From Marist Studies
Yvert to Colin, London, 17 November 1840
Translation Jessie Munro, Dec. 2006
- Very Reverend Father
- If your missionaries are being sent to overturn completely almost one whole part of the world, it’s not surprising that they are the cause of some degree of disturbance in your little Society while they are still in Europe. I must confess that three letters in three days could cause tertia salvet be said by a Superior who wasn’t the embodiment of charity itself. Nevertheless, not to trespass too much on your precious moments, I will come straight to the point.
- Thanks to good M. Dubois’ kind offices, we have made the acquaintance of Mr Weld, nephew of the cardinal of the same name and a close friend of Lord Petre. This young man, filled with religion, learning and spirit of friendship, received us in the most cordial fashion. As Lord Petre is at present out in the country, Mr Weld wrote to this influential personage; and the two letters were sent in the same envelope. This excellent lord replied by the very next mail. Here follow his thoughts concerning our mission.
- The New Zealand Society will do nothing for the missionaries. The only thing it could offer would be to pay the passage of one priest only; and would require this priest to embark on a government ship or a company vessel. This is not all; he would have to consent not to go to the residence of Bishop Pompallier but instead to Port Nickelson [sic] at the south of the North Island and settle there permanently.
- There are several factors, still uncertain as yet, in the company’s proposal that prevent us from accepting for the time being. But as I am anxious that Mr Weld read this letter and add a few words to make acquaintance with the Superior General of the Marists, I will add my thoughts to yours on the topic of Lord Petre’s request to you in his last letter. Before I do this, I will first tell you that this good lord is increasingly showing himself as the protector of our Community; he has already let us know through his worthy friend that he will make a gift to us of thirty pounds (750 francs) to clear a little of our weighty expenses. You must believe, Very Reverend Father, that your poor Missionaries receive with the utmost gratefulness the generous gifts the Blessed Virgin sends them by means so close at hand.
- On the eve of my departure you read to me the letter from Lord Petre, and you added, in the grateful tones of a heart that never knew ingratitude, that it was your duty to grant this good foreigner the missionary he was seeking of you, to send to the place he was designating in the island. I shall make in my turn some observations. Everything leads me to believe that instead of one priest, you will send him two, with two brothers. This is what I base my opinion on, believing I can guess somewhat your thinking.
- Nickelson is in the south the counterpart of the Bay of Islands in the north of the closest island to the Equator. The distance between these two points is about two hundred leagues, and means of communication is very easy by sea. Nickelson has already a lot of English there and last week 250 more left on a single vessel, most being Catholic. Therefore, as Lord Petre was assuring you, this new mission will lack for nothing and you have even been promised a town site of one acre and 100 acres in the country, and the promises of Englishmen and especially of Catholic Englishmen are always fulfilled. Very Reverend Father, you have already realised that your bishop of Oceania, who does not slumber when there are opportunities to expand the mission entrusted to him, will support your wish with all his strength; because he is counting for his part that you will appreciably enlarge his supply of clergy. You have already grasped the whole significance of this new mission: Nickelson will soon be the second Marist House in Western Oceania, and the North Island held top and tail will not be able to resist the efforts of your children powerfully backed by this brilliant Catholic nobility of England. Nickelson will also be able later on to send other missionaries into the South Island very close by.
- I hope to inform you shortly about other donations we have been led to hope will come from these good Catholic Lords of England.
- Meanwhile you will know that your children out in the vanguard are holding fast, waiting for the main battalion. Our good Father Séon is making this first part of our voyage really agreeable; he is more and more edifying us with his great humility. Please pray, most admirable Father, that the most wretched of your children may be visited by so precious a virtue as this which is the foundation, as it were, of the spiritual edifice.
- All three of us embrace all the members of our family.
- Be assured of the respect and affection,
- Very Reverend Father,
- of the lowliest [or latest one] of your children
- London, 17 November 1840
- 19 Nov. 1840
- Mr Weld considers it quite appropriate for me to send you the enclosed details and I think a letter of thanks would be useful.
- Do not send more than 14 men, because there are only 14 berths, but try to reach this number.
- You see, very dear Father, that correspondence is starting to get underway.
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