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Letters Of George Borrow by George Borrow

To the Rev. A. Brandram

(Endorsed: recd. Apr.9th, 1838)
March 30, 1838. MADRID,

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, -- Without waiting for an answer to my last, which I despatched some ten days since, I shall take the liberty of again troubling you with a short letter. My principal motive for so doing is a visit which I have just been favoured with from our friend Mr. Rule of Gibraltar, a gentleman who has much interested me, and of whose zeal, piety, and discretion I have formed the highest opinion. It seems that the little congregation at Cadiz has been broken up and dispersed by order of the Government, and in consequence he has travelled to Madrid to make intercession in its behalf. I am happy to say that Sir George Villiers has promised to befriend him to the utmost of his ability. Since his arrival here he has received intelligence which has filled him with much uneasiness, and he has entreated me to write home in conjunction with himself respecting the affair, with which indeed I am in some degree concerned. I, however, beg leave to state, that it is with the utmost reluctance I say a word upon the subject, being at all times unwilling to interfere in the slightest degree in the projects or movements of another party; but I feel that entire silence in this case would be wrong and unadvisable.

I come now to the point. A friend of ours, who by your last favour I was informed was about to leave Spain for the benefit of his health, has, it appears, changed his mind, and is on his way to visit Andalusia and the principal towns, namely Cadiz, Malaga, and Seville. Now Mr. Rule is far better acquainted with him than I can pretend to be, and he has told me that knowing him perfectly well, he entertains great dread as to the effect which our friend's visit to those parts will have over the issue of the affair which has brought him, Mr. R., to Madrid. I must here observe that I had myself made preparations to visit Andalusia, having indeed been advised to do so by Sir George Villiers, who will afford me all the recommendations and assistance which I can possibly desire. I may add that some time since I despatched thither a considerable number of Testaments, which are now being sold at Seville, etc. I therefore humbly conceive that the arrival of another edition is likely to produce a clash highly detrimental to the interests of the Society, and to perplex the minds of the people of the west of Spain respecting its views. But I confess I am chiefly apprehensive of the reacting at Seville of the Valencian drama, which I have such unfortunate cause to rue, as I am the victim on whom an aggravated party have wreaked their vengeance, and for the very cogent reason that I was within their reach. I think, my dearest sir, you know sufficient of my disposition to be aware that I am one of the last people disposed to make complaint, whether with or without cause; but that passage in your affectionate and kind letter which implied, though in the gentlest terms, that I had been rash in my proceedings in Madrid, gave me a pang, more especially as I knew from undoubted sources that nothing which I had done, said, or written was the original cause of the arbitrary step which had been adopted in respect to me.

There is another matter which gives me much uneasiness and which I wish to confide to your bosom and yours alone, though you will, of course, communicate it to such friends as you may deem proper. I have received two letters from an ex-priest at Valencia of the name of Marin, to the first of which I have replied, though very cautiously. This very unfortunate individual, who it seems for some time past has felt the workings of the Spirit, was last year induced by certain promises, and hopes thrown out, to leave Valencia, where he enjoyed a benefice on which he supported himself and an aged mother, and to repair to Gibraltar for the purpose of receiving Christian instruction under Mr. Rule. After remaining some time at that place, where, Mr. R. informs me, his conduct was in most points exemplary, he returned to Valencia, where his apostasy, as the Papists termed it, having become known, his salary of six pesetas daily was sequestrated, and himself and his parent in consequence deprived of their only means of subsistence. But this is not all. The aid and assistance which he had been led to expect from England were withheld in his great pinch and need, and the very persons who had taken advantage of the commotion within him to induce him to take what I must term a rash and hazardous expedition, were the first to forsake him, and Mr. Rule states that there is cogent reason for fearing that this unfortunate man and his aged parent are at present perishing with hunger in the barbarous streets of Valencia. I wish it to be known that the man himself in his letters told me nothing of the promises which had been held out to him, nor breathed a word of complaint, I being indebted to Mr. R. for my knowledge on this point, who has a very high opinion of his sincerity, although he has been termed an impostor, though the fact of his having lost his salary by the opinions which he has embraced ought to have precluded such an idea. Now the Lord forbid that this man and his mother perish, so that his death be laid by the enemy at the threshold of the humble but unworthy servants of Christ. I therefore this day have sent him a small sum on my own account to relieve the pinch of utter need, till more can be known of him.

Pray excuse this letter written with a heart full of trouble and doubt. Dispose of me as you think proper, my dear sir, who am truly yours,

G. B.

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