3 July 1843 – Father Jérôme Grange to Fr Jean-Claude Colin, Tonga
His thoughts about the mission.
Lack of good food a major problem – they have enough to keep alive, but not enough to allow them to do the work needed to develop the mission. Heavy soutanes unsuitable for tropical heat. The Bishop had given them nothing, and didn’t want them to buy anything because they had to match the Protestants, but Grange believed they were doing this by their medical help given gratis, something the Protestant missionaries demanded payment for.
Difficulty of communication with NZ meant that a local Vicar-Apostolic needed, particularly now that the Bishop had sold his schooner. Suggests an arrangement with a ship-owner in France be made to service the missions – a fee of 30,000 francs likely, but hardly greater than what transport alone was already costing the Society of Mary. Lists the material needs of a three-man station for a year. Brothers really needed too – in early stages of mission they are more valuable than priests.
Goes on to assess the possibilities of the islands – better than in NZ: populations more concentrated than scattered Maori in NZ. Given the fickleness of claims to belief, it’s dangerous to claim figures of converts. Believes that a better way of “matching” the Protestants would be by teaching farming skills etc to the Tongans, which the Protestants have not so far done. Bibles also needed – a press needed and someone to work it.
As a P.S. he lists a variety of personal needs – for himself and his mission work.