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Lift your lamp beside the golden door, Break not the golden rule, avoid well the golden calf, know; not all that glitters is gold, and laissez faire et laissez passer [let do and let pass] but as a shining sentinel, hesitate not to ring the bell, defend the gates, and man the wall

Monday, August 9, 2010

Thomas Jefferson's Letter to Sister Marie Theresa Farjon 1804

Sister Marie Theresa Farjon de St. Xavier's letter To Jefferson

To Thomas Jefferson President of the United States of America

Dear Sir:

The Ursuline Religious of New Orleans, encouraged by the honorable mention which you so kindly made of their order, take the liberty of having recourse to you in regard to some business which is of great concern to their Institute.

Although no' express mention has been made of it, they think that the Treaty of Cession and still more the spirit of justice which characterizes the United States of America, will certainly guarantee to those seeking your help the continued enjoyment of their present property. But, keeping to them, they believe that they would certainly fail in one of their principal oblications were they to neglect to see to it that this right ot their property be put officially in writing, confirming their rights to this property not only for themselves but also for those of their Sisters who will succeed them; an, for this reason, to beg you, dear sir, to present our etition to the congress in the manner and form which you will judge the most suitable.

This request of the Ursulines of New Orleans is not dictated by personal interest nor ambitious aims. Separated from the world and its pomps and vanities, and, in a word, from allthat is called its advantages, they have scarcely any ambition for earthly goods; but, bound by the solemn vot to use their time in the formation of youth, they cannot help but be anxious to know if they will be able to certainty to count on the continued enjoyment of their revenues which will enable them to fulfill their oblications. It is, then, less their own interests which they plead than it is that of the public good. In reality, it is the cause of the orphan and tha abandoned child, of unfortunates brought up in the midst of the horrors of vice and infamy who come to be reared by us in the ways of Religion and virtue, and be given a formation which will enable them one day to become happy and useful citizens. Finally, it is in the interest of this country which can but reap for itself honor and glory in encouraging and protecting an establishment as useful, and, we migh even say, as necessary as ours. Dear sir, we who seek your help dare to believe that these considerations will make an impression on you. Even more, we dare to 'count in advance on your protection.

With the most profound respect, "Monsieur le President", we have the honor of being

Your very humble and very obedient servants

The Ursulines of New Orleans

Sr. Marie Therese Farjon of St. Xavier
March 21, 1804


President Thomas Jefferson's Letter To Sister Marie Theresa Farjon de St. Xavier 

Washington, May 15, 1804

To the Soeur Therede de St. Xavier farjon Superior and the nuns of the order of St. Ursula at New Orleans

I have received, 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 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 its 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 its furtherance of the wholesome purposes of society, by training up its younger members in the way they should go, cannot fail to ensure it the patronage of the government it is under [i.e. the state of Louisiana]. Be assured it will meet all the protection which my office can give it. I salute you, holy sisters, with friendship & respect."

-Thomas Jefferson





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