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3 November 1848 — Father Jean-Louis Rocher to Father Victor Poupinel, Sydney

Translated by Mary Williamson, January 2019

Based on the document sent, APM OP 458 Rocher

Folded sheet of paper, forming four written pages.

Sydney 3rd November 1848

To Father Poupinel.

My Reverend Father,
This current letter is to inform you of the receipt of your letter of 15th May, which like that of 1st May informed me of the distribution that I should make of the various credits that you have sent me.
I have also received a letter from the Reverend Doctor Heptonstall, in which I found a note for ₤392.3.1 sterling and a letter of credit for ₤392.3.2 sterling, which sums, following your instructions, I have placed in the accounts of Melanesia and central Oceania.
As it could have happened that the preceding letters I have had the honour of sending you, at different times, might have been intercepted, because of the problems that are troubling France at the moment, I am going to list for you the various credits that I have received.
1. Credit of ₤ 781.5.5 sterling.
2. Credit of ₤579.10.10 sterling.
3. Credit of ₤1,309.1.8 sterling.
4. Credit of ₤159.18.8 ditto
5. ditto of ₤797.19.6 ditto
6. ditto of ₤392.3.2 sterling
7. Note ₤392.3.1 sterling.
It is very annoying that in checking your account books you might have believed that the bill for ₤300 sterling, made by Father Chaurain, was for the account of the procurator. As I have had the honour of telling you, that bill was for the account of the mission in Melanesia. Up till now the procurator in Sydney has not received any bill for his own particular needs. As an error has been made, please have it rectified. Whilst awaiting your reply on this subject, I think that you would not find it amiss if, should we find ourselves in need, we retain something from the sums allocated to the mission in Melanesia, and pay it back later, if Lyon judges this necessary.
For a month now we have had Fathers Trapenard and Ducrétet at the Procurator’s. As the brig Anonyme arrived in Sydney a short time after, we had rather hoped to be able to hire it again to take our colleagues to their destination. Only one thing was worrying us a little and that was the winds which, as Mr Marceau said in his letters to Bishop Collomb, create seas that are unmanageable from September to March. But that was not exactly what was the main hindrance. The amount requested for the voyage was much too onerous for the mission. They were asking 17,500 francs. Here is why. As the captain and his officers as well as the sailors feared losing their wages, because of the news of the disasters in France, they did not wish to consent to return there except on condition that we would pay them all that was owed to them up till now. The lot, added together was ₤450 sterling.
As our colleagues at Woodlark did not ask to be visited immediately, but only in the month of March or April, we decided to wait. As for the brig, I believe that Mr Joubert has advanced them supplies to take them as far as Tahiti, where they are heading directly.
I have said nothing here about the missions, thinking that the Very Reverend Father superior will inform you of any news directed to him. The news that comes from Melanesia, in human terms, is very distressing, as it is almost certain that that mission has again lost its Vicar Apostolic.
When the brig left, His Lordship had no longer been able to speak for three days and had lost consciousness. His whole body was swollen. In other words, all hope of saving Bishop Collomb was lost.
As for our colleagues, they were all reasonably well except for Father Montrouzier, who still has the fever. It had taken him 5 days to write a short letter, in which he told me that for the last 8 days he could no longer recite his breviary.
Farewell my Reverend Father, please write to us often, for since the bloody struggle which happened in June in Paris, we are all very anxious.
I assure you of my respect,
Your very humble and very obedient servant,
Rocher, missionary priest.