The letter written by Fr Julian to William Archer from Penola on 5 September 1865 merits more than a cursory glance.

It is, once again, full of questions and demands of his good friend but, as he says, “Who have I to look but you?” He is grateful that William has recommended a microscope that will suit his purposes, and his pocket.

Written in free and easy conversation style, here Fr Julian’s sense of humour is at its best. He refers to his lack of means and suggests maybe the microscope could magnify his income! “The rule is that all priests say they are poor, the exception being in my case that it is true.” He asks for a book and suggests “get it anywhere – steal it – and tell me the cost to soul and body and I will remit in both senses”!

Fr Julian seems to be thriving on being busy about many things. His scientific interest has drawn criticism from clerical circles but that doesn’t seem to be weighing him down at the moment. Rather, he makes light of the situation in the Diocese of Adelaide (currently without a Bishop) by suggesting he might be the next to hold that office, or else he may be excommunicated!

Yes, this letter gives a wonderful insight into Fr Julian. William Archer probably laughed as he read it. I certainly did!

This month we present a fifteenth letter, written on 5 September 1865:

Archer Letter 15 (PDF)