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6 November 1842 – Father Claude-Andre Baty to Father Jean-Claude Colin, Kororareka

Translated by Fr Brian Quin SM, October 2015

Try 63 Paternoster Row. To Very Reverend Father Colin, Superior-General of the Society of Mary, in Lyons. To him alone. To the care of Reverend Thomas Heptonstall. London. Francis Murphy.

A M D G et D G H

Kororareka, Bay of Islands, 6 November, 1842

Very Reverend Father,
Please excuse me if I have not written to you for such a long time. Since October 1841, the time when I last wrote to you,[1] I didn’t have any reliable opportunities to write to you up till last September, the time when I got back to the Bay of Islands (24 August). But during these last two months and a few days my tasks have not allowed me to take advantage of one or two occasions which arose. Today I am leaving everything else to fulfil this duty, but my lack of available time will be, I hope, an excuse for you to show kindness.
Bishop Pompallier, at the time of my last letter, had left me on my own, without any Brothers, in the midst of the natives. He was thinking of pulling me out after a few weeks, but other considerations took over, I stayed a few days under ten months without seeing any confrère, and almost without news of any sort.[2] I must tell you, for your consolation, that this involuntary infraction of your recommendations has been more beneficial to me than any retreat, without my claiming to say that it would be a reason for not being afraid of this isolation. I hope that the truly deplorable adversities which have existed will, through the merits of our lovable Saviour and the intercession of our tender Mother, come to an end.
I have nothing special to tell you, Very Reverend Father, except that my position, which is to work with his Lordship on the printing of the Maori books, keeps me in some uneasiness, and brings it about that I have some always disagreeable disputes with God’s representative in this part of his Church. Now more than ever I am forced to make a little sacrifice of my whole self, may it please Our Lord Jesus Christ; it will please him, I hope, and for everything I urgently commend myself to your prayers and those of the whole Society.
Please accept my very sincere respects and the affection of him who has the honour to be, in union with Jesus and Mary, Very Reverend Father,
The most unworthy and most grateful of your sons,
Baty, Priest apostolic.


  1. Cf. Doc 113
  2. On 30 September 1841 Baty was left by Pompallier at Te Auroa on the Mahia Peninsula (cf doc 113 f/n 1, 114 [5-10], 232 [6], which he finally left on 10 July 1842 to return via Auckland to the Bay of Islands, where he arrived on 24 August 1842 (cf doc 186 [3, 5], 233 [5 and 13]. Perhaps Pompallier intended to go past and pick up Baty from Mahia while coming back from Akaroa, but just before 15 November 1841 he was told of Peter Chanel’s martyrdom, and left for Wallis with Viard on the 19th of the same month in his schooner, accompanied by the corvette Allier (unedited letter of 15 November 1841 from Pompallier (at Akaroa) to Jean–Baptiste Epalle [at the Bay of Islands], APM Doc 418 [1,13,16.] doc 136 [15-16]). After stopping at Vava’u (in the Tongan archipelago), the two ships arrived about 1 January 1842 at Wallis where the Bishop stayed, while Viard, in the schooner escorted by the Allier commanded by the Marquis du Bouzet, went to recover Father Chanel’s remains from Futuna. Then the two ships directly returned to New Zealand: the schooner to the Bay of Islands and the corvette to Akaroa (cf doc 125 [13], 133 [2 -7], especially [5] and 135 [1, 7]. Viard retuned to Wallis with Servant and Roulleaux ( cf doc 138 [1] and f/n 1, 143 [7] in fine. After having appointed these last two to Futuna and Viard to Wallis, Pompallier left with Chevron, Brother Attale and about thirty newly baptised Tongans, leaving Futuna on 9 June for Tonga: on the way they called at Oneata and Lakeba (islands in the Fijian Archipelago (cf doc 153 [12 – 13, 29 -21]. At the beginning of July, they got to Tonga to begin the mission, for which Chevron and Brother Attale were made responsible (cf doc 153 [16, 22,], 161 [10], 162 [10]. Pompallier returned to the Bay of Islands on 26 August 1842. (doc 193 [2]; 217 [1] 218 [13],) two days after Baty’s arrival from Mahia.

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