enslave other Christians, that rule would no longer apply to those Christians who were of African descent. These rulings helped the clergy at work on the plantations to argue that Christian conversion would advance the interests of slaveholders, not subvert them. That had been the message that several Jesuit priests communicated in the late seventeenth century to recalcitrant plantation owners in Brazil. It would be the primary theme of every sermon and pamphlet published or distributed by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel during the eighteenth century.9
The missionary impulse, nonetheless, met with mixed results. Catholic priests, generally, enjoyed more success than Protestant ministers, in part because of greater support from the state and in part because of a greater willingness to tolerate syncretic, if not heretic, forms of the faith. The clergy won more converts, proportionally, in colonial cities and towns than on the plantations. And the work proved slightly less difficult in settlements where slave labour did not predominate, in societies with slaves rather than slave societies. Even so, the clergy faced some degree of resistance to slave missions in most of the American colonies; only the Spanish colonies seem to have constituted an exception. That opposition arose from several concerns. Some masters worried that admitting slaves to the Christian fellowship would blur the social boundaries essential to the preservation of slavery. Some thought that too much attention to religion would distract workers and compromise profits. Most disliked the prospect of ministers meddling in plantation life. And some feared that Christianity would encourage enslaved Africans, typically of diverse ethnic backgrounds, to view themselves as a community of believers, perhaps equal to those who held them in bondage. Masters, as a consequence, typically harassed those zealous for Christian conversion, especially in those colonies where slave labour produced great wealth. Some slaveholders might tolerate the baptism of slaves. Most plantation owners thought rather less of allowing enslaved men and women regular access to Christian counsellors.10
The minister who worked regularly among the enslaved often developed sympathies with their needs, interests, and outlook, as slaveholders feared. Missionaries could become advocates for those to whom they preached on Sundays. Such relationships seem to have become particularly common in the French Caribbean during the eighteenth century, where some Jesuits, as the Capuchins had done before, forged close ties with the enslaved community. Jean Mogin, an especially conscientious Saint-Christophe priest, acted as an attorney for enslaved Africans victimized by sadistic slaveholders in the late seventeenth century. He represented in court a woman who had been raped
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