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25 May 1836 — Colin to François Pompallier, Belley

From a photocopy of the original sent, conserved in the archives of the Diocese of Auckland; the original doubtlessly consisted of a leaf of four pages, but there seem to be only two pages.

Pompallier responded to this letter on 9 June (OM, doc. 395, § 1).

Translation by Frs Anthony Ward SM and Gaston Lessard SM

Text of the Letter

Belley 25th. May 1836.

My very dear confrère,
I have not been able to write to you sooner as I have not been well for some days. No doubt you have by now arrived safely in the capital of the christian world.[1] What happiness is yours, to be able to receive the apostolic blessings! But do not keep them all to yourself; kindly give us a share in them.
We received the brief a few days after your departure from here,[2] and we were all filled with joy and gratitude; be good enough to convey our humble feelings of deep gratitude to His Holiness, and find out whether the Society should send him a letter of thanks or not.[3] Thank also on our behalf His Em(inence) Card(inal) Sala and especially His Em(inence) Card(inal) Castracane.[4]
The latter has been of the greatest assistance to us. Visit him often, please, and ask to be allowed to count on his aid in our diverse needs from the Holy See. I have just written to ask him for indulgences for those who pray for the salvation of infidels, particularly the infidels of Polynesia; try to remind him of it.[5]
I would also be very pleased if you would obtain a personal privileged altar for Jean Baptiste Justin Chanut; that will give him immense pleasure.[6] Do not forget to call on Fr. Fausti at the Apostolic treasury and if possible get him to draw up our account. If, on leaving, you find you have sufficient money, settle it, and I shall reimburse you when you arrive here.[7]
Our young theologians would be delighted to receive their orders from your hands. If you could obtain an extra tempora[8] you would delight the house in Belley which is hoping to entertain you for a few days after your arrival.[9] [p. 2]
I suppose that Rome was astonished at seeing you arrive there unescorted. Please accept my apologies. You know the reasons that prevented me from going with you. I did not think that I should raise any objections to turn your mind against your appointment; I simply mentioned it in passing to His Em(inence) Card(inal) Castracane. Submit to the will of Divine Providence.[10]
Do not forget to call on Fr. le Chavalier de Rossi, either. Give him my kindest regards; I think I shall write to him immediately, and I trust that he will accept the reasons which induced me to hand my correspondence over to Fr. Trinchant.[11] Finally, do write to us often. We all look forward to your letters. Your companions to the missions are preparing themselves as best they can; and when you arrive, they will be very glad to be able to set off with you for Polynesia.
Accept the assurance of the full devotion and respect with which I have the honour to be,
My very dear confrère,
Your most humble and obedient servant


  1. Pompallier arrived in Rome in the night of Thursday 19 or Friday 20 (Pompallier-Colin, 9 June 1836, APM Ooc 418.1, p. 4-5).
  2. The brief Omnium gentium (OM, doc. 384) arrived at Belley a little after May 12.
  3. See the response of Pompallier in OM, doc. 395, § 10
  4. Pompallier gives an account of how he has carried these commission in OM, doc. 395, § 5.
  5. No trace has been found of this letter.
  6. Response of Pompallier in OM, doc. 395, § 8.
  7. Pompallier gives and account of these commission in OM, doc. 395, § 7. See also doc. 398, § 1; 399.
  8. Indult permitting the conferral of orders outside the prescribed times, known as the four times.
  9. Response in OM, doc. 395, § 12. See also doc. 398, § 7.
  10. OM, doc. 395, lines 32-34, it echoes this phrase of Colin's.
  11. Response of Pompallier in OM, doc. 395, § 6.

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