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Fr JFR Pestre (Provincial) to Fr C Cognet (Superior of Maori Mission), Wellington, 20 March 1895

Translated by Brian Quin, February 2002




March 20/ (18)95

Reverend and very dear Father

I hasten to reply to your kind letter. First of all, a word or two about the accounts. We are not quite in agreement in our calculations. Your personal expenses amount to 2052fr. 05 – that is to say – to £82.1.6 (I am not worrying about the ½d). Now your four quarters for the year 1894 together add up only to the sum of £65.0.8. So there remains to your debit a difference, in balance, of £17.0.10 [à pendre? – to pass over?] to your 1895 quarters, instead of £12.1.6½ or 302fr 05, as you say. You calculate that your quarters for 1894 amount to 1750fr, but in reality £65.0.8 is the equivalent of only 1625fr 80. See which one of us is mistaken; if it’s me, I will hurry to correct my mistake. If I am right, your first quarter of 1895 (£16.5.2) would thus be absorbed. But it goes without saying that if you need money, I will hasten to advance you the second quarter for April-June; the only problem is that, at the end of the year, that will mix up [ ??] accounts for the year, which [ ??] with those beginning, but we would easily be able to remedy that later. So don’t trouble yourself about that. Besides, all your other quarters for 1895 [seront? – will be?] paid for you: it’s all [ ? ?]. It is from this difference in our calculations, probably, that another arises in the sum of general expenses to be written into the Maori mission accounts. According to you, this amount, after deduction of your assets, comes only to 2968fr 15c; according to my calculation, it would come to 3195fr 10c. See, if you have the time to do so, which of us two would be wrong. As I am obliged and wish to keep my accounts in good order, I am forced to go into the little details: so you will excuse me.

You say that Fr Leterrier, in order to simplify everything, is telling you to allocate to the balance [of the cost? – translator’s note] of the ticket for your journey the remainder of your allocation for 1893: could you tell me whether this remainder arises only from your fourth quarter – for October –December – or in fact from three quarters, that is to say from April through to December inclusively? This information would be very useful to me for setting right my accounts. I haven’t heard any word of the boxes that you mention, nor, consequently, [have I] received the [Inden ?] , although Fr Hervier informed me about the matter a long time ago. If they don’t arrive soon, it would be advisable perhaps to drop a line to Fr Aubry, who must leave for the islands after Easter: there is no time to waste.

I am very happy to see you so happy in your present position and doing so much good. I will speak favourably to the Bishop about your plan for skirmisher-priests, as you so fittingly call them, but I do not know whether that will come within his vision, especially as he is, at present, short of priests.

As I don’t know the situation sufficiently well, I don’t know whether your plan to set yourself up at Waitara would be the best; but I leave the decision to you, who are a good judge, having full knowledge of the ….? Writing this very day to Fr Leterrier I am requesting of him a new missionary to help you. If no one is sent, perhaps Fr Broussard, who has not left the Maori mission permanently, could become your assistant.

Be assured, reverend and dear Father Cognet, of my most sincere affection.

Your very devoted [ ???]
J F R Pestre