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22 July 1854 -Father Jean-Louis Rocher to Father François Yardin, Sydney

Translated by Sr Marie Challacombe SM, July 2015

22 July 1854

Reverend Father,
On the 14th of this month, by the steamer The Queen of the South, I informed you that I had received the monies for the month of February, £784/6/3. Today I am acknowledging receipt of your letters from March 18, April 4, and May 4. As well as the following bills of credit:
£787/15/4 on the Commercial Bank
£784/6/3 on the Bank of Australasia
£392/3/3 on the Union Bank.
I was delighted to read that you were preparing a letter on the present state of the Society. I am impatiently waiting to send it to our confreres in Oceania who never stop complaining in their letters that they never receive news of the Society. Some even go so far as to believe that the Society has abandoned them. But this circular as well as the departure of the missionaries that you are getting ready will dissipate all these unfounded fears and restore peace and calm to their spirits.
I would be pleased if you would let me know as soon as possible the departure and the name of the boat which will be bringing our confreres to us.
As for the clothing our confreres in Caledonia asked for, I have not received any instructions about that. I would only point out to you that in Sydney, the style and the cloth are extremely expensive, particularly the manufacture.
Some months ago I asked for some breviaries. I have heard that there is an edition in two volumes. Please send me some copies. Fathers Trapenard, Favier and Bréhéret all need one. The 4th copy would be for me who is getting old and who needs spectacles for reading everything. If there are any new and interesting works which have come out I would be very happy to have some, and also some pretty artificial flowers for our chapel.
Last year I asked Reverend Father Poupinel for a set of boules, the departure of our confreres would be a good occasion to send them to us.
Last Sunday I received a letter from Fr Frémont dated 11 June. He is actually in Ile de Pins. He left Balade on May 4 aboard the frigate The Constantine accompanied by the steamer Prony in case it needed to be towed. On the 5th they anchored at Hienghène. He next day the captain’s aide-de-camp, accompanied by an interpreter, went to invite the chief, the famous Buarat, to come aboard. But he had all the trouble in the world accepting because he had been told that the French had chains. He finally arrived trembling but was gradually reassured by all the signs of kindness that the captain showed him. The purpose of the visit was explained to him, letting him know that by goodwill or force he must yield. The next day all the troops went ashore, the flag was raised thus taking possession to the sound of the muskets, and 21 canon-orbusiers, to which the corvette responded with 21 canons. Buarat asked to have the flag on his house which was granted on condition that he defend it, that he see to it that murder, cannibalism etc. were stopped. He promised everything, even to receive the missionaries. As proof he had the heads of the dead, trophies of his cruelty, removed from the front of his house. Anchor was raised on the 10th to set sail for Kanala. The Prony was sent to Tuo to visit the mission; everything went well and Fathers Vigouroux and Forestier were in good health. On the 16th the Prony rejoined the frigate at Kanala where they repeated the same salvo as at Hienghène. The harbour at Kanala is magnificent. They made a hydrography of it and one of the bays of the harbour which is called Amata. May 23 Fr Frémont went on board the Prony which was to take him to Ile de Pins, while the Constantine went on to Port St Vincent.
The Prony has just arrived in Sydney to take on provisions. I am not expecting to have any letters from our confreres because it has apparently just come from Port St Vincent.
Farewell, Reverend Father, please convey my respects to Fr Poupinel.
I am etc
Your humble and obedient servant
Marist Priest
The brother of Reverend Father Montrouzier was not on board the Prony.