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Letters Of George Borrow by George Borrow

To the Rev. A. Brandram

(Endorsed: recd. Mar.6, 1837)
MADRID, No.16 CALLE SANT. IAGO,
Feby. 27, 1837.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, -- I have received your letter of the 27th ult. containing the resolution of the Committee, and also yours of the [17th] ult. with my account. I was exceedingly grieved at learning that poor Mr. Tarn has been removed, for he was a most worthy person, and the Bible Society will experience a severe loss in his death; but I hope and trust that eventually some one will be found worthy to succeed him. He is doubtless at present in the other world receiving the reward of his faith in this; let us pray that we may be counted worthy to join him there!

By the time these lines reach you the four Gospels will have passed through the press; for the work is going on well and prosperously, and I have little doubt that within five weeks it will be completed. I have already entered into arrangements respecting the binding with Mr. Borrego, who is about to unite bookbinding with printing; the terms are very reasonable, considering the current prices of the country, as I am to pay but three reals per volume for a calf binding similar to that of the copy which was entrusted to me. I have reckoned that the expense of each book, printing, paper, and binding included, will but barely amount to 15 reals; and cheaper than this it is utterly impossible to bring out a work of the size of the New Testament, handsomely and creditably in Spain.

Within a few days I shall despatch letters circular to all the principal booksellers in Spain, specifying the nature, size and quality of the work, and inviting them to subscribe at 15 reals per copy, the prime cost; for if anything will tempt them to a speculation of the kind, it will be the hope and prospect of making a very handsome profit. Yet they are so short-sighted and, like all their countrymen, so utterly unacquainted with the rudiments of business, that it is by no means improbable that they, one and all, take no notice of this proposal, which is however the only plan which at present appears available for promoting the general circulation of the Scriptures.

Dr. Usoz, the gentleman who is at present assisting me in the editing of the work in question, is very anxious to become a member and a correspondent of the Bible Society. His letter on that subject I translated and transmitted previous to my last visit to England, but he has never received an answer. I beg leave to say that I am extremely desirous that his request be granted, and that he be written to without delay; and I must moreover beg to be furnished with a written or printed authority to establish a branch Bible Society in Madrid, and to nominate Dr. Usoz as secretary.

That part of my last letter, where I stated my wish of making a tour through the Asturias, Galicia, and the Biscays, as soon as the work should be completed, does not seem to have been clearly understood. I did not intend to devote myself entirely to the wild people, but to visit the villages and towns as well as the remote and secluded glens. I intended to take letters of introduction to some of the most respectable people of Oviedo, of Corunna, of Lugo, of Vigo, Pontevedro, Barbastro, Bilboa, etc., and to establish depots of Bibles in those towns; but in my way I intended to visit the secret and secluded spots amongst the rugged hills and mountains, and to talk to the people, after my manner, of Christ and to explain to them the nature of His book, and to place that book in the hands of those whom I should deem capable of deriving benefit from it. True it is that such a journey would be attended with considerable danger, and very possibly the fate of St. Stephen might befall the adventurer; but does the man deserve the name of a follower of Christ who would shrink from danger of any kind in the cause of Him whom he calls his Master? 'He who loses his life for My sake, shall save it,' are words which the Lord Himself uttered, and words surely fraught with consolation to every one engaged in propagating His Gospel in savage and barbarian lands.

About a fortnight since I purchased another horse, for these animals are at present exceedingly cheap. A royal requisition is about to be issued for 5000, and the consequence is that an immense number are for sale; for by virtue of this requisition the horses of any person not a foreigner can be seized for the benefit of the service. It is probable that when the number is made up the price of horses will be treble what it is at present, which consideration induced me to purchase this animal before I exactly want him. He is a black Andalusian stallion of great size and strength, and capable of performing a journey of 100 leagues in a week's time, but he is unbroke, savage and furious. However, a cargo of Bibles which I hope shortly to put on his back will, I have no doubt, thoroughly tame him, especially when labouring up the flinty hills of the north of Spain. I wished to purchase a mule, according to my instructions, but though I offered 30 pounds for a sorry one, I could not obtain her; whereas the cost of both the horses, tall, powerful, stately animals, scarcely amounted to that sum.

I will now say a few words respecting the state of Spain, though what I communicate will probably startle you, as in England you are quite in the dark respecting what is going on here. At the moment I am writing, Cabrera, the tiger-friar, is within nine leagues of Madrid with an army nearly ten thousand strong; he has beaten the Queen's troops in several engagements, and has ravaged La Mancha with fire and sword, burning several towns; bands of affrighted fugitives are arriving every hour bringing tidings of woe and disaster, and I am but surprised that the enemy does not appear, and by taking Madrid, which is at his mercy, put an end to the war at once. But the truth is, the Carlist generals do not wish the war to cease; for as long as the country is involved in bloodshed and anarchy, they can plunder and exercise that lawless authority so dear to men of fierce and brutal passions. Cabrera is a wretch whose sole enjoyment consists in inflicting pain and torture and causing woe and misery to his fellow creatures; he is one of the instruments of the anger of the Almighty, a scourge in the hand of Providence to chastise a land whose wickedness had become intolerable. For the elect's sake, and there are a few even in Spain, may it please the Lord to shorten the affliction of these days, or all flesh must succumb.

I remain, dear Sir, most truly yours,

G. B.

P.S. -- Pray let me hear from you shortly, and remember me particularly to Mr. Jowett and Mr. Browne.

P.S. 2. -- I have already paid, in part, for the printing and paper, as you will have concluded by my draft. The Gospel of Saint Luke, in the Rommany language, is nearly ready for the press. It is my intention to subjoin a vocabulary of all the words used, with an explanation in the Spanish language.

Before I left England I was authorised to look out for a person competent to translate the Scriptures in Basque (Spanish). I am acquainted with a gentleman who is well versed in that dialect, of which I myself have some knowledge. Perhaps it would not be unwise to engage him to translate St. Luke as a trial of his powers.

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