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Late October 1846 ─ Father Jean-Louis Rocher to Father Jean-Claude Colin, Sydney

Translated by Peter McConnell, September 2010

Very Reverend Father,
Bishop Douarre had a rather important discussion a few days ago with Doctor Gregory. Here is what it was all about:
According to English law, no Frenchman can become an owner of property in Australia or in the colonies that belong to or form part of the English realm. To activate the sale of the property, we have been forced as a result to deal with Father McEncroe, a respectable clergyman of Sydney, who has been willing to do us a favour in this circumstance allowing us to put the property in his name.
On his side he has given us in writing that he declares that he bought this property with money belonging to Father Rocher.
To cover ourselves even more, we intend to add to his clergyman the names of two other equally respectable Englishmen so that if one of the three in whose name the property is bought should happen to fail the other two would complain.
Furthermore these three people undertake in writing to pay a fine much higher than the value of the property if they happened conjointly or individually to sell the property partially or totally.
That is the only way for us to own property in England. All these documents have been signed in front of a lawyer.
While we were chatting about this matter with that venerable clergyman, Doctor Gregory came and then complained loudly about the excessive amount of acres being purchased. According to the synod, he said, every clergyman could own only 15 acres. Hence, if you want to have 30 acres, Father McEncroe will not be able to put his name to it.
I answered him saying that I know that but also I do not intend to act against your orders and that everything will work out in the end.
Returning to the bursar’s office, I shared that interview with Bishop Douarre, who decided to go immediately to Doctor Gregory and explain his understanding of this matter. That action was even more necessary as the following day the transfer of ownership of the property would take place. So it was essential to find out whether Father McEncroe would sign his name for us, because the bishop wanted to keep the 30 acres. Naturally I was in completer agreement.
So I went with him to see the archbishop with whom he had a conversation which lasted no less than two and a half hours. I will let the bishop to tell you all that conversation.
The results could not have been better. We got permission to keep 30 acres, to build a small chapel on our property and to celebrate a mass there.
We owe all these favours entirely to Bishop Douarre, who was willing to take us under his protection. The bursar’s office too promises him eternal gratitude.
Do accept my profound respect,
your very humble
and very obedient servant,
Marist priest.