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Mother Superior Therese de St. Xavier Farjon
Governor W. C. C. Claiborne
President Thomas Jefferson.
The Ursuline Correspondence.

Mother Superior Therese de St. Xavier Farjon
To President Thomas Jefferson
New Orleans, 13 June 1804

Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States


Emboldened by the favorable mention you have been pleased to make of their order, the Nuns of St Ursula at New Orleans take the liberty of addressing you on a subject highly interesting to their institution! they believe that without any direct application, the treaty of Cession, and the sence of Justice which marks the character of the United States, would have secured to them the property they now possess, but considering a sacred deposit, they would fail in a duty they deem essential were they to ommit requesting, that it may be formally confirmed to them & their successors, & that you may be pleased to communicate this request to the Congress of the United States in such a manner as you may deem proper 

Ursuline Convent 2015
Ursuline Convent 2015.

Our request is dictated by no wish of personal gratification or private agrandisement. secluded from the world, its luxuries and vanities, wealth, & the injoyments it brings would to them have no attraction  devoted to religious duties, temporal advantages are not the objects of their pursuits, but bound by a solemn obligation to employ their revenue in charitable uses, & their time in the education of youth, they cannot but be anxious to know that the property which is to enable them to fulfil these duties will be secured to them — it is not therefore their own cause but that of the Public which they plead — it is the cause of the Orphan, of the helpless child of Want, of the many who may be snatched from the paths of vice & infamy under their guidance. & be trained up in the habits of virtue & religion to be happy & useful, — of society which will be spared the burthen of the indigent & the depredations of vice — of their country itself which cannot but acquire honor in fostering & protecting such beneficent purposes.

These considerations, they know Sir, will have weight with you — they anticipate your support, because they are conscious deserve it, — and they conclude with their ardent prayers for your personal happiness & the prosperity of the Country whose affairs you direct. We have the honor to be with the highest respect


New Orleans 13 June 1804}

Your mo obt.  Hum Sts

Sr.  therese de St.  Xavier farjon

Sr Françoise de Ste Maria Olivier Aflistante
Sr de Françoise de Ste Felicité
Abzas Zelatrice
Sor therese de Mercy —
Sr Christine de St Andria Madier
Sr Emelie de St Françoise Sourdan
Sr Rosalie de Ste Scolastique Broutin
Sr Marie de S.t e  Magdelaine Rittieur
Sr Marguerite de Ste charle carierer
Sr.  Marthe de St.  Antoine Delattrez
Sr Mari Joseph Brause
Sr Felicité de Sr Jean Novice

Governor W.C.C. Claiborne
To President Thomas Jefferson
New Orleans, 15 June 1804

New-Orleans 15 June 1804


At the particular request of the Superior of the Convent in this city, I have the honor to enclose you a communication from the Ursuline Nuns.

These respectable ladies merit and possess a great share of the public esteem; their conduct is exemplary, and their time is usefully employed in the education of female youth. During my short residence in this city, I have paid the Nuns very great respect and given them every assurances of the protection and friendly regard of the Government of the United States. — I believe I have succeeded in conciliating their affections, and rendering their minds tranquil: it seems however that, they of late entertain some fears that their property cannot be secured to them and their successors without an Act of Congress, and I understand that it is on this subject they have addressed you.

This city continues healthy, and the American Society increases rapidly.

The lady and family of my friend W. Prise and several other genteel families from the United States have within ten days past arrived in this city. I have the pleasure to add that Mrs. Claiborne is now with me she riached this city on the 4.t h  instant after a passage of forty days from Nashville in Tennessee.

With sentiments
     the most respectful
          I have the honor to subscribe
                    Your faithful friend!
               William C. C. Claiborne

Thomas Jefferson
     President of the United States.

President Thomas Jefferson
To Mother Superior Therese de St. Xavier Farjon
Washington, D.C., 13 ot 14 July 1804

To the Soeur Therese de St.  Xavier farjon Superior, and the Nuns of the order of St.  Ursula at New Orleans

I have recieved, holy sisters, the letter you have written me wherein you express anxiety for the property vested in your institution by the former governments of Louisiana. the principles of the constitution and government of the United states are a sure guarantee to you that it will be preserved to you sacred and inviolate, and that your institution will be permitted to govern itself according to it’s own voluntary rules, without interference from the civil authority. whatever diversity of shade may appear in the religious opinions of our fellow citizens, the charitable objects of your institution cannot be indifferent to any; and it’s furtherance of the wholesome purposes of society, by training up it’s younger members in the way they should go, cannot fail to ensure it the patronage of the government it is under. be assured it will meet all the protection which my office can give it.

I salute you, holy sisters, with friendship & respect.

Th Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson
President Thomas Jefferson.
By Rembrandt Peale.
1800. From Wikipedia.




  1. Your mo obt.  Hum Sts. Your most obedient Humble Servants.

Text prepared by:


Claiborne, W. C. C. “William C. C. Claiborne to Thomas Jefferson, June 15, 1804.” Letter to Thomas Jefferson. 15 June 1804. Series 1: General Correspondence. 1651-1827. Vol. Microfilm Reel: 030. 1-2. The Library of Congress. Web. 11 Dec. 2016. <https:// www.loc.gov/ item/ mtjbib013529/>.

de St. Xavier, Therese. “Therese De St. Xavier to Thomas Jefferson, June 13, 1804.” Letter to Thomas Jefferson. 13 June 1804. Series 1: General Correspondence. 1651-1827. Microfilm Reel: 030. 1-4. The Library of Congress. Web. 11 Dec. 2016. <https:// www.loc.gov/ item/ mtjbib013530/>.

Jefferson, Thomas. “Thomas Jefferson to Therese De St. Xavier, July 13, 1804.” Letter to Therese De St. Xavier. 13 July 1804. Series 1: General Correspondence. 1651-1827. Vol. Microfilm Reel: 030. 1. The Library of Congress. Web. 11 Dec. 2016. <https:// www.loc.gov/ item/ mtjbib013625/>.

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