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19 June 1841 — Bishop Jean-Baptiste-François Pompallier to Father Jean-Claude Colin, Bay of Islands

Translated by Mary Williamson, June 2020

Edition established after consideration of the four copies, all sent, APM OOc418.1.

Bishop Pompallier had four copies made of his letter dated 19 June 1841. The signatures are his own on all four copies. All four are composed of a single sheet forming four pages, of which the first three are written on, the fourth having only the address. One can differentiate between them according to the number that they have in the register of letters, ED 1: 67 ( designated text “A”), 68 ( in the handwriting of Viard, text “B”) 69 (text “C”), 70 (text “D”); text “D” being the most complete, it will be the base text.

[p.4] [address] To Mister Colin / Superior general of the Society of Mary / Lyon, Saint Barthélemy Rise No. 4. / Lyon / Europe — France.
Bay of Islands, 19 June 1841.

My Very Reverend Father,
On the 15th of this month I had the pleasure of welcoming the group of fourteen people, that you had sent; only two of them, (Mr Perret and Mr Dausse) stayed at the Cape of Good Hope, to rebuild their strength and to later continue their voyage to the Bay of Islands. [1]
All the goods that you have sent me have arrived in good condition. I received your letters with much pleasure. We will be replying as soon as possible.
Please continue to send us everything to the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. If you are able to find any direct links, in France or in England, to this port, whether for the dispatch of people or funds, this would be better than to use intermediary communications to Sydney, even if they seem good, but for want of something better use these latter means.
To the great joy that I felt in receiving the people you have sent me, there is also a painful sadness and great disappointment on learning of the bankruptcy of our banker in London, [2] where the major part of the allocations for the mission had been deposited. That made it necessary for me to send you, in three bills of exchange, a draft of twelve hundred pounds sterling, that is to say of 30,000 francs, that I would be grateful if you could pay towards the allocations of 1841; or if you have already sent these allocations, when these three bills of exchange arrive, please borrow at the current rate in Lyon; then the capital and the interest on the borrowing will be acquitted against the allocations for 1842, when they reach you. It is better to borrow this sum in Lyon than here, where interest rates are 15%. I am drawing this bill with much more confidence, as you invited me in your letter of 21 September 1840 to draw on your account for the purchase of a ship for the mission’s use. The three bills of exchange that I am sending you are dated 18 June 1841, New Zealand Banking Company. One is for ₤415.2.11. — another for ₤484.17.1. The third for ₤300, which makes in total ₤1200 or else 30,000 francs.
Mr Yvert has told me that measures are going to be taken in your administration to send funds intended for the mission quarterly. I greatly approve of that, as being very prudent, so as not to expose us, in case of accident, bankruptcy or other happenings to being totally deprived here of any help for the mission.
It would be as well too, to put into some establishments in England, or even into your hands, my Reverend Father, a sum of 50 - 60,000 francs each year, that you will not send to the missionaries or through the banks; this would be a credit that would allow us here to draw on the bank of the Bay of Islands, which would draw on you up to the sum indicated by your letters to us. This last means offers more security and greater ease.
I am, with much gratitude and devotion,
My Very Reverend Father,
your very humble and obedient servant,
Jean Baptiste François, Bishop Pompallier,
Vicar apostolic of Western Oceania.
P. S. We are going to write to the Propagation of the Faith and endeavour to fulfil all its requirements. Whilst waiting, please present forcefully, to these men of the council that the needs of this mission are huge, that I have purchased a ship, without which this mission cannot function. Now, I need about 17 to 18 thousand francs a year to maintain this vessel, which is only a schooner of 100 or so tons; but the purchase, which is now completed, came to about 38 thousand francs, which has put the worldly goods of this mission in the greatest of difficulty.
Jean Baptiste François Pompallier.
P.S. The bill for ₤ 415.2.11 has been cancelled here, by myself, at the request of the director of the bank and converted into two others, one for ₤215.2.11. and the other for ₤200: which comes to the same total as the one that was cancelled. But, as this division of one bill into two others, which equal the previous one, suits the administration of the bank of Kororareka better, I consented willingly to their request.
Jean Baptiste François Pompallier.


  1. At the time of the stop over at the Cape of Good Hope in February 1841, Benjamin Dausse and Louis Perret were seriously ill; after consulting with a doctor and Bishop Patrick Raymond Griffith, O.P., vicar apostolic at the Cape of Good Hope. Dausse returned to France around the month of May and Perret left the Cape on 6 May 1841 for Sydney on the American vessel Hannibal; on 25 June he arrived in Sydney where he stayed for some time (cf. APM OG 031, fifth departure, unpublished letter of 3 August 1841 of Louis Perret to Colin, p. 1-2); he finally travelled to New Zealand on 13 September 1841 (cf. doc. 163, § 1).
  2. The Wright Bank in London which had been favourably recommended by Pompallier the previous month (cf. doc. 59, § 10); considerable funds of the mission having been deposited there, its bankruptcy caused suffering to those concerned (cf.doc. 116, § 6; 195, § 3; 197, § 3; 217, § 22; 218, § 4; also docs. 144, § 9; 168, § 1; 184, § 15).