Difference between revisions of "Girard0099"

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;[4]:      At 9 o’clock, when we sit down for dinner, faces become pale, sea-sickness hits us.  Brother Colomb says, even before soup has been served:  ''I have had enough'', then he retires looking as though he is going to be sick.  Father Séon, after having served and distributed two soups, leaves hanging his head and saying nothing.  Mr Roulleaux, with his soup in front of him, says without touching it:  ''I no longer want it''.  Then he tries to return what he has not been able to eat.  Father Borjon, having tried a morsel of meat, says:  I have waited too long to eat and he leaves us.  The second officer says to him in French, but in a very French tone of voice:  ''There is always something'', which amuses us greatly.  As for myself, I was rather tired, but I was able, thank God, to carry out all my duties and take my meals.  
;[4]:      At 9 o’clock, when we sit down for dinner, faces become pale, sea-sickness hits us.  Brother Colomb says, even before soup has been served:  ''I have had enough'', then he retires looking as though he is going to be sick.  Father Séon, after having served and distributed two soups, leaves hanging his head and saying nothing.  Mr Roulleaux, with his soup in front of him, says without touching it:  ''I no longer want it''.  Then he tries to return what he has not been able to eat.  Father Borjon, having tried a morsel of meat, says:  I have waited too long to eat and he leaves us.  The second officer says to him in French, but in a very French tone of voice:  ''There is always something'', which amuses us greatly.  As for myself, I was rather tired, but I was able, thank God, to carry out all my duties and take my meals.  
[5]        The vessel we were on is called ''Earl-Durham''.  It is at the moment one of England’s finest sailing ships.  It is as well larger than the ''Mary Gray''.  We have many educated passengers of different religions.  Our cabins are not joined; we have to form two groups for our communal activities.  Our altar is very narrow and quite inconvenient.  I have the Good Lord two feet from my head during the night, which is not very comfortable for me.  We are not able to carry out our religious observances as freely as on the ''Mary Gray''.  We have many educated passengers of different religions:  1 Italian, 1  Catholic Irishman, a Methodist who is going to establish a printing works in Bishop Pompallier’s town, where he will print a newspaper; one or several Anglicans.  I don’t know the others.  One is a doctor and is going to establish himself on the little island where Fr Comte, a Marist missionary is situated.  <ref>  Throughout the year 1841, Comte is in Akaroa on Banks Peninsular (cf.doc. [[Girard0073|73]], § 3; [[Girard0078|78]], § 1; [[Girard0080|80]], § 2; [[Girard0104|104]], § 1). </ref>  There are as well 4 or 5 women, 2 small children and 3 New Zealanders, one of whom was the captain of the ship.  As well, 200 sheep, some pigs, a fine white horse, some hens and ducks, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 2 parrots and lots of little mice and large rats, 2 bells, one for the time and the other for meals.  The cries of all these animals, the ringing of bells, the gloomy, sad songs of the sailors, the animated conversations of the passengers, their songs, the whistling, the dancing on the bridge, the strumming of the guitar, mingled with the happy trilling of the flute, the melodious voices and sometimes the sound of the waves and the wind, the shouts of children, all that made us miss the silence that we enjoyed on the ''Mary Gray''  but one thing consoled us, that was that this would not last.  Several times I heard on the guitar, tunes that I recognised and that cancelled out the idea of being so far from home.  I even twice heard someone whistle the tune of William Tell that we have all made ring out and that brought back happy memories.
;[5]:       The vessel we were on is called ''Earl-Durham''.  It is at the moment one of England’s finest sailing ships.  It is as well larger than the ''Mary Gray''.  We have many educated passengers of different religions.  Our cabins are not joined; we have to form two groups for our communal activities.  Our altar is very narrow and quite inconvenient.  I have the Good Lord two feet from my head during the night, which is not very comfortable for me.  We are not able to carry out our religious observances as freely as on the ''Mary Gray''.  We have many educated passengers of different religions:  1 Italian, 1  Catholic Irishman, a Methodist who is going to establish a printing works in Bishop Pompallier’s town, where he will print a newspaper; one or several Anglicans.  I don’t know the others.  One is a doctor and is going to establish himself on the little island where Fr Comte, a Marist missionary is situated.  <ref>  Throughout the year 1841, Comte is in Akaroa on Banks Peninsular (cf.doc. [[Girard0073|73]], § 3; [[Girard0078|78]], § 1; [[Girard0080|80]], § 2; [[Girard0104|104]], § 1). </ref>  There are as well 4 or 5 women, 2 small children and 3 New Zealanders, one of whom was the captain of the ship.  As well, 200 sheep, some pigs, a fine white horse, some hens and ducks, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 2 parrots and lots of little mice and large rats, 2 bells, one for the time and the other for meals.  The cries of all these animals, the ringing of bells, the gloomy, sad songs of the sailors, the animated conversations of the passengers, their songs, the whistling, the dancing on the bridge, the strumming of the guitar, mingled with the happy trilling of the flute, the melodious voices and sometimes the sound of the waves and the wind, the shouts of children, all that made us miss the silence that we enjoyed on the ''Mary Gray''  but one thing consoled us, that was that this would not last.  Several times I heard on the guitar, tunes that I recognised and that cancelled out the idea of being so far from home.  I even twice heard someone whistle the tune of William Tell that we have all made ring out and that brought back happy memories.
;[6]:        Last Saturday, a day of all weathers, eve of Pentecost, divine providence it seems had wished to give us a means of eating fish that day.  The evening before we had caught an enormous shark; he also had a fish attached to his skin, like that of the first that we had caught,  the flesh of which was not exceptional was very white and tender.  We were served it at lunch.  The sailors did not wish to eat it.  They were amazed to see us partake of it; we asked for it again for dinner.  Everyone was not able to overcome a certain repugnance that such a monster inspires.  At dinner, when it was brought to the table with other dishes, a disgusting smell rose from it; we thought that it was the shark and thinking that the smell was coming from it, we made a sauce of vinegar and pepper, so that we had a very delicious dish and those who had chosen the beef were not able to finish it because it was spoiled and it was that that had given off the odour.  We laughed heartily.   
;[6]:        Last Saturday, a day of all weathers, eve of Pentecost, divine providence it seems had wished to give us a means of eating fish that day.  The evening before we had caught an enormous shark; he also had a fish attached to his skin, like that of the first that we had caught,  the flesh of which was not exceptional was very white and tender.  We were served it at lunch.  The sailors did not wish to eat it.  They were amazed to see us partake of it; we asked for it again for dinner.  Everyone was not able to overcome a certain repugnance that such a monster inspires.  At dinner, when it was brought to the table with other dishes, a disgusting smell rose from it; we thought that it was the shark and thinking that the smell was coming from it, we made a sauce of vinegar and pepper, so that we had a very delicious dish and those who had chosen the beef were not able to finish it because it was spoiled and it was that that had given off the odour.  We laughed heartily.   

Revision as of 14:19, 1 August 2020

12 June to 17 July 1841 — Father Antoine Garin to the pupils of Meximieux, At Sea and Bay of Islands

Translated by Mary Williamson, June 2020

Based on the document sent, APM Z 208.

Four sheets of paper forming sixteen written and numbered pages. The author recounts the arrival in New Zealand of the fifth group of missionaries amongst whom were, along with Louis Rozet (named in § 3), Brother Colomb (Pierre Poncet), Antoine Séon, François Roulleaux, Michel Borjon (§ 4) and Jean-François Yvert (§ 9). They left London on 8 December 1840 aboard the Mary Grey and arrived in Sydney on 7 May 1841 and finally in Kororareka in New Zealand on 15 June (cf. infra, § 21, and doc. 100, § 1). The edited copy below is dated by Poupinel as 12 June 1841, no doubt the date on which the author began the letter which he did not finish until the following month (cf. § 117: “17 July”).

[p. 16] [in Poupinel’s handwriting]
New Zealand / 12 June 1841 / Father Garin.

Copy of a letter from Fr Garin to the pupils of Meximieux [1]

Saturday, 12 June 1841 arriving in New Zealand at latitude 34 degrees South and longitude 169.
This letter I expect, will have, like the preceding ones, the character of a confession for when one writes only at odd moments, occasionally and hurriedly, this usually happens; but I also know that my children forgive me and that their curiosity to know lots of facts will have them pass over all the disparities that that they come across.
We are at last at the end of our long but pleasant voyage, this evening or tomorrow our eyes will be able to readjust themselves to the character of our new and dear homeland and before setting foot on this distant land, it is Saturday today, I wish in honour of Mary, our dear protector, to give you the last details of our voyage. We should have left Sydney on the day of the Ascension, that is to say the twentieth of the month, but the usual delay, caused by captains so as to have a greater number of passengers, took us through, fortunately, to the first of June; one of the Brothers, who had fallen ill in Sydney, would not have been able to leave with us without this delay. On 26 May passengers were going to board, except for myself and the unwell Brother. The day of Pentecost arrived: [2] The Brother was convalescing from such a raging fever that we resolved, if it continued, to stay with him in Sydney. We were told that they would not be leaving till the following day; the fever abated; Monday arrived, [3] the date was set back to Tuesday; the Brother was getting better and better.
Finally on Tuesday 1 June, a day dedicated to honouring the holy angels, [4] I celebrated the Blessed Sacrament in their honour. Fr Rozet also said mass after me. An hour after midday, the sailors, with their customary chants, raised the anchor and we set sail for New Zealand. Before leaving the port, an inspector came to visit the vessel to find out if there were any escaped prisoners among the passengers. At 3 o’clock we left the port. The tide was high; we admired, in passing, the waves that rose, drew back, rolled over themselves and then broke noisily on the rocks that surrounded us. The entrance to the port is very narrow! The pilot we had on board to see us out of the port gets down into his small craft handled by two New Zealanders. But the waves rise rapidly up to the rails of the vessel then drop back to more than 40 feet below! In a flash the small craft is several times on the point of overturning whilst clinging to our ship.
At 9 o’clock, when we sit down for dinner, faces become pale, sea-sickness hits us. Brother Colomb says, even before soup has been served: I have had enough, then he retires looking as though he is going to be sick. Father Séon, after having served and distributed two soups, leaves hanging his head and saying nothing. Mr Roulleaux, with his soup in front of him, says without touching it: I no longer want it. Then he tries to return what he has not been able to eat. Father Borjon, having tried a morsel of meat, says: I have waited too long to eat and he leaves us. The second officer says to him in French, but in a very French tone of voice: There is always something, which amuses us greatly. As for myself, I was rather tired, but I was able, thank God, to carry out all my duties and take my meals.
The vessel we were on is called Earl-Durham. It is at the moment one of England’s finest sailing ships. It is as well larger than the Mary Gray. We have many educated passengers of different religions. Our cabins are not joined; we have to form two groups for our communal activities. Our altar is very narrow and quite inconvenient. I have the Good Lord two feet from my head during the night, which is not very comfortable for me. We are not able to carry out our religious observances as freely as on the Mary Gray. We have many educated passengers of different religions: 1 Italian, 1 Catholic Irishman, a Methodist who is going to establish a printing works in Bishop Pompallier’s town, where he will print a newspaper; one or several Anglicans. I don’t know the others. One is a doctor and is going to establish himself on the little island where Fr Comte, a Marist missionary is situated. [5] There are as well 4 or 5 women, 2 small children and 3 New Zealanders, one of whom was the captain of the ship. As well, 200 sheep, some pigs, a fine white horse, some hens and ducks, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 2 parrots and lots of little mice and large rats, 2 bells, one for the time and the other for meals. The cries of all these animals, the ringing of bells, the gloomy, sad songs of the sailors, the animated conversations of the passengers, their songs, the whistling, the dancing on the bridge, the strumming of the guitar, mingled with the happy trilling of the flute, the melodious voices and sometimes the sound of the waves and the wind, the shouts of children, all that made us miss the silence that we enjoyed on the Mary Gray but one thing consoled us, that was that this would not last. Several times I heard on the guitar, tunes that I recognised and that cancelled out the idea of being so far from home. I even twice heard someone whistle the tune of William Tell that we have all made ring out and that brought back happy memories.
Last Saturday, a day of all weathers, eve of Pentecost, divine providence it seems had wished to give us a means of eating fish that day. The evening before we had caught an enormous shark; he also had a fish attached to his skin, like that of the first that we had caught, the flesh of which was not exceptional was very white and tender. We were served it at lunch. The sailors did not wish to eat it. They were amazed to see us partake of it; we asked for it again for dinner. Everyone was not able to overcome a certain repugnance that such a monster inspires. At dinner, when it was brought to the table with other dishes, a disgusting smell rose from it; we thought that it was the shark and thinking that the smell was coming from it, we made a sauce of vinegar and pepper, so that we had a very delicious dish and those who had chosen the beef were not able to finish it because it was spoiled and it was that that had given off the odour. We laughed heartily.
On Wednesday the 9th, eve of Corpus Christi, we enjoyed a new spectacle. The preceding days we had been becalmed, it was very hot. On Tuesday evening the sky was covered with thick cloud; and the next morning when we got up, we saw about a mile from the ship a waterspout; it resembled in shape and size a rainbow; we saw it emerge from the middle of the clouds, above our heads, in front of the ship, move through a great curve and then fall into the sea. After we had observed it for about twenty minutes it split down the middle and disappeared completely. About 9 o’clock, we spotted another, already formed, but further away; half an hour later we saw a third one form about a mile from us, that is to say about twenty minutes away. A heavy black cloud stretched out to about 100 metres just above the horizon and from this cloud as far as the horizon, we could see other clouds a little less black. It is from this black cloud that these waterspouts emerge, forming a column as distinct in its height, width and shape as a column of fifteen to nineteen feet in circumference would be at thirty paces distant. The last one was, at the same time, ascending and descending. We saw at first how it formed like a tail, hanging from the huge black cloud and elongated itself, then from the sea the water rose, spinning and tried to join itself to the tail which seemed to hang from the large black cloud. This spinning water on the sea was shaped like a flower vase at its base; you would have thought that you were seeing thick smoke coming from a furnace. Quarter of an hour later the column stretched out more and more and finally joined up with the column that was rising up, so that at the point where they met, the water spouted out the sides; It was as high as twelve feet above the water. When these waterspouts are rising, they can raise very heavy masses, on land they lift up houses. In the [ ] where they are very frequent, they can carry off three thousand per year. However one can easily avoid these waterspouts, for they only form very gradually, but also you can be trapped if they form in the place where you happen to be, for then you can be caught in the spinning motion and perhaps perish.
The average time taken to go from Sydney is 10 days. The ship we are on once did it in nine days, but fate sent us a calm of about six days, for the good of the mission. From London to here we have not been becalmed for so long and several passengers said to us that calms such as this were never seen in this area and in this season, which is the winter in these countries. But truly this was a happy event for us, as almost all the passengers are going to stay in New Zealand. For if we had made a passage of 8 days, we would have scarcely had time to exchange a few words en route or form acquaintances and, by being amongst the Protestants, ruin the false ideas that they had of our behaviour and our rapport with them.
Within the first days we were able to offer one of our most comfortable cabins to two women who had to sleep on the first floor which is above us and very uncomfortable. On the second or third day we also offered a second cabin to a woman and her husband who were also installed above us. They did not accept as the woman, being too exhausted from seasickness, could not make the effort to get up, but they were very grateful for the offer. When we were becalmed, the sea sickness settled and there was rejoicing amongst the passengers. We began to converse with each other. Right away lessons in English and French were suggested and accepted by various people. M. Yvert at first had 4 pupils: One of them, a nephew of the captain; another, an English passenger; the third is the Methodist printer who might be harmful to us in his paper in New Zealand; the fourth is a New Zealander. This person could be an important person for us; he is the son of a tribal high chief, natural successor to his father. As he had been a captain and had lived thirty years with the English, he was civilised, educated and would perhaps one day be very powerful in his country. His lands are next to the Bishop’s dwelling. Unfortunately he has been instructed in the Protestant doctrines. But perhaps our behaviour towards him will be beneficial. As he has been indisposed for several days, we have had several soups of “acarout” [6] made for him, supplies of which we had brought for our sick. He received them with pleasure, being very friendly towards us.
Father Borjon is giving lessons to the doctor who is going to set up in our missions. An Anglican passenger has asked us for some prayer books to educate himself in our doctrine, he is reading the Propagation of the Faith, he greatly admires the bull of the Supreme Pontiff, he is avidly reading an English catechism that was given to me in Sydney and which clearly explains all of our doctrine. The doctor says to us: If you had instead gone out into the countryside, you would have easily been able to get rich. We let him know that that was not the goal of our mission and that it is forbidden for us to gather riches. Many of them approve the fact that we go to our missions without wives and children, saying that it is a desirable thing. Since leaving London and even in London, almost all those with whom we had contact questioned us on these two points; they could not understand that we were going to this country without having wives and children and that it is forbidden for us to profit from it. The doctor saying to us: Nevertheless, it is fair that the worker has his salary. [7]
A few days ago I found myself in the company of 4 English Protestants who were talking about Protestant missionaries. Although they were speaking English and one of them spoke very fast, so that I would not understand anything, I think that I was able to follow most of their conversation. The Protestant doctor said: Our missionaries make a great sacrifice in going out into the countryside. The other replied to him: Oh! The sacrifice is not very great as the missionary receives for himself a very good salary, as well as 50 pounds sterling per child: That is to say fifty pounds for one, 100 for two and 50 pounds per catechist. He did another bit of accounting that I do not remember.
Sunday, 13 June, in sight of the Three Kings Islands, near to New Zealand.
Last Tuesday, before the day of Corpus Christi, as we were still becalmed, we began a novena hoping for a favourable wind and a safe arrival.
Wednesday morning, the wind came up at 5.30. It is the day that we saw three water spouts.
On Thursday, the day of Corpus Christi, a much stronger wind was blowing and even too strong, as it was too much of a side wind, nevertheless we progressed, but lost some of our distance, as we were going too far North.
Friday, the same wind, the same strength and very rough seas. Many passengers indisposed with seasickness. The high bridge, which is much higher than that of the Mary Gray, is often washed by waves.
On Saturday, at two or three in the morning, the wind dropped a little and came from the rear and a little to the side, in other words the best wind we could have. So we cruised along at 10 - 11 knots. The new wind calmed the huge waves which followed the direction they had been given by the strong winds. Our sick people felt better, we rejoiced and all the conversation was about seeing New Zealand.
Today, Sunday, the same following wind, great navigation. At 12.30 we could see the little islands that are near to New Zealand and on which we counted 27 parishioners, who had fled and sheltered on these rocky islets after having been beaten in a fight with the natives of the interior. They very much wished, they said, to return to their former homeland; they will probably be able to later, with the help of Bishop Pompallier. It is a year ago that on a similar day we were making music at our parish on Corpus Christi. Perhaps you are doing the same thing today to celebrate our common master, our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great goodness has indeed wished to accompany us himself, in our travelling home, from London to New Zealand. Farewell. Tomorrow when we wake up our eyes will open to the coast of our dear homeland. Ah! When will the day come when, sleeping the sleep of the dead, I will be able to say with as much hope: When I wake up, my eyes will open to a true and eternal homeland.
At midnight, the coast of New Zealand was sighted; and in the morning when I rose, my eyes were rewarded with the sight of this land that we are going to win for God and bless it so that the Lord guides the hearts of the inhabitants to happily receive the word of salvation. With what feeling I uttered a “Hail Mary” at the sight of this island consecrated to Mary and especially to these words: Solve vincla reis profer lumen caecis mala nostra pelle bona cuncta posce. Rounding the tip of the island we left the huge waves that we were still enduring, following the winds had been so strong for two days. The sea has become tranquil, but it resembles a huge crumpled sack. The wind which was almost following then became a bit less favourable, but soon became following again and stronger so that we felt a great deal of satisfaction, following with our eyes all the hills and rock formations that we passed which seemed like the scenes that one sees on the panoramas.
At seven o’clock in the evening we arrived in the port. We dropped anchor and just the same as we could see the stars shining when we left Boulogne, it was the same here and we arrived to the gleam of the stars in our new homeland. We could not see the houses, but we saw the lights shining all around the bay in the village of Kororareka, home of Bishop Pompallier, but at the same time a sad sight could be seen. It was a hut ablaze; it was the home of several natives. It was all built of straw and it took just on an hour for it to be entirely burnt. The fire lit up the entire port, we could even see the natives trying to put it out. We had scarcely dropped anchor when 2 or 3 natives, sons of some high chiefs, with a Brother sent by Bishop Pompallier, came to look for our Father Superior, as they knew two hours earlier that we had arrived near to the coast. The telegraph had given the signal of the arrival of a three-masted vessel and the inspector had come to let the Bishop know of our arrival, even though we were still quite far away. The newspapers had announced our imminent arrival to them.
On Tuesday, 15th we at last set foot on the territory of Mary, today Tuesday, a day consecrated to honouring the holy angels. So we hastened to bless and pray for the holy angels, guardians of this land. At 7.30 the Bishop’s craft came to collect us from our ship. The natives who are guiding us cheer us up with their joyous songs, songs that are quite new and different for us; we happily follow after them enjoying the sight of these natives who are rejoicing at our arrival. We take about 30 steps and there we are at the Bishop’s house.
After having warmly embraced Fathers Epalle and Viard, we went to make a call on the holy sacrament and recite the Hail Mary in the church or little chapel. From there we visited the apartments of the Bishop who, by his blessing, brings upon us apostolic blessings and embraces us as a father would embrace his dearly loved children. His joy is overwhelming on seeing so many missionaries and he tells us that 14 times 14 missionaries would be necessary every six months for six years and that would not be too many to fulfil the work. (Hasten all of you to come and join us to augment the number of workers.)
After lunch the Bishop took us to the church, where he made an exhortation to us in French, then one to Irish and English Catholics and finally one in Maori to the natives, then after a mass of thanksgiving celebrated by the Bishop, we wholeheartedly sang the Te Deum and the Magnificat. Next came the prayer of the natives; it is really strange to hear it recited.
Following this, we were visited by several natives, weighed down by their heavy woollen coverings. The Chieftainess herself came with her daughter, the princess, to greet us and kiss our hands. This queen, who has great influence in her tribe, looked like a country girl, very badly dressed. Here are the questions that these good natives addressed first to the Bishop. How many sacred people are there? Have they brought a printing press? Have they got some bells? The replies to the first two questions filled them with joy. That was sufficient for them. The Bishop informed us of several interesting facts. The Bishop had made quite a long tour around; The Methodists began saying to their followers: Bishop Pompallier has realised the truth; he is a Protestant. Father Viard, having met the minister, asked him the reason for this statement. The Methodist denied such a thing; then the natives shouted : You are a liar, you told us that.
The Bishop, having received in a parcel some needles and trousers. distributed them to the natives; six months later, a tribal chief, the great Papohe, came to see him and said: Bishop, come and see your potatoes. — What potatoes? Come and see. — Ah! some potatoes that you wish to sell me? — What do you mean sell you some potatoes? No, I want to give them to you. — Well! I am grateful. Shake hands. (He shakes hands). But I don’t need to go and see them, You can bring them to me. It is our custom that when someone offers something the other person goes to see it. Oh! Well, I’ll come. The Bishop, approaching the place sees more than 100 natives, all carrying heavy loads of potatoes. They place them in a line, at equal distances, separating the piles with stakes, each pile in front of a native. Then the chief, going towards the first pile says: Bishop, here is the offering of this person, of this person etc. He counted them all out thus, and beginning again with the first, he said: Bishop, this is for the trousers, this for the pins, this for the needles that you gave us, and …. The Bishop, having forgotten these little trifles, said to him: But what have I given you? You have given me this and that. He listed in detail right down to every pin. — Oh! Well, I don’t remember that. — You do not remember that, you have forgotten it; the New Zealanders have not forgotten it; you see it is here and he placed his hand on his heart.
Another time 300 natives (I say natives and not savages because here the term is less objectionable) came to see the Bishop. He had never seen so many come at once. The high chief of the tribe addressed him and said to him: Bishop, we wish to form a committee; you must be part of it. — But it is not necessary for me to come. — You must come. (The Bishop thought that it was to do with war or some unimportant thing.) When it is a question of teaching you I will come, but when it is for other things it is not necessary.— All the same, we need you. — Oh! Well, I’ll come. — The committee gathered; the high chief then takes the Bishop by the arm, puts him in a corner of the room and says to him: Bishop, they want to drive you away from here. There are those who have formed a committee for that. Well! We are ready to defend you, we are not afraid (this tribe is seen as invincible) but we want you to tell us what to reply. The Bishop tells them in a few words. Then the future general of this war quickly leaves his place and says to him: Bishop, they wish to drive you out, but you must not leave. You have left your own country, your homeland, to come here and teach us, stay. If some wish to drive you out, we would rather all fall down dead before you, rather then have anyone harm you, then, raising his voice and making a forceful gesture with his hand, he repeated three times: Stay, stay, stay. This was forceful, these people are of an unequalled intelligence and gratitude.
This evening the Bishop received a letter from Fr Servant. He tells him that in a month he should be at N. to take part in a grand reunion planned to take place; already, for some time they have been wishing to gather in thousands, says Fr Servant, to have some clarification and discussions with the Protestants ministers. That would have already taken place had it not been for the heavy winter rains.
They sometimes say to the Bishop: Bishop, you have no wife or children? If I had a wife and some children, my heart would be divided, there would perhaps only be a small part for you and the rest would be for my wife and children and then, instead of instructing you right now, I would perhaps be at home taking care of my family. Oh! How wonderful they find that.
The Bishop said to us this evening: All the same, our Lord Jesus Christ knew very well what he was doing when, in teaching his doctrine, he used comparisons and not dour words, [8] where the meanings can be changed. So, when he compares the church to the stock of a vine, [9] he gives us a very simple and very easy means to make the necessity of the union of the church understandable. Thus when we give instruction, we take a small shrub, a little plant of heather and we show them that all the branches attached to the trunk are alive and that if one is cut it dies. A novice, with this simple reasoning, replied firmly to several objectors; another held on stubbornly for two hours in discussion with a minister.
The natives have a blind obedience to their chief, this is extended to such a degree that, if it was necessary to remove a chief to punish him for a grave crime, the others would gather in an instant to defend him, to go to war. If he says no, the others would not think of fighting, if he says yes they would immediately take up arms. Thus they cannot countenance those who have left the church, their mother. If your chief had a book of laws and one of you came and took this book and said to the others: What the great chief says to you is not true, do not listen to him any more, it is I who am chief; here is a book that I present to you so that you can follow it and obey me. They understand this comparison so well that they would shrug their shoulders even before you had finished explaining it. This is what caused a young native to say to a young Protestant: You have a bible, where did you take it from? You have stolen it, you have stolen it from the church and now you are going to present it to others, and say to them: Well here is the book that I give to you; it is me that you must listen to now. Well! What have you done? You have taken the book, you have begun to read it and when you have come across something which did not suit you, you have torn out the page and he mimed all his words with gestures. The other person was dumbfounded.
The Bishop, found himself surrounded by natives and being worn out, absolutely fatigued, they said to him, talk to us, we are not yet instructed. — But I am sleepy, I am worn out. Ah! You are tired! But I would like to know about that. — Leave me, I beg of you, the day is for talking, the night is for sleeping. — Ah! Yes, well then sleep. The Bishop falls asleep. A moment later: But tell me , I would still like to know such and such.
Finally if there were 10 missionaries for 10 savages, it would still not be enough to satisfy their questions. But it is so painful to see that being so well disposed these poor natives are likely to fall into the hands of the heretics. For one Catholic missionary, there are at least 4 or 5 Anglicans or Methodists. Once they have been indoctrinated, here is what they reply: It is true, right is on your side, but you did not come here first. If you had come first, we would be yours; the Protestant minister was present and stayed silent at this response.
One time, the Bishop, having spoken at length, wanted to rest, he kept silent. Then an old man got up, stepped into the centre, took a large green leaf: This, I believe was the leaf of an iris which resembles a sabre blade and he says to the others so as to explain the dry branches: Look, here is your mother (the church). Then tearing off a piece from the side and throwing this piece aside with contempt and disdain, he added: Here is Paix[10] Tearing off another piece he throws it away in the same manner. Here is… (another Protestant establishment), then a third and fourth and up to an eighth in the same way. He finishes by presenting the shredded leaf to the Bishop, but holding himself upright and strong to his entire height: That, that is you. They cannot bear the conduct of Luther who took the book of his mother and said to the others: It is no longer my mother you should listen to, it is me. As they all favour authority, this behaviour is unworthy.
When we arrived, we found Fr Epalle and Fr Viard at the Bishop’s place. Fr Baty, my former colleague, who had been awaiting our arrival for a long time, had just left for Hokianga. We arrived after he had left; we were not able to see him. He would have been able to see our vessel at sea if he had gone to a high point of land. The Bishop said to us: You have arrived today. Oh! well, in three days, your arrival will be known of for more than 300 leagues, for they have this special talent for communicating news. Those in Kororeka will climb to a high point and will shout with their harsh voices to others within hearing distance. Then the latter will climb up a mountain and do the same. It is incredible how quickly things are communicated.
During holy mass, a native came and stood in front of Fr Roulleaux, who was praying to the Lord and examined him from a distance of one pace. During the day, they come to look at us and say to us in a joking tone: Tenera kakoé. It is their good morning. Then they comment on our appearance, on our features. They said to Fr Epalle: Here is someone who has a spot like a wine stain on his eye. Then they spoke out loud about the spot on his eye in front of Fr Séon, who was the person they were talking about. Then striking him firmly on the shoulder with a finger and shouting loudly, as is their custom, they asked him his name. Then they said, this one is for me, this one will come with us. Several chose the little one, speaking about Fr Rozet, who is not quite as big as us.
Here everyone smokes, from children to the most decrepit old person. They sell us fish and pork in exchange for tobacco. For them it is almost as necessary as clothing, and I don’t know which of the two they prefer, it is such an ingrained habit for them. This morning, I couldn’t help laughing, even though I risked hurting the feelings of the poor woman who was the subject. She came to the Bishop’s house seeking a light for her pipe and when she left she carefully carried the piece of lighted wood and her pipe in the hole which carries her drop earrings. Here they have for drop earrings the teeth of fish attached to a cord with red Spanish wax. The Queen and the princess, her daughter, have twenty of them; others have only one on one side; But the hole through which the cord passes is very large and one could easily pass a field gun through. Some have been torn so that the ear is in two parts. In this part of the island, everyone has a copper skin tone, and very black hair which is rather frizzy. The women usually look after their hair, but don’t wear it very long; they all go bare-headed and bare-footed. Some keep their hair longer at the front that at the back.
Today, Wednesday, from the second after our arrival, we started to build a house with the some planks, about as big as those of Masson the shoemaker. I have never, in France, seen a house built so rapidly. Several Brothers began at 10 o’clock to put in the posts and nail the planks. Myself, after dinner, having armed myself with a hammer and some nails and helped by Father Borjon, I set about becoming a workman. A workman has never worked with such enthusiasm. By 2 or 3 o’clock, the house was standing, the four walls of planks constructed. At 4 o’clock the roof was finished and at 5 o’clock, more than 5 or 6 enormous cases, weighing from 8 to 900 pounds were in shelter, as it was to shelter our goods that this house had been built.
All the houses here are built of wood. Kororareka has more than 30 or 40. Some of them are very beautiful. But, as you have seen, not much time is spent in building them. Moments after we had built it, I wish you could have seen us, amongst the sailors, the Brothers and the natives, all pulling together on the rope to the measured and rhythmic calls of the sailors to drag the trunks from the shore.
Today a high chief and his wife arrived. We were to speak with them when they arrived. They greeted us from far off, then, having approached us they shook hands affectionally. After having addressed their first words to us, they sat down on the ground, wrapped in their woollen rugs (as they almost all wear) and then they proceeded to ask all sorts of questions. They asked the Bishop to carry out the promise he had made to them, ten months ago, to provide them with a priest. As we were beside him, he cast a rapid glance at us and proceeded to talk to them, as he always does, with childlike simplicity, indicating Fr Rozet: This person here is a child (as he is not very tall and seems quite young). Then he wanted Father Borjon for the person to be given to them. The Bishop replied to them: You say that that person there is a child. He is a priest and when one is a priest one is no longer a child. He is very educated and he could instruct you as well as I could and though he is young, he has the knowledge of an old man. Is this true? Yes without doubt. Oh! Well, that’s fine.
The good natives know so little about what is a bad compliment that one of them said to the Bishop this morning, about a word that he had not been sure of saying correctly: At the moment you send us priests, but you no longer come to see us and as you always talk to foreigners, you are losing our language. We no longer understand what you are saying to us.
The chief who I have just been speaking to you about, asked the Bishop for something to eat. He brought him some bread. He then demanded some sugar and other things. The Bishop replied: But if I give you sugar, all the chiefs are going to come and ask me for some and where am I going to get it from? Do I make sugar? Ah! That’s true, you are right. These men are greatly touched by anything to do with the truth.
On one occasion, the Bishop told them that it is not permitted to have several wives; and they find this judgement very harsh, but when he said to them that a man who has only one wife is more devoted to her and that the whole family is more peaceful, because his heart is not divided, they greatly approved of that and when the Bishop added that when there are several wives, they do not like each other and quarrel amongst themselves, the women even some in that situation who were there started to laugh, saying that was certainly true and that they were certainly of the same opinion as the Bishop.
In the morning, a native, knowing that the missionaries had arrived, came to find the Bishop saying: I will come to see you after dinner. We were walking with the Bishop when an old man, a native of the country, came too saying: I have come to see you. The Bishop said to him: Well then look. Immediately he ran and stood five paces away, sat down on the ground turned towards us, pipe in mouth and studied us at his leisure, while we talked to the chief and his wife. The Bishop recounted to us, in French, many curious things about them, making us laugh. But there they were, peaceful, munching a piece of bread that the Bishop had had given to them. They said to him: You must give us a bible inscribed with your name, so that I can show it to the priest when you send him and he will recognise me as chief. I will give him a month’s worth of pigs.
In Sydney, I had been wrongly informed when we were told that they do not eat each other in this island. That nevertheless is only too true. During their battles, when someone is killed, they feast on the flesh. Several have confessed to the Bishop that they have eaten it and that they find it very good. Nevertheless, they do not often eat foreigners, for, they say, their flesh is too salty.
The Bishop has told us today that during his trip around the South Island, he had found a paper in his handwriting and that the natives were using it amongst themselves to instruct themselves. A large number, even those who have never seen a priest, are already well informed. They instruct each other. So we must make haste to print catechisms so we can distribute them.
They also tell us how the Protestant ministers have come to establish themselves in New Zealand. Their government had sent them after having given them an adequate salary. But, on arrival they set about buying land in such a large quantity that the wood alone still standing is estimated to be worth 12 million. You can guess the rest. But when buying this land, they gave the natives to understand that they could not live comfortably on these border lands which they owned. The natives were then obliged to withdraw to the interior of the country. But, not having been well received by others, the ministers of the charity who had been sent to establish peace among these unhappy people, caused a reign of wars and carnage. So, the progress that they have made is very little. Whether ministers or catechists, there are nearly 100 in New Zealand and yet they have converted fewer people than the Catholics and still the converted natives have many vices.
If only these poor straying brothers wished to profit from the warnings that heaven has sent them, but they must like their shadowy world to stay on the route that they have chosen after such obvious signs of divine justice. Not long ago, the house of the Protestant missionaries fell down. The house of another, who had wanted to throw Bishop Pompallier into the sea, was burned down completely in a fire. But an event where the justice of God is even more visible is one of which I already know the beginning via a letter from Father Baty of the Propagation of the Faith, but of which I do not know the conclusion. A Protestant missionary had taken into his church a magic lantern which showed a boiler on the fire, some natives in the boiler and Catholic missionaries putting wood underneath to stoke up the fire. This magic lantern also showed Catholic missionaries putting a native on the spit to roast him. That is what I know. Oh! Well, I have just learned that the ship following after us to the Fijian Islands, saw this same missionary on the spit ready to be roasted by the natives who had killed him. If only the others at least wished to open their eyes to the light after receiving such warnings.
(Friday, feast of His Holiness Heart of Jesus) today. Another chief or high chief arrived (as the chiefs of a tribe almost all carry the title of high chief). He limps, he has been wounded during a battle. He is covered with a woollen blanket. He wears a cap with a gold braid. He has a noble and proud bearing and already knows many European manners. He is one of the most fearsome and proud in the country. He has come to demand some ariki (priests). He comes in, he sees us at table and comes towards us and shakes our hands with a dignity that I have not even seen amongst the English. After having greeted us thus, with a smiling manner, he withdrew. He sat down on the ground in a corner of the room and assumed a serious manner. He waited without saying a word. He then asked if the Bishop was there. He was told that he would be coming. He waited and only replied with a few words to the questions he was asked. The Bishop arrived. They eat together in front of us and, after he has eaten, he sits down gravely in a chair like a minister to explain his request to the Bishop. He has come to ask for two ariki (two priests). The Bishop is exceedingly embarrassed; he can hardly offer him one. Finally to satisfy him, he says to him: I will give you 2 tangata tapou (two sacred men). The Bishop means 2 men of religion; but the visitor, whether he does not understand the meaning or whether he does, he is content. This chief seems to have some very positive feelings, but he is not brave enough to embrace the faith. He has 4 wives and it seems that that is what is holding him back, as he knows that the Protestant religion is false and that there is only the one united church. But, he added, when the Bishop asked him if he did not wish to be baptised: I would happily do so, but I know that you make unpleasant comments. Those who have been baptised and then do wrong, you strongly reprimand them and I do not like to receive unpleasant comments. I also do not want to receive it because I do not wish to expose myself to your reproaches. The chief had exhorted his whole tribe to embrace the Catholic religion and he wanted two priests because, he said there is a lot to do.
This country is large. The more I see of the natives, the more I see that these men are among the most handsome, the strongest and most finely limbed that there are. They have a broad chest, strong limbs and a confident walk. The children are strong, brave and hardy. They are blessed with great intelligence along with the simplicity of children. They even resort to cunning to prove whether what you tell them is true. They will come and ask you the same thing ten times and when they always hear the same doctrine from the Bishop’s mouth and from the priests who are sent to them and every time that they question you, they are very impressed by this unity.
This high chief said, not long ago, laughingly, if you gave me a blanket and some clothing, I will indeed wish to be converted. Then the Bishop wished to instruct him and the large numbers who were surrounding him with a lesson that he had found successful and which had often helped him in embarrassing situations. He made this sensitive comparison that was fair and easy to understand: Do you see? All creatures are not destined to do all sorts of good; take the sun, it lights and warms; this is the only good that it does and that great minds expect of it. Ask to see it’s clothing, you will see what that will be. Go and ask of the sea that it gives you potatoes. Now go and search for kumara from a potato plant, [11] You will see that it will tell you to go and search elsewhere. Ah! Well, among men it is like that; The good that I can do for you is to instruct you and save your soul, but if you want clothing you must go to the person that can do this for you. If you want food, you must ask it of the earth. You must not be lazy. You must work the earth and you will soon find food and what is necessary to get clothing. These good savages understood this reasoning perfectly and began to laugh.
When the natives wish to say yes with a sign, they nod the head in a way that is as pleasant and relaxed as a European when he wishes to say the same thing. They also make the same sign, but with laughing and knowing manner when you say hello or goodbye (tenara kokoe). They have, under their rough exterior, a certain pride that one would not suspect. Yesterday, I saw someone who had white feathers tucked into his hair in the shape of a crown; another had some that represented the two rays of glory that one sees on the head of Moses when represented in engravings. Today I saw someone who was carrying out his toilet using a small branch of wood as wide as a feather and one and a half feet long, with which he beat his hair in all directions as if he wanted to shake out the dust. He carried out his toilette in the middle of the woods.
What is dominant with them is the desire to learn. As soon as they know how to draw a few lines, they go around writing their names everywhere on the walls, and planks of wood, with coal, just as you do sometimes and more often than the principal would like. One of them had started to explain the catechism to others in the church, one day when Fr Epalle was late coming to catechism: This is what they do in their houses. They demand insistently that they be given books. When the missionaries go to visit them to give them instruction, they are obliged to talk to them continuously and, when they stop because they are exhausted, the natives say: but I am not yet fully instructed.
The Bishop went to spend a few days with a tribe. He gave instruction for three consecutive days and when he spoke of leaving, they said to him: You want to leave already, we do not know when you will return and we have not yet had enough instruction, we know nothing. You must stay longer. On that particular day, a ceremony was to take place for them to transport the bones of their fathers. The Bishop wanted to see how this was done. He looked for a place from which he could see everything without being seen. After several ceremonies they began to dance, the men on one side, the women on the other. A young man very eager to receive instruction, having seen the Bishop, came and asked him: What they are doing here, is it wrong? I do not know what they are saying in their songs said the Bishop. (He did not wish to condemn the dance outright for men who were still not strong in their faith; for that reason, he tried to extract himself with an evasive answer.) Then, the two of them stepped forward. The natives continued their singing and dancing, even though the Bishop was present and the young native continually asked him if it was wrong and the Bishop continued to ask him what they were singing. Finally the native understood a few words and repeated them to the Bishop. The Bishop replied: Yes that is bad. Then the native ran towards the dancers and said to them that the Epicopo said that what they were doing was bad. At these words the dancing stopped immediately and the natives come towards the Bishop to hear his words and to question him about this and when the Bishop said to them: This thing is wrong, one of them began to indicate several of them pointing them out with his finger and saying: Well, this is for you, for you, for you and he looked over several as if in review.
The New Zealand man loves to chat and is more gossipy than the woman. He can pass whole nights recounting all that he has seen, forgetting nothing, not even a bail of straw. If he has gone to the house of someone else to eat, he will say how many potatoes there were, if they were big or small. He will repeat stories that he has heard, but all the while imitating the voice, the gestures, the mannerisms and the faults of the person that he is speaking about; indeed, it is said that to mimic or imitate there is no one comparable to the New Zealander.
Even though they are ignorant about many things, they are very intelligent about others. Thus, they have found a way to make coverings with phormium tenax. (a type of very strong plant.) This fabric resembles cotton bed covers in France. You could say that people are astonished to find out that they are made from the fibres of this plant. It is mainly the chiefs and their wives who wear this fabric. They tattoo their faces and bodies and create tattoo designs on the face, with contours so symmetrical that you would think that they had had lessons in design. In a word, they are more advanced than people in our countries.
I see here children who are as developed as children in our towns. They have a confident air and speak very well and very fast, understanding a simple instruction and I see that I certainly told you the truth on the eve of my departure from Meximieux, when I said to you that if these savages had the teaching and the clothes that we have, there would be no difference between us and them. To that, there are of course exceptions as one would find in France in the countryside, but I can truly say, as a generalisation, that these people are more receptive to teaching and civilising than some people in the French countryside.
The natives are not, as one might believe, living in the woods like animals. Perhaps there are some exceptions. But in general they are all gathered in tribes. They have chiefs. They cultivate small areas of land, feed pigs and their dwellings of straw are gathered together in one area. The Europeans are more destructive to them than useful; They teach the natives to despise the things that they hold most sacred, teaching them to succumb to the excesses of strong drink, brandy, rum, and tobacco; the islands that do not have such examples in front of them are the fortunate ones. Nevertheless, these good savages know well enough that these are people of undesirable behaviour.
The 20th. What I was saying to you yesterday about the dispositions of these people is not strong enough, although nevertheless, I was afraid of exaggerating. What the Bishop told us today made me see that amidst these childish things they do through ignorance about many things, one can find a source of incredible spirituality, an insight just as acute and finer than that of educated people and even finer than ours. They will make an accurate judgement of the character of a man by his facial appearance, by an action, by a word; they are more clever at that, says the Bishop, than scholars. A European, such as we see a lot, not one of the most devout, was accompanying the Bishop one day, when a native came to say to the Bishop, this is not a good man. What are you saying, said the Bishop. Yes this is a bad man, but you must not judge so quickly. — Oh!, you can say what you like, he is bad.
The Bishop, having been summoned to a large gathering where two Protestants would also be present to discuss certain matters proposed by the savages, arrived there and, at the appointed hour and place, he found the tribe gathered, he gave them instruction, then very tired, he told them that he needed rest, that he should be left to sleep. All right, sleep then. The two ministers should arrive around three o’clock. At this moment the natives noticed two horsemen three quarters of a league away; they think that this is the two ministers; they hurry to wake the Bishop. Bishop, Bishop, they shout, here are the missionaries. Come on, get up. The Bishop, hearing himself called wakes up, laughing and not seeming to be embarrassed. Then all eyes are fixed on him and as these folk think our loud, they say amongst themselves our loud: Look, he is not afraid, he is not afraid. Then approaching him they say: Defend yourself, be strong; if you fall, we will fall with you; if you hold fast, we will hold fast with you; hold fast, hold fast! Someone had made a mistake, it was not them. As the time at which they should have arrived was passing, they said: Bishop, they are afraid, they are cowards, they are not coming, too bad. If they do not come, they are beaten; let’s see if when the sun has left the sky they are not here, if so we are victorious. And the ministers did not come .
A young native, the one who had held a discussion for two hours with a Protestant minister, saying to him this sentence full of spirituality: You know, it is true that your religion is in many countries, but yours is like a fire, the more the wind blows, the more the fire takes hold; it advances, advances, advances and soon it is going to cover all of New Zealand.
One day there had been a war between two tribes, caused by the destruction that the pigs of one tribe had caused to the neighbouring tribe in the absence of the high chief. This chief having returned and seeing what had happened, went off to demand satisfaction for this destruction from the guilty tribe; The chief of this tribe replied: I am not the cause, you should have stopped the pigs. Well, since you do not wish to repair the damage, I will kill your pigs. And, me, I will fire on your people. So war is declared. The high chief who had suffered the damage came previously to consult the Bishop and said to him: War is threatening, blood is going to flow. The Bishop then called the high chief of the other tribe; he did not come, but his son, a tall handsome young man and very influential was sent: This person quickly explained the affair to the Bishop, without the Bishop having asked him; then the Bishop enjoins him to settle this business and not let blood flow. This young man then replies with this very poetic response ( they have lots of poetic turns of phrase): Bishop, you know very well that when the North-East wind is blowing, everyone shelters, frightened, the sky is overcast, we shelter from the cold, we put on more clothing, we hide and we tremble with cold, but soon the clouds clear, the sun reappears, warmth returns, we see cheerfulness reborn, everyone becomes joyful. Well, that is what will happen soon. The weather is dark, the wind blows, but soon calm will return, happiness will reappear and we will give ourselves over to joy.
Many of the natives presented matters of conscience to the Bishop that devout people would be far from reproaching themselves for. When the Bishop was leaving them they harassed him, saying to him: You are leaving, tell us more about what is wrong, so that we can avoid it. The Bishop, on leaving, said to the high chief: Since I am leaving, give me one of your children so that I can teach him and when he has been taught, I will send him back and he will lead your prayers. The high chief wished to think it over; finally he said: I would be happy to do it, but his mother would never allow it and the mother when faced with this news started to cry and could not be consoled. The idea of separation from her child was the cause; nevertheless, finally she consented, but as they had several children, the chief said: Choose. The smallest child hastened to ask to follow the Bishop. He said: You are too small. What do you want me to do with you? And the child, very upset, turned to his father saying: I am quite big. Finally the Bishop, seeing that this child had the most suitable disposition, took him. The child jumped for joy. The father said: I want you to take him everywhere with you. If you go out to sea, take him with you. If you travel overland, let him go with you. And when leaving the Bishop, he offered him three shillings, his entire savings. The Bishop refused and took away the child who is back here now and very well behaved. He has a great gift for learning by heart.
In general the New Zealanders have good memories. The Bishop, when leaving the tribes, once left some sheets on which were written a prayer. Three days later, the Bishop passed by again and everyone recited the pater, the Hail Mary and the Creed. Once he copied out a little prayer and counsel. He had given it to several people; others came, saying: Give it to me too. - But I have no more. (Reason does not mean a thing to them). - You have no more, you have given them to others, you do not wish to give one to me, you are very hard hearted, you love the others more than me. He could only get rid of them by writing, with another missionary, all evening.
Today Father Viard recounted that, in a tribe, whose chief he had written a letter to, he then visited a few days later and wished to read the letter out loud, but as he read he noticed that 2 or 3 were ahead of him, reciting out loud the letter that they nearly all knew by heart, but as I have told you, they are childish in many other ways.
So the first few times that they saw the Bishop, they came to him, eyes wide open, peering at him from head to toe. They picked up the hem of his soutane, examined it, fingering the buttons and counting them out loud, then undid the buttons from the buttonholes saying: How pretty they are! Will you give us some like that? The Bishop made them move back and they did not stop staring. One day when he was saying mass before them, in beautiful vestments, they were all very interested in these vestments and when the mass was finished, the Bishop said to them: The mass is finished (as they never knew when it was finished). Then they all began to discuss what beautiful things they had seen, then when the Bishop had taken off his vestments and joined them, they said to him: Oh! How beautiful you were! Tell us, will you give us some of these beautiful clothes? - I am not able to, they are very sacred and they cannot be used except for holy usage. - Is that true? - Yes. - Oh! well, that is good (kapai). [12]
The New Zealanders always want to know where something comes from and what is it for. So when you ask them where someone is, they always reply: Why? Even if he is only two steps away from them. This is what shows, above all, the narrow thinking of these people.
How unfortunate it is, the Bishop said to us one day, that heresy preceded us. This cursed heresy, it precedes us, it follows us, it is amongst us. If it is known that we wish to go and evangelise in a certain area, immediately a Protestant minister is sent there right away and they have the means to do it more rapidly because of money. If we had come here first and in several areas at the same time, this island would all be ours, without exception. The wretched ministers thought only of business. They argued amongst themselves, fought amongst themselves; they scandalised the whole country. My arrival reconciled them with each other. Since I have been here, they have stopped cultivating the land, gathering in corn; I have brought them reconciliation, as they do not dare appear divided; they get along with each other, but that is so as to do battle with us. Fortunately, these good natives still know how to discern what is true and just. Ah! How well they know how to appreciate the truth, even if they do not feel the courage to follow it.
They have amongst them some priests, that is to say some sacred men, men that they are not allowed to touch; they do not have gods or idols, but these priests are sacred in that they are seen as descendants of their first high chief, Maui. [13] These have certain parts of the body that are sacred, so the neck shoulder, the top of the head, the elbow, a part of the arm and the chest, etc. so that they are sometimes so covered with tapous, according to their language, that is sacred areas, that they cannot carry anything, some of them cannot touch anything, their food is put into their mouths, or else they pick up with their mouths, from the ground, what they wish to eat. No one can enter their houses, except a few selected people. The Bishop, finding himself in a place where there was one of them, was invited to sleep the night in his house; this is one of the greatest marks of friendship and trustworthiness. The Bishop accepted the invitation and he was obliged to converse till two o’clock in the morning; Then the lamp, running out of oil, went out. The Bishop said to one of those who was with this sacred man: Take this lamp and bring another to light it with. - Oh! I cannot because it was lit before the priest. The bishop said to him: Oh! that does not matter. - I know that, is true; I know perfectly well that you are telling me that it is wrong; but you see, I am not strong enough; in a while , when I am better taught, I will no longer believe in that. - But are you afraid to light it? - Oh! it has been before the priest, if I light it I will die; I know that you are right, but in a while I will be better instructed. The Bishop realised that he was obliged to let that go; he would certainly have insisted if he had not believed that he should use tact with these folk as long habit had accustomed them to these thoughts.
Nevertheless, they had begun to no longer tattoo themselves. Many children were not tattooed. It is to be hoped that in a while it will not be seen much. It seems that tattooing prevents the beard from growing, as they do not have them and those who, because they are not tattooed, do have them, do something with them that you would never guess: they take an oyster, whose two shells serve as tweezers; they pull out the hairs using the tweezers. Without the tattooing, you would have difficulty sorting out the men from the women, as they all have the same dress, that is to say a blanket. The women are tattooed under the lower lip over the entire chin. The men have it under the nose on the sides of the cheeks and the more glorious the actions the chief has carried out, the more he is tattooed; there are those whose entire face is tattooed. This tattooing makes grooves of half a line in depth under the nose and on the cheeks. So they suffer a great deal when they are tattooed.
Many have fish teeth hung on a long black cord from just one ear. The tribal chiefs and the women have two. When they can find tar or dark grease, they blacken the red of their lips all around the mouth. This is what two of the Bishop’s natives did when we unpacked our tarred trunks. If you did not have dark grease on your face, you would not dare to appear in front of the others and they would use it as a decoration. Many hang from their ears the medals and rosaries they have been given. A queen or wife of a high chief having received an overcoat last year, had forgotten to ask how to wear it and when she wished to come to mass in it, neither she nor her husband knew how to put it on. She had the missionary called, to help put it on. One of the Brothers, Brother Augustin, was requested to go quickly, before the mass, to show her how it should be put on.
When they are unwell and they cannot have the doctor, they demand medicines and if, as often happens, the medicines consist of a small grain, a pill, or a small amount of powder, they say: Is that all, it’s not worth the trouble and they don’t want to take it. They find that it is too little a thing, it is too small. They call the doctor the doctor of little remedies. A doctor had given to a native a potion of which he should take one dose each day, but he look it all at once and when someone said that he had done wrong, he replied: He told me to take it in three doses, but it will work faster if I take it all at once in one day. If for an eye problem, they are told to wash it with fresh water, they do not wish to carry out this cure because, they say, it is too simple and that it is not difficult enough.
Today (23 June) three tribal chiefs came to see the Bishop. They demanded that he gives them priests. Coming in, they hastened to shake hands with us. Amongst them there is one who has eaten so much human flesh that we used to say of him that his flesh must be the substance of other men that he has eaten. You would not think it to see him, he has a gentle air, affable, which he is in fact. His son, who accompanied him, is a young man of 22 to 25 years of age, one of the most interesting that one could come across. His facial expression is of a gentleness that is not common, a soft gentleness animates his face. He has a very spiritual air. Even though these people eat men, they do not seem either frightening or cruel, it is a thing that they do with as much composure as a man who eats a chicken after having killed it.
This chief that I am talking about is one of the highest chiefs on the island, both for size and rank. He is a veritable colossus, a large head, but well proportioned in relation to his large limbs and huge body. Although he is not yet baptised, he wished to take in advance the name of Louis Philippe, then he demanded of the Bishop whether if was suitable for a baptismal name and he added: As for me, I wish to take the name of the king of a great nation (Louis Philippe). Another asked for the name of the former great king of the French (Bonaparte). He was told that there was no name of a saint such as that, so then he had another given to him.
The sons of Louis Philippe would be the most handsome men that you could see, In general they all have fine heads with nice full cheeks. You can hardly see any who are thin; a fine forehead, a noble bearing (and sometimes proud) and especially a smiling expression, relaxed, indicating what they are capable of. The son of a high chief, who is with the Bishop for instruction, asked him to take him to Europe and then to Rome to see the head of the church. Almost all the Catholics express this wish; they want to see the Pope and is seems that this wish is being abused, for today a young native came to find a missionary. He told us that a Frenchman was returning to France and that he had said to go with him, that he would take him to Rome.
Among those who have come today, there are some who have come more than 100 leagues. This Louis Philippe was called Revoua. [14] You have perhaps heard of him.
One can count in New Zealand many tribal chiefs but not many high chiefs, though nevertheless many take the title of high chief. The high chiefs have jurisdiction over a certain number of ordinary chiefs. The tribes are usually composed of 50 to 100 men. There are some, though fairly rare, of 5, several of 20 to 30; a large number of 50, 60 80; several of 100, 200 or 300; some of 500. When the missionaries travel round these tribes, they are surrounded by these poor natives who beg for instruction, just as hungry people would demand bread.
It quite often happens that the missionaries of Hokianga come to see the Bishop in Kororareka. They find themselves in the right environment.
It would do them the greatest disservice to visit there and not be seen by him and without sleeping there; this happens everywhere and when you arrive the people bring you potatoes, kumera, a sort of very tasty root and enormous quarters of pork and force you to eat. They find that the Europeans do not eat enough. For them, they fill themselves up when they are able and after they travel for one or two days without eating. When they kill a pig, there is only enough for one meal, they do not keep it.
Formerly, they had natives as slaves, they fed them like pigs and made them work, then killed them and ate them. It quite often happened that during wars there would be 200 or 300 bodies on the battleground. It was then a great windfall for the winners. They cut them up in pieces, hung up the arms, legs and the rest on stakes to form a square fence around their houses and which they called “paz”, [15] so that the dogs would not come and eat them. They threw a large quantity into a hole dug in the ground, then covered it with hot coals and left it to roast ready to feast on. The Bishop has one of their weapons, the one that serves to crush the skull. It is made thus: (there is a drawing in the text) Fig. 2 It is a piece of wood three metres long. Another that they copy from the neighbouring islands resembles a pickaxe, the handle is wooden and the pick is of a hard black stone and sharpened like a blade. Fig. 3 The other one that serves to cut off the head is also of stone, but green, sharpened on both sides and hung from a cord that they wrap around their wrist and strike a head to the ground with the first blow. Fig. 4 This type of weapon, a knife, has a blade several inches long and 4 inches wide. When they are on the battlefield, they have this knife hung on their right hand above the wrist and use it with great agility. But since they are becoming civilised, there are far fewer wars.
What a resource there is with these poor savages, their outlook alone is interesting. If we had been able to instruct them before the poisoned chalice of heresy had approached their lips, we could have converted all of them, even their priests, as one of them has already said to the Bishop that his is the true religion. This is so true, that the Bishop has done more in 4 years than the Protestants in 25. Indeed, the Protestant ministers came 25 years ago, in large numbers, to convert them and the Bishop in 4 years can count more Catholics than native Protestants.
The truth is that the Protestants came to convert for themselves the goods of the natives rather than their souls. And what I am saying here is not just rubbish. The missionaries, who have been witness to their behaviour for 3 to 4 years, have told us all that I am telling you. Yesterday, one of them who had been evangelising for a long time in a tribe neighbouring them, told us the following facts that he had seen for himself: These 4 or 5 missionaries who are very close to him, had bought , when they arrived in the country, large areas of land surrounded by rivers, so that the natives found themselves separated from them and could not come to see them. As for them, they lived peacefully cultivating their land without going to see the natives, satisfying themselves with giving them prayer books and bibles. The natives learned these prayers and so they all drank from the poisoned chalice. When Father Viard, Marist missionary, came to establish himself near to them to instruct these natives, from then on these ministers were converted. They crossed their rivers, come out of their houses, animated with a zeal that still fires them up. Every Sunday, they go from tribe to tribe evangelising the natives; they are tireless.
But what is the doctrine that they teach? Here it is: Watch out, they say to these poor folk, watch out for the Catholic priests. They come amongst you to teach you a corrupt, bad, depleted religion. These are no more than a few leftovers who come to your land. Their Bishop is a bad man. He enjoys vices. He wants to cut your throats later on. Whilst saying this they draw their index fingers across their throats, to show how they will plunge their daggers into throats. They have also caused the rumour to circulate in Port Nicholson that Bishop Pompallier was having a pit dug that was so deep that he could have them all fall into it and bury them there. Is this not a diabolical mission? The natives, having brought these stories to Father Viard one day, he said to them: When they come back, tell them what I am going to say to you: Have them put in writing what they are saying. Then ask them to put their signature underneath. If they do this, you will believe them. Well now, that is good, replied the natives. Just the next day, Sunday, a minister arrives and speaks to them about this. The natives let him get on with it and when he has finished they say to him: Very well, put down on paper what you have just said and then put your name underneath. (the natives put great importance on a signature) The minister did not wish to do it; then the natives said to him: You are a liar then; we no longer believe what you say to us. He did not return again.
At about the same time, a minister appealed to the wife of a newly baptised chief to change his religion. This poor woman was upset. The minister continued to approach her and repeated his requests. Finally this good Christian decided to go and find Father Viard. She approached him and told him what had happened between her and the mistaken minister. Father Viard replied to her: Well then, when he comes back, tell him to wait, as you wish to go and find me. The business is settled, the minister is not long in coming back and appealing to her, as before, to embrace his religion. This good woman, faithful to the advice given to her by her pastor says to him: Well now, wait a moment and I will go and find the Ariki. No, no, replied the minister. Oh, I want to go and find him and then we will see, and she began to leave. Then the minister stopped her, holding on to her robe and shouting: No, no, it’s all right, stay here, don’t go away. The poor woman stayed content and satisfied. The minister disappeared and never reappeared.
Tell me, is there any more need to demonstrate the bad faith of these ministers of Satan? They truly serve the role of the devil. They know perfectly well that if they did not use these means, they would not be able to retain their positions. For if they do not have a certain number of adherents, the government will no longer pay them and will retire them. Also, one of them, sent to indoctrinate the New Zealanders abandoned the devil because he saw that he was not earning enough. He came today to see the Bishop and he admitted that the Protestant ministers pour out many slanders about the Catholic priests.
Another time a minister saw a chronological tree in the hands of some natives. He demanded to see it. They replied that the chiefs had given it to them. It was handed to him and while he was looking at it, a small child 5 years old, came to him and, without malice, placed a finger on a broken branch and asking him directly: What is that there? The minister hesitated, then finally replied inevitably: That is us.
These unfortunate ministers, in wishing to destroy us, become useful. As a result of telling lies, they lose the confidence of the natives, who are sharp enough to understand. So it is not unusual to see the native Protestants change to Catholicism. With the native Catholics, only one has been seen to convert to Protestantism. Only recently a London newspaper said that Bishop Pompallier only had a small number of natives and they were only the riffraff. So much the better if the newspapers say that sort of thing, a Marist missionary declared, because at best they will not overshadow us and they will not seek to thwart us everywhere. That is true. They are beaten at their own game.
Oh! Blessed be divine providence that she has wished to choose us to be the true children of her church. Therefore love her, this mother church, [16] as the natives here call her, love all that comes from her, love those that God has sent to be her ministers, love the sovereign leader of this church, that everything that comes from his mouth be respected as if it comes from the mouth of Jesus Christ himself, for he is the solid rock on which Jesus Christ founded his church, against which the gates of hell will never prevail, [17] against which all the waves which come to batter it will break but will never overpower it, for, says Jesus Christ, I am with you [18] Do not only love, but also respect the holy church. But also do what she commands you. Observe her laws with scrupulous faith because, the divine master also says, those who do not listen to the church, who despise her holy ordinances, should be regarded as pagans and publicans.
Oh well, how do you see these pagans and publicans. You pity them in their miserable condition. Nevertheless, it is like them that you will be regarded if you do not observe the laws of the church. It is like this, that you should look upon those who do not wish to fast when they are able, who do not wish to practice abstinence on the Fridays, Saturdays and other days designated during the year. It is an incontestable truth, Jesus Christ has said it, the law should be carried out to the last iota. [19] Take great care then yourself. For soon, when you have left the seminary, you will find yourself cast into a perverse world whose false maxims have been condemned by Jesus Christ. You will be happy if amongst so many poor young folk who set out on this troubled sea and suffer a sad shipwreck in the waves, you manage to avoid all the reefs that you will encounter on you journey.
Oh, if by mischance, you suffer a shipwreck, for it is a great misfortune to suffer a shipwreck as you lose everything you had with you, at least grab hold of the plank which comes to hand, what I mean is the sacrament of penitence, confession, repentance, a return to God, so as to not perish and save at least what you have of supports. Oh! Keep in mind what I say to you, if you do not understand the importance of it, do not wait for the next life to know what it is about, for you will understand it then, but too late and at your own cost. If however, after having been shipwrecked, you are saved by your plank and you once again set out to sea, having learned from the experience, make sure to avoid the same spot so as not to hit the same reef, avoid the company of those who might seduce you and lose you, for with your weakness you are like a small boat at sea that the wind carries away with the greatest of ease among rocks hidden by the waves.
So, conduct yourself prudently in the middle of this stormy sea. Avoid the reefs, the sand banks: know how to predict the storms when they approach, meaning when your soul is troubled and on the point of struggling with temptation. Say to yourself then: The storm is approaching. Take care. Be vigilant. If you feel yourself being drawn relentlessly towards the rocks, throw down the anchor, secure yourself to something, so as to be able to resist the force of the winds. But, what can you secure yourself to? To the feet of Mary, stay there as long as the storm rages, and when it has ended, you can then release yourself to the light winds, to those consolations, to that strength that you will have received and which has helped you escape a shipwreck.
This gives me the opportunity to speak to you about the Bishop’s schooner. It is a very precious little ship which provides great service to the mission. All the ships have their name and their flag which shows which nation they belong to. That of the Bishop is called Sancta Maria. On its blue flag that flies from the highest mast, you can see a cross surrounded by 12 stars, below which is a crescent. From afar you would say that it is an anchor (nevertheless, there is a distance between the crescent and the bottom of the cross). The Bishop wished to allude to the words of the scripture: Mulier amicta sole, luna sub pedibus ejus, corona stellarum duodecim. [20] This schooner is for him like a second salvation. He has not made a single voyage without encountering great danger, but every time the Holy Virgin whose name it bears has saved them. The last time it brushed a very dangerous reef without suffering the least damage; one inch more and the ship would have been wrecked. The Bishop had been obliged to go from one end of the island to the other to evangelise the natives and as he always followed the coast his days were continually in danger. His captain had no knowledge of the depths and reefs in this area, which had never been visited, and this augmented his difficulties. Now that he has been there once, the danger will no longer be so great.
The Bishop is an intrepid navigator; he has this reputation in all areas, even in Sydney. Several times the Maoris have refused to embark with him for fear of being shipwrecked, as he used to have an old schooner, very damaged, but he has always been lucky. When he tells us about the perils to which he has been exposed, he says to us: You see, it is fine that it is like this because one is always ready to appear before God when one sees death close by. He talks to us about these events with as much calmness as if it was an ordinary happening. The schooner that he has now is very good; one would be able to make a trip around the world in her.
What I have just told you are the greatest difficulties of the missions; the rest is made up of work and privations, but one would not be a missionary if it was any different. So, when one travels amongst the tribes, one is sometimes obliged to sleep under the stars. That has happened several times to our missionaries in their travels. One of them, finding himself en route, was caught out by the nightfall; Several natives made him a hollow in the ground so that he would not feel the wind which was blowing. He squatted down on his heels, covered himself with his coat and thus passed the night in his little shelter. He was very fatigued, having travelled all day with steady rain behind him. The conditions were such that he could have died, but nevertheless, he did not feel in the least indisposed.
Nevertheless, it happens rarely that one is obliged to sleep outdoors, as one comes upon straw huts that belong to the natives who insist that you stay the night. These good savages receive the missionaries with unequalled enthusiasm. They offer them the same honours as they offer to their gods if they are able. They are all like this.
Their priests and even their chiefs who do not wish to embrace the Christian religion, which we know perfectly well, say to the missionaries: Your religion is good, it is even perhaps the best, but we cannot yet embrace it. It is already an important point that they are not opposed to the work of the evangelical workers. God will no doubt soon recompense them by having them embrace this religion that they respect. They are the first to ask for priests and to encourage the natives of their tribe to become Christians, to practice the religion of the high Chiefs.
You can see after that, that the small discomforts that one suffers are amply compensated. If we drink only water at dinner, we have tea morning and evening, instead of wine. It is the habit of the English. When I left I thought I would no longer be able to eat meat and it turns out that that is just about all that they eat and that we are not able to fast as often as we would wish. If we had a net, we could catch lots of fish. The Bishop no longer has his; he lent it and it was left entirely ruined. If we had one, we could make great savings; we would spend half of what we spend now. We have plenty of potatoes available, some kumara, squash, and other things depending on where we are. We have bread every day. It is much better than in London. It costs 2 sols per pound. In a year or two, it will be much easier to eat.
What is constant is that those who had poor health in France are much better here. All our missionaries in New Zealand are very healthy. They travel a lot and take Catholicism to the savages; they have no other occupations for the moment, as confessions are not yet currently in use. With the savages one can only go little by little; they are so childlike that one must feed them with milk. They are not yet at the stage of managing substantial food. When they are baptised, they are told that when they commit a sin, they should go to find a priest and confess to him. They do not have much trouble in deciding this, for usually they say out loud what they have done. Nevertheless, some already make confession. We have at Kororareka the wife of a high chief who has died. She goes to confession and communion with exemplary devotion. The day before yesterday Father Viard went to ask her, in the church, how her sick nephew was getting on. Wait, she said. Look. Let me say my prayer. Then I will tell you. I entered the chapel myself and I did not see her change her position at all. Although the natives are very curious to know what is happening around them, she did not move at all. The Bishop told me that he did not believe she had committed a venial sin for a whole year.
The natives of New Zealand are in general all inclined towards embracing the truth. If they are cannibals, it is vengeance that leads them to that. If no one does them any harm, they are very gentle. If someone insults them, or does them any harm, war flares up. Nevertheless, they adapt easily, as has been noticed several times by our missionaries. Whenever they have been able to speak to them before a battle, they have calmed them so that we have nothing to fear from them. Besides they do not dare kill a European, as they fear that his compatriots will come and make war on them and chase them from their lands. As they recognise themselves as very vindictive in similar cases, they can easily believe that others are the same.
Thus one can travel amongst their tribes without fearing any danger and in more safety than in France. I remember having travelled in France during the night. You must remember it yourself too, being at the seminary in Meximieux, one night at 11 o’clock I brought back Mr Gaudet and another evening at about the same time Mr Braconnier and friends and someone said to me: But are you not afraid? It is dangerous to travel during the night, There are so many dangers, there are wolves, etc. But here we have nothing similar to fear. It is perfectly obvious that we are not rich, so they do not want to attack us. As for wild animals, we have nothing to fear, there are none that would wish to destroy us. You can lie down and sleep in the middle of vast forests without the least danger. You can easily do it in summer when out on business and when it is not raining.
(Day of Saint Joan, 24 June). At the moment, there are two chiefs in our yard, who have come to demand some priests. One of them came the other day and has come back on his mission. The Bishop tells us that on this occasion one of the high chiefs had pointed out to the natives, and something that he loves to repeat, that among all the New Zealanders who have been baptised, very few die, whilst among the others there are many. Two years ago an illness struck in general all the natives and Europeans. The missionaries were almost the only ones spared. Amongst those who had not been baptised, more than 200 died. The children of the high chief called Revau [21] were dying too. Then he had them baptised and almost immediately they recovered. Almost none among the baptised natives died. So, the story spread in New Zealand that those who received baptism recovered easily. The Bishop does not recall having seen one more baptised native die in Kororareka during the two years that he lived there.
I remember in France having read, in the letters of the Propagation of the Faith, something that happened here and that the Bishop recounted to us this morning. It was about an infant who was eating nothing and had not been able to drink for two days and who showed all the signs of dying. He immediately recovered his health after his baptism, not having taken any medicine. He also started straight away to drink and eat as he had before the illness. The natives, witnessing this fact, came to ask the Bishop for some medicines for two sick children. The Bishop suggested having them baptised. They refused and the children died. The natives also talked about this happening and when they had sick children, they brought them to the Bishop to have them baptised in the hopes that they would be cured.
Amongst our missionaries there are some who have baptised children who have died immediately after their baptism following an illness that they had beforehand. The natives have noticed this and they wait for the Bishop himself to come amongst them to have him baptise their children, for, they say, he had made them live whereas the others made them die. But these missionaries know how to use cunning and divine providence does not desert those that are destined for her kingdom.
A young 21 year old girl, finding herself ill, Father Viard came to see her. Her father and mother did not want to have her baptised. She was unconscious, could see nothing and say nothing. Father Viard waited and during the night, he seized the chance to go and be near her. The Good Lord wished her to regain consciousness. He quickly instructed Father Viard on what was most necessary and he found, very conveniently, a small amount of water in the bottom of a vase which was nearby, baptised her and then withdrew, without saying anything and without being seen and the young girl was found dead the following day.
Father Servant had with him two bottles, one with perfumed water and the other with pure water. When he knew that a child was ill, he had him smell the perfumed water, massaged his head on pretext of curing him and then cleverly substituted the other bottle with which he baptised him.
Another missionary, found himself with a seriously ill child. The father of this child did not wish to have him baptised. The missionary spied a small amount of water in a leaf. He took it and said to the father of the child: Now, you see, this is not difficult. Here is what we do, and the child was baptised. The father, who did not suspect anything, was tired of saying that he did not want the child baptised. The missionary told him that it was wrong to oppose it, so the little child thus went to heaven.
Today, Revoua, otherwise known as Louis Philippe, who I have spoken to you about before, came to pay a visit to the Bishop and brought him a large pig. This tribal chief came in the early days, almost every day, to the Bishop’s room to contemplate a large crucifix. He did not tire of admiring it, saying: Is it possible how much the Good Lord loved us? Oh! How he must have suffered (kapae), [22] It is alright. This word has more or less the same meaning as these exclamatory word; Ah! that’s a good thing. Several natives came too, sat down on the ground and continually gazed fixedly at this same cross, then one could see in the end their expressions change. They were touched by this sight.
What a fine result one could get from these good natives, but how unfortunate that a greater number of missionaries do not come. If we had delayed our arrival by one month, we would have been on the point of losing two thirds of the mission in New Zealand. How these poor folk, starved of words of salvation, pressured the Bishop to give them more priests. He promised them that soon some would come and he would give them some, and every time that they saw the Bishop, they repeated the same requests and the Bishop repeated that he would give them some if they called him soon. Sometimes they said to him out of pique: If in two months you do not send us a leader, then, do not return to us.
It is that they have secret meetings, they suspect that they are fewer in number than the Protestants and if there are fewer of them they fear having a war and being massacred by the greater number. A large number for them means a powerful force. With them, there is the strength which, in the eyes of men, is the universal witness of humankind.
The Bishop says he is going to send us, very soon, to different places, to show our presence rather than to leave us there. Nothing but our presence, even just our cassock, says the Bishop will be sufficient to pacify them.
So hurry please to come to our aid. There are so many places where priests are needed. If they do not come soon, heresy will take over, the Protestants will pollute all these lands. They will cause the loss of thousands of souls. If the draw of the foreign missions does not make itself felt in you, ask the Lord for it. Do not fear anything. You pray for the conversion of sinners, of infidels; why do you not ask God to make use of you to convert them. He will accord you this grace just as he would accord it to others. Besides he will then be aware of you. Has he not himself made this recommendation; Rogate ergo dominum messis, ut mittat operarios, etc. [23] You will therefore pray for him in a very agreeable manner and one suited to his wishes and if you feel a desire grow in you, do not neglect it. If you feel that the Good Lord is calling you, after having consulted with your director, follow this desire with confidence. God does not always wish to create miracles to call missionaries, as he created one for Saint Paul’s vocation. He wants people to follow their own will via the ordinary ways that their fate leads them. To receive holy orders, such as becoming a missionary, one must be called by God in a morally direct way and I do not see why one should wait for an extraordinary calling to the foreign missions, while with ordinary vocational leanings one can confidently receive a calling in which one takes on greater obligations than in making a missionary of the simple priest that one was before. Yes, I accept that one needs a vocation for this position, but if you feel a desire, sound out your leanings, do not lose them from sight, pray to the Lord to lead you. What good you will do, what merit you will acquire in the missions. The missions close up are not what they seem from a distance. How many poor workers in France suffer more, work in a less useful way than the missionaries in New Zealand. For what? To look after a poor body which will not be long out of the grave. I have not seen in France any men more cheerful, more content than our missionaries are here, their days passing in studying the catechism and explaining the basic truths of our faith to these simple people, with as much, if not more ease than the country curates in our own land. What is most frightening for those who wish to come here is the crossing of the ocean, but if the Good Lord wants us to die, if he has decided in advance our last moment, he is just as likely to take us on land as at sea. For me, in a voyage that was longer than the passage usually takes, the length of time has not stayed with me and the 7525 leagues that we covered from London to New Zealand now seems to me of little interest.
(Monday 25 June) Today we celebrated a feast such as has never been seen in New Zealand before. It is the feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, patron saints of the cathedral of this island. As there is a Frenchman here , who in his home country had learned bellringing, we have erected a belfry in which 4 bells have been suspended as well as the one in the steeple. Our bellringer was not able to ring more than three at a time but he did very well.
High mass was celebrated in pontifical manner. Mr Roullaux, who had been made subdeacon the preceding Sunday was made a deacon. Soon he will be raised to the priesthood, the Bishop having such a great need of priests. The organ played and together we sang some pieces of music at the mass.
The natives were overwhelmed with joy. The wife of the high chief of this tribe, when leaving mass, met us and took our hands to kiss them. We see amongst the natives, who do not know the meaning of human respect, faith such as it should be.
Since our arrival, the high chief, who I have spoken to you about, the one who said that Father Rosset was a child, is waiting for us to leave on a mission so he can take a priest with him. Whilst waiting, he has sent away his wife and said to the Bishop: You see, you promised me a priest. I will not leave here until you have given me one. I built a house to lodge a missionary. You have not sent me one. The house is falling down. I had fed some pigs to give him. You have continued to say soon, soon. The Bishop has told me that I will probably go to the tribe of this chief.
We often hear the natives singing the “o filii et filiae” and reciting their prayers when they are together, some writing the name of the Good Lord on the walls or else the name of the great city of Rome where the high chief of the church lives. This is what a native wrote two days ago on a board, with his pipe, whilst we were walking past behind him.
[116] The Bishop told us today that one day, whilst he was saying mass, he saw a native near to the altar copying all the gestures that he made. He reached out his hands at “The Lord be with you” and raised them for the prayers. Soon all the others copied his example and when he wished to give the benediction, all started to bless him, thinking that this was the best way of praying, to do as the Bishop was doing.
[117] ( Wednesday, 17 July) Not long ago a minister, seeing a native who seemed to him rather simple, started to say to him
What do you make of your Bishop? His religion is rotten. There are only a few natives who follow him. As for us, we have missionaries everywhere. This native who, up till them had kept silent replied to him in language that is difficult to replicate, but very poetic. Yes, it is true that he is almost alone, but when he spoke to Papaia [24] (the high chief) he was turned against New Zealand and his mouth sent, in a breath, the words of truth. La,la la, whilst speaking in this way, he indicated different parts of the island.
When the Bishop arrived, the ministers had said that he was the antichrist [25] The natives, not having understood the significance of this word thought that it was his name and called him this when they spoke about him or spoke to him. One of the chiefs, having written a letter in which he enjoined his tribe to listen to the Bishop, came and said to the Bishop: Please sign your name and said to him to put that name there, thinking that it was his true name or a title. The Bishop said simply that that was not his name and wrote his usual signature.
The ministers had produced, a few months ago, an infernal book against us. [26] In this book there were engravings showing the missionaries burning natives having cut their throats. It also said that the priests wanted to take their lands and then the French frigates would come to wage war and destroy them. But with a very contrary effect to what was expected, these same natives, during the time that this book was circulating, conceived of a great despising for those who were the authors and they recognise now that they had uttered obvious falsehoods. They saw with their own eyes that these same ministers had cause a scandal throughout the country.
Lately they have seen one of them, in Hokianga, behave shamefully. [27] His superiors wanted to send someone else in his place. He wanted to stay put. He refused to leave the place he lived in. Finally, when it was obvious that the dispute was livening up, the parishioners, who were simply onlookers, became participators; they left their habits so as to be freer and it was thanks to their battling that another minister was put in the place of the shamed one. The good for nothing became a wood and land merchant in the same town and when the natives then said to him: Well then, what do you say now about your religion? Make what you will of my religion, as long as you give me timber and land. I want nothing else.
[121] The Bishop tells us that the Protestants have served us better than miracles for their lies are so obvious that the natives just shrug their shoulders. The Bishop says to them
Some ministers have said to you that I have become Protestant. Well, what do you think of that. As for me, if I tell you lies, don’t believe in me or mine any longer. The high chief Reouva [28] told us yesterday that a large part of New Zealand, that is to say several tribes, left the Protestants to return to the Bishop. Not a week passes that we do not see natives arrive here demanding priests.
[122] Again, today, the chief of the tribe that I was speaking of [29] and who is waiting for our departure so as to take one of us with him, has come back to the Bishop’s. He has been waiting for more than a month. A few days ago he wrote some letters in the form of a circular to all the minor chiefs to announce the arrival of a leader. On that particular day there was a great gathering of a dozen tribes. This chief is one of the most powerful in New Zealand, one of the most terrible and most feared and through the Lord’s forgiveness and the protection of Mary, one of the most ardent and most anxious to have a priest. You see, he said to the Bishop, you promised me a leader. Where is he now? You are not truthful. I had raised pigs. I had built a house for him and now it is falling into ruin and you have not sent him. I am seen as an imposter amongst my tribes, my heart is filled with pain and affliction, I am in the shadows. Where is your Bishop, my people say to me, mocking me. Where is our leader? This chief, when talking to the Bishop this evening, looked us all over and then he made his choice; a moment later he left the Bishop and moving away he came and took my hand, saying to Father Epalle
Here is the man I need. Father Epalle said to him: But has the Bishop agreed? He has not said so, replied the chief, but I am saying so. He chose me because I am large and all the natives in my tribe are large; nevertheless, there are those who have chosen Mr Rozet, even though he is small. It seems that I am destined to go with this chief, 130 leagues from here. The Bishop has said to me that this is my destiny for the moment. Perhaps he will be able to change, but he thinks that this is how it will be. I said at 130 leagues I will think myself lucky to be so near. It only takes 36 hours with a good wind to get there. I will be a day and a half away from Father Servant, so we will be able to see each other.
One notices all over New Zealand that the converted natives all seem cheerful and outgoing, whereas the Protestant natives are sad and gloomy. This is noticed by the Europeans. These good natives are so simple and childlike that one of them wanted to hold up to his ear one of the Bishop’s shoes because it was so shiny. When they are given shirts they wear them any old way, as a blouse, a waistcoat or a shirt. This morning one of them changed his trousers in front of the Bishop who had just given them to him in his chambers.
Finally, my dear friends, bless the Lord with us, for the numerous harvests that he has given us to gather in. But how many workers [30] we need of all types. Do not forget, dear children, to pray to God for me, his impoverished servant.


  1. Meximieux (Ain), small seminary that Father Denis Maîtrepierre ran until September 1839 and of which he retained the title of Superior until 1844 (cf. OM 4, p.407). Garin taught at the small seminary of Meximieux from 1839-1840, after having been vicar of Salavre (1834-1835) and of Chalamont (1835-38) in the Ain, and after having been at the novitiate of Belley from 1838- 1839. He left his post at Meximieux to leave for the missions in November 1840 (information received from professor Peter Tremewan and Giselle Larcombe). He was part of the fifth group of missionaries who embarked in London for New Zealand on 8 December 1840.
  2. in 1841, Pentecost fell on 30 May.
  3. In 1841, the Monday after Pentecost fell on 31 May.
  4. Monday is the day of the week dedicated to the holy angels.
  5. Throughout the year 1841, Comte is in Akaroa on Banks Peninsular (cf.doc. 73, § 3; 78, § 1; 80, § 2; 104, § 1).
  6. Arrow-root, edible starch from the rhizomes of the marantacées.
  7. Cf. Luke 10:7: for the worker earns his pay.
  8. “no doubt read:” doubtful.
  9. Cf. John 15:1 - 10
  10. no doubt read Paihia, Anglican establishment (Church Missionary Society) in the Bay of Islands.
  11. Maori word kumara (Ipomoea batatas) (cf. doc. 25, § 1, n. 1). The high chief seems to differentiate between the European potato and the native kumara.
  12. Maori words: ka (particle of verb) pai (good).
  13. cf. doc. 38, § 4, n. 8).
  14. It refers no doubt to Rewa (Manu), who died in 1862, an important chief of the hapu Ngai Tawake of the tribe Nga Puhi (information received from professor Peter Tremewan). His name is written correctly in doc. 118, § 6 and 36 (a Catholic chief, Rewa) and 186, § 11; also see mention of his granddaughter, Isabella Brind (doc. 118, § 33, n. 20). In the present document, the copier writes the name “Revoua” (here, as in § 106), “Revau” (in § 100) and “Revova” (in § 121).
  15. Maori word, Pa ( village surrounded with a palisade).
  16. Read: Comme.,
  17. Cf. Matt 16:18: “And I say this to you: You are Peter, the Rock; and on this rock I will build my church and the forces of death shall never overpower it.
  18. Cf. Mt 28.20: “And be assured, I am with you always, to the end of time.”
  19. Cf. Mt 5.18: I tell you this: So long as heaven and earth endure, not a letter, not a stroke, will disappear from the Law until all that must happen has happened.
  20. Rev 12.1: Et signum magnum apparuit in celo: Mulier amicta sole et luna sub pedibus eius, et in capite ieus corona stellarum duodecim (Next appeared a great portent in heaven, a woman robed with sun, beneath her feet the moon, and on her head a crown of twelve stars).
  21. Read Rewa (cf. above, § 75, n. 20).
  22. Maori word: ka pai (cf. above, § 65, n. 19).
  23. Matt. 9:38 and Luke 10:2: “Rogate ergo dominum messis, ut mittat operarios in messem suam” (you must therefore beg the owner to send labourers to harvest his crop).
  24. Papahia, chief of the Te Rarawa tribe, living at Whangape (cf. doc. 255, § 7; 259, § 3-4).
  25. C.f. 1John 2:22: “ Who is the liar? Who but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist for he denies both the Father and Son”. Cf. also 2John 1:7: “Many deceivers have gone out into the world, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. These are the people described as the Antichrist, the arch-deceiver.”
  26. There are two tracts, works of William Colenso , published “ a few months ago” (in 1840): He Pukapuka Waki; hei wakakite atu i nga henga o te Hahi o Roma (exposure of six faults of the church of Rome), published by William Colenso in 1840; and the continuation of the preceding tract, Ko te tuarua o nga Pukapuka Waki; hei wakakite atu i nga henga a te Hahi o Roma (cf. Herbert W. Williams, A Bibliography of Printed Maori to 1900, Dominion Museum Monograph No. 7 (Wellington: Skinner, 1924), p. 17).
  27. According to Edgcumbe (p.2), this shamed missionary was William White. He had an intransigeant and irascible nature. When he was superintendent of the mission at Mangungu, Hokianga, he occupied himself with cutting down kauri trees and selling the timber in agreement with the Maoris. In March 1838 the authorities of the Wesleyan mission sacked him from both the ministry and the mission because of his excessive commercial activities and his wrongful use of the mission’s property. Nevertheless, he returned to Hokianga where he took up preaching again. He maintained a certain influence with the Maoris of Hokianga and Kaipara as a merchant. (cf. Dictionary of N.Z. Biography, vol. 1, p. 589-590).
  28. Read Rewa (cf. above, § 75, n. 19).
  29. It concerns Tangaroa (cf. doc. 112, § 5), important chief who had travelled a distance of 130 leagues to go from Maketu in the Bay of Plenty to Kororareka, where he waited five weeks to bring a priest to his area (cf. above § 100 and 114).
  30. Biblical reference: Matt 9.37-38 (cf. doc. 33, § 1, n. 6).

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