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Letters Of George Borrow by George Borrow

To the Rev. A. Brandram

(Endorsed: recd. July 11, 1836)
CALLE SANTIAGO, No.16 PISO 3RO, MADRID,
June 30, 1836.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, -- As I have little doubt that you are anxiously awaiting the arrival of some intelligence from me, I write a few lines which I have no doubt will prove satisfactory to you, and in the course of a few days I hope to write again, when I shall probably be able to announce the happy termination of the affair which brought me to Spain.

The difficulties which I have had to encounter since I last wrote to you have been so many and formidable that I have been frequently on the verge of despairing ever to obtain permission to print the Gospel in Spain, which has become the most ardent wish of my heart. Only those who have been in the habit of dealing with Spaniards, by whom the most solemn promises are habitually broken, can form a correct idea of my reiterated disappointments and of the toil of body and agony of spirit which I have been subjected to. One day I have been told, at the Ministry, that I had only to wait a few moments and all I wished would be acceded to; and then my hopes have been blasted with the information that various difficulties, which seemed insurmountable, had presented themselves, whereupon I have departed almost broken-hearted; but the next day I have been summoned in a great hurry and informed that 'all was right,' and that on the morrow a regular authority to print the Scriptures would be delivered to me; but by that time fresh and yet more terrible difficulties had occurred -- so that I became weary of my life.

During the greatest part of the last six weeks I have spent upon an average ten hours every day, dancing attendance on one or another of the Ministers, and when I have returned home I have been so fatigued that I have found it impossible to write, even to my nearest friends. The heat has been suffocating, for the air seems to be filled with flaming vapours, and the very Spaniards are afraid to stay out, and lie gasping and naked on their brick floors; therefore if you have felt disappointed in not having heard from me for a considerable time, the above statement must be my excuse.

During the last fortnight the aspect of my affair has become more favourable, and, notwithstanding all the disappointments I have met, I now look forward with little apprehension to the result. The English Ambassador, Mr. Villiers, has taken me by the hand in the most generous manner and has afforded me the most effectual assistance. He has spoken to all the Ministers, collectively and individually, and has recommended the granting of my petition in the strongest manner, pointing out the terrible condition of the people at present who are without religious instruction of any kind, and the impossibility of exercising any species of government over a nation of atheists, which the Spaniards will very shortly become if left to themselves. Whether moved by his arguments or by a wish to oblige a person of so much importance as the British Ambassador, the Cabinet of Madrid now exhibit a manifest willingness to do all in their power to satisfy me; and though by the law of Spain the publishing of the Scripture in the vulgar tongue without notes is forbidden, measures have been taken by which the rigor of the law can be eluded and the printer be protected, until such time as it shall be deemed prudent to repeal the law made, as is now generally confessed, in a time of ignorance and superstitious darkness.

I herewith send you a letter which I received some days since from Mr. Villiers; I have several others on the same subject, but I prefer sending this particular one as it is the last. Since I received it, the Ministers have met and discussed the petition, and the result was, as I have been informed, though not officially, in its favour.

You would oblige me by mentioning to his Lordship the President of the Bible Society the manner in which Mr. Villiers has befriended me, and to beg that he would express by letter an acknowledgment of the favour which I have received; and at the same time, I think that a vote of thanks from the Committee would not be amiss, as I may be again in need of Mr. V.'s assistance before I leave Spain. The interest which he has taken in this affair is the more surprising, as Mr. Graydon informed me that upon his applying to him he declined to interfere.

I saw Mr. Graydon twice or thrice. He left Madrid for Barcelona about a month since, because the heat of the former place in the summer months is more than he can bear, and as he found I was so far advanced, he thought he might be of more utility in Catalonia.

I have at present nothing more to say, and am so weak from heat and fatigue that I can hardly hold the pen. I have removed from my old lodgings to those which Mr. Graydon occupied; therefore when you write, direct as above. With my best remembrances to Mr. Jowett, I remain, my dear Sir, very truly yours,

G. B.

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