From Marist Studies
Jump to: navigation, search

6 November 1842 – Bishop Jean-Baptiste François Pompallier to the President and the members of the Central Council of the Association of the Propagation of the Faith in Lyons, Bay of Islands

Translated by Fr Brian Quin SM, December 2015

Mission of the Assumption of Mary, New Zealand, Bay of Islands,
6 November 1842.

To The President and the members of the Central Council of the Association of the Propagation of the Faith in Lyons.

From the 23rd July 1841 till the 26th August 1842, I was continually travelling and visiting the missions. During that time my work was carried out in nearly all the harbours of the east coast of New Zealand, and in the tropical zone in the islands of Vava’u, Wallis, Futuna (Horn on the British maps), Oneata in Fiji, Laquemba,[1] and Tongatapu. What a lot of interesting things to tell you, gentlemen, if time allowed! My heart has been overwhelmed with consolation at the sight of the torrents of graces that the Lord has been pleased to pour out on the ministry that I have just been carrying out, that so many peoples have seen God’s salvation and have shared in the gifts of faith! Glory to the father of lights! A thousand thanks to his holy name! Thanks as well to your fervent prayers, gentlemen, and to all those of the apostolic association that you preside over! Thanks to the love which drives the Church, our holy mother! So many people, formerly pagan, now praise her divine spouse and cherish him with Mary his Queen! Mentioning here only the islands of Wallis and Futuna, we count two thousand, seven hundred and eighty people whom I with my priests have been able to baptise and confirm. Eight or nine churches have been built with reeds and roofed with foliage on Wallis. The newly-baptised are hungry for God’s gifts; they come in crowds to the confessionals, they come in hundreds to the sacred banquet to be fed with the bread of angels. What a wonderful change has been brought about on this island! On the day before my departure, having stayed there about five months, I planted and solemnly blessed a high mission cross on the royal property of the sovereign of these people, who was also baptised and confirmed with his family. Confirma hoc Deus, quod operatus es illic.[2] May his blessing rest upon the zealous priests whom I have left there.
[Author’s note in the margin]
They are Fathers Viard, my pro-vicar for the tropical islands, and Bataillon, the first priest to whom I entrusted this mission of Wallis.
On the island of Futuna where, four and a half months before a ten-day visit I made there, I had sent a simple catechumen catechist to prepare minds for the divine mercies and the knowledge of the basic truths of salvation; this weak instrument, strong with the graces of a legitimate mission and also, no doubt, with the intercession of their first missionary martyr, this weak instrument, I say, converted the whole island to the Catholic faith. The people wanted him for their king. I baptised him, him and his wife with his young princess, his daughter, then 117 of his people. This Christian and pious king is a valiant general of his deceased father’s armies, he is one of the most interesting chiefs that I have known among the Polynesians. His name is Petelo Sam.[3] During my stay I had him make his first communion, along with the queen his spouse. A great number of the newly-baptised from Wallis who came here[4] made their confessions and went to the holy table. What heavenly bliss for a missionary to bring to these new vessels of election the richness of grace, the God of purity and love! Reverend Father Chevron who accompanied me, tried, with me, to make himself understood by these people whose language is not very different from that of Wallis. During my stay in Futuna, I was quick to go and visit the place where Reverend Father Chanel suffered martyrdom. You will find in my journal that I am sending you, and which I have been able to put into writing in the time of my journeys on the mission schooner, you will find, I say, all the details concerning this memorable event. It was King Petelo who took me everywhere, and with the help of eye- witnesses I saw the place where the head of my beloved and blessed pro-vicar lay, opened up with an axe-blow. There I gathered sand, still quite red with his blood, two inches below the surface of the ground. There I had my mission altar erected, and on which I celebrated Holy Mass to call down God’s mercy on all this island already moistened with precious blood. I preached twice to the people, who seemed moved and repentant. Then I had a cross made, seven or eight feet high, which I planted and blessed on the same spot, so that there could be seen there, by passers-by and travellers, a double reminder of God the saviour and a martyred priest. I gathered up the things which had belonged to this dear friend, and in particular, the axe which earned him the beautiful crown which he enjoys in heaven. When I was collecting these things, I was sitting on the throne of the cruel and dead king who had sacrificed Father Chanel. It was to that place that I had been taken. People hurried to bring to me, in the royal house where I was, everything that could have belonged to him and in the area roundabout. Finally I was brought the axe, wrapped in local cloth; I was assured that, since it had brought martyrdom to Father Chanel, it had not been used in any way. Also, it was believed that there could be seen on it still a blackish stain brought by blood. With what religious veneration did I kiss this new instrument of salvation!
After having had lunch in that place with a great crowd of people, we returned to the side of the mission ship. On the way, I talked with Petelo the king, who showed me how God’s justice had punished Niuriki,[5] his predecessor in the kingship. This man had died from extreme loss of weight shortly after his crime.[6] His first minister followed him soon after, dying in a similar way.[7] While we were talking about all these things, I went past Niuriki’s wife’s dwelling. Immediately she rushed out to me with death plain on her face .[8] I said: she rushed, rather, she had difficulty in supporting herself in hastening to approach me; it should be recalled that that woman had been very bitterly opposed to Father Chanel. Her death is attributed to the bad advice she gave to her dead husband. His mother was carrying in her arms[9] the quite young son (two years old perhaps) of that former queen and the true son of Niuriki. That child was dangerously ill, he was convulsing, suffering which made him cry without stopping. I was offered him so that I could cure him, along with his mother. I urged her to, at last, have recourse to the true God whom she had not recognised, who forgives those who ask pardon of him, then I promised her to pray for her, to send her some remedy, while urging her, at the same time, to quickly get herself instructed so that she could be baptised and save her soul. She seemed to receive well everything that I told her although she was ashamed to appear before me; however her confidence overcame her fears. I told her as well that her child being able to be baptised immediately, it would be a great blessing for it to be given this sacrament which purifies from all sin and opens up heaven. She willingly agreed, and I told one of the priests who was with me to give it holy baptism.[10] Poor little innocent [child] of a really wicked father, he will go to heaven, while his wretched father, where is he?
I left two priests and a catechist on Futuna: they are Reverend Fathers Roulleaux and Servant, rector of this mission which has just been revived. The catechist who has been given them knows the island’s language well, he is Brother Marie-Nizier, the former catechist of Reverend Father Chanel. Oh, how wonderful are the effects of the divine mercies! This island killed its first missionary, and receives two of them for one that it lost!
From Futuna we called at Oneata and Laquemba in Fiji to inform the people of that archipelago that the mother Church has them in mind, and is concerned about their salvation, that is to say concerned to send them lawful priests. I met the son of the greatest chief of the whole archipelago, who was on Laquemba at the time I called.[11] He received well all my suggestions, and told me that they would wait impatiently for the ministers of the great God of the whole world. As well, I left on that island a newly- baptised man who is well-instructed for a native.[12] He has the faculties to catechise and lives with pagan relatives who have thanked me wonderfully for having brought him to them.
From Fiji we sailed from Tongatapu[13] where I stayed ten days. There we found strong and intolerant opposition from a Wesleyan mission station and a tribe which followed this sect. But in a public discussion which I had with the Wesleyan leader I put up a strong case for my side.[14] I saw all the high chiefs of the island which I crossed in every direction. This island has about 600 to 1000 Wesleyan natives, and about 10 ten to 11eleven thousand pagans. The king of the whole island[15] is among these last-mentioned. He and six or seven other chiefs gave me a most friendly reception. I spoke to them about the basic truths of salvation and about the true Church. They showed some interest and inclination to embrace the faith of the mother church. I celebrated the first Mass which they had ever seen, then gave them an instruction. One of the greatest chiefs converted definitively with many of his people. His brother, who had been a Wesleyan for 15 years, wanted to come with me on my ship to New Zealand. I instructed him, or rather, he listened most often to the instructions that I gave in Wallisian to some newly baptised that were on board. I didn’t delay in receiving him into the bosom of the Church, conditionally baptising and confirming him. That was one of the first- fruits of this Church coming to birth. I have just sent him back from here with a priest[16] who is going to join Father Chevron, whom I left straightaway in Tongatapu as soon as I was there, so he could take possession of the place. Tongatapu is the principal island of the Friendlies[17] and others some distance away.
When I got back to New Zealand from the tropics on 26th August last, I received with both joy and affliction your esteemed letter dated the 16th October 1841. With joy, because your letters are always edifying; with affliction because I found again that you had not received any news about this mission. How awful! I lament that so much news that we send doesn’t get to you! That is an affliction for you, and I moan about it in the presence of the Lord, because I understand the just reasons for requests for information that you send me. From now on I will number the letters I send you. This one bears the number 6, which means that since I left France it’s the sixth time I have had the honour of writing to you. So I conclude, from examining the one I have received from you that two of mine never got to you. Very soon I am going to do a little job of looking through my papers so as to decide which of mine didn’t get to you, and if I can find the originals, I will send you their duplicates.
How distressed I would have been if the one I wrote to you from Akaroa Harbour on 16th November 1841, with two large lists of detailed notes on this mission from its beginnings up till the time I wrote, had not got to you! I entrusted all that to M. Lavaud, commanding officer of the French naval forces in New Zealand; and he was so good as to protect with his naval seal all my letters, sending them himself to the Ministry of Marine in France, which gives me a special protection and which must have sent to its destination everything that was thus entrusted to it. However that may be, I am giving you here, gentlemen, the documents needed to recover at least what I am most anxious for you to receive. It was a task that took me about ten days in evenings on board the mission schooner. Today I am sending you the duplicate of one of those two lists; as for the one which told the number of the tribes converted to the faith and the use of the funds, I cannot, much to my regret, find it again, but I am confident that you will have received it. Only, gentlemen, dare I ask you, when you have seen this duplicate that I am sending you, to send it to send it to His Eminence the Cardinal Prefect of Propaganda in Rome. If however you know that His Eminence has received the first lists, dated 19th November 1841, then there is no use sending this one. However, as this most recent one is more exact in some points which I have indicated on it, it would still be good to send it to His Eminence so his administration can be more exact. I dare to ask you about that, gentlemen, to gain me time and souls as a result. Keep in mind that we are now, more than ever, like troops in action.
At this time I cannot make out for you a worthwhile list for 1842 because of my thirteen months of journeys and missions. When I returned, not all the notes from my missionaries had got here, and still have not got here yet. New Zealand is a country almost as big as France. The mission stations have been set up at long distances from each other over its surface. I sometimes need a year to send my letters around, especially now that I have sent the mission schooner to be sold in some port in South America, in Valparaiso or Lima. That schooner was American-built and so had almost no value in New Zealand which has become an attempted British colony or possession. All non-British-built ships are banned from trade here. If I were free to use such a ship, and even if I had the protection of both British and French authorities for this same ship, it would be because I had promised that it would never be used for trade, but only for the spiritual and moral benefit of my mission and for civilisation. Alas! The lack of funds to support the costs of this ship, and especially the incertitude I have been in of getting any for some time has forced me to get rid of this means [of travel] without which it is impossible to advance these missions, consideration having been given to circumstances best evaluated here on the spot!
Here are some of them:
1) The British colony has been languishing for more than fifteen months, and trading ships on which a passage could be taken, when needed to go to the harbours of New Zealand, do not sail very often.
2) Generally, there are only little schooners (coasters, as they are usually called here) which travel around, but a priest on them deserves to be pitied. He is in filth, in the midst of scandalous activities with the sailors, obliged to eat and sleep with them. The sort of life lived on board is repugnant even to the New Zealanders themselves.
3) The Anglican mission has a fine schooner, the Wesleyan mission has its own as well and they travel everywhere; bringing to various places the swarms of the missionaries of error. Alas! they move about all the more proudly now that I don’t have mine, and it’s very important to their cause to quickly spread, near and far, the sad news that I have been forced to sell the one that has served me so well in making the Catholic Church so triumphant in this region.
4) Heresy has, in New Zealand alone, more than 25 mission stations, and I have only eight, but my mission vessel was a mobile station which brought everywhere the light of faith, it was more than a frigate against error. Alas! its beautiful Catholic flag no longer flies in these seas and its sight no longer brings joy to the hearts of our many catechumens and newly-baptised!
5) More than four months ago a bishop of the Anglican Church[18] was sent by the Bible Societies of England.
[Author’s note in margin]
He brought with him 35,000 pounds sterling for his residence and for his mission work, then he received from Protestant organisations 1,200 pounds sterling each year for him and his house..
He came here knowing the language of the New Zealanders, having had, in his country, good teachers to teach it to him. Right now he is travelling round the whole of New Zealand and I, meanwhile, am a prisoner in the Bay of Islands without a ship and without funds to travel and protect all my sheep! I can ward off only slightly the blows dealt them with letters and, just now, with brochures and little books I am having printed with the mission press. But I know that my presence is urgently required everywhere at this time. Alas! You can’t do the impossible! I hope that God will provide it by the power of his grace!
6) When journeys can be made on trading vessels, most often you can’t take the time needed at that place to do your work, you have to embark again too soon, or rather, if you stay, and let the ship leave, you don’t know how many months, and sometimes how many years, in certain places, are going to pass before finding an opportunity to regain the base of one’s administration. Now a Vicar-Apostolic who must, on this mission, be successively and fairly regularly apostle, sailor and administrator, cannot risk irregularity, incertitude and the absence of ship visits. So he needs one, for fear of seeing heresy triumph in his place. People can say, and it’s true, that it is easy to charter one when a mission visit has to be made. Yes, it’s true, but that is as costly as being responsible for one during the time when it is chartered. Now here, mission journeys are and must be for several years, more frequent than stays at the administration house. As well, you don’t charter [just] when you want a ship. Often it happens that overnight a message obliges you to undertake a journey quickly; a week later is too late, even if you had three opportunities to charter one that you were trying to charter instead.[19]
So there are many ways , gentlemen, of showing the usefulness and need for my having a mission ship in these islands. However, there are many others. Father Épalle, one of my pro-vicars, has set out for France for the good of this mission. I think that the Lord will have preserved him, and that he has now arrived. I had thought of going there myself, also to Rome, after having done my best to provide for the stations in New Zealand and the tropics, but Father Épalle has been there in my place after having experienced, in managing my administration, all the effects of an [economic] depression which paralyses everything. He is able to bring you to more and more clearly understand this beloved and so interesting mission, so much attacked by the enemy of salvation and so much supported by our efforts and the help of God. I only regret that Father Épalle, whom I had appointed to travel to France if I couldn’t go there myself, was forced to leave three months before my return from the tropics. I would have given him the necessary accounts and little works which by their very nature would interest the Association. I am going to add to them a bit by sending you part by part my mission journals which I am getting copied. I think that Father Épalle will not forget to offer you items from these countries, curiosities for our European countries; they are little souvenirs of our eternal gratitude to you, gentlemen, and to the Association for the Propagation of the Faith, our benefactress. I have made of these things a sort of little museum. I have brought several others of those things from the tropical islands which I will send on another opportunity to send things to Europe. But what I very much desire to offer you, and about which I have already written for this reason to His Eminence Cardinal Fransoni, is something more beneficial for salvation than things made by our savages, I mean the axe which crowned my martyred pro-vicar with the crown of the saints in heaven. To take all these things I am waiting for a naval vessel or some other truly safe opportunity.
I am asking you to accept today the first sheet of an article on doctrine which I have made in the New Zealand language, and which is now at the press.[20] Within two or three weeks there will be 48 pages of them printed in octavo. That will be only a part of the whole work, which will have about 300 pages of print, but, as the people are harassing me, I am going to produce the first 48 pages as a booklet and have them circulated like that to encourage them to be patient. This booklet will contain the preface of the book, which will contain a long letter which I am addressing to the New Zealanders, and in which the reader is led by the hand to get him to look for and know the true Church. Then comes an article on the word of God, where it is shown that the book of Holy Scripture is a good and divine book, but made of paper and silent (that is the local way of putting it), but which the teaching of the Church and tradition make into a living and speaking book. Then we see a catechism of about fifteen pages to be learnt by heart, with morning and evening prayers, some hymns, some short prayers for the sick and for burials, which our catechumens and newly-baptised very much ask for. There will be two thousand copies of this edition of the booklet. The printing press was bought in France in 1840, and the printers are three members of the Society of Mary. Before handing over my writings to the press, I give them to be checked over to one of my missionaries, [21] helped by two intelligent natives from among our newly-baptised, whom I strongly urge to be very severe towards me in my use of language, so that, if something is seen which is not grammatical or intelligible in their language, they take great care to let me know about it. The priest whom I employ in this work writes down the natives’ observations and his own, about this, when he finds it necessary, then finally the whole thing is examined in my presence, and then I take it to the press.
When I returned from the tropics last August, having found that Father Épalle had already left for France, I no longer thought of making the journey I had been considering. I only thought of sustaining and strengthening, with the help of God and the intercession of Mary, the huge flock that I had had so much consolation in bringing into the true fold of the Church. People will say, perhaps, that there is a lot of catechetical work to be done. That is true, but God wanted it that way. If we had to think about these things as we do usually, we could be mistaken. There you have the work of grace. There is more than I expected myself; and, however, the Lord made use of my weak arms to smash Satan’s gates and open the entry to the kingdom of God and the ministry of the Church so far away. However, on the spot here, and knowing well the circumstances and how people think, it was seen that you had to go quickly, and promptly expand the works to get what was there, or nothing. You had to take in most of the peoples of New Zealand for fear of stagnating and wasting your time. But there was a remarkable thing: it wasn’t I who was always seeking the conversion of the tribes; they were the ones who came and pestered me to go to them and to receive them.
In the tropics, in order to preserve and consolidate my mission stations in Wallis and Futuna, I had to go (which was something that people away from there couldn’t understand) and visit Fiji and found another station on Tongatapu, the queen, so to say, of all the islands of Western Oceania. But people should consider as well that heresy was ahead of me everywhere and was doing its best to ruin the harvest. It was enough to tear apart a Christian heart with affliction at the sight of such beautiful souls constantly endangered of being seduced by heresy. Heresy has printing presses, fine editions of books and pamphlets everywhere it establishes itself, its ships criss-cross the seas everywhere; its missionaries are in no way a burden on the people for their food, their housing and everything they need; they have an honoured position in society. In this respect they are seen by the natives as gentlemen; these child-like people do not admire poverty before turning to the true faith and even during their catechumenate. In terms of temporal things and human resources, we are really inferior to the Protestant missionaries. The people realise this, and this consideration for them, since they have begun to look at the question of which religion and Church to embrace, has not been a small one. Almost everywhere our extreme poverty counts against us, and the comfortable situation of the ministers of error is a reason in their favour, in the thinking of childlike and hardly supernatural judges. As I see it, it is a miracle how we have been preferred in this country, to the Protestants. The finger of God is here.[22] The most presentable house in my whole mission is the one in Kororareka where I live, but at a little distance is that of the Protestant minister who serves the Protestant Church in this same place, but his (his house) is much more impressive in appearance than that of the Catholic Bishop, his neighbour.
A few years ago, when I was in the Hokianga, a fire reduced to ashes the house of the leader of the Wesleyan missionaries in that area.[23] Everything he possessed, furniture, books, personal possessions, everything was consumed by the flames – he could save only his wife and children. As soon as this happened, the news was quickly circulated around the little Methodist church, the neighbouring colonies, in England and the other countries where the sect exists, and in less than a year and a half this leader of an heretical mission had another house, much finer, more beautiful furniture, quite simply, everything was on a better basis than before, its condition was better than the first building, and he could well say about the fire: felix culpa [O happy fault]. But in my case, alas, when a bankruptcy[24] happened more than six thousand leagues [about 30, 000 km] from here, in London, and I innocently lost the funds believed to be held in safety for this mission, almost immediately afterwards I received, for consolation and encouragement, letters which informed me that people distrusted my administration;[25] and later on, that I was wrong to see the funds of the Association as being more uncertain than the waves of the ocean separating me from Europe; still later, that I was proceeding without reflection, that the misfortunes that I was experiencing were needed to bring me back to reality.
[Author’s note in the margin]
Quite recently in fact, that the above-mentioned failure is a lesson, to say nothing more, for me.
O Jesus! From the heights of heaven you look upon your servants fighting for you. Bless my tribulations and my crosses! All that, gentlemen, you whose faith and charity see things quite otherwise, all that, I say, would not be a big problem for me, seeing that human judgments must only lightly touch the hearts of men called by God to the apostolate. But an extreme depression is forcing the weakening of the works of the apostolate carried out in the circumstances like those of this mission in face of opulence or at least financial ease, intolerance and the host of harassments from heresy. I still count myself as happy to have closed down only one mission- station for lack of funds to sustain it since 29th July 1841: that was Maketu between Tauranga and Opotiki in the Bay of Plenty (Abondance).[26] However, as my priests have not been able to travel easily, have not been able to retain the services of the natives to be rowed in their canoes, and as our extreme wretchedness has been experienced everywhere, many natives, too great a number have, (I can’t put it exactly yet) have become annoyed and scandalised at us, and then have either gone over to heresy or have returned to their former customs, or indeed are there without knowing what to decide, while having given up their saying of the Catholic prayers.
[Author’s note in margin]
The difficulty of building a house to get our presses going prevented us from having books circulated to the natives, not a small cause of defection s.
Alas!! the new tree of this Church, battered by the storm of tribulation and worn out by a desolating drought, has seen some of its branches break, and almost all wither. But, to my surprise, it is still upright, and it is not a minor miracle! Anyway, here is a little list of the circumstances which will show the cause of the evils that have come on us, and the effects that had to result from them.
In July 1840, having received , with two priests and two Brothers, a sum of 25, 000 francs which they brought me from the allocations of the Propagation of the Faith, a French captain of a whaling vessel which had put in at the Bay of Islands who had 10 ten thousand francs to exchange for paper drawn on France, suggested to me that I accept them on that condition and I accepted. As I received at the same time some letters in which I was informed, in reply to those I had written, that you were in strong agreement, gentlemen, that I buy a vessel for the service of myu mission, I made haste, at that time when I had funds for that, to buy the brig – -schooner Atlas which I renamed “Sancta Maria”. That vessel was 135 tons and American – -built; it cost 23, 000 francs and a few more ( 925 pounds sterling) but it had neither copper[27] nor furnishings for the crew’s use; It lacked as well a replacement set of sails, a certain amount of cordage and other things needed so it could be put to sea for some consecutive months. All the needed repairs soon cost me ten thousand francs, but I knew that my allocations for 1839 were hardly drawn on, and especially that those of 1840 could not be in any way so. As well, as I had already said in correspondence that this ship would cost me 18 to 19,000 francs a year to maintain, I expected some help as a result of this new expense and its regular use. But eleven months passed without my drawing anything. God forbid that I wish to criticise anyone here! I adore the impenetrable designs of the Lord, being firmly convinced of the goodwill of the protectors and benefactors of our works.
In June 1841 I already had a lot of debts, for about twenty thousand francs at least. The maintenance of the ship for eleven months cost more than 16, 000 francs. At that time, June 1841, I had the great joy of receiving 12 new subjects from the Society of Mary and two good printing presses, but at the same time a sword – thrust pierced my heart when I found that 35, 000 francs of the allocations for this mission which my new missionaries had been responsible for bringing to me had been taken from us in London by the failure of Wright’s bank. I didn’t make a great show of my suffering in the presence of all my people, so as not to discourage them. There were only me, alone, and two of my pro-vicars who were aware of the poor state of our affairs, because I was brought only 7, 000 francs. Fortunately, in a letter for my mission, I was told that (in spite of the event of the bank -failure) I could draw on Lyons some drafts for the purchase of the ship which I had spoken about earlier, and which no-one yet knew had been bought by me. I profited by this freedom and possibility to [try to] get myself out of this situation, but the difficulty was finding money to borrow in this country so new in capital. Providence came to help me in this matter. In this country I have the confidence and esteem, not only of Catholic families, who are generally poor, but also of well-off Protestant businessmen. The directors of the bank at Kororareka, who are all Protestants, but devoted and friendly to me personally, got for me drafts for about 35, 000 francs(26) .[28] This arrangement fended off the disappearance of my property in this mission, and all the disastrous consequences for religion which were going to follow it. I could still carry on the administration for 5 or 6 months. Anyway I would have sold without delay, or at least after a few months, the mission ship, whose cost was so burdensome for me, if I hadn’t been told by my newly arrived missionaries that every three months funds were going to be sent to me from Lyons to fend off the blow that had just been given to our property.[29]
At that time I still had near my house three tribal chiefs with several of their people who had to wait several weeks, the effect of the hopes I had inspired in them in them of soon having some of my priests to teach them with their people. Those chiefs were from the south-east harbours of this North Island, and 80, 100 and 150 leagues away from the Bay of Islands. Already the tribes everywhere were greatly annoyed that they were not being helped with instruction as they wanted to be. So at that time I was only thinking of quickly preparing a little expedition to maintain them in the catechumenate of the Catholic Church. After a month, my priests having learned the grammatical rules of the New Zealand language, and the lists of words with the written sheets of teaching, the people forced me to give the priests to them, telling me that they would make themselves responsible for teaching them their language.
So I had the Sancta Maria fitted out, the Cathollic flag raised; I soon went on board with my four new priests and two experienced men, and as well, the chiefs and their people who had come from so far away to ask me for priests from the trunk [30] church, from the mother Church.[31] During this voyage I called at
1) Marion Harbour[32]
2) Waitemata or Auckland Harbour, where I destined a priest and a catechist (6th station), [33]
3) Coromandel Harbour, where I visited some tribes in these places, who had been catechumens for more than a year,
4) Tauranga, from where I sent to Matamata, near Waikato in the interior, a priest and a catechist (7th station). [34]From Auckland to Matamata is only one day’s walk, and from Matamata to Tauranga the same distance;
5) Maketu (8th station) where I left a priest and a catechist,[35] only 8 hours’ walk from Tauranga, where I have a mission-station, at Maketu;
6) at Whakatane, from where I left to found the station at Opotiki (9th station), leaving there a priest and a catechist. [36]
[Note by the author in the margin]
From Opotiki to Maketu is about a day and a half’s walk.
7) At Temaia or Terakako (10th station, left in August 1842, for lack of subjects and funds,[37]
8) at Akaroa, where I have two priests and a catechist, and where a French colony is being founded. [38]
Having got there, I was given a letter from France which, instead of informing me that funds were coming as I hoped, on the basis of what I had been told at the Bay of Islands by my missionaries, informed me that people distrusted my administration. From then on I saw the health of my mission in great danger in terms of the material help that it needed, and as New Zealand was provided with stations somewhat relative to the needs of the country, I thought of sending my schooner to the Bay of Islands, in order to then go to the tropics to visit, through one of my priests, our tropical missions and help them with things that had come to us from Europe.
[Author’s note in the margin]
Then the schooner had to go and be sold in Valparaiso.
As for myself, I was getting ready to travel to France and to Europe for the good of all my missions, to secure a lot of subjects and material help; and to truly make known everything about these missions in my vicariate apostolic.
I had an excellent opportunity for this journey: the commander of the French naval station at Akaroa offered me a free passage on a naval vessel, for me, for one of my priests and two young New Zealanders whom I want to send to the Urban College in Rome to have them instructed in the teachings of the trunk Church, as the newly baptised here describe it.
Everything was thus arranged when Providence arranged that a letter came to me, concerning the state of my missions in the tropics, and informing me of Reverend Rev Father Chanel’s death, the collapse of his mission and the great danger of that in Wallis and, as a result, the whole tropical mission compromised in success for a long time if I didn’t get there as soon as possible. So I made haste to change my travel plans. I revealed all my afflictions to the commanding officer, who had already received me on board the ”Aube” to leave, and who had got ready a cabin for me to use during the voyage to France. He shared all my afflictions, but anyway he exhorted me to send someone in my place to the tropics, and still wanted to keep me; his plan, which I was unaware of, was to get me to accept a bishopric in my own country. He revealed his thoughts to me, but having persuaded him of the obligations of my call to the apostolate of this mission and having asked him, in the name of the protection of the king, for one of the three corvettes anchored in the harbour to help me and my missionaries in the tropics, he agreed to all my requests. The corvette “Allier” and its worthy commander were given me and, as it were, put at my disposition, and I left a few days later for Wallis and Futuna.
The greatness and the majesty of France were displayed to the eyes of our natives in these islands; the schooner and the Bbishop appeared at the same time. A happy and salutary impression was given the peoples; I sent away the corvette with real gratitude, and stayed in Wallis at the urgent wishes of my priests who thought that, without my staying three or four months in that island, they would not succeed in bringing salvation to the people. During that time the corvette went to Futuna; I had been promised by the commander that he would cause blood to be shed in satisfaction for that shed by my martyred pro-vicar, and everything worked out well. The murderer king and his minister had already been struck by the hand of God; they had died before the “Allier” had arrived. Then the justice of France saw itself disarmed by that of God himself, who had completed his work in the place of men.
I told you at the beginning of my letter about the present state of the missions in the tropics. They are on an excellent footing, with skilful missionaries and fervent catechists from the Society of Mary. The worthy and distinguished Captain du Bouzet really wanted to persuade me out of goodness not to stay in the tropics,; he still wanted to bring me back to Akaroa so I could leave for France. But the demands of apostolic life forced me to prefer the struggles for the Lord and the tribulations of him who is “ a sign to be contradicted” [39] to all the joys of this short life.
After 7 seven months of my work in the tropical islands, I came back to the Bay of Islands, where I thought I would find either the whole mission collapsed or that help had arrived from Europe, and I liked to encourage myself with thoughts of the second hypothesis. My schooner, the Sancta Maria, with its flag flying, entered the harbour on 26th August and anchored in front of the Catholic mission station where I live. I was wonderfully happy to see the priests and catechists of that house again. But alas! Immediately I found that the most deplorable wretchedness had constantly reigned in the Catholic stations of New Zealand. Credit and confidence had been lost for my clergy; my priests could not not get drafts to annul debts which had been incurred to sustain the administration of the mission during my absence of thirteen months; Fr Épalle had left for France, having replaced himself by another of my missionaries; he in turn more than two months earlier had gone to Sydney to try to find money to borrow, which had not been possible to do for the mission in the Bay of Islands.[40] In his absence the Father Provincial,[41]appointed only for the spiritual welfare of the religious of the mission, found himself on his own, and made responsible by the one who had gone to Sydney for the whole vicariate apostolic; ill will had spread about the rumour that I had fled, but there I was back,, to my men’s joy, to the surprise of the people and the disappointment of the enemies of the Church. All the tribes were discouraged and saw each day many catechumens leaving the catechumenate.
Immediately I resumed control of the administration; several chiefs of tribes, with their people, came to visit me, I reassured them and raised their spirits, then I made use of them and sent them to raise the courage of the tribes that they knew. I wrote to several other chiefs, and the news of my arrival spread on all sides. I am having a lot of prayers offered in the house, which has November 1842an empty cashbox, but Mary as a protectress. But it is really fortunate for me and the mission that my esteem in the society of this country has not been destroyed. Some Protestant gentlemen who were aware of the bad situation of the material affairs of my mission came of their own accord to sympathise with me in my afflictions and to help me with their advice during the formal visits they paid me on my return from the tropics. Several of them were directors on the board of this country’s bank. They offered me their help in extinguishing my debts and the interest on the interest, which was mounting, and that by way of drafts which I would make for them on Lyons; that is, on the allocations for this mission which had expired or were about to expire.[42] I would hardly have dared to act on this suggestion after all the antecedents which had taken place earlier during my absence. I didn’t hesitate to accept their offer, and I extinguished all the debts, while getting as well about five thousand francs to continue to administer the vicariate–apostolic for some time, until we received some new help from the benefactor associations.
Truth to tell, last May three priests and three brothers got here,[43] with funds amounting to about 17, 000 francs which, added to 7, 000 more , about which we spoke above in June 1841, made a total sum of 25, 000 francs. That is all I have borrowed here, on the spot, from the allocations since July 1840 up till this day in November 1842; that is, for 28 months. Now the mission ship , as I had informed you, cost 18, 500 francs a year, and I kept it from 26th July 1840 till 4th October 1842, when I sent it to be sold in Valparaiso, getting it to call at Tongatapu where it took a priest[44]to join Father Chevron, director of the station on that island, then went to Wallis , where it took a catechist[45] to replace Brother Joseph, who contracted an illness which I hope he will recover from in the climate of New Zealand.[46] Before the mission ship can be sold, at least three months more of expenses will be incurred, beginning from the date of its departure, 4th October 1842, which, taking into account the whole time, means I have been responsible for this ship for about two and a half years, and in that time it has required of me a total of about 45,000 francs to maintain it. And this does not include the expenses for the subsistence of all my missionaries and catechists, and for the building of five more stations in the mission territory.
[Author’s note in the margin]
Moreover in May 1842 the allocations for 1841 should have been fixed and delivered.
While making out the drafts which I have just completed, I considered what I could have in the way of allocations from Lyons, and I realised, from my correspondence, that 30, 000 francs remained still in Lyons, out of the allocation for 1840;, and, as well, when my drafts arrive in France in March or April 1843, that will pretty well be the time when the allocations for 1842 will be made and handed out; consequently I didn’t think it would be imprudent to make out the drafts, which I have done, a last of which is going to be made out tomorrow or the day after.
[Author’s note in margin]
I have written to Fr Colin, Superior-General of the Society of Mary, not to send me subjects unless I ask for them, so that by thus lessening my expenses here, I can put the material affairs of this mission back on a proper footing.
The total sum of these drafts will amount to 2, 400 pounds sterling, that is, 60, 000 francs
[Author’s note in margin]
a station administered with poverty will cost 5, 000 francs a year.
Alas! gentlemen, this strategy has been the only way, for the third time, to save this mission from shipwreck and ruin, and to free many souls and numerous populations from the danger of falling into heresy or falling back into paganism, and to deliver my clergy and me from a suffering which would be a thousand times harsher than the pains of martyrdom, and finally to spare the Church a humiliation and defeat in these countries, to the joy and triumph of heresy. But at the same time I am informing you that once these drafts have been used, I will draw no more of them. I am now relying on the remainder of the allocations of 1841, of which thirty thousand francs will be taken from Lyons to honour my drafts. I hope that Providence and your charity will, in this way, put everything in order. Otherwise, if any one of my drafts was not honoured , and came back to me here, my creditworthiness and my trustworthiness would be gone for a long time, to the great detriment of the good of God and of souls.
At this point, gentlemen, you will be wanting to know, perhaps, what are my thoughts and my opinion about the help that this mission would need. Allow me therefore, to describe them to you, and the following requests:
1) I believe that the mission has been saved; the businessmen here see it as some sort of a miracle that I have been able to extinguish my debts in this place in the way I have done; I believe, as I say, the mission has been saved and will be flourishing again, and more than ever, if from the date of this long letter I can have sent to me subjects for 10 or 12 more stations in New Zealand every four years, that is, 3 three each year, which would amount to, two priests and two brothers, or at least one brother per station, which would amount to, I say, 6 six priests and 6 six brothers or at least three brothers each year.
But 2) a thing even more important, and a condition sine qua non , it will be necessary that from this day, whatever the cost of those leaving Lyons for this mission, whether for their personal outfits, for their needs for worship, for the cost of their travel by ship , and finally for the annual purchase of clothing and underwear which they will bring for those already here, it will be necessary, I say , that they be guaranteed a sum of fifty thousand francs for this year from Nov ember 1842 to November 1843, then from November 1843 to November 1844 a guaranteed sum of sum of sixty-five thousand francs (supposing that the three annual stations mentioned above# were established during the year from November 1843 to November 1844), then from November 1844 to November 1845 a guaranteed sum of eighty thousand francs. Finally from November 1845 to November 1846 a guaranteed sum of ninety-five thousand francs. Gentlemen, there you have what I have thought over maturely before the Lord, and what I have shared with the members of my council, who are of the same opinion.
3) As for the islands in the tropics, two more priests and two more brothers would be needed on Tongatapu, a priest and a brother more on Wallis, and 2 two or three more stations to be founded in the Navigators’ islands. We need to try to get into the islands of Vava’u and Ha’apai, where the Wesleyan heresy reigns supreme , and which has shown itself up till now , so intolerant everywhere, so severe towards its followers, and so cruel and barbaric in Tongatapu through some of the most horrible wars against the peoples who did not want it. Before creating another vicariate –apostolic in the islands, which I have just designed, we should wait two more years, so that what I have begun there and so quickly have continued, might consolidate with united action and progress, and so that it may be seen what will become of the French clergy and especially the present French Vicar-Apostolic who is writing , what will become, I say , of all these clergy under British authority; it could well happen that I am forced to leave New Zealand to find refuge in the tropics, that is to say, in one of the stations that I have founded there. I say that it is possible that I might be forced to leave New Zealand , that is, that the civil authority might take effective steps to bring that about. Then in that case, it would be good that there be appointed a British Vicar-Apostolic , who might replace me as soon as possible after my expulsion, which in any case I see as unlikely. What a good work , gentlemen, you would accomplish, if this entire letter could be sent to his Eminence Cardinal Fransoni; because I do not have the time to write to him about these things as they presently come to my mind. For the rest, it is, of course while talking to you about the stations to be created in the tropical zone, that it is, concerning the funds to be allocated, without prejudice to what I have said about New Zealand.
4) Beyond that, about ten thousand francs would be needed top put up a college in New Zealand, and six or seven thousand francs annually for maintaining it, and that would be a minimum.
In one of the stations in the tropics a college would be needed. 5, 000 francs would be enough to build it, and 3, 000 to maintain it.
5) For the whole of my present mission a ship, that is, a sixty ton schooner, costing 25 to 28, 000 francs, annual maintenance twelve to fifteen thousand francs. With good administration, with a little discomfort, the cost of maintenance, but not the purchase price, could be included in the annual sums I have set out above. I hope that the price of the Sancta Maria, which is going to be sold, will provide almost all the funds needed to buy another sixty-ton schooner, if you allow me to do so by a favourable but formal reply, which I am waiting for as quickly as possible.
6) The Catholic missions and especially mine here, are attacked by lies, cunning and calumnies in the places where I can however speak out and defend myself. How must it be with the machinations of the enemies of the Church against me in Europe where I can say nothing? How important it is not to readily add to what can be said about bad reports against this mission and its administration.
7) The mission is also attacked in terms of its administration of its property ( in dangers from robbers).[47] It is well known here that we would be brought down by being ruined in terms of our material property,., of which I do not want to have a mite at the end of my life. So, to avoid our allocations being lost on the way from Europe to us, this is what some Protestant gentlemen have advised me to do: 1) keep in a box at the mother-house of the Society, at the disposition of the pro-vicar of this mission, all the annual allocations that can be decided by you, gentlemen. 2) This can be arranged with some business -house in London, for example, with Mr Cooper, who has a relative who is a merchant in Sydney, or indeed anyone else, above all a Catholic and kindly disposed, who could be found in that same city (London). This correspondent in London would agree, receiving a small amount of interest for his commission, and on the advice that he could draw on the pro-vicar in Lyons , a sum of, for example, 15, 000 francs every three months, which would be kept in the cash-box in Lyons without even sending it to England. Then the London correspondent would write to me that I could draw on him for the quarter and the sum of 15, 000 francs which is assured to him in Lyons by making out drafts payable here, I suppose, up to a month after being seen in London, so that, when these drafts get to London from here, he has all the time to write to Lyons, so that they may be discharged before the expiry date which the drafts bear, and on which he would have to pay himself, if that draft was payable after a few days of being seen without his having the time to discharge it by way of a bank in Lyons and through the pro-vicar who would never be in difficulty since he would not have authorised the London correspondent to draw on him if he had not had the funds in Lyons.
[43 ]
Nota Some may ask: Why not draw directly on the pro-vicar in Lyons from here? Here is why: this is a British country; to make a draft on France directly from a British colony involves paying a considerable cost. But to draw on London from a British colony is often a source of profit for the one who discharges the draft rather than a cost to bear. Through this quarterly method, no large sums of money are at risk, no bank failures to fear, all that could be lost would only be paper; finally, no crushing blow against this mission in terms of its property, which is its body in relation to the soul of this mission.
3) It would be good, however, if the pro-vicar sent me for the mission every three months, through the London correspondent, [48] a sixth of the guaranteed funds to be borrowed here on the site of the mission, for example 2, 500 francs every three months, and that by draft on Sydney or on the Bay of Islands, sent from London to me. Such are, gentlemen, some safe and regular ways that I see, and which I strongly want to be able to be able to put into effect, so that we can fight here in the arena without the extreme difficulties and cares which limit the agility of the combatants. How even more grateful would I be to you if some of you, M. Meynis,[49] I suppose, could enlighten my correspondents in Lyons. You are knowledgeable about things concerning business and banking, and we priests about salvation, [but] we have not the same experience.
Right now there would be two interesting vicariates – apostolic to be founded in the area of my present jurisdiction: they are 1) in the Fiji island – group, where there is nearly only one language to learn, and where some Europeans familiar with these places have told me that there are four million people, and others, one million; 2) in Ascension or Ponape in the northern torrid zone, and for the whole Caroline island group. Let His Eminence Cardinal Fransoni be made certain of that! [50]
May the many souls which our Holy Father the Pope has entrusted to my pastoral care and in his name, may all these souls find salvation, and enter the sheepfold of Jesus Christ! May Mary obtain them through her intercession in the heart of the Church. May the Son and the Mother spread over you, gentlemen, and over all the associates for whom we pray for every day, may they spread over all of you multitudes of graces and blessings!
Yours sincerely in respect and gratitude, gentlemen,
Your most humble and obedient servant
+ J. B. F. bishop of Maronea and Vicar-apostolic of Western Oceania


  1. Oneata and Lakeba, islands in the Lau group of Fiji. See Chevron’s account of his visit to these islands in 1840 (doc 62, [39])
  2. Cf Ps 67 (68) :29 Show your strength, Lord! You who have acted on our behalf.
  3. Petelo is the name that Pompallier gave (cf. doc 193 [5]) to Keletaona, surnamed Sam ( cf doc 133 [5]; 153 [16] and [19]; 162 [3]; later he would become hostile to the mission and later would be stripped of royal power (cf doc 342 [3])
  4. To Futuna.
  5. Keletaona (Petelo), no doubt for political reasons, wanted to blame Niuliki, former king of Tua (of Alo), for the assassination of Chanel. On the role of Musumusu in the matter, see doc 133 [7].
  6. About the death of Niuliki, see doc 342 [3].
  7. Pompallier followed Viard in identifying this man by the title of first minister, while du Bouzet said quite simply that he was a powerful chief of Niuliki’s party. Chanel, in his journal, gave the title of first minister to Maligi (Marigni), (cf. Rozier, Ecrits Chanel p 420, 423, 469, 502), but the chief of whom the author speaks in the present paragraph would be neither Maligi nor Musumusu, both of whom were still living at this time (cf. doc 133 [6], 135 [1].
  8. Later, Roulleaux told of the meeting with this woman (cf doc 343 [3]). Let us note that Niuliki had at least two wives, because Chanel spoke of “the second wife”of the king ( cf his mission journal, 18 July 1838, in Rozier Ecrits Chanel p 364)
  9. In his account of the event (cf doc 343 [3], Roulleaux said that it was the child’s mother who was holding him, and not Niuliki’s mother. This woman was called Momea. She was the daughter of Pili and grand-daughter of Fakaveli kele, (cf Frimigacci p70), but the name of the child’s mother is not known.
  10. It was Fr Roulleaux who baptised the child (cf doc 343 [3])
  11. When he called at Lakeba, Pompallier was welcomed by chief Kamisese ( “ a Fijian chief of some importance” according to Monfat Tonga p 179) and was ready to leave his missionaries there, when a group of Tongans arrived, led by Fifita’ila, son of the famous Fa’e from Pea (in Tongatapu). Fifita’ila advised Pompallier to set up the Catholic mission under the protection of his uncle Moeaki, then chief of the people of Ha’a Havea at Pea (cf Monfat, Tonga p 179-81) Latukefu p 145 -46; Laracy “Catholic mission”, Tonga p 139.)
  12. Moise (Mosese ) Matanavai, born in Tonga, taken to the Fiji Islands while still young, became a Catholic in Wallis( cf doc 153 [16, 20] where Chevron told of the events of this visit to Oneata and Lakeba).
  13. Pompallier, having left Futuna on the 9th June, went to Fiji, then to Tonga with FatherFr Chevron, BrotherBr Attale (Jean – -Baptiste Grimaud), and about 30 newly-baptised (cf doc 153 [19, 20]).
  14. Pompallier and his group arrived on 30th June at the islet called Pangaimotu, near the main island, Tongatapu. He sent two messengers to Moeaki, the chief of Pea, where he and Chevron are going to go after speaking to Aleamotu’a, Tu’i Kanokupolu. This man, already a Wesleyan, does not allow the Marists to settle in his territory, but he suggests to him that he go to Moeaki at Pea, thus confirming Pompallier’s already established plan, in line with the request of Fifita’ila, whom he had met on Lakeba (cf Tonga Monfat p 181 – -185, Latukefu p 146, Laracy “Catholic Mission” Tonga p 139). We know that in his first voyage into the Pacific in 1837, Pompallier stopped at Vava’u, (in the Tongan group), where Taufa’ahau, the ruler of the place, had refused to admit the Catholic mission, acceding to the demands of the Wesleyan missionaries, John Thomas and William Brooks, whom Pompallier had visited (Latukefu p139 – -140); now, on the occasion of Pompallier’s request in July 1842, the sources (other than the present document) are silent on the direct intervention of a Wesleyan missionary.
  15. No doubt Pompallier is speaking about Moeaki, the still pagan chief of Ha’a Havea, who resides at the fortified village of Pea, whom the Bbishop calls “the king of the whole island”, because he is the one who gives “the most friendly welcome” to Pompallier and Chevron when they go him after speaking to Alea motu’a (cf the preceding note). Laufilitoga, the Tu’i Tonga, was theoretically the most important of the chiefs but, like his predecessors since the end of the fifteenth century, he was limited to religious functions, and the influence of the chief holding the title had much diminished in the second half of the preceding century. At the time of the present document, no chief was the established ruler of the whole island of Tongatapu (cf Cummins p 64 -67, Rutherford p 154). It is evident that here we are not dealing with the Wesleyan chief Aleamotu’a, Tu’i Kanokupolu, whom Chevron said had been “proclaimed by the Wesleyan missionaries king of the whole island, and recognised as such by the king of the Vava’u and Ha’apai islands”; that is, by Taufa’ahau, who would succeed him as Tu’i Kanokupolu in 1845, before making himself king of the united archipelago (doc 153 [22], see also doc 62 [44]. Moeaki would be baptised a Catholic on 30th June 1844, having rejected Aleamotu’a’s demands to expel the Marists and joining the rebels against the power of Aleamotu’a and his successor Taufa ‘ ahau (cf Laracy “Catholic Mission”, Tonga p 139.)
  16. Father Jerome-Basile Grange, who “left Kororareka on 4th October 1842 with the brother of the high chief of Tonga” [ { according to Garin’s note in doc 161 [12]
  17. The Friendly Islands was the name given to the Tongan group by the Europeans.
  18. George Augustus Selwyn (1809–1878) the first Anglican bishop of New Zealand , arrived in Auckland 30th May 1842 (cf doc 178 [3])
  19. “even if you had three opportunities to charter one that you were trying to charter instead.” I am not really happy with this translation of quand meme vous auriez trois occasions pour une de louer ce que vous cherchiez de louer plutôt, but it’s my best effort - translator’s note
  20. Cf doc 240 [5]
  21. Claude – -Andrée Baty ( cf doc 202 [2])
  22. Cf Exodus 8:19 "The magicians said to Pharaoh, ‘This is the finger of God.’ But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the LORD had said.” And Luke 11:20 “If I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you”
  23. John Hobbs 1800 – 1883, Wesleyan missionary in New Zealand 1832 to 1833 and in Tonga 1833 to February 1838, when he returned to New Zealand. In 1838, after the fire which destroyed the Wesleyan mission at Mangungu in the Hokianga district, he had it rebuilt, (Dict. NZ Biography Vol 1, p 195). Mangungu is near Totara Point, where Pompallier, Servant and Brother Michel had just founded the Catholic mission in January 1838.
  24. The failure of Wright’s bank in London (cf doc 100 [4].)
  25. Cf doc 218 [1]
  26. The author writes “since the 29th July 1841” for a reason which is not clear; it was on 23rd July 1841 (cf supra [1]) that he began his voyage which was prolonged until 26th August 1842. Father Michel Borjon, with Brother Justin (Etienne Perret) had been settled by Pompallier at Maketu in the Rotorua district on 22nd August 1841 (cf doc 129 [4]). It was a difficult mission, where “Borjon was robbed, everything was taken from him” and where he was “continually journeying through swamps, often with mud over his knees and water up to his waist” (doc127 [6].) About the middle of 1842, Garin sent him 25 pounds sterling so that he, Brother Justin and Father Rozet could get to Port Nicholson (Wellington), but this money was stolen in the port of Auckland (cf doc 186 [5], or on board the ship Blanyoc (cf doc 222 [2] , 247 [3]). On the night of 31 July/ /1 August 1842 Borjon left Auckland with Brother Deodat (Villemagne) for Port Nicholson, but their ship was wrecked and they perished (cf doc 205 [4, 5], 247 [3]. Brother Justin was sent to Opotiki, where his little farm would ensure food for the missionaries in that area. In January 1843 Forest went to Tauranga where he saw Fathers PèzantPezant and SéonSeon and Brother Euloge, then would go to Opotiki, to Fathers Comte and Reignier and Brother Justin and, returning on foot to Tauranga, would go to Maketu (cf doc 247 [6 -16], [26]; 253 [1]. The Maketu station remained without a resident priest, but in 1843 Father Reignier would establish his residence at Ohinemutu (near Rotorua), from where he would serve a region including Maketu, Rotorua and Taupo (cf Simmons, Pompallier p 88, 92).
  27. Sheathing for the hull? Trans. note- translator’s note
  28. See the letter of 19th June 1841, of which Pompallier sent 4 copies, in which he speaks about “three letters of exchange”, signalling borrowings adding up to “30 000 francs” (doc 100 [4])
  29. Cf doc 100 [5].
  30. “trunk Church” - Pompallier has in mind a large chart frequently used by the Catholic missionaries at this time, showing the Catholic Church as the trunk of a large tree, from which cut-off branches represented all the non-Catholic churches - translator’s note
  31. This paragraph describes Pompallier’s voyage with his missionaries along the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand to Akaroa in the South Island, which began on 23rd July 1841 (cf doc 111 [4], 114 [3]). No doubt the author wants to give a summary of it, but he leaves plans to be imagined alongside those actually carried out in 1841 and 1842. In the same way, among the documents which speak about this same voyage, a distinction has to be made between those of Épalle and Garin, who only knew of the Bishop’s intentions (cf doc 104 [1-2], 111 [4-6]), and those of Baty, Borjon and Pèzant, who describe the lived experiences (cf doc 114 [3-4,] 129 [3-4 and 7; 866 [6-7]). So, Pompallier follows the notes of his plan when he says that he embarked with six priests; in fact, he decided just before he left, to leave FatherFr Garin at the Bay of Islands (cf doc 111 [4]). It is known that Pompallier took with him the “experienced” fFathersrs Viard and Baty and the “new” Fratherss Séeon, Borjon and Rozet, and Brothers Justin (ÉEtienne Perret) and Euloge (Antoine Chabany). These last five had arrived on 15th June 1841(cf doc 103 [1], 111 [4] and 114 [3].
  32. Marion Harbour is the Bay of Iislands (cf Salmond p 374, 377, 393- 94, 404). According to charts made in 1772, by the crew of Marc- Joseph Marion, Sieur du Fresne, commander of the Mascarin and the Marquis de Castries, the name “Marion Harbour” was given to the Bay of Iislands, where the two French vessels anchored for two months, and where the commander and 24 other Frenchmen were massacred on the 12/ 13 June 1772. Pompallier, in an earlier letter, followed Peter Dillon, a less certain source, in saying that it was at Parua Bay (near Whangarei, south-east of the Bay of Islands,) that the French were massacred ( cf doc 58 [5]; Dunmore, vol 1, p 184 – 189; Sherrin and Wallace p 63;; Ollivier, p1, 11-12, 28 – 29, 176 – 187, 295 -299, 383 -386).
  33. In his letter of 10 Sep 1841, Pompallier lists the Auckland station among those he “was able to establish”(cf doc 110 [4]), but Fr Baty, whom he had “destined for Auckland” (doc 104 [1, 4]; cf doc 124,[7], 166 [6]) was left at Te Auroa (Mahia) on 30th September(cf doc 111 [5], 113 [1], 114 [2 – 9], 232 [5-30), and would stay there until 10th July 1842 (cf doc 216 [2], 233, [13]. It was only in Jully 1842 that Father Forest and Brother Deodat (Jean Villemagne) set up the Auckland mission – station (cf doc 178 [2], 186 [5], 205 [13]; Baty would rejoin Forest in Auckland at the end of July, 1842 (cf doc 186 [5]), but his presence was only temporary, because he went back to the Bay of Islands on 24th August (cf doc 194 [8], 216 [1]. In October 1842 Father Petit-Jean would replace Forest (cf doc 202 [2]) and Brother Colomb (Pierre Ponçcet) is found there (cf doc 202 [2], 205 [11], 209 [31], in the place of Brother Deodat, who left on 1st August with Father Borjon for Wellington, but the two last – mentioned met death in a shipwreck on the way (cf doc 205 [4-5], 215 [1], 222, [2], 247 [3].
  34. Having arrived at Tauranga on 17th August 1841, Pompallier gave in to the urgent requests of the chief Te Mutu and sent Sèon to Matamata to evangelise the Waikato tribes; Brother Euloge was with him on two missionary journeys into the interior, after which the latter would go and work with Pèezant at Tauranga ,(cf doc 102 [2] ; 865 [6-8].
  35. Pompalllier carried out his plan at Maketu by placing Father Borjon there with Br Justin on 22nd August 1841 (cf doc 129 [4], see also doc 104 [1], 114 [3], 124 [7], 131) There was a change in personnel before the present letter was written: On 16th May, 1842, Reignier and Comte left the Bay of Islands to go and replace Borjon and Rozet (cf doc 173 [4]. These last two were ordered to go to Port Nicholson (Wellington) “ to set up a station there” (cf doc 178 [3]. Borjon and Brother Justin left Maketu ( and Rozet left Opotiki), but the money sent by Garin to pay for the fare was stolen (cf doc 186 [5], 222 [2],, 247 [3]). From Auckland, Borjon and Brother Deodat embarked for Port Nicholson, but they perished in the tragic shipwreck as we know (cf doc 205 [4-5], 247 [3]. On 4th June 1842 Comte was already at Maketu with Borjon before Borjon’s departure, (cf doc 154 [2] 155 [7], 157 [8], bBut soon a redistribution of the Bay of Plenty missionaries was planned (cf doc 173 [6]), and Comte was at Opotiki with Reignier before October (cf doc 205 [3], 209 [36). In 1843, Reignier would be settled at Ohinemutu, the centre of a region including Maketu. (cf supra [20]).
  36. Pompallier called in at Whakatane (between Maketu and Opotiki), where he took on board Father Rozet, who had walked from Tauranga with Father Baty; the latter stayed there a few days, before rejoining the others who had come to Opotiki on the mission schooner (cf doc 114 [4]). It was Father Rozet whom the Bishop made responsible for setting up the mission at Opotiki (cf doc 104 [1], 112 [1], 114 [4], 129 [8]); however he was short of “a catechist” because the two brothers sent on this journey were already allocated, so Rozet was left on his own. When Father Reignier came to replace him in the middle of 1842, Rozet was sent to Whangaroa, about 45 km northwest of the Bay of Islands (cf doc 173 [4], 205 [3]), a station that Brother Elie was looking after on his own (cf doc 124 [7]). Comte soon went to join Reignier at Opotiki.(cf the preceding footnote).
  37. Temaia is no doubt Te Mahia (cf doc 111 [5, 13]), also simply known as Mahia, the name still used for this peninsula (cf doc 104 [1]); Terakako, the name given to the peninsula on the maps of this time (cf Sherrin and Wallace p 390, Ross p 93) is attested to, among the documents of the present work, only by Pompallier (here and in doc 110 [4]). It has just been noted that it was Baty who occupied that station up to the 10th July 1842(cf supra [30])); when he left, he was not replaced.
  38. The Akaroa mission had existed since 15th August 1840, when Fathers Pèzant and Comte, and Brother Florentin (Jean-Baptiste Francon) arrived there at the same time as a group of French colonists under the aegis of the Nanto-Bordelaise company, a few days after Captain Owen Stanley had unfurled the British flag (cf doc 70 [1-2], 73 [3] 80 [2]; cf Jore vol 1, 198-99, vol 2, 94- 95, Sherrin and Wallace p 523- 29, Monfat New Zealand p 188-96). Three months later, the Bishop appointed Father Tripe to replace Father Pezant (cf doc 78 [1]). In November 1841, in the course of this same journey, Pompallier confirmed the responsibilities: Tripe (like Pezant before him) to concern himself with the colonists , and Comte to travel among the natives in the locality (cf doc 70 [2], 117 [4], but the mission was fruitless, the missionaries demoralised. The colonists ” “showed little interest in religion” (cf doc 78 [3]) , there was almost no-one at Sunday Mass (cf doc 89 [4], 137 [6]. The Maoris in the surrounding area “all offered Methodist worship” (cf doc 70 [1]), they “ seemed to want to have nothing to do with the Catholic religion (doc 117 [4]), also they were few in number, fewer than 200 around Akaroa, a few hundred in other places in the South Island (cf doc 89 [3]). The missionaries were afflicted by other difficulties: lack of material resources, political difficulties with the British authorities as well as the French (cf doc 74 [3], 90 [1-3], 117 [5] 137 [5]. They were also discouraged by the hurtful words of Pompallier (cf doc 89 [7 – 9], 117 [3], 139 [2 -5]. So it was not surprising that Comte left Akaroa on 15 March 1842 to return to the Bay of Islands (cf doc 137 [4], 154 [1], 209 [21]), but would spend a certain amount of time at Opotiki before the present letter was written (cf supra [20]. Several times Tripe asked to be allowed to return to France (cf doc 137 [1,3, 7], 139 [6], 202 [2], 209 [21, 46]); finally he would leave New Zealand on 5th November 1843 and leave the Society on his return to France (cf a note by Jean Coste, AP M, Egressi, dossier Tripe). Brother Florentin, who wrote to Colin about the continual difficulties of the Brothers, (cf doc 132 [1]), stayed with Tripe until the beginning of 1843(cf doc 209 [16]).
  39. Cf Luke 2: 34 : “Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “He is set for the fall and the rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be contradicted”.
  40. Jean-Baptiste Petit-Jean, who had left the Bay of Islands 2nd June 1842, to go to Sydney “ to borrow some money while waiting for some help from France” (doc 174 [1] and cf doc 167, 168, 176, 177, 178[2], 184[1-4, 17])
  41. Antoine Garin, appointed Provincial by Pompallier in July 1841 (cf doc 104 [4]).
  42. For these drafts, see docs 195, 197, 198, 199, 200, 203, 206, 207, 210, 211, 213, 222
  43. Fathers Jean Forest, Jerome-Basile Grange, and Euloge-Marie Reignier, and Brothers Luc Mace and Deodat Villemagne and the scholastic Jean Lampila (the sixth group of missionaries), left London on 16th November 1841, arrived at Port Nicholson (Wellington) 5th April 1842, disembarked there the following morning and at last got to the Bay of Islands on 2nd May 1842.(doc 140 [1], 141 [1-3])
  44. Father Jerome – Basile Grange (cf supra [6].)
  45. Brother Marie – Augustin (Joseph Drevet) (cf doc 202 [1 -2], 209 [14], 214 [2], 221 [4])
  46. Cf doc 214 [1-2]
  47. “in dangers from robbers” - cf 2 Corinthians 11:26
  48. Thomas Paulinus Heptonstall, a Benedictine monk, responsible for sending on letters between the Marist missionaries in Oceania and the general administration in Lyons (cf doc 59 [2], 184 [21]).
  49. Dominique Meynis, former tertiary Brother of Mary, secretary of the Propagation of the Faith in Lyons (cf doc 7 [26], OM 4, p 311)
  50. In a letter to Pompallier dated 6 June 1841, Colin said that he had set out to Cardinal Fransoni “ the advantage there could be in erecting a vicariate-apostolic for the island groups of Viti [Fiji], Tonga and Hamoa [Samoa] with the neighbouring islands”(cf CS, doc 271 [3]; the idea is repeated in written plans [projets de lettre] from Colin to Pompallier 21 October 1841 (cf CS, doc 304 [3], 305 [5].

Previous Letter List of 1842 Letters Next letter