HD1/10, 11, 11I
Translated by P Kiley April 2000
L(ouis) Perret to Colin??
Sydney 3rd August 1841
Very Reverend Father Superior
At first I did not dare to communicate to you a few ideas I had on the missions, thinking that they needed to be mulled over longer and to be examined carefully; but since they are about people who are serious and completely devoted to religion, and since you will perhaps be having an interview with Monsignor Polding, I am taking the liberty of adding this supplement to the letters which I have already sent.
There is the general belief here that God and the Holy Virgin will bless the New Zealand mission. It is considered as a very important mission because of the role that this country is called to play in the future because of its position, its wealth, its fertility and the intelligence of its inhabitants.
The objections that are made are, 1* that the mission is entrusted to Frenchmen, and to Frenchmen who, only with difficulty have enough knowledge of the English language to exercise the ministry in the big cities which in a few years will be made up almost entirely of English people; 2* that the government has not the same confidence in our missioners as it would have if they were its subjects, and that consequently it will not protect them as much in the exercise of their ministry, and for the establishment of churches, houses of education, and other establishments of this kind so necessary for the development of the Catholic Faith; a protection and support that it is going to give constantly to the Protestant ministers from the moment that the new Protestant bishop, whom it is said has already been named, will arrive in New Zealand .
Therefore I am very much persuaded, as I have already had the privilege to tell you, that a house for Marists in London, a sort of procurator’s house, would be very important for the good of the mission. Apart from the advantages of facilitating the departures of the missioners, of reducing expenses, of being a fruitful nursery for the sm3 especially at this moment when so many conversions are taking place in England, and when so many priests would be wanting to become religious. As I say, apart from these advantages, this house would provide for the mission English missioners who, knowing well their language, would be able to exercise the holy ministry fruitfully in the big cities of the mission: that would answer the first objection; it would give to the English government all the guarantees that it could want, since these missioners or at least a part of them would be its subjects, and would then receive from it protection, help and support; this would answer the second objection.
No doubt there would be many other advantages that I do not know, since I am not au courant with the mission. They still say that the English missioners would also succeed better in other respects in the English cities, and that the French missioners would succeed better in the country with the natives. Perhaps there are disadvantages in executing this plan that my inexperience prevents me from properly taking into account.
Be so kind, Father, to examine everything before God; it is a question of the salvation of several million souls, as you understand better than I. Be so kind to excuse me also for allowing myself to make these reflections, which are made only in the desire to gain the glory of God.
I still think, as I have already had the privilege of telling you, that a Marist religious, a man of experience, who could help His Lordship with his advice and even replace him in case of need, would be very precious for the mission, because it is impossible for His Lordship to be able to do everything in spite of the zeal and the truly apostolic activity that animates him. This letter will serve to inform you of a very interesting letter from Bishop Pompallier, several of my letters for you, Father, and for my very dear parents. Our missionaries arrived on the 6th of June at Kororareka, all in good health. I arrived at Sydney on the 25th of June after a crossing of 48 days. I leave tomorrow the 5th of August for the Bay of Islands. M Dausse returned to France following the advice of Monsignor Griffith. He left from the Cape on the 20th of April. Kindly remember me to M Cholleton, your brother and M Girard. I ask them and you to remember me in fervent prayer.
- Yours respectfully
- L Perret
The house in London would be well placed to succeed with requests to make to the government. The French missionaries would easily learn the English language there. I have asked M Cooper of London to open a credit of 5,000 francs for me in Sydney. Kindly advise my brother about it. This sum will be placed in reserve in the Bank of Australia in Sydney.
I suffered less during this last voyage, but God has still much tested me. May his holy name be blessed!
Translator’s note: the following handwritten addition note was made to the Original:
- On Louis Perret, see the Annales de Marie Volume XI N.66-15 November 1932 – pages 303-305. He had left for New Zealand in 1840. He returned to France in 1857. He died at Lyon the 7th of June 1882.