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18 September 1848 — Father Etienne Chaurain to Father Victor Poupinel, Sydney

Translated by Mary Williamson, August 2018

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

Sheet of paper folded to form four written pages, Poupinel’s annotation at the top of the first page.

[p.1, at the top of the page] [in Poupinel’s handwriting]
Sydney / 18th September 1848 / the Reverend Father Chaurain.
Sydney 18th September 1848
To the Reverend Father Poupinel

My Reverend Father,
Father Rocher in his various letters of June, July, August and September acknowledged receipt of your letters of credit, thus:
1º Credit of ₤781.5.5 — (January 1848)
2º Credit of ₤579.10.10 (March 1848)
3º Credit of ₤1309.1.8 (March 1848)
4º Credit of ₤159.18.8 (April 1848)
5º Credit of ₤797.19.6 (April 1848)
We have received all the preceding sums; but we are still awaiting the two credits of ₤400 each (total ₤800).
In your letter of 7th April 1848, you express the desire to know what arrangements have been made with Mr Marceau on his return to Sydney. My reply to this is:
1º Regarding the drafts of ₤400 and ₤300 (total ₤700) for the repairs to the brig Anonyme (on the account of Bishop Collomb, on whose account it is going to expedited), I can tell you that the sum of these two drafts has been entered into a report made in Sydney by Mr Marceau and sent to the Bishop for his approval.
According to this account, the balance due from Mr Marceau to Bishop Collomb was about 12,000 francs. (The reason why I am not able, at the moment, to be more precise about the amount of this sum is because Mr Marceau, who has left Sydney, forgot to leave us a copy of this account.) But since this accounting, the Anonyme, having been sent to the aid of Bishop Collomb, at the rate of 2500 francs per month, it is likely that the French Society will soon be freed of its debt to the mission in Melanesia. What is more with the next return of the Anonyme to Sydney and the letters of explanation that bishop Collomb will not fail to send us, we will know the exact state of this account.
2º The mission in New Caledonia (or Anatom) has been payed for its bill of 20,000 francs by a draft of 20,800 (that you have paid for Mr Marizou). The 800 francs, as I have already said to you in my letters of advice, are to cover the loss in exchange or commission on the draft in Sydney.
3º The only sum, which I know for the moment the French Society owes to the mission, is a draft for 20,800 that you alone can reclaim from Mr Marizou in France.
Would it be possible for you to soon pay this sum and would it be possible for you to send it to us here as soon as possible, in favour of the procurator in Sydney!! We would be very grateful, as it is very necessary for me to say to you that the draft for ₤300 that you say that you have seen on the books of Messrs. Widow Guérin and sons, has never eventuated, unless you are speaking of one of the two drafts for the Anonyme that I have spoken to you about, above. So that according to this mistake the procurator is said to have received 7,590 francs, that have not arrived. And I think it useful to repeat to you what Father Rocher has already told you, that the procurator has not yet ever produced drafts for his own needs. I recall having warned the Superior General that, considering the expenses brought about by the visit of the Caledonian mission to the procurator’s establishment, they would perhaps also be obliged to resort to the use of drafts; but the subsequent receipt of some money in its favour has fortunately put us in a position to manage our needs without using any drafts.
But (as I have already said to you, as well as to Father Rocher several times) here we are once again housed in Sydney in the cheapest possible way. We have money in all the banks in Sydney for the missions but almost nothing for the procurator. I believe that you will oblige us to live on the money for the missions; and then, how will we make the bishops understand what the Superior tells us to say to them: “that the procurator has his allocations independent from theirs”?
But that is enough of figures. Where is France up to at the moment? When will they all begin to get along with each other? The English people here scoff at the French with their fine words of “liberty, fraternity, equality” when in fact, what do they claim to do? I believe that as long as the fear of death does not hold back the rabble in France, everything will go very badly, I mean that as long as the people are flattered, they will not be mastered. Here everything is calm, but it is a flat calm; no commercial activity.
If it is possible for you, could you please let my mother know and my brothers too, that I am well. I will soon write to my brother the student. I thank you for the visits that you have made to my mother. Tell them all that I would write to them much more often if I was not persuaded that you do not fail to frequently let them know my news.
Pray for the procurators; you know that they have a hard time.
Best wishes to you in the blessed hearts of
Jesus and Mary.
Etienne Chaurain.

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