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Yvert to Poupinel, Caen, 6 September 1840

APM 511.84

Translation, Jessie Munro, 14 March 2005; checked Madeleine le Jeune and Marty Vreede, December 2006.

Dear Father

Your letter breathing out the pure joy of the children of Mary has brought me a pleasure I couldn’t manage to convey. Your great trust in me will definitely not be misplaced, at least as far as concerns the printery. I said you had only to leave it to me to work out this very complex business and today I’m happy to report briefly on what is happening now to buoy our shining hopes.

I have now done five days of training, and consequently I am third of the way through my course, which will not be lengthy. Monsieur Poisson, whom I’ll talk to you about later on, has assured me and this in the presence of his director of conscience, that a relation of his who had once worked in his printery, would not have accomplished after four years of apprenticeship what he was seeing me do on the morning of my fourth day. The same day I found out from the person who runs his bookshop that Mr Poisson had told him in confidence that it would not require three months for me to come up to par with the ablest of all his workers who have spent 10 and 20 years in his business. May our good Mother receive all the honour from this!

Thus the printery will be up and running soon in New Zealand. As for sewn binding,[1] this was already included in my full course. If I spend only eight days in Lyon, I’m sure I’ll be able to manage binding in calfskin, marbled etc.

As this letter will certainly be the last you will get from Caen, it is of the utmost importance that your reply be positive on all the points I’m now going to lay before you:

The press, as Monsieur Périsse has told you, may amount to twelve to fifteen hundred francs.

The French characters can be used for Latin, English and Maori, by making in the appropriate proportion the letters in greater or lesser number according to their use.

However, we must take three fonts of characters (or else a selection of different sizes). That is: First, a character exclusively for Maori, with its 14 letters in the proportion requested by the Bishop of Maronea and in large type. Second, a character of the type, or thereabouts, used by the Annals of the Mission. Third, a third character a bit finer, in order to economise on paper, and to give our apprentices practice towards becoming good printers one day. These last two characters will serve for French, English and Latin. Each font of the three different characters will have to amount to 600 pounds or 300 kilos. A kilo costs about 3fr. 80c. In a font are included all the pieces of the case – you only put into use the half of each sort of character, in order to economise them, and to find if need be new characters for the more refined printings. As for paper, we will buy for the predicted needs as outlined in the request of the Bishop of Maronea. Then come the chases and composing tables.

As for the organ, which is certainly a hand organ, I will say frankly that two in good condition should be bought so that one is always kept in reserve. I don’t advise taking the small sort, seeing that they are always very bad, go quickly out of tune, and anyway they sound shrill and harsh and not conducive to uplifting our souls.

I have also followed up successfully on the little press and [?] to this effect, and this will be a very minor expenditure. I believe it is essential to buy all these articles in Paris, even the paper, and send everything to le Havre, to the address you will supply me. That way we will save a lot of money and time and it will one less burden on our dear House. Everything will be packed perfectly. For all these purchases I will follow the advice of both Mr Poisson and the Foreign Missions where I intend to take lodging, as acting on behalf of the Marist Mission.

I will wait to deal with the music matters until I’m in Lyon, seeing that I’ll be short of time in Paris. I plan to take four ordinary violins, without counting my own, in order to give lessons on this instrument to our good Maoris and one day form a little orchestra for our religious ceremonies. I intend taking also some pencils, colours, drawing paper etc to give a few lessons in this art as well.

Since I’ll be able to have 3000 francs at my disposal, I’ll leave 2700 to Mr Montargis and take 300 fr for my journey. I will have this sum drawn down through Mr Montargis and for the remainder through Very Rev. Fr Colin. These are only suggestions. I am now ready to conform to whatever our community orders me to do. Mr Montargis is also going to knock on a few doors, especially the door of our boarders, to see if anyone wishes to give me a little something towards the purchase of our printery.

All best wishes to the Marists’ House,


[Written along margins]:

If our good Father Superior might take into consideration sending Mr Roulleaux to Oceania with us, I would see this as a great benefit for the printery.

I shall leave from Caen on 21st September (Monday) so take only two days maximum to think over everything I am asking you in this letter.

I entreat our good Superior to enclose with your letter a letter of thanks for Monsieur Poisson who is conducting his dealings with the utmost generosity, and I would like very much for him to be given the title of benefactor to the Mission of the Western Pacific. It would be impossible to overstate complimentary comments in his regard. I leave this to the care of our good Superior who has a very special grace. In Mary’s name, do not forget this letter. Do not forget it. It is our gratitude and thanks.


  1. Check reliure brochée.
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