Petition on behalf of Luigi Da Palermo to PF, [1677, Rome]


Petition on behalf of Luigi Da Palermo to PF, [1677, Rome]


CM petitions
Slave priests
Slaves (Christian)


Petition on behalf of Luigi Da Palermo to PF. Luigi Da Palermo has (previously in a long letter) explained himself, and now humbly returns to PF. He was made slave by Corsairs of Algiers, who was operating under the French flag. During a year in slavery he suffered a lot. He postponed his liberty for his companion, who was freed by the redemption priests from Spain. In Algiers, he worked day and night for the well-being of the poor Christian souls. Two heretics converted to Christianity because of his persuasion. A Dominican, who had fled to Oran (leaving his wife and children behind), converted himself. The patron of the bagno, offering many treasures, wanted him to convert, and also offered one of his daughters as wife. In the coming year, the French army arrived to negotiate peace. In this time, Da Palermo went to this patron, explaining his disgraceful situation, and asking for his liberty. This was agreed upon, and Da Palermo offered to work for the Christians in Barbary. Consequently he was appointed vicar apostolic and vicar general of Carthage by Gio' LeVascier [Jean Le Vacher], and this was also approved by PF. Upon arriving in Tunis he united and pacified the place, as can be understood from many accounts found in the letter sent to PF by the most important Christians in Tunis. Sent by PF, Marcello Costa has also recently arrived in Tunis as missionary. Two heretics wanted to convert to Catholicism, and whilst discussing the Holy faith with him, a Moor named Gerbino told Da Palermo told him that he wanted to become Christian; Da Palermo told him to go to Malta, and six other Moors converted to Christianity. Two obstinate Christians confessed to Da Palermo, that for years they did not live in good will. The following night, one killed the other with a knife. The murderer was sentenced to death. Many Christians ware amazed by Da Bologna, which was the reason that they lived more prudently. He paid 15 piastre for the burial of the body of the murderer, who had been stoned to death before. With great effort Da Palermo was able to baptize a child of a Christian slave, that she bore from her patron. Two months later the child died. Two Christian slaves had bought two Greek women and for a long time they treated them badly. Da Palermo made sure that they married them, and that they converted to Catholicism. Da Palermo made sure that the Dey, and others in Tunis would no longer destroy the churches. He told renegades that they knew what to do for eternal salvation, and the renegades promised to flee to Christianity. Da Palermo wrote their names down and promised them mild penance in Christendom. Da Palermo told the French consul, Gio' Ambrosini [Jean Ambrozin] that he could not just usurp the goods of the church. Le Vacher was given the order to investigate six complaints against Ambrozin. Le Vacher ordered Da Palermo to conduct the investigation, and Ambrozin yelled so loud that Da Palermo was forced to leave the case. A mother with two old spinsters from Corsica were made slaves. Da Palermo brought the missionaries together to pray to God to free these women. He entrusted their case to the Grand Duke of Tuscany. While Da Palermo was in Palermo, the Grand Duke gave 1,000 scudi to ransom all three. Filippo Brescia (a doctor in law from Trapane in Sicily), arrived in Tunis to convert to Islam. Da Palermo found him and brought him back to Christianity and went with him back to Christendom. There were also two free Christians, who had no money and could not pay for their return in Christendom. Da Palermo collected 60 piastre to make sure they could return home. Da Palermo used to travel to where the bodies of St. Perpetua and St. Felicitas were, and thought to use 280 piastre that he had gained from giving alms. He was forced however to use the sum for the liberation of two young Spaniards, who were forced by their masters to convert. One of them had 200 piastre. Da Palermo brought in his 280, and the other 400 was lent from merchants. When Da Palermo left, they asked him to restitute the money. Da Palermo had received 200 piastre from the Bagno of Saint Francis. They were meant to buy vestments but Da Palermo gave them to the merchants. He also took 50 piastre from the bagnos of S. Lucy and S. Leonardo. He freed five Christians, and entrusted the two Spaniards to the viceroy of Sicily, asking him to pay back these churches. The viceroy promised to refund them, but when the troubles started in Messina, this was no longer possible. Da Palermo went to Rome to present the problems of the church to PF, but from there he was sent back to Palermo. It has been six years since Da Palermo has taken the money from the church, and he has been persecuted as a thief. In Palermo a complaint has been made in Spanish by Luis de Loyo (conservator of the royal patrimony in Sicily) on the 200 piastre of Pietro di Salorsano. Luigi Da Palermo does not ask anything for his works, but if he appears to be guilty, he should be punished; if he is innocent, it is not right that he is suffering. If he asks to return to the lands where his life is at risk every hour, he does this because he wishes to serve. Therefore PF should either decide to satisfy the churches, or the other one in Sicily.
Additional comments
The letter is undated, but Luigi Da Palermo left Tunis in 1671; which according to the letter was six years ago. That is why it should be dated around 1677.


Luigi Da Palermo


APF SC Barbaria 1, 435r-436v




Adressed to PF










Origin: unknown
Destination: [Rome]


Luigi Da Palermo, “Petition on behalf of Luigi Da Palermo to PF, [1677, Rome],” Early Modern Documents: Sources and Resources for Historical Research, accessed May 16, 2021,

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