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Letters Of George Borrow by George Borrow

Extracts from the 'Espanol'

'The first founders of the Bible Societies (for by this name they were known) immediately comprehended their philosophic and civilising mission, and fulfilled the thought of its inventor. In a short period the circle of their action expanded itself, and not content with making Great Britain alone a participator of this salutary institution, they wished to extend it to all countries, and therefore called to their assistance the majority of the known languages. To all the quarters of the inhabited world they sent at their own expense agents to traverse the countries and discover the best means of disseminating the truths of the Bible, and to discover manuscripts of the ancient versions. They did more: convinced of the necessity of placing themselves above the miserable considerations of sectarian spirit, they determined that the text should not be accompanied by any species of note or commentary which might provoke the discord which unhappily reigns among the different fractions of Christianity, which separates more and more their views instead of guiding them to the religious end which they propose.

'Thus the doctrine of the Nazarene might be studied with equal success by the Greek schismatic and the Catholic Spaniard, by the sectary of Calvin and the disciple of Luther: its seed might bless at one and the same time the fruitful plains of Asia and the sterile sands of desert Arabia, the burning soil of India and the icy land of the ferocious Esquimaux. Antiquity knew no speedier means of conveying its ideas than the harangues which the orators pronounced from the summit of the tribune, amidst assemblies of thousands of citizens; but modern intelligence wished to discover other means infinitely more efficacious, more active, more rapid, more universal, and has invented the press. Thus it was that in the preceding ages the warm and animated words of the missionary were necessarily the only organ which Christianity had at command to proclaim its principles; but scarcely did this invention come to second the progress of modern civilisation, than it foresaw the future ally destined to complete the intelligent and social labour which it had taken upon itself.'

(After stating what has been accomplished by the B. F. B. Society, and how many others have sprung up under her auspices in different lands, the article continues:)

'Why should Spain which has explored the New World, which has generalised inoculation in order to oppose the devastations of a horrid pest, which has always distinguished herself by zeal in labouring in the cause of humanity -- why should she alone be destitute of Bible Societies? Why should a nation eminently Catholic continue isolated from the rest of Europe, without joining in the magnificent enterprise in which the latter is so busily engaged?'

GEORGE BORROW.

(My best respects to Mr. Jowett.)

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