: recd. May 1, 1838)
REVD. AND DEAR SIR, -- I enclose a letter from Mr. Rule, dated Valencia, 12th inst., which I have just received, and upon which I beg to make a few observations.
In this very extraordinary espistle I am requested to take charge of an ex-priest of the name of Pascual Marin, on his arrival at Madrid, where it appears he is hastening, to furnish him with cash, make an estimate of his probable expenses, and moreover to write home to the Society, without delay, for the purpose of advising the Committee to join with the gentlemen of another religious institution in affording the said Marin the means for supporting himself in the Spanish capital, where it is the writer's opinion that he may be usefully employed in distributing the Scriptures, and in preparing the way for a future mission. Well and good! But my friends at home, discreet as I know them to be, will doubtless be anxious to be informed by virtue of what correspondence or communication with me does Mr. Rule now write from Valencia, consigning to my hands this person, whom I have never seen, and whom I know not, although, as I have stated on a former occasion, I have received two letters from him, to one of which I returned a cautious and guarded answer.
Mr. Rule suddenly arrived at Madrid, upon some business connected with the Society to which he belongs; he called upon me, and I, upon learning from him that he was a perfect stranger in Madrid, without friends or acquaintances, received him with the hospitality which the Scripture enjoins, and which I continued during his stay in the capital, a period of about ten days. In the course of our conversations he spoke to me of the peculiar hardships of the case of Pascual Marin of Valencia, who, as he informed me, had been induced, partly by conviction, and partly by persuasion, to secede from his own Church, but who not having received from England the assistance which he had been led to expect, was in danger of perishing, with his mother, in the streets of Valencia, he having lost the benefice which constituted their support. Whereupon through the medium of Mr. Rule I sent him 500 reals on my own account, without, however, directly or indirectly pledging myself to do anything more in his behalf, or to attempt to engage the Bible Society to do so.
Mr. Rule left Madrid for Valencia, and on his departure informed me that it was his firm intention to carry Marin with him to Gibraltar, to which resolution I, of course, made no objection, as I conceived that it was a matter with which I had little or no connection, and in which it would be advisable not to involve myself, more especially on account of the peculiar state of the affairs at Madrid with which the Society had done me the honour to entrust me.
I was aware that in my situation peculiar caution in every step was necessary and indispensable, and after Mr. Rule's departure I harboured not the slightest surmise that my attentions to himself, or the slight conversation which I had held with him respecting Marin, could possibly tend to compromise me in any point. I was, however, mistaken.
In the name of all that is singular, what does Mr. Rule mean, without the courtesy of asking my permission, by sending this man to me at Madrid? Assist in preparing the way for a mission! Very probably; but that mission will be my own, over the frontiers, under an escort of lancers. Assist in distributing the Scriptures! Probably again; but it will be to the wild winds of Madrid, when they are torn to pieces by the common hangman in the Plaza Mayor, and cast into the air. I must confess that I am vexed and grieved that as fast as I build up, some intemperate friend rushes forward, and by his perhaps well-meant zeal casts down and destroys what has cost me much labour.
Things are beginning to assume a more favourable aspect. I have opened my shop once more, though not at present for the sale of Testaments. The priests are frantic, and through the medium of one or other of the Ministers, are continually giving me trouble; but Sir George Villiers has vowed to protect me, and has stated so publicly, and he is every day acquiring more and more influence here. He has gone so far as to state to Ofalia and Gamboa, that provided I be allowed to pursue my plans without interruption, he will be my bail (fiador) and answerable for everything I do, as he does me the honour to say that he knows me, and that he can confide in my discretion. Therefore let me call upon my beloved and respected friends at home, as they love their Lord and the credit of His cause, to offer no encouragement to any disposed 'to run the muck' (it is Sir George's expression) against the religious or political institutions of Spain, to keep clear of the exaltado or republican party, and to eschew tracts, with political frontispieces, concerning any uncertain future dispensation; but to confine themselves strictly and severely to the great work of propagating the Word which sooner or later is doomed to christianise the entire world.
I hope I shall be excused the freedom of these observations, when it is reflected that I, being the Agent of the Bible Society, have to answer to those who protect me here for all that is done in any part of Spain under the sanction of the Society.
Concerning Marin and what is to be done in his respect, I feel myself after much reflection and private prayer totally incompetent to offer a suggestion. He can be of no possible service to me in Madrid, but the contrary. One thing, however, is evident, that, thanks to particular individuals, we are to a certain extent compromised.
I remain, Revd. and dear Sir, most truly yours,