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27 October 1850 — Bishop Guillaume Douarre to Father Victor Poupinel, Sydney

Translated by Peter McConnell, February 2011

+ Sydney 27 October 1850

Reverend Father,
Just a few lines to thank you for all the letters that you have been so kind as to write to me giving me an account of various amounts of money which you have sent me and thanks to the intervention of the very Reverend Father Colin, quite sufficient for the upkeep of my mission station, had God wished to keep it.
Still counting on Divine Providence which has been so generous on my behalf, I would not have been able to afford sending to Futuna a certain number of New Caledonians with whom it will be easy to re-establish a mission station at Balade and I have been quite inspired by that thought.
Having been in Sydney for a week, I would dearly like to have already left and to be among my natives despite all the kindnesses and attentions of the Procurators who don’t let us lack for anything. Yet willy nilly I have to be patient until the arrival of letters which I am expecting from France and from Rome to make a decision. Will I have to wait for the arrival of Brother Jean who left on the corvette the Alcmène to go and visit our first mission station at Balade.
When he arrives I will know whether we are English or French and I truly fear that we will be English. Warships of the two nations are at this moment in New Caledonia to do Goodness knows what.
Heresy is on the move again. Six Anglican bishops assembled last week in Sydney and according to the newspapers it was to send missionaries to the Solomon Islands, New Hebrides and New Caledonia; five of them are preaching today in favour of that task.
The bishop from New Zealand made two trips in the company of the Havannah and the Fly to visit New Caledonia. It is very annoying that he is a heretic because as they say he has the eagerness of an apostle.
You see, dearest father, that the missionaries will have much to deal with and although they have the true religion and the promise of Jesus Christ to be with them, trials will not be absent, because if true to their past performances the Protestant missionaries will use against us their usual weaponry, calumny
I have not spoken to you about the mission station on the Isle of Pines. As far as material is concerned we are short of nothing; four cows provide the missionaries with plenty of milk; we have made some very good butter; the cheese is not so good but was edible. The garden provides vegetables in abundance; the poultry produce little or nothing exactly like the natives. They love us a lot because we give them tobacco; apart from that, they don’t want anything else and are still far from the kingdom of heaven. Dearest father, you will understand from this short letter that we are far from crying out to you; the Lord is sufficient.
I forgot to tell Father Bernin that I was expecting to find in Sydney a register of our expenses and a copy of my statement of accounts for the Propagation of the Faith. If I had to send them one right now, I would be very put out. Please be so kind as to tell the Propagation of the Faith not to forget to send them.
Nothing new at the Procurator centre apart from the preparations for the departure of Father Auliard and his brother as well as the departure of Michel Verrand for the Isle of Pines where he will replace Fathers Chapuy, Vigouroux and Mallet all of whom need a holiday, the former two because of malaria which they are still suffering from and the third cleric has overdone things. When they arrive, and I have been waiting for them for six weeks, the Procurators will be so kind as to give us a retreat. We have news from Woodlark. The priests don’t have any more malaria there. One brother whose name slips me at the moment and Father Ducretay arrived. The latter is about to go to the mission station of Bishop Bataillon.
Nothing else to report other than begging you to continue your services for us and do accept a warm embrace from your colleague.
Ever yours in Jesus and Mary,
+G(uillaume), Bishop of Amata,
Vicar Apostolic of New Caledonia.
Be so good as to give my regards to all our priests and brothers.
The name of the brother is Optat.