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4 & 6 April 1848. —- Father Jean-Louis Rocher to Father Victor Poupinel, Sydney

Translated by Mary Williamson, August 2016

Based on the document sent, APM OP 458 Rocher.

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

To the Reverend Father Poupinel
[in the handwriting of Poupinel]
Sydney 4th April 1848 / the Reverend Father Rocher

Ad majorem Dei gloriam & Dei genitricis Marie virginis

Sydney 4th April 1848.

To Reverend Father Poupinel.

My Reverend Father,
I am pleased to acknowledge the receipt of your letters dated 1st, 14th and 26th October 1847, in which I found the original and duplicate of a credit note for the sum of ₤236.00 sterling. Also the original of another credit note for the sum of ₤314.16 sterling for the account of Mr Mallet. [1]
Never, my dear colleague, has a sum of money arrived at a more convenient moment. I thank you most sincerely, may the Good Lord repay you! We have been obliged, for a long time, to live on the funds belonging to the missions of New Caledonia and Melanesia.
But today we must pay our debts. This week the brig Anonyme leaves for Woodlark and the following week it is the turn of the Arche d’Alliance, which will take our colleagues to Port Saint Vincent, in New Caledonia. Once our debts are payed nothing much will be left to us, I’m sure.
So please, if you can, send us the rest as soon as possible, or at least part of the rest of our allowance, which would give us the greatest of pleasure. There are twenty of us at the procurator’s residence, all in good health and with good appetites; so you can imagine that in the past six months the procurator’s funds have undergone a major reduction.
Our dear colleagues from New Caledonia would dearly love to be able to help with the expenses that their stay at the procurator’s have generated; but the embarrassing situation in which they find themselves will probably prevent them from contributing as much as they would wish.
In your letter of 26th October, you told me that you were in a very embarrassing position, in having us pass on the various sums that you owe to the missions, because of the poor state of the business affairs in London.
As for England, I have no idea where she is up to, where her commerce is concerned. And in Sydney business seems, on the surface, to be much as usual. Nevertheless, some people are apprehensive because of the bankruptcies in the capital city. Wool, they say, despatched to the capital from Sydney last year, has mainly not been sold.
I have also questioned several people about the reliability of some banks in Sydney. Generally, the replies that I received suggested that any one of them was as safe as another. At the top of the list they would put The Union Banking Company, the bank of New South Wales.
The Commercial Banking Company is, I believe, as reliable as any of the others, but, as certain employees have been found lately to be unreliable, its reputation has been a little damaged.
For our peace of mind, when we have had a larger sum of money, we have divided it between two or three banks.
Father Villien, who we took to Rotuma so he could be transported on to the mission in Melanesia, was not able to be taken to his main destination because of the bad weather, so he came back to Sydney with me. He leaves tomorrow on the brig Anonyme.
Next week the Arche d’Alliance will set sail for Port Saint Vincent. From there, she will go to Tahiti where she will be repaired. In Sydney, nothing was repaired except the rudder. She will not be taking any cargo, but will probably go to seek some on the coast of America.
Farewell, my Reverend Father, would you be so kind as to present my respects to Father Maîtrepierre as well as to the Reverend Father provincial, who I intend to write to soon.
Remember me to the Reverend Fathers Germain, Millot and Dubreul etc.
Your very humble
and very obedient servant,
Rocher, missionary priest.
As soon as our accounts are in order, I will write at greater length.

Sydney 6th April 1848
I have just received the letter form Father Dubreul, dated 21st December 1847, addressed to Father Chaurain. I found in it the original of a credit note on your account for the sum of ₤312.18.4. I acknowledge receipt and thank you very much.
Your very humble servant,
missionary priest.


  1. Brother Aimé Mallet. Colin had given him general permission to dispose of the goods he had inherited to help his parents and “the mission to which I belong”. (cf. doc. 823, § 5-6); These funds will serve to help the Marist missionaries in Oceania. (cf. doc. 748, § 1-3; 854, § 5).

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