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Letters Of George Borrow by George Borrow

To the Rev. A. Brandram

(Endorsed: recd. June 4, 1838)
MADRID, May 25, 1838,

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, -- Events follow each other so quickly in this singular country, and my situation is so peculiar, and I am afraid so little understood at home, that I am obliged to take up the pen more frequently than I am inclined. Do not think me intrusive in again troubling you. I do it in the hope of preventing any alarm which an incorrect report of the following circumstance might cause you.

Immediately on receiving intelligence of the scenes which had taken place at Malaga, the Spanish Government resolved to put an end to all Bible transactions in Spain, and forthwith gave orders for the seizure of all the Bibles and Testaments in the country wherever they might be deposited or exposed for sale. They notified the same to Sir George Villiers, expressly stating that the resolution was taken in consequence of the, 'Ocurrido en Malaga.' I have now learnt that several of my depots have been seized in various parts of Spain, for example, at Salamanca, Seville, and of course at Malaga. This, however, gives me little uneasiness, for, with the blessing of God, I shall be able to repair all, always provided I am allowed to follow my own plans, and to avail myself of the advantages which have lately been opened especially to cultivate the kind feeling lately manifested towards me by the principal Spanish clergy.

But now prompt measures must be taken on the part of the Bible Society. Knowing as I do the character of the unfortunate man who has lately caused so much havoc, I am apprehensive that he may be guilty of some fresh excess. From Mr. Rule's letter, which I forwarded to you, it appears that for some time it has been his intention to quit Spain, but not quietly, witness this last affair of Malaga. Now my fear is that on his return to Barcelona, on finding that the books and Bibles intrusted to his discretion have been seized, he will publish as a parting legacy some tirade against the Government and clergy. If he do, he will probably bring himself into trouble and at all events destruction on our cause; for the Government is quite despotic, as indeed is necessary at the present time, and the whole of Spain is under martial law. Therefore for his own sake, if not for the sake of the cause, let him instantly retire, abandoning the Bibles to their fate. They shall not be lost.

I have had, as you are aware, an interview with the Archbishop of Toledo. I have not time to state particulars, but he said amongst other things, 'Be prudent, the Government are disposed to arrange matters amicably, and I am disposed to co-operate with them.' At parting he shook me most kindly by the hand, saying that he liked me. Sir George intends to visit him in a few days. He is an old, venerable-looking man, between seventy and eighty. When I saw him, he was dressed with the utmost simplicity, with the exception of a most splendid amethyst ring, the lustre of which was truly dazzling.

My poor servant, a Basque from Hernani, is, I am afraid, dying of the jail-fever, which he caught in prison whilst attending me. He has communicated this horrible disorder to two other persons. Poor Marin is also very ill, but I believe with a broken heart; I administer to his needs as far as prudence will allow me, for I am grieved for him. I have not yet despatched my letter to Mr. Rule, as I wish not to offend him; but I cannot approve of his forcing Marin to come up to Madrid, contrary to his wishes. Zeal is a precious thing, when accompanied with one grain of common sense.

In conclusion, I beg leave to say that Sir George Villiers has authorised me to state that provided the Bible Society entertain any doubts respecting my zeal in the Christian cause, or the correctness of my conduct during my sojourn in Spain, he hopes they will do him the satisfaction to communicate with him.

I remain, Revd. and dear Sir, most truly yours,


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