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Xavier Montrouzier to his brother Henri Montrouzier, SJ., Jan 1846

Translated by Fr Jack Ward SM, December 2009

From the source APM ONC 208 Montrouzier

Three leaves and a leaflet, forming forty written pages; the annotation in a later hand dates the document in the month of January 1846.

[p. 1 at the top of the page ] 
[ in a later hand ]
Jan 1846

[ p. 1 ]

J(esus) M(ary) J(oseph)
All through Mary!

To the reverend father Montrouzier of the Society of Jesus.

Dear Henri,
You must complain of my silence, or at least of the brevity of my letters. Very well, this time I am going to compensate and you will be that member of the family to whom I give most details: only I beg you not to demand from me a great succession of ideas, nor a minute care in the choice of expressions, because I write to you in haste and at intervals, as do all the missionaries, as you yourself will do if the good God sends you to evangelize pagan peoples.
We left Sydney on the 23 October [1] on the Marian Watson, a fine craft expressly built to take passengers, with a light breeze which soon sped us to the open sea. That morning in the Cathedral, the blessing of the Most Holy Sacrament had been given to draw down on our heads graces from on high, and at the time of departure, Bishop Polding, Bishop Pompallier, Doctor Gregory, vicar general, a number of priests and simple laity affectionately shook our hands and asked Heaven to protect us. Above on the mast was fastened a standard on which shone a cross, of the kind that in this case had a hint of religion, of Catholicism.
Seasickness did not delay to make itself felt. Bishop Epalle especially suffered very much. Now, at the end of a week all are up on their feet. We were heading for New Caledonia which we had to visit to help the missionaries. The wind has been propitious from the start, but then it has been so directly contrary, that it was necessary to tack for two weeks, which, given the difficulty of finding the entrance of port Balade, lost in the midst of banks of coral, only permitted us to anchor on the 17 November.
We did not have an entirely tranquil spirit at the time of boarding. We were told things hardly reassuring according to the account of Bishop d’Amatha and his companions and these rumours, vague it is true, but to which the reputation of the ferocity of the New Caledonians gave at least some probability, really inspired some fears in us. They did not last long. Hardly had the boat reached the coasts than we saw coming and heard the natives cry out. They were few in number and offered some coconuts. They were permitted aboard. Also we questioned them, they replied that the Aliki bishop (chief bishop) was in a tribe different from theirs, but near enough for us to be able to reach there before the end of the day, it was already three o’clock. Thereon they behaved very much with friendship and a very great respect when we told them that we had with us an Aliki bishop, and they committed us to go with them, adding that Goa, their chief, would receive us well. It was decided to launch a boat with several oars, the second ship’s officer who knew some words of the language and two priests. When the group found itself some distance from the shore, they quickly saw that they had not been deceived. Goa and his tribe came in front of them, in water up to his waist, then showing them his lands and houses, he seemed to say to them to come, that everything was at his disposal. They promised to return to the ship. He didn’t ask, and came aboard with a sort of majesty. Before him, one of his subjects carried a lance, and when he spoke all were silent. The captain of our vessel received him well, he gave him something to eat, made him lie down in the common room and gave him a handkerchief and a red hat, of the kind that next day he went away very satisfied with us. We went to the point near which we had been shown the station of the missionaries and Bishop Epalle went to them. Some hours after he took us back, Bishop d’Amatha, Reverend Father Rougeyron and Brother Jean who embraced us with a goodwill that one can feel, but which it is impossible to express.
After having spoken for an instant of France, of the Society, Bishop Douarre declared to us that he did not intend that we be imprisoned on the vessel during the several moments of our stay, although we were going on land in order to have our meal and even sleep there if however we did not feel repugnance at sleeping on a little straw, in a native hut. You are right in thinking, my dear Henri, that this last consideration did not prevent us from accepting his friendly proposal and indeed we followed it without delay, happy to put a foot on a shore where some children of Mary had begun to preach Jesus and his august mother. After having walked a little close to three quarters of an hour, by a narrow path made in a quite vast plain, in the midst of a crowd off natives, several of which hummed church tunes such as the hymn Jesu dulcis memoria, we reached the house of the missionaries, and had there the consolation of paying our homage to the very holy Sacrament, then we embraced good Brother Blaise whom we had not seen before.
It was then that we learnt in detail the obstacles that Bishop Douarre had had to overcome to establish themselves, and the success with which God had finally crowned their dangers and privations. Once left of the shore by the state vessel which had constructed for him a small cabin, he had had to defend himself from the attacks of the natives who had tried to burn his dwelling, who had thrown stones at him, who had threatened him with their spears, and who had robbed him repeatedly. On the other hand, in the midst of works essentially bound to every founding mission, and to replenish strength worn out in cutting and dragging trees, to do carpentry, to break up virgin soil, often nourishment was lacking, or he had had only what was well below his needs and with all that it was necessary for him to learn an entirely new language. God who tests but who never overwhelms His servants, had at length taken pity on him, without ceasing all his physical miseries, He had softened them with ineffable consolations. After the first approaches, some souls had been opened to the truth, and some hearts opened to virtue.
At the time when we were in New Caledonia, four hundred children had been baptized and several catechumens were prepared. Among them were two who on account of their intelligence and fervour, the bishop intends to become catechists, and I may add, my dear friend, that nothing was so beautiful as to see the progress that grace had made in their soul. Fifi, that is the name of the first, a young chief who has renounced this title to follow the missionaries, delighted me with his candour, his goodness, his ardour. Are you a Christian, I once said to him. Christian! He repeated, no, I am not yet! But I long to be one! Do you see that I have baptism in my heart, as also the lord bishop, I carry it in my heart... At the time of our leaving, learning that we were going among the savages, who perhaps would kill us, he made it clear he wanted to follow us, to obtain the palm of martyrdom, and only asked of us the time to go to say goodbye to his mother.. Michael, as the second is named, more mature, delighted me with his zeal. He was the son of thunder of the Gospel and one day we heard him arouse himself to a great anger against the natives who worked on Sunday.
Since God had also lessened the sufferings and the perils of the Bishop d’Amatha and Captain Berard, de Montpellier, by the welcome he had given to our missionaries, and the honours given to their bishop, had sufficiently increased their influence on the natives, so as to leave them no longer with anything to fear, and by the provisions that they had left them, had placed them also with nothing to suffer for a long time. At the time when all this had been told to us, beneath all the reports the mission of New Caledonia held promise of prospering. To God alone be the glory! He alone had been able to effect this happy change.
I am going to speak now, my dear brother, of New Caledonia from the physical point of view. After what I had learnt from Bishop Douarre, after what I had seen, this island is generally mountainous, although it has several plains of sufficient size to provide nourishment for moderate-sized settlements. One sees quite small vegetable plots, but the clay which is found there in quantity would easily be able, with the lime extracted from the coral, to form quite good prairies. Quartz, mica, garnets, are very common there, sulphur, lead is not rare, either, along with turpentine which is useful to the natives in making axes. At last our missionaries have found a mine of slate and have heard talk of the existence of a volcano. For my part, I believe that I have seen certain indications of the presence of copper and iron in New Caledonia. So much for geology and mineralogy.
About what pertains to botany, this island offers many interesting plants. Thus, apart from cocoa, bread-fruit, banana, sugar cane, yam, taro, a tree found which I have also seen near Botany Bay during my stay at New Holland and which Linne calls melalenia leneodendron, the leaves of which resemble those of the willow, are fragrant and the bark of which becoming more and more slender, in such a way that at the end it is only a kind of silky gauze, which the Australians use for sprinkling on their newborn. Another tree with a beautiful bright-green foliage, and large white flowers, and red fruit, that I recognized to belong to the family of apocynaceae but which, lacking books, I have not been able to determine exactly. A third tree, quite a little remarkable for its bearing, its leaves and its flowers, but which has the peculiar quality of letting escape from its top flexible branches perfectly rounded which descend perpendicularly to the ground and taking root form new branches – the tuberous dolichocephale, a climbing plant, of the family of legumes, that the natives call tale and of which they eat the tuber roots like those of the dahlia for form and weight, and of a flavour agreeable enough, when cooked; myreacees, orchids, bracken which I believe are unknown in France, a kind of walnut-tree, actually belonging to the family of juglandees, of which I have seen the flower and of which I have tasted the fruit that I have found very good. Several recine trees of which a product would be able, I believe, to supply a very clear varnish, and finally a hibiscus, with beautiful yellow flowers; mosses and very unusual lichens-
As for zoology, New Caledonia has also its abundance. It is true that it lacks quadrupeds, but in their place has birds, fish, molluscs, insects, zoophytes! The beautiful sultan hen, parrots and parakeets, pigeons, ducks, kingfishers with white collar, big birds of prey, such as the falcon, ravens, magpies, a bird that I have not seen but of which I have heard the cry like the barking of a dog, another that I didn’t know, but which I noticed to be of the family of sparrows, and which had a velvety black plumage. There are as many other beings which enliven the forests.
As regards fish, I have only seen the leaping black-jack which abounds in the swampy depths and which has this remarkable feature that it lives on land as well as in water. But I am told that there were any number of others, among which there are red ones which are sufficiently poisonous to make ill for two or three weeks whoever eats of it. Further, there are on the coast plenty of sharks and at the time of our leaving, quite close to the side, we saw one almost as long as our long boat. I have found in New Caledonia a kind of small crab which covers the sea bed when the tide comes in and which always have one claw larger than the other, of a beautiful coral red, crayfish, flamboyant nautilus, porcelains, cones, cones, arches, dragonflies of different kinds, mosquitoes by the thousand, then corals, madrepores, sponges,of all shapes Dangerous reptiles are not known there, and I have only seen a snake with white and black stripes, which appeared to me inoffensive, although the natives, watching me attack it, had tried to divert me from it crying; Taboo! Besides, do not forget, my dear Henry, that this is only the result of brief observations, such as can be made in a week, but sufficient nevertheless to indicate the existence of many interesting objects for science.
Before leaving New Caledonia, I am going to try to give you an idea of the inhabitants and their customs. The natives are black, but not like the negroes of Africa. It is a complexion darker than that of the Bohemians of which we have some remaining in our south, but of the same kind. Their size is mediocre, their limbs well enough formed, their hair sometime woollen, sometimes like ours, but almost always made yellow by the effect of the ashes with which they cover themselves in their infancy. They are naked, almost entirely.
Their houses have been compared justifiably to beehives, like those that one sees like a dome of straw, in certain countries. They lack strength, not even a certain grace, but having only one very narrow opening, which serves as a door, they have not sufficient circulation of air, and the little air for the numbers is stifling. The furniture that one notices consists of a great earthen pot in which they cook their food, and some coconut shells in which they keep water.
They are poor in provisions of food. The coconut palms there are rarer among them than in the other islands, and they are too lazy to cultivate large plantations. Also they suffer frequently from hunger which compels them to make themselves eat molluscs, the tough and putrid flesh of which brings on disgust or even those deadly poisons of which I have already spoken. It is also certain that they sometimes nourish themselves on human flesh.
War is common among them; also they all have strong and elegant weapon which they wield with dexterity. I have seen them have lances, clubs and axes, of strange-looking construction. It is a piece of polished serpentine stone or better still of iron beaten on a stone, fitted with a naturally curved wooden handle, which compares favourably enough with our adzes in France.
For their sea voyages, they have canoes, not graceful but strong enough. They are two hollowed out tree trunks placed at a distance from each other and joined by a kind of heavy plank, on which they raise a small mast with a straw mat in place of sail when there is a little wind. The New Caledonians do not appear to indulge in games or holidays; generally they are sad, inactive, indifferent.
As to religion, neither priesthood, nor cult, nor really explicit beliefs have yet been discovered. Some notions on the immortality of the soul which, in another life will have bananas in abundance, faith in the spirits, that is all that one has noticed, but perhaps some new research will be more fruitful. You can well judge that morality has a rather restricted influence on them. However the unfaithful spouse is mercilessly punished. Her husband cracks her skull.
The language of the natives is difficult, because they scarcely articulate; already now our missionaries speak it well enough to make themselves understood and they have only been there two years.
Let us leave New Caledonia my dear brother, and let us sail towards the Solomon Islands on which the knowledge of the travellers who have written till this day is limited to saying that they scarcely know anything about it. We left Bishop Douarre on the 24 November, accompanied by natives who said to Father Rougeyron: Those priests are our friends since they your brothers, how comes it now that they wish to leave us? And straight away we have reached the deep water to avoid the banks of coral. We considered ourselves to be safe, when on the following day towards ten o’clock in the evening, the first officer of the boat uttered a cry. The captain ran, he paled with fright, we were within an inch of a reef and the wind was violent. We turned aside; another rock appeared. We took the diagonal, there was still a reef ahead, I was on the bridge, I saw everything, it was frightful. I thought that the moment of appearing before God had come, I made my act of contrition and then I started to recite the Memorare; then I made myself lie down! The danger lasted till three o‘clock in the morning and then we were assured that if we had touched the rock, we would all have been engulfed in an instant Poor human existence! To what does it cling? And man, menaced by perils, will not hold himself ready and will amuse himself with passing trinkets when eternity can rasp him in an instant? I assure you, my dear Henri, that it is not, in my opinion, a slight grace granted to missionaries that the sight of dangers to which they are ceaselessly exposed, for it is impossible that this does not place them in this condition where wisdom assures that one will not sin: Remember your last end and to eternity you will not sin.[2]
We arrived on the 1st December within the limits of our mission. Bishop Epalle also took possession in the name of the very Blessed Virgin, throwing some medals of the Immaculate Conception and reciting some prayers. We had wished to give to this act some solemnity, but the presence of an all Protestant crew prevented us from holding a ceremony that they would not have understood and about which perhaps they would have blasphemed. All was done without fuss and without noise. On the second day we dropped anchor on the south east coast of San Cristoval, and on the third the Bishop landed in order to see if there was a possibility of making a settlement there, at least a little later, for at present he wanted only to situate himself at a central point, from which he was able to spread out and there be at one of the extremities of his vicariate. What surprised us, my dear Henri, when looked at close range at these natives of the Solomon islands, that they had been depicted to us as ferocious beasts incapable of being (tamed) and that the captain of our schooner feared so much that he had prepared snare traps, a vast network of cords which rises above he bridge of the boat several feet in height, and which forms a kind of wall, and which for several days the crew were busy casting balls, and preparing cartridges, and sharpening sabres. The natives appeared to us altogether good. They come in a crowd selling yams, taro, cocoa, and they always seem satisfied with the iron, glass jewellery, and bottles that we give them in exchange. They even gave us proofs of justice and generosity, so much so that we almost took their part against those who seemed determined to slander them. Nevertheless, various reasons compelled us to leave them, but we only took away from them a heart wounded by grief and only consoled by the hope of returning one day. We did not know then the designs of God for these people! We made for Isabel, running alongside the south-east coast of Guadalcanal. On the 12th we arrived and at once were surrounded by canoes, the paddlers of which seemed to us more lively and more boisterous than at San Cristoval. Nevertheless their gestures of friendship and the proposals that they do business with us, compelled us to think well of them. We anchored towards midday; at four o’clock the Bishop was engaged in visiting them. The natives who came on board, according to the custom of these people, told us all that they all were good and of the number of our friends, but showing us a point about two leagues distant, they added that there lived bad men who would kill us if we went to them. This is how at least we understood it. We announced this to the Bishop who thought that the word matemate, was used by one who wished perhaps to speak of an illness caused by the fever, and indicated only an unhealthy area, or better that the natives were only speaking in this way through enmity. The visits continued. In the evening of the 14th, we made other observations to the Bishop. We had seen bracelets, necklaces, belts of human teeth, and enough was said that we could no longer doubt that the natives were cannibals. But moreover, as no one showed any repugnance to stay there, we resolved to see anyhow if we did not find a place to establish ourselves.
On the 15th the Bishop returned late, wet to the bone, and overcome by fatigue. On the 16th, having risen later than usual, he made his meditation which he preferred to do before his office, and set out. He spoke to us these two remarkable words : If I listened only to nature, I would dispense myself from the task today … and … I will return in good time He was mistaken. At 11 o’clock he was brought back to us bathed in his blood, struck by five blows of the hatchet in the head, and by two spear blows, and lethal from all sides. Four days later, we buried his mortal remains in an isolated corner of an inhabited island close to Isobel island, and we were still terrified that we might lose our reverend Father provincial, also struck in this attack with two blows of a club.[3] The tribe that had been indicated to us as bad was the author of everything: after having surrounded the members of the expedition, they had suddenly attacked them and it was only with great trouble that reverend Father Chaurain had been able to save the body of his bishop. The second officer of the ship had also been wounded. You can, my dear Henri, understand what a blow for us was the death of the Bishop. We were young recruits going into battle for the first time, and our captain fell on the field of battle. If God had not sustained us, we would have lost all courage. But Mary came to our aid and I am astonished now at the calm, despite our sadness, which reigns in our decisions. Then I clearly understood the power of graces of state.
We continued the visits as if nothing had happened. But all well considered, we thought that there were too many dangers to run, to take on ourselves the setting up of a mission.[4] We reminded ourselves also that our divine Saviour had told the apostles to fly when they would be persecuted, and we took the route to San Christoval, this time travelling along the north-west coast of Guadalcanal.
We arrived on the 28th on the north-west coast among a tribe where there were three natives who, having been in Sydney knew the English language and knew a little of European customs: this was for us a great advantage, but did not want that. In addition, there was scarcely any possibility of forming there an establishment to nourish ten people, the anchorage was so poor that the captain refused to stay there. So we left, but we took one of the natives who had been in Sydney.
On the 2nd of January travelling along the coasts we saw an opening which appeared to us on the port side. I was sent to reconnoitre and indeed I found a magnificent basin enclosed on all sides, where there was no danger in casting anchor. Then I saw in turn a rather large village, two smaller villages, and plantations which appeared to me to presume a large population. The Holy Virgin had reserved this place for us that we called from then on Saint Mary. Hardly had I given an account of my exploration, than we arrived, and that’s where we are now, and at the hour when I have written to you, the Cross of the Saviour has begun to shine for what is called the Solomon Islands.
You desire no doubt to know, my dear Henri, how we set about establishing our base. I am going to tell you. At first we welcomed the natives and distributed to them some small presents, taking care to win above all the regard of their chief Maimara, a good old man whom we had seen on our first trip and who had charmed us with his bounty. Then by means of an interpreter we told them that we were coming to stay with them, not to take their riches from them, but rather to give them clothes and iron. Until then all went well; but when we had chosen a site where we would be able to be independent, and which we wished to purchase, the difficulties arose. There interminable discussions at which each added his reflections and the natives seemed suspicious of our project, which I concede, must have appeared to them a little extraordinary. Moreover, the ownership not being very distinct, a thousand claimants presented themselves, of which some said they had the ground, others the trees, and who all insisted on conserving these while yielding the ground. Finally agreement was reached, and our interpreter announced to us with much importance that we were able to begin our works. We did not delay a minute and after having place medals on the ground and recited some prayers, we began to cut the trees which covered the site of our future house.
It was the 6th January. From that day till the present moment, at which, owing to an indisposition I am not at work, and of which I am taking advantage in order to write to you, there has been no let up in preparing the ground, looking for timber and preparing it, all difficult work which we would perhaps have been unable to complete without the help of the natives, above all those of the tribe of Maimara who always appeared devoted to us. For the rest, my dear brother, do not think that these works were of a kind to overwhelm us. Grace sweetened what could have been burdensome, and the single thought, that they were bound up with the spiritual success of the mission in safeguarding us from being dependent on the natives, encouraged us strongly in maintaining a profound peace and an unalterable serenity of soul, even when drenched with sweat, soaking with the rain, and feeling one’s hands covered with blisters. After all would it not be a cheap price for heaven, and the happiness of procuring it for so many others, if with these little sacrifices we arrived there one day followed by some natives?
I wish to hide nothing from you, my dear Henri, because if your superiors one day sent you to the mission, a favour that I desire for you, it is necessary that your soul be prepared for trials. I will tell you now that we have had vexations troublesome enough. Our interpreter has left us, and we have had to give up the benefits that we hoped to receive from him for the study of the language, and then we have had several alarms. The tribes of the Toros, enemies of that of Ione of which Maimara is the chief, have come several times apparently to help us, but deep down with the intention of stealing from us, which was easy for them in the beginning when we had no shelter, and they could profit from the time of our meals to pilfer from us. Fortunately we have always been warned by our friends and we have been able to be on our guard, but notwithstanding there were enough bad moments to make us always uneasy. God has protected us and now, with a solid house, we have less to fear. For the rest, we have made these tribes welcome, we have given them clothing material, and perhaps their dispositions have been changed. Would that they were so, and they would do only the evil which God will permit, and not a hair of our head would fall without His order. This is a very consoling thought for us, which I am sure, will work prodigies for us, if that were well engraved in our soul, for on the mission there is no lack of objects to humiliate you, and to see clearly that you are nothing, but for the absolute confidence in God, you haven’t it always so easily. And with humility and confidence what can you not hope for.
Now, my dear Henri, I am going to make known a little of the people and the country which God has given me as my lot. The natives are black or rather sallow bordering on black, of medium height, the hair of some woollen, of others like ours. Their teeth are all blackened by the use of betel. Their nose is flattened, their lips slightly prominent, their eyes generally lackluster, their facial angle more developed than that of the negroes that I have seen at the Cape of Good Hope. They are completely nude, but if they put ornaments on the body, which almost always are made of shells or the teeth of dog, pig or fish. Mentally they are big children. Vain to the point of ridicule, with pride they wear suspended from their neck a piece of broken china, as did Maimara to whom we had given one of these precious fragments. They appeared very light-fingered, and we knew by experience the extent of their shrewdness in carrying out a theft. This is natural to the natives. What’s more, I believe them hospitable, and among themselves, those of the same tribe practice well enough, the community of goods. They seem cunning too, and their chief has all the appearance of a politician. He always has ready some gifts for the captain of the ship or the reverend father provincial. The diet of the natives consists of fish, taros, yams, cocoa, bananas, breadfruit, and some other less useful fruit. They have a species of cooking for themselves and they make cakes which they have offered to us and which are not to be disdained. Sometimes they can catch a tortoise. As well as this food, they have the betel nut which they use daily, perhaps necessary because of the nature of their food, and which a bitter n[ut] which they chew with some leaves of the pepper plant and chalk pounded and spread. At the moment when the chalk touches the juice crushed from the betel and the pepper leaf, it becomes blood red and it is this which disagreeably colours their mouth and lips.
Their dwellings are simple frames, covered with palm leaves and often adorned with sculptures and paintings. As to their industry, that merits close attention. They make fine utensils in wood studded with selected shells, and weapons with a frightening appearance, such as clubs, lances and bows. But, where they most use art, is on their boats. I have seen twenty men would go comfortably and all breathe in unison. They also have dances and a kind of music.
Their country, although mountainous, offers resources; there are woods for dyeing and I suspect for spices. Moreover, the naturalist would find there what would satisfy his curiosity and if only in the variety of parrots he finds there, he would be able to make discoveries. There are also plenty of magnificent insects and plants that I believe are new to science. Later I will be able to occupy myself with them, but at present that’s impossible.
What shall I say, my dear Henri, of the state of these people from a religious viewpoint? Alas, some things little consoling, but very useful if they can arouse a prayer, a sacrifice better, in their favour. They are in appalling darkness. Totally taken up by the material, they see nothing beyond. The yam and the cocoa which nourish them, behold the object of their desires; the neighbouring tribe at which they take offence, behold the object of their hate. After that, no raising of the spirit and the heart to God! And then the vices! I lack the courage to enumerate them. Ah! If only I was a philosopher, I will not try, I assure you, to recall these unfortunate aberrations of the truth, for I believe the thing impossible to human resources, but I am going in the name of Him who has promised to be always with the apostles and whose faith has conquered the world and then I have some hope. If it was only given to perform least well and spend my life without baptizing a single infidel, I would consider always the immense grace that God has given to me to see what happiness it is to be born in the bosom of the Catholic Church. No, I do not believe that our atheists really believe in the sight of the savage delivered from all the caprices of nature and that they would not write: Poor human reason, how pale are your insights by comparison with those of the faith or rather that you are in darkness from the viewpoint of the light of religion.
Farewell, my dear brother, farewell! Pray very much for me, for everyday I discover more and more that I am unworthy of my vocation. Thousands of occasions of merit present themselves and I let them escape without profit; it is only afterwards that I perceive my foolishness. Self-love always follows [me] and, more than the fear of the natives with their lances and arrows, it really deprives me of precious graces, to take up arms against myself. Pray them, I repeat, very much for myself, for I have extreme need of it. Moreover, you owe it a little out of justice, because I do not forget you; on Wednesday and Saturday, I recite the rosary for Gabriel, Auguste Rouet and yourself, and at the Holy Sacrifice, I commend you to God, in so far as I can. I beseech you to make of yourself a worthy son of St Ignatius, to engrave well in your heart these sublime words which have become the war-cry of your venerable society: To the greater glory of God. It is very necessary that there are men who adopt this device. Hell, the world and the flesh have their supporters who work only for them, and the Lord of heaven and earth, has not had His devoted servants? I assure you, my dear Henri, that I have often reflected on this during the occurring of all the difficulties that I have seen happen to the sailors of the world, and I believe that we must blush in accepting so little for God. Goodbye. I would not finish if I listened to myself, and it time to end this letter.
I embrace you from the bottom of my heart in Jesus and Mary.
Your dear brother,
X(avier) Montrouzier
mis(sionnary) ap(ostolic)
P(ost) S (criptum). Write to me a little at length. My respects to Reverend Father Ogerdins, to whose prayers O commend myself and to the other reverend fathers Andouard and Coneille, from Lyons, if you have occasion to see them.


  1. Of the year 1845 (cf. doc. 439)
  2. Si 7.40 In omnibus operibus tuis memorare novissima tua, et in aeternum non peccabis. (TOB) Si.7.36 Whatever you do, remember your last end and you will never sin.
  3. It is Jean-Pierre Fremont who received two blows with a club in the attack (cf. doc.448,12, where he is called ‘provincial’; and doc 5, where he is called ‘provicar’). Not to be confused with Philippe Calinon, provincial of the Marist in central Oceania (cf. doc. 344, 1, n.1;372,2, n. 2; 436, 12 ).
  4. [ Note of the author crossways in the margin] These dangers will disappear shortly, through communications established between the natives of the different islands, they will know who we are and we will be able to speak the language a little.