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31 August 1848 — Brother Aimé Mallet to Father Victor Poupinel, Anatom, Vanuatu

Translated by Mary Williamson, July 2018

Based on the document sent, APM ONC 208 Mallet.

Sheet of paper written on both sides, the second page having also the address and Poupinel’s annotation.

To Mr / the Very Reverend Father Poupinel / procurator at Puylata / Lyon
[in Poupinel’s handwriting]
Annatom[1] 31st August 1848 / Mr Mallet.
(New Hebrides) Anatom, Bay of Saint Joseph 31st August 1848.

My Very Reverend Father,
I was pleased to receive, from the hand of the Reverend Father, the procurator in Sydney, the sum of 7870 francs that you had sent to him on my behalf; this money arrived at a very suitable time, to pay for the freight from the Arche d’Alliance, which had brought our Fathers to Annatom. This providential help rescued them from great embarrassment, given that Mr Marceau was not able, despite his good will, to offer credit for the passage. This having been said in passing, you will soon once again see this venerable captain who is admired by all who know him; he is returning to France and at this time should be in Tahiti.
At the moment we are receiving news from Sydney, with an extract from one of your letters, dated 20th March 1848 which informs us, along with the newspapers, of the dramatic news from France. [2] More than ever we call upon the protection of the Blessed Virgin for our homeland and our Society. Do not leave us for long without news, for in the current circumstances it will be more precious than ever. On the first possible occasion let us know about Fathers Mondon and Nivelot, who we left in Madeira, as we know nothing at all of what has happened to them. [3]
I have not yet received any news of my parents and am astonished that they have not given you some letters for me to include with yours. I am very anxious that my land at Poule be sold so that they might be able to pay the bills that I incurred at the house; but if this has not happened, they must be patient, as the latest events must have dealt a great blow to property sales and I believe it will be better to wait than to sacrifice it; in that case if the Society can make use of it by inhabiting it or making a profit from it, you know that everything is at your disposal by organising it with my sister, Madame Déprelle, Buisson Street, number 4.
I recall with gratitude the care that you lavished on us when we left. Thanks be to God, I am well and am very content. I am beginning to play the role of doctor; first I had to care for several of our Fathers, Brothers and children of the mission; then I visited several of the natives. Two successful cures have begun to create a reputation for me with them.
Farewell, Reverend Father, I particularly commend myself to your prayers and to those of the Fathers who I name here for you, while asking you to offer them my respectful greetings, the Very Reverend Fathers Colin, superior and director, Lagnet, Aymard, Mulsan, Chartignier, Milhaut, Ricotier [4] Maîtrepierre, etc. Please assure the Brothers of my friendship, especially those that I knew. If Bishop Douarre is still in France, please express to him our great desire to have him with us and assure him of my deep respect and complete devotion.
Yours sincerely
your very humble and obedient servant
and brother in Jesus and Mary,
Aimé Mallet.


  1. Aneityum (also known as Anatom or Keamu) is the southernmost island of Vanuatu, in the province of Tafea.
  2. No doubt the fall of Louis-Philippe, king of the French, on 24th February 1848 and the proclamation of the republic in France on 25th February.
  3. Hippolyte Mondon, who fell gravely ill a few days after the departure from Marseille of the thirteenth group (of which the author was a member), and was left on 7th November 1847 at Funchal on the island of Madeira with Charles Nivelleau to care for him. These two Fathers left Madeira for Rio de Janeiro on 30th December, and were unable to leave there till towards the end of July 1848; the ship on which they embarked was to stop at the island of Saint Catherine on the Brazilian coast on 14th August because of the serious illness of the captain and it is there that they find themselves at the time of my sending of this current letter, not being able to leave till 23rd October 1848. They then passed by Valparaiso, Callao (Peru), the island of Nuku Hiva (in the Marquesas) and the island of Tahiti to arrive on 23rd April 1849 in Apia on the island of Upolu in Samoa and finally, on 2nd May on the island of Wallis (see volume 10, “Departures and arrivals of missionaries” 13th departure).
  4. No doubt the Marist Fathers Jean-Marie Millot and Jean-Claude Rigotier.

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