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23 July 1842 – Father Jean-Baptiste Épalle to Father Jean-Claude Colin, Valparaiso

Translated by Fr Brian Quin SM, January 2015

Father Colin, 4 Barthelémy Rise, Lyons, France

Valparaiso 23 July 1842

Very Reverend Father,
At the time I signed the bills of exchange and advice, which you will receive with this letter, I was thinking of leaving for France with the ship carrying this bill of exchange. Very much in a hurry, I added, however, the word you see there, so as to give you the reason for my silence. Now I am thinking of leaving on a naval vessel which will probably not take me right to France. Anyway, if I do not get to Lyons before this letter arrives there, I will be close behind unless God has plans which I cannot foresee. I am at his disposal and under the protection of our good Mother. It is not my will which drives me across the waves. Nor is it without reason that I draw on you so considerable an amount. Allow me to explain to you in person the reasons for this action, or, indeed, find an understanding of it in this one sentence: was it necessary to let the mission collapse in a scandalous way? If a despatch [of men] has been begun, stop it immediately. Money, not men. The past has to be put right. Forgive me, Father, for not spelling things out. Very soon I will be with you; I wouldn’t be in more of a hurry if I was pursued by flames.
Your most devoted son
Épalle, pro-vicar