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Fr Forest to Fr Garin, Auckland, 6 Aug 1842

Translated by Fr Brian Quin SM, June 2005

APM Z208 6 August 1842

Auckland, 6 August 1842
My very dear confrère
I am taking advantage of the opportunity given by Mr Fibs[1] – a fervent Catholic from Nelson who is going to the Bay of Islands – to send you my third letter. Perhaps you have not received the first two. However the people to whom I had entrusted them told me they had sent them to the house. You will find in the post a letter from Father Baty which he put in the mailbox three or four days ago. This good Father has been here in Aucklande since the 28th July. He very much wants to get to Kororareka as quickly as possible, but several reasons prevent him from doing so right now 1) the lack of money. We have only eight pence (16 sous) to live on, to pay 28 shillings for rent and three pounds sterling which had been borrowed. He does not dare to count on you either to pay for his passage, he is afraid that you are hardly any richer than we. The Catholics or the Government will make over to the priest who will be with them a sum of money big enough to feed three or four people with careful management; the government is making over one hundred pounds sterling. The Catholics will perhaps do the same. However they are very short of money. The collection which they had begun has been halted so as to put in order the accounts of the former (ones) [2] which are in a very bad state: it was necessary to choose four or five respectable Catholics owning property in Auckland to be what the English call trustees, in other words men who are responsible for the lands, goods (and) income which the Catholic mission may possess. I assure you that this quite small number [p2] was hard to find; however, today everything has been fixed up. People are going to continue the collection for the chapel and ourselves. We don’t yet have a kitchen. Not being able to do the cooking outside any more because of the bad weather, we have been forced to rent a flat at fourteen shillings a week – we have had it now for a fortnight. Father Borjon arrived here on the 27th July, having only three shillings to pay for his fare and to live on. The money that you had sent them from Kororareka was stolen on the ship Bla____[3] as I told you in my first letter.[4] We have paid for his journey from Maketu to Auckland. Four or five days after his arrival, having found a ship going to Nicholson, we made a special effort to find some money to pay for his fare. We had five pounds, neither more nor less. We needed eight – a sine qua non. I went to our good French lady who lent me three pounds, just for my account. So we were able to send the Father. Then we made out a little note to obtain from Mr Fitzgerald in Wellington for the fare of Brother Déodat, whom we sent with Father Borjon. They left last Sunday evening. They must be by now close to arriving in Nicholson. [5] Providence did not allow Father Rozet to come with Father Borjon, fortunately for us, for we would have been in a terrible difficulty.[6] However, we are expecting him any day. When he comes we will send him to you at Kororareka so that you can think over for some time, in the presence of the good God, whether or not to send him to Nicholson. Father Borjon is very much dreading being with him. It is thought that it would be a great good for him[7] and for the Society that he can spend a month or two at the mother house. [8]
As you can see, here we are without a Brother, without money, in the greatest possible difficulty. We hope that it won’t be long before you send us two Brothers – one for the kitchen and Brother Luc for our building activity. If we employ workers to build what is absolutely necessary for us, the little money our Catholics are providing will all be consumed by the wages. But if, on the other hand, you send us Brother Luc, we will have enough to buy all the wood we need and we will manage quite well, but if he does not come, we will be able to do only very little. The Catholics [p3] have no school of their own. They are sending the children to the Protestants’ (school). By using our money carefully we will have (enough) to build a little school. We have a piece of land big enough to have a garden quite sufficient for us, but we need someone to cultivate it – a Brother cook who has a bit of savoir-faire could easily put in five or six hours a day in the garden. If you know someone quite able to teach class to children we would welcome him with pleasure. He would be paid a little wage of… We also need a woman for the girls. How much there is to do! But have patience. God will help us. Let us pray, let us pray. Tell M. Yvert[9] not to forget the seeds which I asked for in my first letter, as well as the other things. I am passing on to you the letters from the Fathers at Maketu, on the decisions which they have taken and those which are to be taken.
As soon as we have money, Father Baty will leave for the Bay of Islands. However he will not leave before we have received some Brothers. Having no domestic help we are obliged to be two here. We do the cooking each in our turn. We go and fetch our water at night or rather we send a young French man for it, who comes to see us from time to time. We shut (ourselves) in my flat to make a bit of dinner… We would find enough people with some money, but without money – kahore.[10]
So, dear confrère, I hope you will not let another ship leave the Bay of Islands without sending us help… I say “another” because, if I am not mistaken, two (ships) have already come without bringing us any news from you. However, it was a matter well understood by us.[11] In the chance that we will meet, keep your promise. I will be faithful to mine.
Give me some news about Father Petit-Jean’s mission.[12] I commend myself to the prayers of our good Brothers and to yours. Several people have spoken to me about the Brother from Hokianga who is destined for here, as if he was a Brother quite incapable of filling the position[13] for the British, we need someone who knows how to cope.[14] You will understand what I am thinking – for myself, I do not know this Brother.
Father Baty offers you his respects.
Please accept the good wishes of him who has the honour to be,
dear confrère, your very humble servant,
I will not be able to make my journey to Maketu for another month or two. Have everything ready, on Father Baty’s return to the Bay of Islands, to get the printing press going on his arrival.


  1. ? Phibbs?
  2. régler les comptes des anciens – but anciens can only refer to souscription which is feminine? - translator’s note
  3. illegible
  4. Borjon had been at Maketu, in the Bay of Plenty, and Garin had sent him £25 for fare to Auckland – and on to Wellington, where he was to go with Brother Déodat? - translator’s note
  5. In fact, they never got there. Some months later some wreckage from the Speculator, the ship on which the two Marists were sailing, was found near East Cape. Apparently there were no survivors - translator’s note
  6. Rozet was then at Opotiki, the next Catholic station to the east of Borjon’s at Maketu. His arrival in Auckland with Borjon would have added to their financial difficulties - translator’s note
  7. Father Rozet, presumably - translator’s note
  8. then in Kororareka - translator’s note
  9. the mission printer at Kororareka - translator’s note
  10. Maori – none
  11. chez? par toutes? – illegible
  12. He seems to have been at Whangaroa at this time - translator’s note
  13. Brother Claude-Marie Bertrand was in the Hokianga 1840-1850 - translator’s note
  14. qui sache se retourner