From Marist Studies
Jump to: navigation, search

21 May 1841 — Father Jean-Baptiste Epalle to Father Jean-Claude Colin, Bay of Islands

Translated by Mary Williamson, November 2019

Based on the document sent, APM OOc 418.1 (Epalle).

Sheet of “Bath” paper, written on only one side. The reverse side has only the address and the annotation of Father Poupinel.

[p.2] [ in Poupinel’s handwriting]
New Zealand / Bay of Islands 21 May 1841/ Father Epalle

Bay of Islands 21 May 1841.

My good Reverend Father,
Required to check and to send on the letters to you, I am making use of this occasion to furtively slip you this little note. You will see from the Bishop’s long letter, which I think you will receive at the same time as these ones, a letter that His Lordship read to me in its entirety, that things are not going very well. Although this letter is an accurate account of what is happening, it will not give you the necessary information for you to know how to remedy these great problems, for the letter does not show the heart of things. There is an urgent necessity for a priest to travel to France. I have almost decided to do it myself because I think that this would be your wish if you were to be aware of everything. I suggest myself because for a year now I am the only one to whom the Bishop has revealed everything, all of which are complaints about the Society. Since the day before yesterday, when reading me his letter and during a nighttime session of three and a half hours and with me having shown him, with floods of tears, my pain over what was happening, I told him that if I had known that he was about to arrive, I would not have come to this mission; he replied that if I wished to be answerable to the Superior General rather than to the Holy See, as represented by him, (for I had said to him a few days before that I had believed that, in joining this mission, I would remain more dependent on the Superior General), I could return to France, that that was the suggestion that he would make to everyone. He added that he wanted to make known the contents of this letter. I replied that I begged him not to do so because everyone was too attached to the Superior General and to the Society, to not be upset by that. I don’t think that he will do it because of the effect he has seen that it had on me. I said to him that I was almost inclined to take advantage of his permission. Father Baty [1] the only one that I judge prudent enough to communicate these things tells me that in the current state of affairs, it is necessary for me to make this trip. It is as well that you know that nothing unpleasant has ever passed between myself and the Bishop. And he only gives me his permission so as to give me full freedom because, he says, I have been mislead. In short, I haven’t the time to say any more. Probably you will see me soon. I am waiting for more helpers to come. I also think that you would do well to m[- - -] for …..


  1. Claude-André Baty, professed with the first Marists on 24 September 1836, arrived on 14 June 1839 in the Bay of Islands (cf. doc. 32, § 2; 76, § 1, et n. 1); after having worked in Hokianga, he returned to the Bay of Islands at that time; he left there on 23 July 1841 with Pompallier and other missionaries and would be assigned to Te Auroa on the Mahia peninsular (cf. doc. 114, § 3-6).

Previous Letter List of 1841 Letters Next letter