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Fr Rougeyron to Fr Rocher, Conception, 6 September 1862



The New Caledonian mission had high hopes of the school opened by Germanique in Port-de-France in June 1859 (rf L 142). In his report for the year, Rougeyron writes: “Br Germanique has at last been established as schoolmaster by the government… Br Gabriel with our natives will build him a school, where he will live…While awaiting its completion he is living with Fr Fremont and holds his classes in the round straw hut… at the bottom of the garden. He has 17 students, as many white as black.” (Delbos 123).

But already by the end of 1859 there were signs that things were not going well. The numbers in the school had not grown and Germanique had not succeeded in attracting anyone to his evening classes. Rougeyron also noted the appearance of a certain jealousy of the mission among the colonists of the port (letter to Poupinel, 8 November 1859). This was to grow more overt and vocal as the colony waited for the arrival of its new governor.

The following year, with no improvement in the situation and no sign of reinforcements, Germanique was asking to be moved to La Conception. Although sympathetic to his plight, Rougeyron was reluctant to withdraw him without a replacement at Port-de-France, and kept him there until May 1862 when he was transferred to St Louis. This letter would seem to indicate that both of them had come to the conclusion that the brother required a sojourn away from the mission at the procure in Sydney. Joseph-Xavier reports his presence there in October ([[Clisby168|L 168). But Germanique did not find what he was seeking there either, for by August 1863 he was back in France (Rougeyron, letter of 18 August 1863).

The translation was made from a copy in a collection of reproductions of the correspondence of Rougeyron in the APM (ONC 418). References to other letters of his are from the same source.

Text of the Letter

Dear Reverend Father,
I am writing to inform you of the permission I have given to Brother Germanique to go and spend a few months at the procure. Be good enough, my dear Father, to receive him with your usual hospitality. Disgusted with Port de France and sensing his piety getting weaker daily, he thinks that a short stay in your prayerful house will do him all sorts of good. I am of the same opinion. In consequence of this decision, my dear Father, I am sending him to place himself at your disposal. Please supply him with all you judge necessary, and put it on our account.
When the time for returning to Caledonia comes, the Brother will write to me to let me know, and then I on my part will inform you, in order that I may arrange everything here in advance for the better.
Totally yours in O(ur) L(ord),

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