A file of letters from Fr Joseph Dalton SJ, (Superior: 1866 - 1872; 1879 - 2 September 1883) to irish Fr Provincial concerning the Australian Mission. (Note: undated fragments - 17 items).
14 May 1866 - 6 December 1869, 52 items
Includes a letter concerning a 'serious hitch' with the Bishop over the boundaries of the Mission (24 May 1866, 4pp). Includes a letter concerning a successful agreement between the Society and the Archbishop. Remarks that the Archbishop is very anxious that the Jesuit Fathers obtain the best sites for their houses and to this end has applied to the government for a 'church reserve.' (26 June 1866, 4pp). Includes a letter referring to an invitation by Dr Murphy for the Jesuits to set up a Mission in Tasmania. Remarks that he discussed the matter with his Consultors who felt it was not a desirable offer 'But the real danger is - if Dr. Murphy calls in the Marists or any other body and if they open a community in...Tasmania before we shall have opened one here we may be "cut out" by them; a college in Tasmania even if not a great success might interfere seriously with our college here..' (22 August 1866, 10pp). Includes a letter expressing his disappointment that Fr Provincial can provide neither men nor money for the Australian Mission. Remarks 'It is a great delusion to imagine that gold in Australia is like coal in Newcastle - would it were! The lucky golden days out here are all past and gone and it now requires great capital and great machinery to work the mines... which...lie out here some 200 or 300 feet underground.' Refers to Sir Charles Gavan Duffy lately arrived in Australia. Remarks that he (Fr Dalton) is his Parish Priest and that he has called to see him (26 November 1866, 7pp). Includes a letter referring to the laying of the foundation stone of the church of St Ignatius. Includes a rough plan of the design (25 July 1867, 4pp). Includes a letter marked private concerning the crisis over appointing a new Bishop. Remarks that Dr Goold is acting as administrator temporarily but asks if one of the Jesuit Fathers could be appointed. Remarks 'The laity were about sending a petition to Rome for one of us - I dissuaded them...it will ruin the Melbourne Mission and I intend to impress this on Dr Goold...' (nd, 2pp). (Note: this letter is see also filed after the letter dated 27 July 1867). Includes a letter referring to the litigation over Fr Therry's will. Remarks that this is hindering their plans to secure a site for a new college (26 August 1867, 6pp). Includes a letter describing a visit he made to Fr Therry's sister in Hobart. Remarks that everything has been settled '..I found Miss Therry and her brother most favourably disposed towards us and most anxious that Fr Therry's will and "instructions" should be carried out: they were under the impression however that the Trustees were making away with the property and hence the lawsuit.' (25 September 1867, 8pp). Includes a letter referring to the building of the churches at Richmond and Hawthorn. Remarks 'The two churches are going on well TG - Hawthorn mason work will be completed in a month TG - the Richmond church ("dear and ugly") is rising more slowly and winning admiration as it grows..' (4 January 1868, 8pp). Includes a letter concerning Fr Therry's property and the various allotments left to the Society of Jesus (28 February 1868, 4pp). Includes a lengthy letter replying to a series of charges levelled against the Mission by Fr Lentaigne. Remarks '...I feel that Fr Lentaigne's bill of indictment is greatly exaggerated and in some respects childish - it is almost entirely made up of charges against Fr Nolan...' (11 September 1868, 14pp). Includes a letter referring to the Benedictines in Sydney. Remarks '...(they) are broken down completely - they have failed in every way, their school, their convent - their priests and their Lay Brothers - all a failure. The laity and some of the clergy are very anxious that the Archbishop should give us Lyndhurst for a college, the Marist too are most anxious to see us there..' (4 December 1868, 10pp).
3 January 1870 - 11 May 1879; 87 items
Includes a letter referring to the endowment by Dr McEnroe of a Chair in St John's College (27 March 1870, 11pp). Includes a letter concerning the General Elections and the Education Bill and the Bishop's directive that the clergy should use all their power to ensure the Bishop's directive that the clergy should use all their power to ensure that men opposed to the Government's Education Bill should be returned. Remarks that he did as much as he could quietly. Continues 'We all abstained from voting tho' the B(isho)p was very anxious - Fr General has already forbidden ours to vote under any pretence.' (23 March 1871, 8pp). Includes a letter discussing the pros and cons of the Mission's first attempt at convictus. (20 May 1871, 8pp). Includes a letter describing a visit he paid to South Australia to give a series of retreats. Describes the Mission of the German Fathers of the Society of Jesus in detail. Remarks 'I have had a special reason for giving you...(a) very detailed...account of the Mission of our German Fathers (because... our German Fathers...are very anxious for an amalgamation of the two missions - theirs and ours).' Remarks that he would not approve of an amalgamation and sets out his reasons for this opinion.' (22 August 1872, 8pp). Includes a letter referring to his attempt to raise money for the new colleges. Remarks that he is in Castlemain '...begging for our new colleges, I fear I shall not make my fortune - the place is poor and I am not a good walker and a beggar should be a good walker and a good rider also - I am neither...' (25 February 1873, 4pp). Includes a letter referring to the new secular Education Bill coming into operation. Remarks that it is the Jesuit Father's duty to provide for the schools 'Xtian Brothers for our boys and nuns for our girls are only hope..' (2 January 1974, 4pp).
16 October 1880 - 17 June 1889; 21 items
Includes a letter regarding his health and requests to be relieved from his position as Superior of the Mission as soon as possible. Refers to a meeting of Land League sympathisers at which Fr Joseph O’Malley SJ spoke very strongly. Remarks that he wrote to Fr O'Malley SJ on the matter. Continues 'To make matters worse I learned that the "Land League" had arranged to have 5000 copies of Fr O'Malley's speech...printed...I wrote at once to the printers but was too late...Fr Mulhall and Fr Clancy...agree with me in looking on the speech as very imprudent.' (24 July 1881, 12pp). Includes a letter concerning the conduct of Fr James Kennedy SJ at the graveside of Archbishop Steins which caused great upset to the Jesuit Fathers and members of the diocese. Remarks that he had to severely reprimand Fr Kennedy SJ ([September 1881], 6pp).