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Fr Jean-Baptiste Comte to Fr Jean-Claude Colin, Wellington, 5 June 1845

Translated by Fr Brian Quin SM

APM Z 208 5 June 1845

J[esus], M[ary] New Zealand
Wellington, Cook Strait, 5 June 1845

To the Very Reverend Father Colin

Very Reverend Father
It is a long time since I promised to give you a detailed report on New Zealand. But to make a proper, exact report would require having travelled a lot, having traversed almost the whole country – which is what I have not been able to do. However I have completed the long journey which I believe I told you of beforehand. I left Wellington on 12th February 1845 – I pushed on to Tauranga. From there I came back by a different route, and got back to Wellington on the 8th May, after roughly three months’ absence.
If the Bishop has been so keen up to now, and is still keen to have a ship belonging to the mission, it’s because he has always thought that New Zealand was unworkable and could hardly be visited other than with a ship. But although the country is scattered with [bizarres – ? strange-looking] mountains, blocked by long crest lines, covered with forests, crisscrossed by numbers of rivers, strewn with lakes and quagmires, there are however means of communicating in every direction, for all places, used by the natives. I have taken special care to gather reliable information on this matter. It is true that these routes which cut across the country in every direction are not royal highways; they are, on the contrary, generally bad, even very bad, but usable. The natives are scattered over every part of the island. They live particularly on the coasts and along the rivers, on lakesides, because of the fishing which provides a great part of their food; so that for effectively visiting the country a ship is almost useless, even if there were no natives in the interior, and were all on the coast, because you can travel along the whole coast on foot, and your ship can only call at certain places, sometimes very far apart.
Here is a report which was made to the Council in Auckland on 22nd March 1845, concerning the native population. I was annoyed to see only a few bits of this report in the Wellington newspaper. So the report gives the Council the names of the tribes, the main places they live in, the names of the principal chiefs, the supposed number in each tribe, and the religious they profess. It estimates the total number of the natives to be 109,550.[1] Of this number 84,000 would live in the northern part of the [North] Island which extends from Taranaki (Taranaki is near Mt Egmont on the west coast and from Cape Palliser on the east coast. 20,450 would live in the part to the south of these two points; Taranaki and Cape Palliser. According to the same report, the entire population of the middle island, called by the natives Te Wai Pounamu, amounts to 4,700 souls. [2]
However correct or otherwise may this report be, one thing remains certain [and] that is that the great majority of natives belong to the Church of England, which has followers in every village, dominating in numbers in every district where there are Catholic or Wesleyan establishments, [but] reigning alone in all the other places, so that the Church of England can claim for itself forty to fifty thousand natives, or at least thirty to forty thousand.
The Protestant Bishop has chosen a very different way of acting than that of the Catholic Bishop. He has not wasted his time with useless correspondence, with a host of small details which do nothing to advance or retard establishing a truly solid basis leading to the triumph of a cause. He began by travelling on foot and traversing the whole of New Zealand in every direction. Because of that he has been able to become familiar with the most populated districts and the attitudes of the various tribes. After this achievement he has placed missionaries and catechists in the main places, spacing his stations perfectly for connecting with each other. He can now go from one end of the island to the other very easily because he finds, at intervals, houses where he can rest and lay in provisions, etc.
All the [Protestant] missionaries, aroused by the example of their Bishop, or forced by authority, from the inactive state in which they were, have become more active, their presses more productive. Their works are generally well written in the natives’ language, exceptionally well printed, soundly and appropriately lined [solidement et proprement rayés]. The natives generally all know how to read, excepting those who are older. They have an unbridled passion for books. The Church of England supplies them with books in abundance and to their taste. So it is quite natural that the masses are attracted to this church which displays in the sight of the natives many well set up establishments, missionaries in proportion, knowing the language very well, well aware of the character of the people. All of these gentlemen, without exception, are consumed with a bitter zeal against us. Some of them have done their study and are not without learning, but most of them have not had much education, particularly among the Wesleyans. Apart from that, they are all equally ignorant of the teaching of the Catholic Church, about which no one has ever spoken to them, and which they have never taken the trouble to examine. They only know us through the sketch made about us and our teachings by Protestant authors who are badly intentioned, extreme, and in bad faith. Out of that a deluge of lies, falsehoods and calumnies comes down on our heads. We adore pictures and statues, we hide the Word of God, we adore bread, we believe that we eat Our Lord in the same way as one eats ordinary food, and in that we are, they say, worse than the natives who only ate their enemies in war, while we eat our best friend. We are the anti-Christ spoken of the Apocalypse, false prophets dressed in sheep skins, the roaring lion spoken of by St Peter.[3] One day when I went to see a sick man in a village, a Protestant native came and attacked me, the Gospel in his hand, with a look of pride and self-importance which I could not describe. He was rigged out in an enormous woollen blanket. “You are,” he said to me, “the false prophet dressed in a sheep skin, but interiorly you are a devouring wolf.” “Very well,” I said to him, “but you know that the blanket you have on your back is made with wool from a sheep, so you are the one who is a false prophet, and a proof that inside you is a devouring wolf is that, like that ferocious beast, you have come out to attack me while I go past.” My terrible adversary had nothing to say in reply to my argument which he considered crushing. The [Protestant] missionaries point out similar texts to them, and the poor natives hurl them at us, often without knowing what they are saying.
The missionaries place great importance on telling the natives falsified features and facts which hardly do honour to these gentlemen, and which, instead of bringing about a moral effect on the natives, produce, rather, a quite opposite effect. So they will talk to them about the Gunpowder Plot in England, and of course they never tell them that this claimed plot was a put-up job[4] contrived by their own side[5] to make Catholics hated by the King. They will speak to them about the Council of Constance,[6] about the death of John Huss and of Jerome of Prague,[7] two men of their Church, they say, whom Catholic Bishops condemned to the flames because they refused to believe in Roman superstitions, but they are careful not to mention King Sigismond,[8] [nor] the teaching of these two heresiarchs, subversive of any society, [nor] the uprisings and revolts which their preaching aroused in Bohemia. Wicliff [sic], who had died several years before the Council of Constance, would rise from his grave to tell the natives that he was [a member?] of the Church of England[9] and that this same Council ordered, not only that his remains be exhumed, but also that they be crushed and scattered to the winds; [these] last circumstances I have not seen mentioned anywhere.[10] You can see that these gentlemen make up poetry which alone can allow anachronisms and similar liberties; then, no doubt, finding that their words do not bring about the strength of the holy fire which drives them, and which the Holy Spirit has no doubt lit in them, they open a volume of the Acts of Fox,[11] that lying production which must fill with shame every Protestant who is enlightened and has good faith, and display in the view of the natives long pictures, to show them the way in which the Catholics had tormented and tortured Protestants to death. I saw in one of these pictures, put up where the natives could see it, several Catholic Bishops in pontifical dress, mitres on their heads, standing around Wicleff’s open grave with long pincers in their hands, and pulling out the dead man’s remains. The missionaries who educate the natives do not stop at telling, well or badly, about what happened in the British Isles, but they cross the Channel to tell them about the unfortunate business of St Bartholomew’s [Day],[12] then they leap across the Alps to show them Pope Joan sitting on the throne of St Peter; a mythical popess according to Protestant authors themselves, but that does not matter to the missionaries; they have faith and that is enough.
On my way back, several days’ travelling ago, I met near Wellington some natives who immediately formed a circle round me, asking me to speak to them a little about religion. When I had spoken for a short time, to the great satisfaction of everyone, one of them asked whether I knew of Pope Joan. “No,” I told him, “because there never was a Pope Joan.” “It seems that you are ignorant of this matter,” the native answered me. “Pope Joan was a woman who was made a Bishop by your Church, because you make women Bishops.” You would hardly believe that someone could teach such things to savages, however I am not telling you one hundredth part of the absurdities that our Protestant brothers circulate among them. To give irrefutable [irréfragable] proof, even to the most prejudiced against us, that these gentlemen are preaching a war of religion rather than the teaching of the Gospel, I have only to translate word for word a page from two booklets they published in the language of the New Zealanders, against the Catholic Church, in 1840. The argument takes the form of a conversation between three individuals. The first is called “Searcher-for-Truth”, the second is called “Fallen-One”, the third, who is the teacher, bears the name “Friend-of-the-Truth”. So here is what is said on the 23rd page of the second booklet.
Searcher-for-Truth: I have heard that this nation (by this the Protestants mean the Catholics) brought your fathers to a terrible death. Is that true?
Friend-of-the-Truth: Yes, it is true. Some of our fathers were burnt alive, others were roasted alive, others were beheaded, others were shot, others were strangled, others *[13]
Searcher-for-Truth: Ah! So why were your fathers tortured in this way?
Friend-of-the-Truth: It was because of their faith; because our fathers did not want to pray to idols, or pray to this bread which they adore; because our fathers also did not want to preach the word of God, because our fathers did not want to pray to people who had died – that was why they were tortured by them (by the Catholics).
Searcher-for-Truth: Sir, if they truly acted in this way, that word of the Holy Spirit is excellent which says, “Leave her, my people. It is good to separate,” as St Paul says.
Friend-of-the-Truth: Where does he say that?
Searcher-for-Truth: In the second letter to the Corinthians. Here it is: “What link is there between the Temple of God and idols? We are the temple of the living God, as God says himself: I will live among them and journey in their midst; I will be their God and they will be my people.” That is why “Come away from them, as the Lord says, and touch nothing that is unclean.” [14]
Fallen-one: Mr Friend-of-the-Truth, I have quietly listened to everything that has been said, and have understood some of it. My opinion is that you should make these words known to all the natives so that they may escape from Rome’s snares.
Searcher-for-Truth: Sir, here is my opinion. I say you should think about what our friend has said; but the errors of that Church should be written down, also printed in a book, so that we, the natives, can think about them calmly, because the natives have forgetful hearts.
There you have the toleration of the Protestant missionaries of New Zealand. You know how their confrères have practised it in other parts of the Pacific Ocean. Protestantism was established by violence, has maintained itself through violence, and continues through violence, or through an intolerance which can be called violence.
Some time ago I was invited to the house of a Protestant gentleman. We talked about a lot of things, then at last we came to talk about the natives and the Protestant missionaries. In connection with that I revealed my surprise at the great calumnies and falsehoods with which these gentlemen accused the Catholic Church, and at the spirit of hatred which drove them against, us, and I said I could in no way understand such conduct and practices carried on by people who called themselves messengers of God and ministers of J[esus] C[hrist]. A young man who seems to have had some contact with the “New System” of the teachers at Oxford[15] replied: “Be assured, sir, that the missionaries do not act against their consciences. They are convinced that the teaching of the Church of Rome is such as they depict to the natives. They read only those Protestant works whose authors have no other desire than to make the Catholic Church hated. As for the massacres which they delight so much in describing to the natives, they only read the “Acts” [sic] of Fox [sic].” According to the answer given by this gentleman, the missionaries do not act against their consciences, but they are no less culpable. Crass ignorance is never excusable.
Concerning the Catholic mission.
The Catholic mission in New Zealand has been the subject of some note in France and in England. I see that in the discussion over the Haiti affair,[16] M Guizot, speaking about New Zealand, claimed the number of Catholics to be 20,000. I am convinced that if we had known how to act [correctly], we would have no reason to reduce the Minister’s figure, but we are obliged to make an appalling reduction. I saw the Fathers in the stations in the north at the beginning of 1844, and I have just seen at Tauranga all those from the stations in the central district. Father Baty told me that he believed we had between ten and twelve thousand Catholics, but, my sincere apologies to Father Baty, I believe he is seriously mistaken. The number of Catholics can, according to the estimates done by the Fathers, hardly be above six thousand. I will tell you elsewhere about the condition of these six thousand Catholics. If my calculation is fairly exact, as I believe, we really have to diminish these great successes we are reputed to have gained.
To what, the, you will ask me, should the scanty results of your ministry be attributed? It should be attributed neither to the small number of priests, nor to any failing in their efforts or to the natives’ attitudes, but to the lack of books, and books of the sort needed for the New Zealanders. All the Fathers are perfectly in agreement on that, and they all deeply bemoan [the fact]. The Bishop alone does not see it, does not understand it. You will, perhaps, make the same objection from Europe as the Bishop makes here: “Fides ex auditu.[17] In the primitive Church books were rare, and Our Lord did not tell his apostles: “Go, distribute books”, but “Go and teach” (Matt 28:20). It is not books which bring conversion, but the right preaching of the word of God helped by grace.” The Bishop thinks that by these words he has made himself an unassailable fortress, but this objection is, for all of us, so weak, that we do not even call it an objection. We accept everything the Bishop says [Nous accordons le tout à Mgr] but we do not conclude, as he does, that books are useless. We claim, to the contrary, that books are everything in New Zealand. This assertion does not need to be proved to anyone who has spent six months among the natives. But I believe that in Europe you will want some explanation.
The [Protestant] missionaries began to be established in New Zealand in 1814. Convinced that the Holy Book, preached by itself, would achieve everything, provided that people read it, these gentlemen busied themselves more with ways of teaching people to read the Gospel than preaching it personally [vive voix]. This method of evangelisation is very convenient, I would say even necessary, for anyone who has a wife and children. So they began by learning the language, then they taught some young natives to read, and sent them, with prayer books and ways of reading, throughout New Zealand. This new way of speaking certainly attracted the attention of a people who were intelligent, proud, and lovers of novelties. As well, the young teachers were well received; the mass of people, especially the young, were swayed. In a few years several thousands became able to read. The missionaries knew how to maintain and enliven this ardour, whether by ridicule directed at ignorance or at anyone unable to read, or by praise given to knowledge or to anyone able to read, with the result that knowing how to read, or being able to appear to be reading a book, became a really big thing for a native.
On arriving in New Zealand, the Bishop found the natives prepared in this way by the reverend missionaries; the passion for books was spreading like a fire in the distance. However the very great majority of the New Zealanders had not yet declared for the Protestants, but they all seemed sick of books, if I can use their expression. The New Testament came entire from the missionaries’ press in 1839, in a large format, appropriately bound and quite well written in the idiom of the language. The natives welcomed it with avidity. They savoured it beyond all description; not for the reason that it was the word of God, because those who made fun of the truths of Christianity shared the same desire for this book as those who called themselves Christians, but because their pride found abundant materials under the most attractive of appearances. So what interest could not have existed among a new people, with inquisitive minds, lovers of marvels, knowing how to read, placing all their glory in this knowledge, not having had, up till then, anything to nourish their minds but a strange tradition which only the old men gave out, inspiring only fear and horror, and talking every day about nothing but massacres, plots and meals [à la.. illegible word].
The natives are an Asiatic people. They present striking resemblances to the Jews in the many aspects: the same imaginative way of expressing themselves, [their use of] hyperbole, metaphors, comparisons, sentences. The language of the Gospel really gets into the character and customs of this people. The Gospel, even if considered only as a work of human origin, will always have a hundred times more effect on the minds of Malayan races [18] than any other book whose story would be told in Western fashion. The zeal which the Oceanians have put and are today putting into reading the Gospel, in all the islands into which it has been introduced, is a proof of what I am saying. One must attribute to the Gospel, not as the word of God, but as a book entering perfectly into the Malay character through its style and usages, all the success and influence which the Protestant missionaries have obtained in the seas of the Pacific Ocean. As for their great works which have made such an impression in Europe, they come down to having translated the Gospel and printed or having had printed thousands of copies [of it]. As for their virtue, every traveller will testify that they are more scandalised than edified, whether by their severe despotism, or their intolerance and their bloodthirsty laws, or by their cupidity and avarice.
The Bishop,[19] without trying to get to know the natives, without depthing their hearts and characters to probe their weaknesses, let himself be carried away by thoughtless zeal. “What use are books?” he has said: “Fides ex auditu.”[20] He sent out his missionaries without books and took no steps to get any to the taste of the natives, a little later on.[21] These men went forth, they preached, their words were savoured, but when they had gone away, what they had said was soon forgotten, and nothing was left for these minds, fickle, weak, inconstant, blind, to hold onto, to occupy them, to fill in their long periods of leisure. However, people were calling out everywhere that they were hungry for books. The Bishop replied that he would give them some soon, but he took no steps to bring this about, [a situation] which has continued up to this day on which I am speaking to you, and still continues. To hold on to the natives, liberalities and small gifts were given, abuses were tolerated, people behaved toward them with a gentleness which led them to believe that they were, so to speak, needed. In this way the natives flattered themselves [s’enprévaloient = se prévaloient ?] and seemed to be masters rather than disciples. You are aware of all the money that came into New Zealand. Father Forest can give you an exact account of the expenses undertaken for houses or purchase of property etc. You will see that there remains a considerable sum which has gone on either useless spending or liberalities to the natives. If this money had been used on books, we would have, today, a strong body of natives and Catholicism would have put down some roots.
Just by the statement of principles which the Bishop has followed in response to Protestant ism [à côté du Protestantisme] you must see that we could not go far. In fact the Bishop’s gifts could reach only a certain number of people, and they upset others. They could only satisfy the body for a short time, [while] the heart still remained empty. They[22] could not have a lasting effect for a thousand varied reasons. Preaching by living voice – what is the [significance of the] voice of a few priests, understanding hardly any words of the language, in such a big country, so difficult to travel across, and in which the population is so scattered? The few words which the priests left behind in various places and villages, which they could visit only from time to time, could not fertilise a soil which had not been cleared beforehand. I know that in China, in America, in New South Wales even, preaching done in this way and which could be done in no other way, because of the shortage of priests, has borne great fruit, but the circumstances are entirely different. On one hand there are peoples or tribes basically Christian who receive the ministers as envoys from Heaven; on the other there are pagan peoples, knowing nothing,[23] who, not seeing in the priest any difference except colour of skin, which makes him like all other whites, all lose their resistance and fall into the power of the missionaries. The Bishop, still attached to his [anciens? former] ideas; [but] not, however, being able to deceive himself over the [financial] deficits, attributed their cause to the lack of money and the lack of mission workers, but in whatever way he might have been helped in these two ways, he may indeed have gained a few more natives, but no great success, nor even mediocre success.
So, considering the general attitudes of minds, and the impulsion and direction which the missionaries have given them, we would like books not as immediate means for converting the natives through these books, but as secondary means, presently needed to attract the masses of the people and to attach them to us. In fact the books would draw them to us and hold them so we could strike while the iron was hot.[24] Then, by preaching we would mould them with the hallmark of the Catholic Church, and although few in number we would travel across vast distances and strike great blows. It is with their books that the Protestants have secured the masses for their side, adding to them day by day. How many places they have not visited, how many others they only visit from time to time – at great intervals! However you would be surprised to see how, in these deserts and forests the natives cling to Protestantism, are faithful to their prayers in the morning, in the evening and on Sundays. Go and speak to them about the great Church, [and] they do not listen to you, or if they do listen to you, it is without any fruit. They tell you straight away: “You don’t have any books, and the book is our life.”
The Bishop, seeing however that everything was crumbling without books, set to work. This is what he said in a circular of 12 April 1843: “On my return to New Zealand from the tropical islands, I did not delay in finding out the mission’s and the missionaries’ state of difficulty and suffering. Insufficient resources had arrived from Europe… all our tribes are generally threatening to leave us for lack of books for their instruction, the ranks of the catechists having already been well reduced in many places… in the midst of all these circumstances… I quickly set myself, on the one hand, to get the printing press going… in my absence someone has promised a big book for the natives (this book had not been promised in the absence of the Bishop of Maronea [Pompallier], he had promised it himself; only, in his absence, the Bishop of Sion [Epalle], seeing that everything was falling apart, wanted to give a hand to the work) but it needed too much time to be published. The people were splitting our ears with their demands, their complaints and their discouragement, if we did not quickly give them a choice of printed things.”
The Bishop, having at last seen the need of a book, not because of an intimate knowledge of the character of the natives, but because of the outward fact of defection, was not aware of the essential qualities a work should have to suit the taste of New Zealanders, to interest them, to attract them, and to secure them. He got two booklets printed in the month of October 1842. The first comprised 56 pages and the second 96. In the circular from which I quoted some words above, the Bishop said that those booklets were from manuscripts that he had written and meditated over several years before. Whatever may have been the case, they are quite badly written. The real genius of the language rarely showed through. There are New Zealand words arranged in the form of European expressions. As well, the natives have described the style: “Maori oui-oui”, that is, French Maori. A great confusion reigns through the whole work. The natives are at least two hundred years too late to be able to grasp the metaphysical truths which the Bishop deals with as if he was talking to Europeans, and writing for them. Father Baty told me recently that another form and another way of speaking would have to be devised for the matters the Bishop had dealt with to make them understandable and attractive to the natives. All those of us who have some acquaintance with the New Zealanders’ ways of reasoning and imagining are perfectly in agreement with that. so the Bishop’s book has not [taté ? – tested] any Protestant and in no way pleased any Catholic, and the Bishop will print thousands of books in vain if he goes on as he has begun. The books will have only a very minimal effect, lacking the necessary qualities that the character of the people demands.
But, you will say, isn’t there anyone among the priests who is capable of giving a book all the necessary qualities? Yes, Father Baty especially, then Father Pézant, would do admirably well, but the Bishop is so jealous that he would not allow such a thing. May God be blessed. I will come back to this topic elsewhere.
I had promised you earlier in this letter to tell you something about the Catholics whose number I have estimated to be about six thousand. There are indeed some, a certain number, a bit like the ears [of grain] which remain after the harvest, with whom the Fathers are happy. But the majority are cold, outwardly showing some signs of Catholicism, but inwardly being almost indifferent, still holding onto, in some ways, the superstitions of their fathers, sometimes attending prayers, sometimes abandoning them, so that it is not easily possible to classify them, or define them, nor to work out why they hold on to Catholicism. Is it because of a party spirit? Is it because of some material concern? Each mission establishment receives 70 pounds sterling worth of things (included here are flour, sugar etc and clothes for the Father and the Brother) like shirts, blankets, Indian calico, trousers, tobacco. All these last-mentioned things go to the natives, or in exchange for food, like potatoes, pigs, or for services given, as when we get some work done for us. So finally[25] is it because of some glimmer of truth, or beginning of faith, or a close inclination to Catholicism? You must suspect and guess roughly the state of the mission from the contents of the letters that the Fathers can now send you directly. In these letters [there are] few practical details, generalities, nothing definite; it is as if the pastor does not know how to describe his flock too exactly, and if he goes from his flock to [the state] of the mission in general, there is the same problem.
I compare the Catholicism which is going to be established among pagan peoples, to a house which is being built, and which, with time, is brought to its completion and perfection. We have, in New Zealand, everything we need to begin this house well: 1) the tools: the priests are already numerous, zealous and devoted. 2) The means: we are already helped by the donations that the faithful send us. {In margin p12} 3) The materials. There are more than one hundred thousand souls in New Zealand, a great part of whom, in view of their general attitude, will be willing to [linier ? – line up with?] Catholicism’s way of thinking. If it was known how to attract the natives, to interest them, to keep them busy, to hold them, then all that would be needed was a skilful hand which would know hot to get access to the materials, to wisely distribute the means, to move the tools into action. Then the [word obscured] would water and God would give the increase.[26]
{No ending to this copy of the letter, but the writing is Comte’s - translator’s note}


  1. D Ian Pool in The Maori Population of New Zealand 1769-71, p 235, says this estimate was made by the Reverend George Clarke, who was Protector of Aborigines, in 1844. The Council mentioned would have been the Governor’s Legislative Council - translator’s note
  2. the South Island was commonly known as Middle Island until almost the end of the nineteenth century - translator’s note
  3. cf Matt 7:15; 2 peter 2:1-3
  4. machenerie – the word is not given in the Collins-Robert dictionary, but machiner means to contrive, to pre-arrange - translator’s note
  5. This may have been a view common among Catholics in 1845, but a modern view would be that it was certainly a plot engineered by a small group of embittered Catholics, but without significant support among the wider English Catholic community - translator’s note
  6. According to the article on Tyrannicide in the New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol 14, p 345a, New York 1867: “The Church has made no authoritative declaration on the subject. The Council of Constance (1414-18) condemned a statement saying that tyrannicide was a lawful and praiseworthy deed, but this decision of the Council never received papal approval, and the condemnation was very qualified - translator’s note
  7. These two Bohemian priests, who were friends, were promoters of Church reform about 1400, but were also influenced by the heretical ideas of the Englishman, John Wycliff, and were executed for heresy about 1415 - translator’s note
  8. King of Germany 1410-1437, who was popularly held responsible for the Council of Constance’s condemnation of Huss - translator’s note
  9. qu’il était de l’Eglise d’Angleterre – surely Comte is being sarcastic, because John Wyclif had died in 1384, a century and a half before the Church of England came to exist - translator’s note
  10. Comte may not have heard of these last circumstances, but the author of the article on Wyclif in the New Catholic Encyclopedia – New York 1967, Vol 14, p 1052a – confirms them as true - translator’s note
  11. sic. John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, first published in 1563 in England, was an account of alleged persecutions by the Romish church of witnesses to the truth, particularly in England, up till the end of the reign of Queen Mary (1558) - translator’s note
  12. a slaughter of Huguenots – French Protestants – begun on St B’s day 24 August 1572, in Paris. It was not a pre-meditated measure, but had a mixture of political and religious causes - translator’s note
  13. at foot of p5 - *There are, in this place for a footnote, some important words that Father Baty will translate for you, and which you will add. Here are these words: Ko nga ponapona o etahi i wakatanonitia he wakamamae (Roman error, page 23, booklet 2). “The joints of some people were wrenched to cause pain” - translator’s note
  14. 2 Corinthians 6:16-17
  15. By this “New System”, Comte refers to the “Oxford Movement” – an effort by Anglican clergymen of Oxford University between 1833 and 1845, to renew the Church of England by a revival of Catholic tradition and practice - translator’s note
  16. This reference may be to the period of civil war in Haiti 1843-45, which concerned also the USA and some European powers, who had interests in the country - translator’s note
  17. Faith comes from hearing. Romans 10:17
  18. des races malaises – he could mean Asiatic races - translator’s note
  19. Pompallier -translator’s note
  20. Faith comes from hearing
  21. This statement and what follows is hard to reconcile with the efforts made to get a Catholic printing plant going at Kororareka in 1841-2, and printing taking place from 1842 - translator’s note
  22. the use of elles indicates Comte is still referring to largesses – gifts - translator’s note
  23. of Christ, presumably - translator’s note
  24. les livres nous les auroient attirés et tenus sur l’enclume – literally, “the books would have attracted them and held them on the anvil – while we beat the faith into them? - translator’s note
  25. Comte seems still to be trying to estimate his flock’s reasons for holding to Catholicism - translator’s note
  26. cf 1 Corinthians 3:6