennsylvania, and founded a mission in New York City.

Folder Descriptions

**Please note: the finding aid contains Scope and Contents notes for each folder. This folder-level description has been imported from an older finding aid. Researchers may encounter outdated or potentially offensive terminology and occasional inaccuracies. If you would like to notify Special Collections of any issues that need correcting, please contact us.**

Conditions Governing Access

Most materials dated 1900 and later have not been digitized. Materials dating 1900-1939 are available for research use at the Booth Family Center for Special Collections. All materials dated 1940 and later are restricted.

Related Collections

  • The John Carroll Collection, Georgetown University Archives


  • Archdiocese of Baltimore Archives and Associated Sulpicians of the United States Archives, The Associated Archives, St. Mary’s Seminary and University, Baltimore, Md.


  • Carroll, John, The John Carroll Papers (edited by Thomas O’Brien Hanley) Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1975.

Dates

  • 1713 - 1955

Extent

From the Collection: 292 boxes

Language of Materials

From the Collection: Multiple languages