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17 September 1853 — Father Xavier Montrouzier to Father Victor Poupinel, Balade, New Caledonia

Translated by Peter McConnell, June 2011

Based on the document sent, APM ONC 208 Montrouzier.

[p. 4]
Au révérend père § Le révérend père Poupinel, procureur des missions § Lyon

[In the handwriting of Poupinel]
Balade, 17 September 1853 § Fr Montrouzier

J(esus) M(ary) J(oseph). All through Mary!

Reverend Father,
Thanks for the two fine letters dated September 1852 and April 1853. I am happy to have been able to get you some biological specimens which may have pleased the very Reverend Father Colin. Since he is keen to have birds, I am using my spare time stuffing some for him. But I think that it is not in ornithology that he has the best of chance of discovering things in our islands. I think that fish would be a more productive field of study. But in order to be of use in that field I would need specialist books as well as many many things for preserving specimens. I also need a good magnifying glass for the study of insects.
I am sending you the second and final part of my work on the entomology of Woodlark. I have added in that work some sketches of fish and the description of some shellfish and molluscs, I think it appropriate to confide them to Father Mulsant who is already busy with reading the first half or so it seems. If my few notes have the honour of being published and if I were sent copies of the work, I would ask you for a dozen copies for myself and I will beg you to send more so that I can offer one on my behalf to Father Duval, Professor of Botany at the Faculty of Science at Montpellier, one for Father Marcel de Serres, Professor of Mineralogy at the same faculty, and finally one for Father J.G.H. Kinberg, author of a zoological monograph on the Tragulus Javandeus and also to Father Mulsant.
I have not yet received my membership diploma from the Linnaeus Society, nor the prodomus of Dr Candolle, nor the work of Father Mulsant on ladybirds. I think that all that material is at present in Sydney.
I am sending you with this letter a schizoea which is unknown to me and which I daren’t as yet call a new discovery. If it has not yet been described, it could be described specifically under the name of Umbrellata. When alive it resembles a concave umbrella formation at its peak and appears very gracious. There lives in the woods of New Caledonia and on the Isle of Pines Trichomanes which exists as a parasite on the stem of a fern in a tree and which for this reason could be called a parasite if it does not already have a name. This fern is found in New Caledonia. Please offer the Linnaeus Society on my behalf the specimens that I am sending to you and ask them to have them described by some botanist.
Perhaps I am making you groan, Reverend Father, by giving you errands to do for me. It is true I scarcely expected being a missionary to be involved in Botany and Entomology. But I hope that these types of study will never turn me away from my duties as a missionary. Pray for me, so that I may know them and practise them; I have the impression that that is the most fervent desire of my heart.
United with prayers and Masses, I embrace you affectionately and beg you to believe me always to be your very humble servant and devoted fellow priest.
Xavier Montrouzier
Apostolic missionary
Society of Mary.