Quest for Public Funding
for a Catholic Education
in St. Augustine
Petition to Congress


[Referred February 28, 1845]
To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the United States in Congress, Assembled.

Your petitioners, inhabitants of the City of St. Augustine Florida, respectfully represent, that most of the youths of this
ancient town are growing up without education and that their parents in many instances are too indigent to pay for their
instruction. The government of Spain made no provision for any School or College in East Florida, and consequently
many of our inhabitants are without that education so indispensable to a free people. Without education, neither our
Constitution or laws will be understood or maintained. The rights and liberties of our Citizens, though Secured by the
great Charter of our union, will serve but little purpose unless the principles on which it is founded shall be firmly and
clearly impressed on the minds of our rising generation. The protection and blessings we have enjoyed under your
patronage for more than twenty three years, has taught us the value of liberty, and inspired us with devoted attachment
to the United States. The salubrity of St. Augustine is known throughout the United States, and a Site more
advantageous for the establishment of a college, will not be found in all the South. The catholic congregation, represent
that their Church covers most of the lot on which it Stands, and they have not ground Sufficient to erect a college
thereon. That the grants to private persons made by the Spanish authorities, long Since, covers all the land in the
vicinity of St. Augustine, so that for many miles around, no School Sections could be reserved, thus leaving the
inhabitants of this City destitute of the donation which Congress has so liberally provided for the inhabitants of other
Townships.

Your petitioners State that many of our citizens are descended from Spanish ancestors who Settled in this City, while
this province was in possession of Great Britain and had been kept under the Military Government of Spain until the
transfer of Florida to the United States. They have during that time enjoyed but few privileges of improvement or
education.

Your petitioners therefore pray that fifteen Sections of land may be granted to the Catholic Congregation in this City to
enable them to erect a Suitable Institution of learning, and that a lot in the said city known in the Plan and Survey of the
Same, as the Custom House lot, adjoining the lot on which the Catholic Church Stands, may also be granted to said
congregation, on which to found a college. Your petitioners state, that the Custom House was many years since
destroyed by fire and has ever since remained unoccupied and is now a heap of ruins. That the United States will never
need at this place a Custom house, and the said lot is in the middle of the City and cannot be built upon while owned by
the United States: -- its condition renders it a nuisance.

The Catholic Clergy at their own and the congregation's expense, have now a common school and from their zeal and
untiring energy they have under tuition about seventy five boys, many of whom are taught gratis and the other pay but a
nominal Sum for the learning they receive. With the aid Solicited of Congress your petitioners entertain no doubt that
the Catholic Congregation here will establish an institution that will do credit to our country. Youths from every quarter of
the South will find it most advantageous to enter the College, not only for education, but for the security of health.

With these views and for a purpose so important and beneficial, we your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will every pray &c

Pedro Benet              )        Wardens of the               Laurence Andreu
Thomas Andrew        )        R.C. Church of                John Ponce
John M. Fontane       )        St Augustine                    Vancy Mel
Manuel Crespo          )                                               Gabriel Andrew
W. H. Williams                                                            B. Oliveros
Cristobal Bravo                                                          Gabriel Pacetty

[PETITION TO CONGRESS, CONTD.]


E. B. Usina                                     Gabriel Pomar
E. J. Medicis                                   Andres Papy
Joseph A. Strischka                        Juan Capo
Jaime Hernandez                             Frederick Weedon
Juan S. Pacetty                              John Ferreira
Bartolo Pacetty                              
Geronimo Alvarez
Venancio Sanches                         Francis Gue
Edward Garey                                Louis Coster
Joseph Sanches                            Geo Center
James R. Sanches                         Jos Hernandez
Edw A. DeCottes                            Vesante Leonardy
J. I. Papy                                        Joseph F. Pappy Junior
Roque Leonardy                           Joseph Masters
H. L. P. Woolf                                Bernardo Segui
Donato Bravo                                John Pellicer
Felipe Gomez                                Emanl Solana
Jose Papy                                     John Manucy
S. J. Segui                                     Matias Leonardy
Michael Neligan                             Enrique Tomas
Anthony J. Noda                            Martin Canobas
Joseph Noda                                John C. Canovas
Andre Ximenes                             Martin Stevens
Victorno Frey                               Ralph Bleanove
G. N. Papy                                   Robt. Martin
C. Borcaudy                                Jose E. Pomar
Antonio Canovas Sr                    Bartolo Pons
Gabriel Marten                            
Jose Benet
Jose Canovas
Rafael Oliveros


[Endorsed] Florida memorial of Trustees of Roman Catholic Church & citizens of St. Augustine for grant of land, & lot for
school purposes -- 1845 Feby. 28. Refd to Com on Pub. Lands  Levy
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