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Letters Of George Borrow by George Borrow

Copy of Letter to the Right Hon. Lord William Hervey

August 23rd, 1838.

MY LORD, -- I beg leave to call your attention to the following facts. On the 21st instant I received information that a person in my employ of the name of Juan Lopez had been thrown into the prison of Villallos, in the province of Avila, by order of the Cura of that place. The crime with which he was charged was selling the New Testament. At the time I alluded to, I was at Labajos, in the province of Segovia, and the division of the factious chieftain Balmaseda was in the immediate neighbourhood. On the 22nd, I mounted my horse and rode to Villallos, a distance of three leagues. On my arrival there, I found that Lopez had been removed from the prison to a private house. An order had arrived from the Corregidor of Avila, commanding that the person of Lopez should be placed in full and perfect liberty and that the books which had been found in his possession should be alone detained. Nevertheless, in direct opposition to this order, a copy of which I herewith transmit, the Alcalde of Villallos, at the instigation of the Cura, refused to permit the said Lopez to quit the place, either to proceed to Avila or in any other direction. It had been hinted to Lopez that, as the factious were expected, it was intended on their arrival to denounce him to them as a liberal, and to cause him to be sacrificed. Taking these circumstances into consideration, I deemed it my duty, as a Christian and a gentleman, to rescue my unfortunate servant from such lawless bands, and in consequence defying opposition I bore him off, though perfectly unarmed, through a crowd of at least one hundred peasants. On leaving the place I shouted 'Viva Isabela Segunda.'

As it is my belief that the Cura of Villallos is a person capable of any infamy, I beg leave humbly to entreat your Lordship to cause a copy of the above narration to be forwarded to the Spanish Government.

I have the honour to remain, my Lord, your Lordship's most obedient and most humble servant,


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