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26 October 1847 − Father Etienne Chaurain to Father Victor Poupinel (2), Sydney

Translated by Mary Williamson, March 2014.

Based on the document sent, APM OP 458 Pro-procuratores.

Sheet of paper forming four pages, three of which are written on, the fourth having only the address and Poupinel’s annotation.

[p.4 Address]
France • via London • by Rifleman • Sir • Sir Poupinel Marist priest • Montée Saint Barthélemy 4 • Lyon • (Rhone) • − very hurried −
[in Poupinel’s handwriting]
Sydney 26th October 1847 • Father Chaurain

Sydney 26th October 1847

To Reverend Father Poupinel

My Very Reverend Father,
I hope that you will have received, some while ago, the letter that I sent you, on 1st of this month on the Paket, in which I informed you:
1º Of the distress that has overwhelmed the members of the mission to New Caledonia following the misfortunes that befell it:
2º Of the decision we have taken to send recent bills to France.
Now here, briefly, are the circumstances, which we felt authorised us to act in this way.
The bill for 20.000 frs that Mr Marziou[1] presented to Mr Marceau, to be paid by him for the benefit of Bishop Douarre or his representatives was not able to be paid by Mr Marceau at the time of his visit to New Caledonia. The men who belonged to the mission in New Caledonia find themselves, at the moment, taking refuge in the Procurator’s premises in Sydney, whilst trying to sort out their losses. They do not foresee that Mr Marceau will be in a position, even on his next visit to Sydney, to pay them the previously mentioned sum. So we believed we had the right to send back to Mr Marziou the bill he had presented and that this action would prove that it had not yet been settled by any one of the representatives of the French Society in Oceania. − As well, Dr Baudry, member of the French Society, who was witness to the course of events and who knows full well that the bill has not been paid, has sent a letter to Mr Marziou, explaining to him and fully justifying the steps we have taken.
Do not be surprised to find that the bill comes directly to you. I only charged it to you because I do not know Mr Marziou and besides, you are the only person who might legally demand the payment of a sum that he received from you personally and for which, I don’t doubt, he left you a receipt.

However, I hope that the only embarrassment you will suffer will be to pass on to Mr Marziou the bill and the draft that I am sending you, so that he can immediately receive the sum of 20.800 frs. which should be settled within thirty days.
That is the action that seemed to us the simplest to sort out this business; I just wish that it could be more like this in the course of our everyday business affairs. But I do not think we are aiming to do that at the moment. You will see for example, that on the enclosed bill Mr Mariziou authorises Mr Marceau to pay the sum of … to… − It seems to me that instead of authorising he would have been much better to have demanded …. − I also think it would not have been out of order to attach to this bill a time frame within which it should be paid. This entire account has no other meaning than this: We permit you to pay …. whenever you are able to or willing to, the sum of …. that we have received from a certain person for himself…. − It also seems that when you entrust money to the French Society for some of our missions, it would not be unwise to then inform the Procurator’s office in Sydney, so that the goodwill so essential to the wellbeing of the missions, might be better observed than it has been in the past.
Please be so kind as to receive these reflexions in the same spirit in which they are intended.
I have the honour of being your obedient servant, Etienne Chaurain.
Post Script. You know the position in which the Procurator’s office in Sydney finds itself as far as financial matters are concerned…..
The arrival of the missionaries, Brothers and natives from New Caledonia has not financially benefited us.
I still have no news of Bishop Douarre’s arrival in France.
Father Dubreul has sent us, from France, a dissertation rather than a letter. −
A rumour is circulating here that Bishop Polding has received 250.000 frs from the Queen of France.
I still do not know when the Arche d’Alliance will be back in Sydney, with Father Rocher.
Please pass on my respects to the Superior General and to Bishop Douarre − and my greetings to Father Germain and Father Dubreul (despite all)
We have not received any news form the Islands since the disaster in New Caledonia.
Etienne Chaurain.


  1. 1. Cf. doc.672, § 5,n.1.

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