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22 June 1850 — Bishop Guillaume Douarre to Father Jean-Claude Colin, Isle of Pines

Translated by Peter McConnell, January 2011

Isle of Pines, 22 June 1850
Very Reverend Father,
I am in a hurry to scribble down these few lines to you only to let you know I am still in the land of the living. The state corvette The Alcmène is at anchor at the Isle of Pines; it has come from Samoa and Wallis where it has left the missionaries who were chosen to be at the centre. I will not give you any details on that mission station as I have received only one letter from Father Vachon who has informed me that Father Dubreul is at Samoa and that the bishop’s schooner has been thrown onto the coast without anybody being able to do anything with it other than finish destroying it.
The commander of the Cocyte arrived from Tonga Tapu and has also written to me, and here are his own thoughts relative to our priests: “I was sent to Tonga Tapu to visit your missionaries or rather those of Bishop Bataillon, and I and I was busy enough here, it hurt me to see the unravelling of our mission stations; the one at Tonga Tapu consists of only two missionaries, Fathers Calinon and Chevron. They have had no news from their bishop for fourteen months. Thanks to your generosity, worthy bishop, I was ale to leave them a little Tenerife, because really I was spoilt incredibly by you; it is a blessing for me finding sometimes such a good job.”
Father Mondon wrote to Father Chapuy. He informed him that he stepped on a trap laid by the Protestants and that he has been suffering for five months and obliged to stay in bed. He informs him also that Brother Louis has been at death’s doors as a result of dysentery and he has difficulty in recovering. The corvette did not stop at Futuna; the officers told me that our Catholics from New Caledonia arrived there and have been welcomed by the main chief Sam. Two missionaries with Father Mathieu have been left there until further instruction; you will learn more about it from those clergymen who must have written to you. I can’t give you news of our missionaries at Sydney, those on the Isle of Pines are sometimes well and sometimes poorly; despite my care and medical remedies, we are unsuccessful to clearing up entirely their fever.
I will not repeat what I have old you in previous letters; my feelings are still the same and my wishes are always for New Caledonia. It is possible that we could return there; visits by English ships which I have told you about in former letters are significant. Providence will decide and arrange everything for he best; we are busy nonetheless. The commander of the Alcmène is coming. I will leave you and go and see him. Please accept the respectful homage of all your children and of the one who is of least importance.
+G(uillaume), Bishop of Amata
Vicar Apostolic of New Caledonia.