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18 December 1846 — Bishop Pierre Bataillon to Father Victor Poupinel, Samoa

Translated by Peter McConnell, October 2010

+ Mission of Our Lady of Victories
Island of Upolu, Samoa
aboard the Arche d’alliance 18/12/1846

To the Procurator General
of the Missions
Reverend Fr Poupinel

Very Reverend Father,
First of all many thanks for all the trouble you have taken for our central station in the mission fields. It is in the name of all fellow clergymen and our converts that I am offering you our very sincere thanks for the zeal that you show for our missions far away.
I am including in his letter one for the Reverend Father Superior General. Do have the kindness to read it and to give an account of it to the superior to save him the trouble of reading such an insignificant scribble; you will see in the letter news of our mission stations which I will not repeat here.
We received in good condition the things you sent us. All of us are now well turned out; we couldn’t be better; clothes, shoes, various items of clothing because we received at the same time two different deliveries. So you don’t have to send us anything in the first communication which you will make after receiving this letter. I have not heard here about the missionaries on board the Arche d’Alliance, spending a year in passage. Their supplies are half used up and they are not as well turned out as the former missionaries.
Henceforth you will have much less embarrassment. The ships of the Society supply almost everything we need in the mission field. Before saying farewell, I will give Mr Marceau all the necessary notes on that matter. Mr Marceau received 31500 francs in a barrel and 4000 in four sacks. We have not received those four sacks. Mr Marceau had no knowledge of them. We thought that they were left in Le Havre and that it was with those 4,000 francs that you had made the final payments which you spoke to me about in your last letters. Be so kind as to explain this matter.
From now until we have the means to make our own habits and shoes, you will have to send them to us from France. For the hats, it also seems economical to send us from France from time to time some made of felt rather than buying them in Oceania where a good straw hat costs 15 francs at Valparaiso. Furthermore we will warn you every time that it is not necessary to send us some articles of clothing which you are in the habit of sending us. Apart from items of clothing and objects for the church, we find everything in the ships of the Society and later on when we need to set up workshops for a tailor, cobbler, etc, everything well regulated, your dispatches will be reduced to church items alone.
It will be only after our trip to the various mission stations that we will write to the two councils of the Propagation of the Faith and we will send you at the same time the notes which you will need to write a report which will be present to those gentlemen to guide them in their allocations. In the meantime please write your reports according to that you know from what we have written to you and of what we propose to do. You know the number of the newly created mission stations, our schooner, the printing press, the college especially and I have the feeling that with these ideas you will have no difficulty in making your reports. As far as the number of converts is concerned, it has not increased much since our last letters.
Do remember me to all the priests of the Society and to their prayers! Pray yourself for us and all our mission stations and do believe that we are still with you in prayers and holy sacrifices.
Your very humble and obedient servant Pierre, bishop and apostolic vicar.
PS We received the paper for the printing press; it was in a good condition. It is exactly according to the wishes of Father Grésel who is now in charge of the printing. You must have received a kind of inventory of our printing in which there was in a column what we already have and in the other column what we still need. At the end was added what we needed most urgently, the things we lack and especially the script letters. If, when receiving his letter, you haven’t already sent those objects, please send them urgently because it is vital that the printing press should be operative for the good of our mission stations. We will send you by the Arche d’Alliance all our printed material and by it you will send more details which we are not sending you on this occasion.
They say Bishop Douarre has left for France. When you have the honour of seeing him, you will tell him that I have sent him 20,000 francs to New Caledonia and that Father Roudaire is going to go there in three or four months time, but Fathers Mugniéry and Verne have stayed in the central mission station replacing Fathers Roudaire and Grange whom we were unable not to replace.