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Fr Jean Forest to Fr Antoine Dubreul, Auckland, 5 September 1845

Translated by Fr Brian Quin SM, November 2005

APM Z 208 5 September 1845

(3rd letter), Auckland, 5 September 1845

To the Reverend Father Dubreuil

Reverend Father

About a fortnight ago a ship named the Terror arrived in Auckland, coming from Sydney.[1] One of its passengers named Cretnay, living here, received on his departure from Sydney a packet of letters to give to me. These letters, he said, had been given him by Mr Duvauchel, who lives in Sydney. On his arrival in Auckland this Mr Cretney put these letters bearing my address on the table in his home. A short time after, thinking of sending them to me, he could not find them and has not been able to find them since. I am very anxious to know about these letters. Where do they come from? Whether they came from you, Reverend Father? Could you be so kind as to question Mr Duvauchel, whom you doubtless know [illegible word] a French gentleman[2] about this, and be so good as to send me, as soon as possible, the little orders of books etc which I gave you for the Auckland mission station, but I beg you never to entrust either to captains of ships or to passengers any letter you send me – they are too much at risk [of going missing]. There is a postal service and I prefer to pay for it and have more security.

No doubt Bishop Pompallier arrived in Sydney a long time ago and, perhaps, has already left again. If however he is still in Sydney, please tell him that Mrs Magauran, our schoolmistress, is still in charge of our school, in return for an increase in her salary. The addition to the schoolhouse is finished but nothing more – timber costs 12 and 13 shillings. [p2] Everything involved in building the chapel has come to a stop and delayed until His Lordship’s arrival. My only activity is organising a collection and gathering up a bit of money for this building. If you wish, Reverend Father, to honour our subscription list with your name, and some pounds as well, you will really please us. If you could also, prudently and without fuss, gather some subscriptions for this purpose you would do us a great favour. Our wars are pretty well still in the status quo – there has not been any fighting since the taking of John Heke’s [sic] pa. Almost all the soldiers who were in Auckland have recently left for the Bay of Islands with the intention of putting an end to all the troubles by seizing John Heke if it is possible, but I am really afraid that they are mistaken in their plans.

Please give my respects to the Bishop of Sion if he is still in Sydney, and to all his dear collaborators, and to the dear confrère who is with you – my dear Father Rochet[3] – whom I very much would like to see. If I was of some use in Sydney and if you thought it was all right with Bishop Pompallier that I came, I would leave straight away. A little word would be enough. I have not received any letters from our V[ery] Rev[erend] Sup[erior] G[eneral}. I am still waiting for those from him that you have informed me about.

If you see Father Benson, an English priest who was here in New Zealand, speak to him a lot on my behalf,[4] that I am relying very much on his charity for all the little requests I have entrusted to him.

I commend myself to your prayers and to those of all our dear confrères at Sydney.

I have, indeed, the honour to be, Reverend Father, your quite devoted servant,


  1. This ship may have been the one of that name used by Sir James Ross in his sub-Antarctic expedition 1839-43 - translator’s note
  2. "gentleman" in English in the original
  3. sic – Rocher
  4. dites-lui bien des choses de ma part? – writing hard to read