: recd. May 22, 1838)
PRISON OF MADRID, May
REVD. AND DEAR SIR, -- I write, as you see, from the prison of Madrid, in which I have been confined for the last ten days; for it has pleased God to confer upon me the highest of mortal honours, the privilege of bearing chains for His sake. I shall not at present detail the circumstances which occasioned my arrest, as doubtless the English newspapers will afford you all the particulars, nor shall I dwell upon the situation in which I find myself, but be content with observing that the violence, the preconcerted violence and atrocity, which have been practised towards me, will prove the means of accomplishing not what my enemies hoped and wished, the destruction and disgrace of the Bible-cause in Spain, but its triumph, its pure and sublime triumph.
Satan has, as usual, foiled himself, and his poisoned shafts have recoiled, and pierced his own bosom. You will have heard how gallantly Sir George Villiers has taken my part, and how he has made a national question of the persecution of which I have been the object, and which lately reached its climax. It will be necessary to tell you here that I have always communicated to him the steps which I intended to take in order to promote the circulation of the Bible, and they have uniformly met with his approbation; therefore you will easily conceive that in what I have done there has been no rashness nor anything which savoured of the arts of the charlatan: I have too much respect for the Gospel and my own character to have recourse to them.
I will now state a fact which speaks volumes as to the state of affairs at Madrid. My arch-enemy the Archbishop of Toledo, the Primate of Spain, wishes to give me the kiss of brotherly peace. He has caused a message to be conveyed to me in my dungeon, assuring me that he has had no share in causing my imprisonment, which he says was the work of the Civil Governor, who was incited to that step by the Jesuits. He adds that he is determined to seek out my persecutors amongst the clergy and to have them punished, and that when I leave prison he shall be happy to co-operate with me in the dissemination of the Gospel!!!
I cannot write much now, for I am not well, having been bled and blistered. I must, however, devote a few lines to another subject, but not one of rejoicing or Christian exultation. Marin arrived just after my arrest, and visited me in prison, and there favoured me with a scene of despair, abject despair, which nearly turned my brain. I despised the creature, God forgive me, but I pitied him; for he was without money and expected every moment to be seized like myself and incarcerated, and he is by no means anxious to be invested with the honours of martyrdom. I have offered him some relief -- what else could I do? He seems partly insane. I reap, as I expected, the full credit of his conversion. The Bishop of Cordova got up the other day in council, and said that I was a dangerous pestilent person, who under the pretence of selling the Scriptures went about making converts, and moreover employed subordinates, for the purpose of deluding weak and silly people into separation from the Mother Church.
Of this man I have said in a letter to Mr. Rule, not yet sent: 'I hope that Marin's history will prove a warning to many of our friends, and tend to a certain extent to sober down the desire for doing what is called at home smart things, many of which terminate in a manner very different from the original expectations of the parties concerned. To do a great and a good thing requires a heart replete with the love of Christ and a head cooled by experience and knowledge of the world; both of which desiderata I consider incompatible with a wish to shine.'
It is probable that I shall leave prison to-morrow. Pray write to my mother and beg her not to be alarmed.
I remain, Revd. and dear Sir,