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Letters of George Borrow to the British and Foreign Bible Society

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have an opportunity of writing, which at present I have not, as my
time is much occupied.

I have to communicate to you what will not fail to be interesting.
The Spanish press have taken up our affair, and I am at present
engaged in attempting to lay the foundation of a Bible Society at
Madrid, to accomplish which the editor of the influential
newspaper, the ESPANOL, has promised me his assistance. There has
already appeared in that journal a most brilliant article which
gives the history of our Society, and states the advantages which
would result to Spain from the establishment within its bosom of a
society whose aim should be the propagation of the Scripture, in
the Spanish language, amongst the population. Of this article I
send extracts below, and shall probably, when I have more time,
send the whole. The person whom we are looking forward to as a
head of the projected institution is a certain Bishop, advanced in
years, a person of great piety and learning, who has himself
translated the New Testament in a manner, as I am informed, far
superior to that of any of his predecessors; but I have not as yet
seen it, and therefore cannot speak positively as to its merits.
However, he is disposed to print and circulate it, and if the
translation be really an excellent one it would not be unwise in us
to patronise it, if by so doing we could induce him to co-operate
with us in our plans for enlightening unhappy Spain. But more of
this anon. I have little doubt that the time is almost at hand
when the cause of God will triumph in this country, and I am
exerting every means which I can devise in humbleness of heart to
help to bring about an event so desirable. I intend to remain a
few weeks longer at Madrid at all events, for the present moment is
too fraught with interest to allow me to quit it immediately. As
far as self is concerned I should rejoice to return instantly to
Lisbon, for I am not partial to Madrid, its climate, or anything it
can offer, if I except its unequalled gallery of pictures; but I
did not come hither to gratify self but as a messenger of the Word.

May I take the liberty of begging you to write a line to my dear
and revered friend Mr. Cunningham, informing him that I am in
tolerable health, and that I hope to write myself speedily. The
three letters which you say have not arrived were, I believe,
destroyed by a servant for the sake of the postage, but I shall
send you parts of my journal to supply the deficiency.


'The first founders of the Bible Societies (for by this name they
were known) immediately comprehended their philosophic and
civilising mission, and fulfilled the thought of its inventor. In
a short period the circle of their action expanded itself, and not
content with making Great Britain alone a participator of this
salutary institution, they wished to extend it to all countries,
and therefore called to their assistance the majority of the known
languages. To all the quarters of the inhabited world they sent at
their own expense agents to traverse the countries and discover the
best means of disseminating the truths of the Bible, and to
discover manuscripts of the ancient versions. They did more:
convinced of the necessity of placing themselves above the
miserable considerations of sectarian spirit, they determined that
the text should not be accompanied by any species of note or
commentary which might provoke the discord which unhappily reigns
among the different fractions of Christianity, which separates more
and more their views instead of guiding them to the religious end
which they propose.

'Thus the doctrine of the Nazarene might be studied with equal
success by the Greek schismatic and the Catholic Spaniard, by the
sectary of Calvin and the disciple of Luther: its seed might bless
at one and the same time the fruitful plains of Asia and the
sterile sands of desert Arabia, the burning soil of India and the
icy land of the ferocious Esquimaux. Antiquity knew no speedier
means of conveying its ideas than the harangues which the orators
pronounced from the summit of the tribune, amidst assemblies of
thousands of citizens; but modern intelligence wished to discover
other means infinitely more efficacious, more active, more rapid,
more universal, and has invented the press. Thus it was that in
the preceding ages the warm and animated words of the missionary
were necessarily the only organ which Christianity had at command
to proclaim its principles; but scarcely did this invention come to
second the progress of modern civilisation, than it foresaw the
future ally destined to complete the intelligent and social labour
which it had taken upon itself.'

(After stating what has been accomplished by the B. F. B. Society,
and how many others have sprung up under her auspices in different
lands, the article continues:)

'Why should Spain which has explored the New World, which has
generalised inoculation in order to oppose the devastations of a
horrid pest, which has always distinguished herself by zeal in
labouring in the cause of humanity - why should she alone be
destitute of Bible Societies? Why should a nation eminently
Catholic continue isolated from the rest of Europe, without joining
in the magnificent enterprise in which the latter is so busily


(My best respects to Mr. Jowett.)

LETTER: 20th April, 1836

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. May 5, 1836)
20 APRIL 1836

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I have received your letter of the 6th inst.,
in which you request me to write to you a little more frequently,
on the ground that my letters are not destitute of interest; your
request, however, is not the principal reason which incites me to
take up the pen at the present moment. Though I hope that I shall
be able to communicate matter which will afford yourself and our
friends at home subject for some congratulation, my more immediate
object is to inform you of my situation, of which I am sure you
have not the slightest conception.

For the last three weeks I have been without money, literally
without a farthing. About a month ago I received fifteen pounds
from Mr. Wilby, and returned him an order for twenty, he having,
when I left Lisbon, lent me five pounds, on account, above what I
drew for, as he was apprehensive of my being short of money before
I reached Madrid. 12 pounds, 5s. of this I instantly expended for
a suit of clothes, my own being so worn, that it was impossible to
appear longer in public with them. At the time of sending him the
receipt I informed him that I was in need of money, and begged that
he would send the remaining 30 pounds by return of post. I have
never heard from him from that moment, though I have written twice.
Perhaps he never received my letters, or I may not have received
his, the post of Estremadura having been three times robbed; I can
imagine no other reason. The money may still come, but I have
given up all hopes of it, and am compelled to write home, though
what I am to do till I can receive your answer I am at a loss to
conceive. But God is above all, and I am far from complaining; but
you would oblige me, upon receiving this, to procure me instantly a
letter of credit on some house in Madrid. I believe Messrs.
Hammersley of London have correspondents here. Whatever I undergo,
I shall tell nobody my situation: it might hurt the Society and
our projects here. I know enough of the world to be aware that it
is considered as the worst of crimes to be without money. Above
all, let me intreat you never to hint of this affair in any
communication to Mr. Wilby; he is a most invaluable man, and he
might take offence.

A week ago, after having spent much time in drawing up a petition,
I presented it to the Ecclesiastical Committee of Censors. It was
strongly backed by the Civil Governor of Madrid, within whose
department the Censorship is. In this petition, after a preamble
on the religious state of Spain, I requested permission to print
the New Testament without note or comment, according to the version
of Father Scio, and in the same form and size as the small edition
of Paris, in order that the book might be 'AL ALCANCE ASI DE LOS
POBRES COMO DE LOS RICOS' (within the reach of the poor as well as
of the wealthy). The Ecclesiastical Board are at present
consulting about it, as I was informed to-day, upon my repairing to
their house for the purpose of knowing how matters were going on.
I have hopes of success, having done all in my power to prevent a
failure by making important friends since the moment of my arrival.
I was introduced to the Governor by his most intimate acquaintance
Synudi, the Deputy of Huelba, to whom I was introduced by the
celebrated Alcala de Galiano, the Deputy of Cadiz, who will sooner
or later be Prime Minister, and to him I was introduced by - but I
will not continue, as I might run on for ever, much after the
fashion as

'This is the house which Jack built.'

And now I have something to tell you which I think will surprise
you, and which, strange as it may sound, is nevertheless true. The
authority of the Pope in this country is in so very feeble and
precarious a situation, that little more than a breath is required
to destroy it, and I am almost confident that in less than a year
it will be disowned. I am doing whatever I can in Madrid to
prepare the way for an event so desirable. I mix with the people,
and inform them who and what the Pope is, and how disastrous to
Spain his influence has been. I tell them that the indulgences,
which they are in the habit of purchasing, are of no more intrinsic
value than so many pieces of paper, and were merely invented with
the view of plundering them. I frequently ask: 'Is it possible
that God, who is good, would sanction the sale of sin?' and,
'Supposing certain things are sinful, do you think that God, for
the sake of your money, would permit you to perform them?' In many
instances my hearers have been satisfied with this simple
reasoning, and have said that they would buy no more indulgences.
Moreover, the newspapers have, in two or three instances, taken up
the subject of Rome upon national and political grounds. The Pope
is an avowed friend of Carlos, and an enemy of the present
Government, and in every instance has refused to acknowledge the
Bishops who have been nominated to vacant sees by the Queen.
Therefore the editors say, and very naturally, if the Pope does
everything in his power to impede the progress of Spanish
regeneration, it is high time to cut the ties which still link
Spain to the papal chair. It is my sincere prayer, and the prayer
of many of those who have the interest of Spain at heart, that The
Man of Rome will continue in the course which he is at present
pursuing, for by so doing he loses Spain, and then he is nothing.
He is already laughed at throughout Italy - Ireland will alone
remain to him - much good it may do him!

In respect to the Apocrypha, let me be permitted to observe that an
anticipation of that difficulty was one of my motives for
forbearing to request permission to print the entire Bible; and
here I will hint that in these countries, until the inhabitants
become Christian, it would be expedient to drop the Old Testament
altogether, for if the Old accompany the New the latter will be
little read, as the former is so infinitely more entertaining to
the carnal man. Mr. Wilby in his [last] letter informs me that 30
Bibles have been sold in Lisbon within a short time, but that the
demand for Testaments has not amounted to half that number. My
best respects to Mr. Jowett.

G. B.

LETTER: 22nd May, 1836

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. June 1, 1836)
MADRID, MAY 22, 1836.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I write in the greatest hurry. I shall
receive the permission, the Lord willing, in a few days; the Duke
de Rivas has this moment told me so, and he is Minister of the

The Ecclesiastical Court declined deciding upon the matter, and
left it entirely in the hands of the Ministers. Just as the
English Ambassador was about to remind Mr. Mendizabal of his
promise to me, the latter gentleman and his colleagues retired from
office; a new Ministry was formed composed entirely of my friends,
amongst them Alcala Galiano (turn to my last letter).

As soon as the Minister of Finance, with whom I am very intimate,
returns from France, I shall request to be permitted to introduce
the Catalan New Testament upon paying a reasonable duty.

I received Mr. Jackson's letter containing the money, and yours,
also with money, and a rap on the knuckles besides; it was scarcely
merited, as I can prove in five words.

Not having the Scripture to offer to the people, I was obliged to
content myself with mentioning it to them; the people here know not
the Scripture even by name, but they know a certain personage well
enough, and as soon as the subject of religion is brought up they
are sure to bring him forward, as they consider him the
fountainhead of all religion. Those therefore in the situation of
myself have three things at their option; to speak nothing - to
speak lies - or to speak the truth. In simpleness of heart I
thought proper to adopt the last principle as my line of conduct; I
do not think I have erred, but I shall be more reserved in future.

In conclusion let me be permitted to observe that the last skirts
of the cloud of papal superstition are vanishing below the horizon
of Spain; whoever says the contrary either knows nothing of the
matter or wilfully hides the truth.

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


LETTER: 22nd May, 1836

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. June 2, 1836)
[MADRID, MAY 22, 1836.]

MY DEAR SIR, - There has been a partial disturbance at Madrid, and
it is not impossible that the new Ministry will go out and Mr. M.
be reinstated - which event, however, will make little difference
to us, as the British Ambassador has promised to back the
application which I shall instantly make. There are so many
changes and revolutions here that nothing is certain even for a
day. I wish to let you know what is going forward, and am aware
that you will excuse two letters arriving at one time.

G. B.

LETTER: 30th May, 1836

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. June 4, 1836)
[MADRID], MONDAY NIGHT, half p. 11, MAY 30.

THE post will presently depart, therefore I have no time to lose.
Every thing, thank God, is again tranquil, and it appears that the
present Ministry will stand its ground. I am just returned from
the house of one of the Ministers; I can consequently speak pretty
positively. The Queen will not accept their resignations, and the
army is on their side. The Cortes have been dissolved. The whole
Cabinet are of opinion that my petition is just and reasonable and
ought to be granted. I have been requested to appear next Thursday
at the Office, when I expect to receive the permission, or to hear
that steps have been taken towards making it out.

The reason of Mr. Mendizabal's resignation was his inability to
accomplish the removal of General Cordova from the head of the
army. It is not for me to offer an opinion on the General's
military talents, but he is much beloved by the soldiers, whose
comforts and interests he has much attended to; to deprive him of
command would therefore be attended with danger. I have no
complaint to make against Mr. M.; he is a kind, well-meaning man,
and had he remained in office I have no doubt that he would have
acceded to my petition.

I hope you will pray that God will grant me wisdom, humbleness of
spirit, and success in all that is right.


LETTER: 30th June, 1836

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. July 11, 1836)
JUNE 30, 1836.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - As I have little doubt that you are anxiously
awaiting the arrival of some intelligence from me, I write a few
lines which I have no doubt will prove satisfactory to you, and in
the course of a few days I hope to write again, when I shall
probably be able to announce the happy termination of the affair
which brought me to Spain.

The difficulties which I have had to encounter since I last wrote
to you have been so many and formidable that I have been frequently
on the verge of despairing ever to obtain permission to print the
Gospel in Spain, which has become the most ardent wish of my heart.
Only those who have been in the habit of dealing with Spaniards, by
whom the most solemn promises are habitually broken, can form a
correct idea of my reiterated disappointments and of the toil of
body and agony of spirit which I have been subjected to. One day I
have been told, at the Ministry, that I had only to wait a few
moments and all I wished would be acceded to; and then my hopes
have been blasted with the information that various difficulties,
which seemed insurmountable, had presented themselves, whereupon I
have departed almost broken-hearted; but the next day I have been
summoned in a great hurry and informed that 'all was right,' and
that on the morrow a regular authority to print the Scriptures
would be delivered to me; but by that time fresh and yet more
terrible difficulties had occurred - so that I became weary of my

During the greatest part of the last six weeks I have spent upon an
average ten hours every day, dancing attendance on one or another
of the Ministers, and when I have returned home I have been so
fatigued that I have found it impossible to write, even to my
nearest friends. The heat has been suffocating, for the air seems
to be filled with flaming vapours, and the very Spaniards are
afraid to stay out, and lie gasping and naked on their brick
floors; therefore if you have felt disappointed in not having heard
from me for a considerable time, the above statement must be my

During the last fortnight the aspect of my affair has become more
favourable, and, notwithstanding all the disappointments I have
met, I now look forward with little apprehension to the result.
The English Ambassador, Mr. Villiers, has taken me by the hand in
the most generous manner and has afforded me the most effectual
assistance. He has spoken to all the Ministers, collectively and
individually, and has recommended the granting of my petition in
the strongest manner, pointing out the terrible condition of the
people at present who are without religious instruction of any
kind, and the impossibility of exercising any species of government
over a nation of atheists, which the Spaniards will very shortly
become if left to themselves. Whether moved by his arguments or by
a wish to oblige a person of so much importance as the British
Ambassador, the Cabinet of Madrid now exhibit a manifest
willingness to do all in their power to satisfy me; and though by
the law of Spain the publishing of the Scripture in the vulgar
tongue without notes is forbidden, measures have been taken by
which the rigor of the law can be eluded and the printer be
protected, until such time as it shall be deemed prudent to repeal
the law made, as is now generally confessed, in a time of ignorance
and superstitious darkness.

I herewith send you a letter which I received some days since from
Mr. Villiers; I have several others on the same subject, but I
prefer sending this particular one as it is the last. Since I
received it, the Ministers have met and discussed the petition, and
the result was, as I have been informed, though not officially, in
its favour.

You would oblige me by mentioning to his Lordship the President of
the Bible Society the manner in which Mr. Villiers has befriended
me, and to beg that he would express by letter an acknowledgment of
the favour which I have received; and at the same time, I think
that a vote of thanks from the Committee would not be amiss, as I
may be again in need of Mr. V.'s assistance before I leave Spain.
The interest which he has taken in this affair is the more
surprising, as Mr. Graydon informed me that upon his applying to
him he declined to interfere.

I saw Mr. Graydon twice or thrice. He left Madrid for Barcelona
about a month since, because the heat of the former place in the
summer months is more than he can bear, and as he found I was so
far advanced, he thought he might be of more utility in Catalonia.

I have at present nothing more to say, and am so weak from heat and
fatigue that I can hardly hold the pen. I have removed from my old
lodgings to those which Mr. Graydon occupied; therefore when you
write, direct as above. With my best remembrances to Mr. Jowett, I
remain, my dear Sir, very truly yours,

G. B.

LETTER: 7th July, 1836

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. July 18, 1836)
7 JULY, 1836, MADRID,

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - The affair is settled - thank God!!! and we
may begin to print whenever we think proper.

Perhaps you have thought I have been tardy in accomplishing the
business which brought me to Spain; but to be able to form a
correct judgment you ought to be aware of all the difficulties
which I have had to encounter, and which I shall not enumerate; I
shall content myself with observing that for a thousand pounds I
would not undergo again all the mortifications and disappointments
of the last two months.

The present Ministry have been afraid to offend the clergy, and
with great reason, as they are not of the movement or radical
party, and many of their friends are bigoted papists; nevertheless,
influenced by the pressing applications of the British Ambassador
and being moreover well-disposed to myself, they have consented to
the printing of the Testament; but it must be done in a private
manner. I have just had a long interview with Mr. Isturitz, who
told me that if we were resolved upon the enterprise we had best
employ the confidential printer of the Government, who would keep
the matter secret; as in the present state of affairs he would not
answer for the consequences if it were noised abroad. I of course
expressed my perfect readiness to comply with so reasonable a

I will now candidly confess to you that I do not think that the
present Ministry, or, as it is generally called, the Court
Ministry, will be able to stand its ground; nevertheless a change
of Ministry would not alter the aspect of our affair in the least,
for if the other or movement party come in, the liberty of the
press (a great misfortune for Spain) would be probably granted; at
all events, the influence of the English Ambassador would be
greater than it is even at present, and upon his assistance I may
rely at all times and occasions.

I am not aware that there is any great necessity for my continuance
in Spain; nevertheless, should you think there is, you have only to
command. But I cannot help thinking that in a month or two when
the heats are over Mr. Graydon might return, as nothing very
difficult remains to be accomplished, and I am sure that Mr.
Villiers at my entreaty would extend to him the patronage with
which he has honoured me. But, as I before observed, I am ready to
do whatever the Bible Society may deem expedient.

Do not forget THE TWO letters of thanks to the Ambassador, and it
would not be unwise to transmit a VOTE of thanks to 'His Excellence
Antonio Alcala Galiano, President of Marine,' who has been of great
assistance to me.

I have the honour to be, Revd. and dear Sir, your most obedient

G. B.

P.S. - In about six weeks I shall want some more money.

My best remembrances to Mr. Jowett.

LETTER: 19th July, 1836

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. July 30th, 1836)
MADRID, JULY 19th, 1836.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - As I believe you have no account of my
proceedings at Badajoz, I send you the following which will perhaps
serve for your 'Monthly Extracts.' I have corrected and improved
my translation of the Lord's Prayer into Rommany, and should it be
printed, let it be done so with care. Perhaps in a few days I
shall send a general account of what I have been about since my
arrival at Madrid, but I am at present very feeble and languid, and
can scarcely hold a pen. There is nothing new here, all is quiet,
and I hope will continue so. My time does not pass very agreeably,
I am without books or conversation, for all my acquaintance have
left the place to escape from the intolerable heat. I often sigh
for Russia, and wish I was there, editing Mandchou or Armenian;
pray remember me kindly to Mr. Jowett and to my other friends. I
remain, etc.


About one o'clock in the afternoon of the 6th of January, 1836, I
crossed the bridge of the Guadiana, a boundary river between
Portugal and Spain, and entered Badajoz, a strong Spanish town
containing about 8000 inhabitants, and founded by the Romans. I
instantly returned thanks to God who had protected me during a
journey of five days through the wilds of Alemtejo, the province of
Portugal the most infested by robbers and desperate characters, and
which I had traversed with no other human companion than a lad,
nearly idiotic, who was to convey back the mules which carried
myself and baggage. It was not my intention to make much stay at
Badajoz, and as a vehicle would set out for Madrid the day next but
one after my arrival, I proposed to depart therein for the capital
of Spain.

The next morning I was standing at the door of the inn where I had
taken up my residence; the weather was gloomy, and rain seemed to
be at hand. I was thinking of the state of the country I had
lately entered, which was involved in bloody anarchy and confusion,
and where the ministers of a religion, falsely styled Catholic and
Christian, were blowing the trump of war, instead of preaching the
love-engendering words of the blessed Gospel. Suddenly two men
wrapped in long cloaks came down the narrow and almost deserted
street. They were about to pass me, and the face of the nearest
was turned full towards me. I knew to whom the countenance which
he displayed must belong, and I touched him on the shoulder. The
man stopped and his companion also; I said a certain word, to which
after an exclamation of surprise he responded in the manner which I
expected. The men were of that singular family, or race, which has
diffused itself over every part of the civilized globe, and the
members of which are known as Gypsies, Bohemians, Gitanos, Zigani,
and by many other names, but whose proper appellation seems to be
'Rommany,' from the circumstance that in many and distant countries
they so style themselves, and also the language which they speak
amongst each other. We began conversing in the Spanish dialect of
this language, with which I was tolerably well acquainted. Upon
inquiring of my two newly-made acquaintances whether there were
many of their people at Badajoz and in the vicinity, they informed
me that there were nine or ten families residing in the town, and
that there were others at Merida, a town about nine leagues
distant. I asked by what means they supported themselves, and they
replied that they and their brethren gained a livelihood by jobbing
in horses, mules, etc., but that all those in Badajoz were very
poor, with the exception of one man, who was exceedingly MUBALBALLO
or rich, as he was in possession of many horses and other beasts.
They removed their cloaks for a moment, and I saw that their
undergarments were rags.

They left me in haste, and went about the town informing the rest
that a stranger was arrived, who spoke Rommany as well as
themselves, who had the eyes and face of a Gitano, and seemed to be
of the ERATTI, or blood. In less than half-an-hour the street
before the inn was filled with the men, women, and children of
Egypt. I went out amongst them, and my heart sank within me as I
surveyed them; so much squalidness, dirt, and misery I had never
before seen amongst a similar number of human beings. But the
worst of all was the evil expression of their countenances, plainly
denoting that they were familiar with every species of crime; and
it was not long before I found that their countenances did not
belie them. After they had asked me an infinity of questions, and
felt my hands, face, and clothes, they retired to their homes. My
meeting with these wretched people was the reason of my remaining
at Badajoz a much longer time than I originally intended. I wished
to become better acquainted with their condition and manners, and
above all to speak to them about Christ and His Word, for I was
convinced that should I travel to the end of the universe I should
meet with none who were more in need of Christian exhortation, and
I accordingly continued at Badajoz for nearly three weeks.

During this time I was almost constantly amongst them, and as I
spoke their language and was considered by them as one of
themselves, I had better opportunities of coming to a fair
conclusion respecting their character than any other person,
whether Spaniard or foreigner, could have hoped for, not possessed
of a similar advantage. The result of my observations was a firm
belief that the Spanish Gitanos are the most vile, degraded, and
wretched people upon the earth.

In no part of the world does the Gypsy race enjoy a fair fame and
reputation, there being no part where they are not considered, and
I believe with justice, as cheats and swindlers; but those of Spain
are not only all this, but far more. The Gypsies of England,
Russia, etc., live by fraud of various descriptions, but they
seldom commit acts of violence, and their vices are none or very
few; the men are not drunkards, nor are the women harlots; but the
Gypsy of Spain is a cheat in the market-place, a brigand and
murderer on the high-road, and a drunkard in the wine-shop, and his
wife is a harlot and thief on all times and occasions. The
excessive wickedness of these outcasts may perhaps be attributed to
their having abandoned their wandering life and become inmates of
the towns, where to the original bad traits of their character they
have super-added the evil and vicious habits of the rabble. Their
mouths teem with abomination, and in no part of the world have I
heard such frequent, frightful, and extraordinary cursing as
amongst them.

Religion they have none; they never attend mass, nor confess
themselves, and never employ the names of God, Christ and the
Virgin, but in imprecation and blasphemy. From what I learnt from
them it appeared that their ancestors had some belief in
metempsychosis, but they themselves laughed at the idea, and were
decidedly of opinion that the soul perished when the body ceased to
breathe; and the argument which they used was rational enough, so
far as it impugned metempsychosis: 'We have been wicked and
miserable enough in this life,' they said; 'why should we live

I translated certain portions of Scripture into their dialect,
which I frequently read to them, especially the parables of Lazarus
and the Prodigal Son, and told them that the latter had been as
wicked as themselves, and both had suffered as much or more; but
that the sufferings of the former, who always looked forward to a
blessed resurrection, were recompensed in the world to come by
admission to the society of Abraham and the prophets, and that the
latter, when he repented of his crimes, was forgiven and received
into as much favour as the just son had always enjoyed. They
listened with admiration, but alas! not of the truths, the eternal
truths I was telling them, but at finding that their broken jargon
could be written and read. The only words of assent to the
heavenly doctrine which I ever obtained, and which were rather of
the negative kind, were the following, from a woman: 'Brother, you
tell us strange things, though perhaps you do not lie; a month
since I would sooner have believed these tales, than that I should
this day have seen one who could write Rommany.'

They possess a vast number of songs or couplets which they recite
to the music of the guitar. For the purpose of improving myself in
the language I collected and wrote down upwards of one hundred of
these couplets, the subjects of which are horse-stealing, murder,
and the various incidents of gypsy-life in Spain. Perhaps a
collection of songs more characteristic of the people from whom
they originated was never made, though amongst them are to be found
some tender and beautiful thoughts, though few and far between, as
a flower or shrub is here and there seen springing from the
interstices of the rugged and frightful rocks of which are composed
the mountains and sierras of Spain.

The following is their traditionary account of the expulsion of
their fathers from Egypt. 'And it came to pass that Pharaoh the
King collected numerous armies for the purpose of war; and after he
had conquered the whole world, he challenged God to descend from
heaven and fight him; but the Lord replied, "There is no one who
shall fight with Me"; and thereupon the Lord opened a mountain, and
He cast therein Pharaoh the King and all his numerous armies; so
that the Egyptians remained without defence, and their enemies
arose and scattered them wide abroad.'

LETTER: 25th July, 1836

To the Rev. A. Brandram
JULY 25th, 1836.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I enclose you a letter from a Spanish
gentleman who wishes to become a subscriber to the Society. He is
a person of great respectability, great learning, and is likewise
one of the editors of the ESPANOL, the principal newspaper in
Spain. Should you accept his offer of becoming a correspondent, he
may be of infinite service, as the newspaper which he superintends
would be always open to the purposes of the Society. He has
connections all over Spain, and no one could assist more
effectually in diffusing the Scriptures when printed. He wishes
very much to have an account of the proceedings of the Society,
therefore any books you could send him relating thereto would be
highly acceptable. Great things might be done in Spain, and I am
convinced that if there was a Protestant church in Madrid it would
be crammed.

I have spoken to Mr. Wood, an Englishman, the printer of the
ESPANOL, who has the best printing presses in Spain, and he is
willing to begin the work whenever you think proper: he will
engage to bring it out in three months, in the same shape as the
Catalan Testaments. In order that you may have as little trouble
as possible, I have translated Dr. Usoz's letter. I have not
thought fit to transmit the printed paper which he alludes to, as
it would make this letter very bulky. It is an official account of
his studies, and the honours he attained at the University.

I remain, Revd. and dear Sir,

Most truly yours,



Gentlemen of the British and Foreign Bible Society,

Having by good fortune become acquainted with your Agent, Mr. G.
Borrow, at present residing in this city, and having learnt from
him that I might take the liberty of addressing myself to you for
the purpose of inquiring whether you would have any objection to
insert my name in your list as a member, I avail myself of the
present opportunity to do so, and hope that my wishes will be
gratified. I believe it is necessary for every member to pay 1
pound sterling, or 100 REALS of our coin, annually; perhaps you
will inform me when, and in whose hands, I may deposit this sum.
As I have no other object in this than to endeavour, by all the
means in my power, to cause the Scriptures to be read as much as
possible in my unhappy country, I should wish to be considered in
the light of a correspondent, as I flatter myself that if you would
consent, after taking the necessary precautions, to entrust me with
copies of the Scripture, I should find no difficulty in circulating
them in every province of my country.

Being fully convinced that nothing but the reading of the Bible can
form the basis of solid liberty in Spain, I will employ every
effort to promote it, if your philanthropic Society will assist me.
It would answer no purpose to occupy your attention by speaking
prolixly of the purity of my intention and my zeal; time and
experience will speak either for or against me; I will merely
enclose this printed paper, by which you will learn who he is who
has taken the liberty of writing to you. It is superfluous to add
that, should you consent to my desire, I should want all the
notices and documents respecting your Society which you could
supply me with.

As I possess some knowledge of English, you might avail yourselves
of this language in your answer, provided the letters used be
written clearly.

I have the honour, etc.


P.S. - Should you direct to me directly, or by other means than the
post, my address is: A D. Luis de Usoz y Rio, Calle de Santa
Catalina, No. 12 nuevo, Madrid.

LETTER: 10th August, 1836

To J. Jackson, Esq.
(ENDORSED: recd. Aug. 26th, 1836)
MADRID, AUG. 10, 1836.

MY DEAR SIR, - I have received your two letters containing the 50
pounds and the resolution of the Society; I have likewise received
Mr. Brandram's.

I shall make the provisional engagement [to print] as desired, and
shall leave Madrid as soon as possible; but I must here inform you
that I shall find much difficulty in returning to England, as all
the provinces are disturbed in consequence of the Constitution of
1812 having been proclaimed, and the roads are swarming with
robbers and banditti. It is my intention to join some muleteers
and attempt to reach Granada, from whence, if possible, I shall
proceed to Malaga or Gibraltar, and thence to Lisbon, where I left
the greatest part of my baggage. Do not be surprised therefore, if
I am tardy in making my appearance. It is no easy thing at present
to travel in Spain. But all these troubles are for the benefit of
the Cause, and must not be repined at.

I remain, my dear Sir, most truly yours,

G. B.

Report of Mr. Geo. Borrow's late Proceedings in Spain

On the 16th of January I quitted Badajoz, a Spanish town on the
frontier of Portugal, for Madrid, whither I arrived in safety. As
my principal motive for visiting the Spanish capital was the hope
of obtaining permission from the Government to print the New
Testament in the Castilian language in Spain, I lost no time upon
my arrival in taking what I considered to be the necessary steps.
I must here premise that I was an entire stranger at Madrid, and
that I bore no letters, of introduction to any person of influence
whose credit might have assisted me in this undertaking; so that
notwithstanding I entertained a hope of success, relying on the
assistance of the Almighty, this hope was not at all times very
vivid, but was frequently overcast with the clouds of despondency.
Mr. Mendizabal was at this time Prime Minister of Spain, and was
considered as a man of almost unbounded power, in whose hands were
placed the destinies of the country. I therefore considered that
if I could by any means induce him to favour my view I should have
no reason to fear interruption from other quarters, and I
determined upon applying to him; but though I essayed two or three
times to obtain an interview with him, I failed, as he was far too
much engrossed in important business to receive a humble and
unknown stranger. In this dilemma I bethought me of waiting upon
Mr. Villiers, the British Ambassador at Madrid, and craving with
the freedom permitted to a British subject his advice and
assistance in this most interesting affair. I was received by him
with great kindness, and enjoyed a conversation with him on various
subjects, before I introduced the matter which I had most at heart.
He said that if I wished for an interview with Mr. M. he would
endeavour to procure me one; but at the same time told me frankly
that he could not hope that any good would arise from it, as Mr. M.
was violently prejudiced against the British and Foreign Bible
Society, and was far more likely to discountenance than encourage
any efforts which they might be disposed to make for introducing
the Gospel into Spain. I however remained resolute in my desire to
make the trial, and before I left him obtained a letter of
introduction to Mr. Mendizabal, with whom I had an interview a few
days after. The particulars of this interview have been detailed
on a former occasion. It will be sufficient to state here that I
obtained from Mr. Mendizabal, if not immediate permission to print
the Scriptures, a promise that at the expiration of a few months,
when he hoped that the country would be in a more tranquil state, I
should be at full liberty to do so, with which promise I departed
well satisfied, and full of gratitude to the Lord, who seemed to
have so wonderfully smoothed my way in an enterprise which at first
sight seemed particularly arduous and difficult.

Before three months had elapsed Mr. Mendizabal had ceased to be
Prime Minister; with his successor, Mr. Isturitz, I had become
acquainted, and also with his colleagues, Galiano and the Duke de
Rivas, and it was not long before I obtained - not however without
much solicitation and difficulty - the permission which I so
ardently desired. Before, however, I could turn it to my account,
the revolution broke out in Spain, and the press became free.

The present appears to be a moment peculiarly well adapted for
commencing operations in Spain, the aim and view of which should be
the introducing into that singularly unhappy portion of the world
the knowledge of the Saviour. The clouds of bigotry and
superstition which for so many centuries cast their dreary shadow
upon Spain, are to a considerable degree dispelled, and there is
little reason for supposing that they will ever again conglomerate.
The Papal See is no longer regarded with reverence, and its agents
and ministers have incurred universal scorn and odium; therefore
any fierce and determined resistance to the Gospel in Spain is not
to be apprehended either from the people themselves, or from the
clergy, who are well aware of their own weakness. It is scarcely
necessary to remark that every country which has been long
subjected to the sway of popery is in a state of great and
deplorable ignorance. Spain, as might have been expected, has not
escaped this common fate, and the greatest obstacle to the
diffusion of the Gospel light amongst the Spaniards would proceed
from the great want of education amongst them. Perhaps there are
no people in the world to whom nature has been, as far as regards
mental endowments, more bounteously liberal than the Spaniards.
They are generally acute and intelligent to an extraordinary
degree, and express themselves with clearness, fluency, and
elegance upon all subjects which are within the scope of their
knowledge. It may indeed be said of the mind of a Spaniard, as of
his country, that it merely requires cultivation to be a garden of
the first order; but, unhappily, both, up to the present time, have
been turned to the least possible account. Few amongst the lower
class of the population of the towns are acquainted with letters,
and fewer still amongst the peasantry; but though compelled to
acknowledge the ignorance of the Spaniards in general, I have great
pleasure in being able to state that during the latter years it has
been becoming less and less, and that the rising generation is by
no means so illiterate as the last, which was itself superior in
acquirements to the preceding one. It is to be hoped that the
progress in improvement will still continue, and that within a few
years the blessings of education will be as generally diffused
amongst the Spaniards as amongst the people of France and England.
Government has already commenced the establishment of Normal
Schools, and though the state of the country, convulsed with the
horrors of civil war, precludes the possibility of devoting to them
the care and attention which they deserve, I have no doubt that
when it shall please the Lord to vouchsafe peace unto Spain they
will receive all the requisite patronage and support, as their
utility is already generally recognised.

Before quitting Madrid I entered into negotiation with Mr. Charles
Wood, a respectable Englishman established there, for the printing
of 5000 copies of the New Testament in Spanish, which number, if on
good paper and in handsome type, I have little doubt might be
easily disposed of within a short time in the capital and in the
principal provincial towns of Spain, particularly Cadiz and
Seville, where the people are more enlightened than in other parts
in most respects, and where many would be happy to obtain the
sacred volume in a handsome yet cheap form, and some in any shape
whatever - as there the Word of God is at least known by
reputation, and no small curiosity has of late years been
manifested concerning it, though unfortunately that curiosity has
not hitherto been gratified, for reasons too well known to require

In the rural districts the chances of the Scriptures are
considerably less, for there, as far as I am aware, not only no
curiosity has been excited respecting it, but it is not known by
name, and when mentioned to the people, is considered to be nothing
more or less than the mass-book of the Romish Church. On various
occasions I have conversed with the peasantry of Estremadura, La
Mancha, and Andalusia respecting the holy Book, and without one
exception they were not only ignorant of its contents, but ignorant
of its nature; some who could read, and pretended to be acquainted
with it, said that it contained hymns to the Virgin, and was
written by the Pope; yet the peasantry of these three provinces are
by no means the least enlightened of Spain, but perhaps the
reverse. In a word, great as the ignorance of the generality of
the Spaniards upon most essential points is, they are principally
ignorant of the one most essential of all, the religion of our Lord
and Saviour Jesus Christ.

No time, however, ought to be lost in supplying those with the word
who are capable of receiving it; though millions in Spain are
undoubtedly beyond the reach of any efforts which the Bible Society
can make to assist them, however much it may have at heart their
eternal salvation, it is gratifying to have grounds for belief that
thousands are able and willing to profit by the exertions which may
be made to serve them. Though the days of the general orange-
gathering are not arrived, when the tree requires but a slight
shaking to scatter its ripe and glorious treasures on the head of
the gardener, still goodly and golden fruit is to be gathered on
the most favoured and sunny branches; the quantity is small in
comparison with what remains green and acid, but there is enough to
repay the labour of him who is willing to ascend to cull it; the
time of the grand and general harvesting is approaching, perhaps it
will please the Almighty to hasten it; and it may even now be
nearer than the most sanguine of us dares to hope.


LETTER: 15th November, 1836

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. Nov. 30th, 1836)
LISBON, NOVR. 15TH, 1836.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - On taking leave of you I promised to write
from Cadiz, and I still hope to perform my promise; but as I am
apprehensive that several days will elapse before I shall reach
that place I avail myself of the present opportunity of informing
you that I am alive and well, lest you should become uneasy at not
hearing from me at the time you expected. It is owing to the mercy
of God that, instead of being able to pen these lines, I am not at
the present moment floundering in the brine, a prey to the fishes
and monsters of the ocean.

We had a most unpleasant passage to Falmouth. The ship was crowded
with passengers, most of whom were poor consumptive individuals and
other invalids, fleeing from the cold blasts of England's winter to
the sunny shores of Portugal and Madeira. In a more uncomfortable
vessel, especially steam-ship, it has never been my fate to make a
voyage; the berths were small and insupportably close, and of the
wretched holes mine was amongst the worst, the rest having been for
the most part bespoken before I arrived on board, so that to avoid
the suffocation which seemed to threaten me I lay upon the floor of
one of the cabins, and continued to do so until my arrival here.
We remained at Falmouth twenty-four hours, taking in coals and
repairing the engine, which had sustained considerable damage.

On Monday the 7th inst. we again started and made for the Bay of
Biscay; the sea was high and the wind strong and contrary,
nevertheless on the morning of the fourth day we were in sight of
the rocky coast to the north of Cape Finisterre. I must here
observe that this was the first voyage that the captain who
commanded the vessel had ever made on board of her, and that he
knew little or nothing about the coast towards which we were
bearing; he was a person picked up in a hurry, the former captain
having resigned his command on the ground that the ship was not
sea-worthy, and that the engines were frequently unserviceable. I
was not acquainted with these circumstances at the time, or perhaps
I should have felt more alarmed than I did when I saw the vessel
approaching nearer and nearer to the shore, till at last we were
only a few hundred yards distant. As it was, however, I felt very
much surprised, for having passed it twice before, both times in
steam-vessels, and having seen with what care the captains
endeavoured to maintain a wide offing, I could not conceive the
reason of our being now so near the dangerous region. The wind was
blowing hard towards the shore, if that can be called a shore which
consists of steep abrupt precipices, on which the surf was breaking
with the noise of thunder, tossing up clouds of spray and foam to
the height of a cathedral. We coasted slowly along, rounding
several tall forelands, some of them piled up by the hand of nature
in the most fantastic shapes, until about the fall of night. Cape
Finisterre was not far ahead, a bluff brown granite mountain, whose
frowning head may be seen far away by those who travel the ocean.
The stream which poured round its breast was terrific, and though
our engines plied with all their force, we made little or no way.

By about eight o'clock at night, the wind had increased to a
hurricane, the thunder rolled frightfully, and the only light which
we had to guide us on our way was the red forked lightning which
burst at times from the bosom of the big black clouds which lowered
over our heads. We were exerting ourselves to the utmost to
weather the cape, which we could descry by the lightning on our
lee, its brow being frequently brilliantly lighted up by the
flashes which quivered around it, when suddenly, with a great
crash, the engine broke, and the paddles on which depended our
lives ceased to play.

I will not attempt to depict the scene of horror and confusion
which ensued: it may be imagined, but never described. The
captain, to give him his due, displayed the utmost coolness and
intrepidity, and he and the whole crew made the greatest exertions
to repair the engine, and when they found their labour in vain,
endeavoured by hoisting the sails and by practising all possible
manoeuvres to preserve the ship from impending destruction. But
all was of no use; we were hard on a lee shore, to which the
howling tempest was impelling us. About this time I was standing
near the helm, and I asked the steersman if there was any hope of
saving the vessel or our lives; he replied, 'Sir, it is a bad
affair; no boat could for a minute live in this sea, and in less
than an hour the ship will have her broadside on Finisterre, where
the strongest man-of-war ever built must go to shivers instantly.
None of us will see the morning.' The captain likewise informed
the other passengers in the cabin to the same effect, telling them
to prepare themselves, and having done so he ordered the door to be
fastened, and none to be permitted to come on deck. I, however,
kept my station, though almost drowned with water, immense waves
continually breaking over our windward side and flooding the ship;
the water-casks broke from their lashings, and one of them struck
me down, and crushed the foot of the unfortunate man at the helm,
whose place was instantly taken by the captain. We were now close
on the rocks, when a horrid convulsion of the elements took place;
the lightning enveloped us as with a mantle, the thunders were
louder than the roar of a million cannon, the dregs of the ocean
seemed to be cast up, and in the midst of all this turmoil the
wind, without the slightest intimation VEERED RIGHT ABOUT, and
pushed us from the horrible coast faster than it had previously
drawn us towards it.

The oldest sailors on board acknowledged that they had never
witnessed so providential an escape. I said from the bottom of my
heart, 'Our Father: hallowed be Thy name.' The next day we were
near foundering, for the sea was exceedingly high, and our vessel,
which was not intended for sailing, laboured terribly, and leaked
much. The pumps were continually working. She likewise took fire,
but the flames were extinguished. In the evening the steam-engine
was partially repaired, and we reached Lisbon on the 13th. Most of
my clothes and other things are spoiled, for the hold was
overflowed with the water from the boiler and the leak.

The vessel will be ready for sea in about a week, when I shall
depart for Cadiz; but most of the passengers who intended going
farther than Lisbon have abandoned her, as they say she is doomed.
But I have more trust in the Lord that governeth the winds, and in
whose hands the seas are as a drop. He who preserved us at
Finisterre can preserve elsewhere, and if it be His will that we
perish, the firm ground is not more secure than the heaving sea.

I have seen our excellent friend Mr. Wilby, and delivered to him
the parcel, with which I was entrusted. He has been doing
everything in his power to further the sale of the sacred volume in
Portuguese; indeed his zeal and devotedness are quite admirable,
and the Society can never appreciate his efforts too highly. But
since I was last at Lisbon the distracted state of the country has
been a great obstacle to him; people's minds are so engrossed with
politics that they find no time to think of their souls. Before
this reaches you, you will doubtless have heard of the late affair
at Belem, where poor Freire (I knew him well) one of the ex-
Ministers lost his life, and which nearly ended in an affray
between the English forces and the native. The opinions of the
Portuguese seem to be decidedly democratic, and I have little doubt
that were the English squadron withdrawn the unfortunate young
Queen would lose her crown within a month, and be compelled with
her no less unfortunate young husband to seek a refuge in another
country. I repeat that I hope to write to you from Cadiz; I shall
probably be soon in the allotted field of my labours, distracted,
miserable Spain. The news from thence is at present particularly
dismal; the ferocious Gomez, after having made an excursion into
Estremadura, which he ravaged like a pestilence, has returned to
Andalusia, the whole of which immense province seems to be prone at
his feet. I shall probably find Seville occupied by his hordes,
but I fear them not, and trust that the Lord will open the path for
me to Madrid. One thing I am resolved upon: either to be the
instrument of doing something for Spain, or never to appear again
in my native land.

G. B.

LETTER: 5th December, 1836

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. Dec. 28th, 1836)
SEVILLE, DEC. 5TH, 1836.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I arrived safely at Cadiz on the 21st ult.;
the steam-engine had been partially repaired at Lisbon, and our
passage was speedy and prosperous. I was happy to have reached the
shores of Spain, being eager to enter upon my allotted task. Cadiz
is a small but beautiful city, built upon a tongue of land and
surrounded on all points but one by the sea, which dashes up
against its walls: the houses are lofty, and of a dazzling
whiteness; the streets are straight and narrow. On my arrival I
found great confusion reigning: numerous bands of the factious
were reported to be hovering in the neighbourhood, an attack was
not deemed improbable, and the place had just been declared in a
state of siege. I took up my abode at the French Hotel, in the
Calle de la Niveria, and was allotted a species of cock-loft or
garret to sleep in, for the house was filled with guests, being a
place of much resort on account of the excellent TABLE D'HOTE which
is kept there. I dressed myself and walked about the town. I
entered several coffee houses: the din of tongues in all was
deafening; in one no less than six orators were haranguing at the
same time on the state of the country, and the probability of an
intervention on the part of England and France. As I was listening
to one of them he suddenly called upon me for my opinion, as I was
a foreigner, and seemingly just arrived. I replied that I could
not venture to guess what steps the two Governments would pursue
under the present circumstances, but thought that it would be as
well if the Spaniards would exert themselves more, and call less on
Jupiter. As I did not wish to engage in any political conversation
I instantly quitted the house, and sought those parts of the town
where the lower classes principally reside.

I entered into discourse with several individuals, but found them
very ignorant; none could write or read, and their ideas respecting
religion were anything but satisfactory, most professing a perfect
indifference. I afterwards went into a bookseller's shop, and made
enquiries respecting the demand for literature, which he informed
me was small. I produced our 24mo edition of the New Testament in
Spanish, and asked the bookseller whether he thought a book of that
description would sell in Cadiz. He said it was exceedingly
beautiful, both in type and paper, but it was a work not sought
after, and very little known. I did not pursue my enquiries in
other shops, for I reflected that I was not very likely to receive
a very favourable opinion from booksellers respecting a publication
in which they had no interest. I had, moreover, but two or three
copies of the New Testament with me, and could not have supplied
them had they given me an order.

That night I became very unwell, and was apprehending that I had
been seized with the cholera, as the symptoms of my complaint were
very similar to those which accompany that disorder. I was for
some time in most acute pain, and terribly sick; I drank oil mixed
with brandy, and in some degree recovered, and for the two
succeeding days was very feeble, and able to undertake nothing.
This attack was the cause of my not writing to you from Cadiz as I
had fully intended.

Early on the 24th I embarked for Seville in the small Spanish
steamer the BETIS. The morning was wet, and the aspect of nature
was enveloped in a dense mist, which prevented my observing
surrounding objects. After proceeding about six leagues, we
reached the north-eastern extremity of the bay of Cadiz, and passed
by Saint Lucar, an ancient town close by where the Guadalquivir
disembogues itself. The mist suddenly disappeared, and the sun of
Spain burst forth in full brilliancy, enlivening all around, and
particularly myself, who had till then been lying on the deck in a
dull melancholy stupor. We entered the mouth of the 'Great River,'
for that is the English translation of QUED AL KIBER, as the Moors
designated the ancient Betis. We came to anchor for a few minutes
at a little village called Bonanca, at the extremity of the first
reach of the river, where we received several passengers, and again
proceeded. There is not much in the appearance of the Guadalquivir
to interest the traveller: the banks are low and destitute of
trees, the adjacent country is flat, and only in the distance is
seen a range of tall blue sierras. The water is turbid and muddy,
and in colour closely resembling the contents of a duck-pool; the
average width of the stream is from 150 to 200 yards. But it is
impossible to move along this river without remembering that it has
borne the Roman, the Vandal, and the Arab, and has been the witness
of deeds which have resounded through the world, and been the
themes of immortal song. I repeated Latin verses and fragments of
old Spanish ballads, till we reached Seville at about nine o'clock
of a lovely moonlight night.

Before entering upon more important matter I will say a few words
respecting Seville and its curiosities. It contains 90,000
inhabitants, and is situated on the left bank of the Guadalquivir,
about eighteen leagues from its mouth. It is surrounded with high
Moorish walls, in a good state of preservation, and built of such
durable materials that it is probable they will for many centuries
bid defiance to the encroachment of time. The most remarkable
edifices are the cathedral and Alcazar or palace of the Moorish
kings. The tower of the former, called La Giralda, belongs to the
period of the Moors, and formed part of the Grand Mosque of
Seville. It is 220 ells in height, and is ascended not by stairs
or ladders, but by a vaulted pathway, in the manner of an inclined
plane; this path is by no means steep, so that a cavalier might
ride up to the top, a feat which Ferdinand the Seventh is said to
have accomplished. The view from the summit is very extensive, and
on a fine clear day the ridge called the Sierra de Ronda may be
discovered though the distance is upward of twenty-two leagues.
The cathedral itself is a noble Gothic structure, reputed the
finest of the kind in Spain. In the chapels allotted to the
various saints are some of the most magnificent paintings which
Spanish art has produced. Here are to be seen the far-famed 'Angel
of the Guard,' by Murillo, his 'Saint Anthony at Devotion,' the
celestial spirits hovering around him, and Saint Thomas of Villa
Nueva bestowing Charity'; there are also some pictures by Soberan
[? Zurbaran] of almost inestimable value. Indeed, the cathedral at
Seville is at the present time far more rich in splendid paintings
than at any former period, possessing many very recently removed
from some of the suppressed convents, particularly from the
Capuchin and Franciscan.

No one should visit Seville without paying particular attention to
the Alcazar. It is perhaps the most perfect specimen of Moorish
architecture which is at present to be found in Europe. It
contains many splendid halls, particularly that of the Ambassadors,
so called, which is in every respect more magnificent than the one
of the same name within the Alhambra of Granada. This palace was a
favourite residence of Peter the Cruel, who carefully repaired it,
without altering its Moorish character and appearance. It probably
remains in much the same state as at the time of his death.

On the right side of the river is a large suburb called Triana,
communicating with Seville by means of a bridge of boats; for there
is no permanent bridge across the Guadalquivir owing to the violent
inundations to which it is subject. This suburb is inhabited by
the dregs of the populace, and abounds with Gitanos or Gypsies.
About a league and a half to the north-west stands the village of
Santo Ponce; at the foot and on the side of some elevated ground
higher up are to be seen vestiges of ruined walls and edifices
which once formed part of Italica, the birth-place of Silius
Italicus and Trajan, from which latter personage Triana derives its
name. One fine morning I walked thither, and having ascended the
hill I directed my course northward. I soon reached what had once
been bagnios, and a little farther on, in a kind of valley between
two gentle acclivities, the amphitheatre. This latter object is by
far the most considerable relic of ancient Italica; it is oval in
its form, with two gateways, fronting the east and west. On all
sides are to be seen the time-worn broken granite benches, from
whence myriads of human beings once gazed down on the area below,
where the gladiator shouted, and the lion and leopard yelled. All
around beneath these flights of benches are vaulted excavations,
from whence the combatants, part human, part bestial, darted forth
by their several doors. I spent several hours in this singular
place, forcing my way through the wild fennel and brushwood into
the caverns, now the haunts of adders and other reptiles, whose
hissings I heard. Having sated my curiosity, I left the ruins, and
returning by another way reached a place where lay the carcase of a
horse half-devoured. Upon it with lustrous eyes stood an enormous
vulture, who, as I approached, slowly soared aloft till he alighted
on the eastern gate of the amphitheatre, from whence he uttered a
hoarse cry, as if in anger that I had disturbed him from his feast
of carrion.

And now for another subject. You are doubtless anxious to know
what are my projects, and why I am not by this time further
advanced on my way to Madrid; know then that the way to Madrid is
beset with more perils than harassed Christian in his route to the
Eternal Kingdom. Almost all communication is at an end between
this place and the capital, the diligences and waggons have ceased
running, even the bold ARRIEROS or muleteers are at a stand-still;
and the reason is that the rural portion of Spain, especially this
part, is in a state of complete disorganisation and of blackest
horror. The three fiends, famine, plunder, and murder, are playing
their ghastly revels unchecked; bands of miscreants captained by
such - what shall I call them? - as Orejita and Palillos, are
prowling about in every direction, and woe to those whom they meet.
A few days since they intercepted an unfortunate courier, and after
scooping out his eyes put him to death with most painful tortures,
and mangled his body in a way not to be mentioned. Moreover, the
peasantry, who have been repeatedly plundered by these fellows, and
who have had their horses and cattle taken from them by the
Carlists, being reduced with their families to nakedness and the
extreme of hunger, seize in rage and desperation upon every booty
which comes within their reach, a circumstance which can awaken but
little surprise.

This terrible state of things, staring me in the face on my arrival
at Seville, made me pause. I thought that the tempest might in
some degree subside, but hitherto I have been disappointed. My
mind is at present made up. I shall depart for Madrid in two or
three days, at all risks. The distance is 300 miles. I shall
hire, in the first place, horses, and a guide, as far as Cordova
(twenty-six leagues). I shall have to pay a great price, it is
true, but I have money, praised be God, who inspired me with the
idea of putting fifty sovereigns in my pocket when I left London.
I should otherwise be helpless. From Cordova I must endeavour to
obtain horses to Val de Penas (twenty leagues), which is half way
to Madrid. Were I at Val de Penas, I should feel comparatively at
ease; for from thence I know the road, having traversed it in my
ways from Madrid to Grenada; it moreover runs through La Mancha,
which, though infested with banditti, is plain open ground, and if
I could obtain no guide or horses, or had been plundered of my
money, I might hope to make my way on foot. But I am ignorant of
the country between Seville and Cordova, and from Cordova to Val de
Penas. The route is through the dismal and savage mountains of the
Sierra Morena, where I should inevitably be bewildered, and
perhaps, if not murdered, fall a prey to the wolves. Were the
whole way known to me, I would leave my baggage here and dressed as
a beggar or Gypsy set out on foot; strange as this plan may sound
in English ears, it would be the safest course I could pursue.
Should I perish in this journey, keep the affair secret as long as
possible from my dear mother, and when it should be necessary to
reveal it to her, do me the favour to go to Norwich on purpose;
should I reach Madrid, you will hear from me in about five weeks,
from the time you receive this. It would be of no utility to write
to you from Cordova; the letter would never reach you, I hope this

Gomez had not hitherto paid a visit to Seville; when I arrived
here, he was said to be in the neighbourhood of Ronda. The city
was under watch and ward, several gates had been blocked up with
masonry, trenches dug, and redoubts erected, but I am convinced
that the place would not have held out six hours against a resolute
assault. Gomez has proved himself to be a most extraordinary man,
and with his small army of Aragonese and Basques has within the
last four months made the tour of Spain; he has very frequently
been hemmed in with forces three times the number of his own, in
places whence escape seemed impossible, but he has always baffled
his enemies, whom he seems to laugh at. The most absurd accounts
of victories gained over him are continually issuing from the press
at Seville; the other day it was stated that his army had been
utterly defeated, himself killed, and that 1200 prisoners were on
their way to Seville. I saw these prisoners; instead of 1200
desperadoes, they consisted of about twenty poor lame ragged
wretches, many of them boys from fourteen to sixteen years of age;
they were evidently camp-followers, who, unable to keep up with the
army, had been picked up straggling in the plains and amongst the
hills. It now appears that no battle had occurred, and that the
death of Gomez was a fiction. The grand defect of Gomez is not
knowing how to take advantage of circumstances; after his defeat of
Lopez he might have marched to Madrid and proclaimed Don Carlos
there, and after sacking Cordova, he might have captured Seville.

There are several booksellers' shops in Seville, in two of which I
found copies of the New Testament (our own 12mo edition of 1826);
they had been obtained from Gibraltar about two years since, during
which time six copies had been sold in one shop and four in the
other. I have become acquainted with an elderly person, a Genoese
by birth, who, should we succeed in bringing out an edition of the
sacred volume at Madrid, may be of service to us, as a colporteur
in this place and the neighbourhood, where he is well known. He
has assured me of his willingness to undertake the task, and, if
required, to visit Cordova, Grenada, or any part of Andalusia, town
or country; he has been accustomed to bookselling, and at one time
he also brought some of our Testaments from Gibraltar, all of which
were however taken from him by the Custom House officers with the
exception of one copy, which he afterwards disposed of to a lady
for 30 REALS (6s. 6d.). Should the Bible Society be desirous to
circulate the book in the rural districts of Spain, they must be
prepared to make considerable sacrifices. In some of the towns,
especially the sea-ports, it is probable that many copies may be
disposed of, at a fair price; but can it be expected that amongst
myriads, who are in want of the common necessaries of life, who are
without food, fuel or clothing, and on whose wretched heads the
horrors which civil war - and such a civil war - have principally
fallen, [men] can have money for books? I am willing to visit
every part of Spain, and to risk my life a thousand times in laying
God's Word before the people, but I can promise no more. I have no
extraordinary powers, indeed scarcely those allotted to the average
of humanity; God, it is true, can operate wonders by any
instrument, but we must bide His will.

I have had the good fortune to form the acquaintance of Mr.
Wetherell, an English gentleman, who has for many years been
established in a very important branch of business at Seville. He
takes a warm interest in my mission, and has frequently informed me
that nothing will afford him greater pleasure than to further the
cause at this place and in the neighbourhood; as he employs a vast
number of individuals, I have little doubt that he has the power,
as he certainly has the will. He is a virtuoso and possesses a
singular collection of the ancient idols of Mexico, which bear a
surprising resemblance to those used by the followers of the
Buddhist superstition. In return for a translation of an Arabic
inscription which I made for him, he presented me with a copy of
the Cabalistic book Zohar, in the Rabbinical language and
character, which on the destruction of the Inquisition at Seville
(1820) he obtained from the library of that horrible tribunal.

Pray remember me to Mr. Jowett and Mr. Browne and my other friends.
May the Lord bless you, my dear Sir.


LETTER: 26th December, 1836

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. Jany. 6, 1837)

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I am just arrived at Madrid in safety. It
has pleased the Lord to protect me through the perils of a most
dismal journey. I reached Cordova in three days, attended by the
old Italian whom I mentioned in my last letter, for I could procure
no other guide. From Cordova I have ridden to Madrid in the
company of a CONTRABANDISTA, or smuggler, whose horses I insured,
and to whom I am to give a gratuity of 42 dollars. We passed
through the horrible pass of Despena Perros in the Sierra Morena.
Providence here manifested itself; the day before, the banditti of
the pass committed a dreadful robbery and murder by which they
sacked 40,000 REALS; they were probably content with their booty
and did not interrupt me and my guide. We entered La Mancha, where
I expected to fall into the hands of Palillos and Orejita.
Providence again showed itself. It had been delicious weather;
suddenly the Lord breathed forth a frozen blast, the severity of
which was almost intolerable; no human being but ourselves ventured
forth; we traversed snow-covered plains and passed through villages
and towns without seeing an individual; the robbers kept close in
their caves and hovels, but the cold nearly killed me. We reached
Aranjuez late on Christmas day, and I got into the house of an
Englishman, where I swallowed nearly two bottles of brandy; it
affected me no more than warm water. I am now at my journey's end,
and shall presently fall to work, for I must lose no time, but
profit by the present opportunity. All is quiet in Madrid and in
the neighbourhood; Gomez has returned to Biscay. If my letter be
somewhat incoherent, mind it not. I have just alighted, and the
cold has still the mastery of me; I shall send a journal in a few
days which will be more circumstantial. Write to my mother and say
I am in safety. I shall write myself to-morrow, I can no more now.


LETTER: 31st December, 1836

To J. Tarn, Esq.
(ENDORSED: recd. Jany. 9, 1837)
MADRID, DEC. 31ST, 1836.

MY DEAR SIR, - I forward the bill of my expenses from the moment of
my quitting London up to the time of my arrival at Madrid. When it
is considered that I have been nearly two months on this most
perilous journey, it will probably not be deemed extravagant;
should that however be the case, I shall be very willing to defray
from my salary any deduction which may be made. I beg leave to
call your attention particularly to the expense of horse-hire. I
paid an ounce of gold for two miserable animals from Seville to
Cordova, I had to maintain them by the way, to pay their expenses
back, and to provide a guide. Neither of the horses was worth what
I paid for their hire; it is true their master risked their being
captured by the bands of robbers from whom I providentially
escaped. It will in future be much cheaper to purchase horses.
You will oblige me by informing me how my account with you stands,
for it seems I was indebted to you on departing. I have seen Mr.
O'Shea and Mr. Wood; with the assistance of the former gentleman I
hope to obtain the paper for the work at a considerable less price
than that stated in Mr. W.'s estimate, as Mr. O'Shea is connected
with the paper-mills of Catalonia. I shall write to Mr. Brandram
in a few days and in the meanwhile remain, etc.,


LETTER: 14th January, 1837

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. Jany. 24, 1837)
JANY. 14, 1837, MADRID.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - Immediately on my arrival at Madrid, which
occurred on the 26th of last month, I despatched letters to
yourself and Mr. Tarn, in that to Mr. T. was enclosed an account of
my expenses, both of which letters I hope have arrived in safety.
I now take up the pen to acquaint you with what I have done since
my arrival, and what I, with the Lord's assistance, purpose doing.

My first care was to wait on my excellent friend, Mr. Villiers, who
received me with his usual kindness. I asked him if it were his
opinion that I might venture to commence printing the Scriptures
without an application to the present Government, as the law is
doubtful on the point. His reply was satisfactory: 'You obtained
the permission of the Government of Isturitz,' said he, 'which was
a much less liberal one than the present; I am a witness to the
promise made to you by the former Ministers, which I consider
sufficient; you had best commence and complete the work as soon as
possible, without any fresh application, and should any one attempt
to interrupt you, you have only to come to me, whom you may command
at any time.' - I went away with a light heart.

I next visited Mr. O'Shea, who was very glad to see me again, and
assured me that he took the greatest interest in my undertaking,
and should be happy to further it to the utmost of his power. I
knew that he had been connected with the paper-manufactories of the
south, and a thought struck me. You will remember that I brought
over specimens of paper from thirty to eighty REALS per ream, and
that I was authorised to purchase 600 reams of paper at 60 REALS
per ream. I asked Mr. O'Shea if he did not think that, through his
connections, he could procure me such paper as I wanted at a much
cheaper rate than it was possible for me to obtain it; he said he
would make enquiries. I returned in a few days: he had performed
more than I expected, and he showed me paper at 45 REALS, better
than what I could have purchased at 70, likewise some very good at
37. I hesitated for some time between these two specimens; I at
length, however, determined to purchase that at 45 REALS. I am
therefore able to communicate that in paper alone 9000 REALS will
have been saved to the funds of the Society, and at the same time a
superior article have been procured.

I found that during my absence from Madrid Mr. Wood had quitted Mr.
Borrego, and had accepted a situation in another printing
establishment; but as Mr. Borrego is in possession of the only
English press at Madrid, is moreover an intimate friend of Mr.
O'Shea, and above all enjoys the good opinion of Mr. Villiers who
interests himself in his welfare, I am determined to entrust the
printing to him. Mr. Borrego has agreed to make a reduction of 10
REALS per sheet in his estimate, which I consider very liberal
conduct, as the former charge, considering the rate of printing at
Madrid, was by no means high. We have resolved to print the work
precisely the same in shape and size as the copy entrusted to my
charge, except that we shall substitute single for double columns.

I shall look over each sheet of the work myself, but in order to
bring out as correct an edition as possible I have engaged the
literary assistance of Dr. Usoz, the gentleman who some time since
addressed a letter to the Society, in which he expressed a wish to
become a member. He is one of the best Castilian scholars in
Madrid, and, as he feels zeal in the cause, will, I have no doubt,
prove eminently useful. Any remuneration for his labour he will
leave to the consideration of the Bible Society and myself.

We shall commence printing within a few days, and I expect to have
the work ready within ten weeks.

Now permit me to propose a very important question to you. What is
to be done with the volumes when the work shall have passed through
the press? As I am sure you will feel at a loss to give a
satisfactory answer, allow me to propose the only plan which
appears feasible. Believe me when I say that it is not the result
of a few moments' cogitation. I have mused on it much and often.
I mused on it when off Cape Finisterre in the tempest, in the cut-
throat passes of the Morena, and on the plains of La Mancha, as I
jogged along a little way ahead of the smuggler. It is this.

As soon as the work is printed and bound, I will ride forth from
Madrid into the wildest parts of Spain, where the Word is most
wanted, and where it seems next to an impossibility to introduce
it. I will go through the whole of the Asturias and Galicia, and
along the entire line of the Pyrenees, not forgetting to visit
every part of Biscay. To accomplish this I must have horses and a
man to take care of them. To purchase horses will be much more
economical than to hire them, as the hire of an animal for a
journey of only thirty leagues generally amounts to nearly its full
value; the purchase of three horses will not amount to more than 36
pounds, and a servant may be obtained for 9d. per day and his

I will take with me 1200 copies, which I will engage to dispose of,
for little or much, to the wild people of the wild regions which I
intend to visit. As for the rest of the edition it must be
disposed of, if possible, in a different way - I may say the usual
way; part must be entrusted to booksellers, part to colporteurs,
and a depot must be established at Madrid. Such work is every
person's work, and to any one may be confided the execution of it;
it is a mere affair of trade. What I wish to be employed in is
what, I am well aware, no other individual will undertake to do:
namely, to scatter the Word upon the mountains, amongst the valleys
and the inmost recesses of the worst and most dangerous parts of
Spain, where the people are more fierce, fanatic and, in a word,
Carlist, - parts where bookshops are unknown, and where none of
those means can be resorted to for the spread of the Bible which
can be used in the more civilised portions of the kingdom.

This is the plan which I most humbly offer to the consideration of
the Committee and yourself. I shall not feel at all surprised
should it be disapproved of altogether; but I wish it to be
understood that in that event I could do nothing further than see
the work through the press, as I am confident that whatever ardour
and zeal I at present feel in the cause would desert me
immediately, and that I should neither be able nor willing to
execute anything which might be suggested. I wish to engage in
nothing which would not allow me to depend entirely on myself. It
would be heart-breaking to me to remain at Madrid, expending the
Society's money, with almost the certainty of being informed
eventually by the booksellers and their correspondents that the
work has no sale. In a word, to make sure that some copies find
their way among the people I must be permitted to carry them to the
people myself; and what people have more need of Christian
instruction than the inhabitants of the districts alluded to?

Ere the return of the CONTRABANDISTA to Cordova, I purchased one of
the horses which had brought us to Madrid. It is an exceedingly
strong, useful animal, and as I had seen what it is capable of
performing, I gave him the price which he demanded (about 11
pounds, 17s.). It will go twelve leagues a day with ease, and
carry three hundred-weight on its back. I am looking out for
another, but shall of course make no further purchase until I hear
from you. I confess I would sooner provide myself with mules, but
they are very expensive creatures. In the first place, the
original cost of a tolerable one amounts to 30 pounds; and they,
moreover, consume a vast quantity of fodder, at least two pecks of
barley in the twenty-four hours with straw in proportion, and if
they are stinted in their food they are of no manner of service;
the attendance which they require is likewise very irksome, as they
must be fed once every four hours night and day; they are, however,
noble animals, and are much in vogue amongst the principal

Hoping to hear from you soon, I remain, Revd. and dear Sir, most
truly yours,

G. B.

LETTER: 27th February, 1837

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. Mar. 6, 1837)
FEBY. 27, 1837.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I have received your letter of the 27th ult.
containing the resolution of the Committee, and also yours of the
[17th] ult. with my account. I was exceedingly grieved at learning
that poor Mr. Tarn has been removed, for he was a most worthy
person, and the Bible Society will experience a severe loss in his
death; but I hope and trust that eventually some one will be found
worthy to succeed him. He is doubtless at present in the other
world receiving the reward of his faith in this; let us pray that
we may be counted worthy to join him there!

By the time these lines reach you the four Gospels will have passed
through the press; for the work is going on well and prosperously,
and I have little doubt that within five weeks it will be
completed. I have already entered into arrangements respecting the
binding with Mr. Borrego, who is about to unite bookbinding with
printing; the terms are very reasonable, considering the current
prices of the country, as I am to pay but three REALS per volume
for a calf binding similar to that of the copy which was entrusted
to me. I have reckoned that the expense of each book, printing,
paper, and binding included, will but barely amount to 15 REALS;
and cheaper than this it is utterly impossible to bring out a work
of the size of the New Testament, handsomely and creditably in

Within a few days I shall despatch letters circular to all the
principal booksellers in Spain, specifying the nature, size and
quality of the work, and inviting them to subscribe at 15 REALS per
copy, the prime cost; for if anything will tempt them to a
speculation of the kind, it will be the hope and prospect of making
a very handsome profit. Yet they are so short-sighted and, like
all their countrymen, so utterly unacquainted with the rudiments of
business, that it is by no means improbable that they, one and all,
take no notice of this proposal, which is however the only plan
which at present appears available for promoting the GENERAL
circulation of the Scriptures.

Dr. Usoz, the gentleman who is at present assisting me in the
editing of the work in question, is very anxious to become a member
and a correspondent of the Bible Society. His letter on that
subject I translated and transmitted previous to my last visit to
England, but he has never received an answer. I beg leave to say
that I am extremely desirous that his request be granted, and that
he be written to without delay; and I must moreover beg to be
furnished with a written or printed authority to establish a branch
Bible Society in Madrid, and to nominate Dr. Usoz as secretary.

That part of my last letter, where I stated my wish of making a
tour through the Asturias, Galicia, and the Biscays, as soon as the
work should be completed, does not seem to have been clearly
understood. I did not intend to devote myself entirely to THE WILD
PEOPLE, but to visit the villages and towns as well as the remote
and secluded glens. I intended to take letters of introduction to
some of the most respectable people of Oviedo, of Corunna, of Lugo,
of Vigo, Pontevedro, Barbastro, Bilboa, etc., and to establish
depots of Bibles in those towns; but in my way I intended to visit
the secret and secluded spots amongst the rugged hills and
mountains, and to talk to the people, after my manner, of Christ
and to explain to them the nature of His book, and to place that
book in the hands of those whom I should deem capable of deriving
benefit from it. True it is that such a journey would be attended
with considerable danger, and very possibly the fate of St. Stephen
might befall the adventurer; but does the man deserve the name of a
follower of Christ who would shrink from danger of any kind in the
cause of Him whom he calls his Master? 'He who loses his life for
My sake, shall save it,' are words which the Lord Himself uttered,
and words surely fraught with consolation to every one engaged in
propagating His Gospel in savage and barbarian lands.

About a fortnight since I purchased another horse, for these
animals are at present exceedingly cheap. A royal requisition is
about to be issued for 5000, and the consequence is that an immense
number are for sale; for by virtue of this requisition the horses
of any person not a foreigner can be seized for the benefit of the
service. It is probable that when the number is made up the price
of horses will be treble what it is at present, which consideration
induced me to purchase this animal before I exactly want him. He
is a black Andalusian stallion of great size and strength, and
capable of performing a journey of 100 leagues in a week's time,
but he is unbroke, savage and furious. However, a cargo of Bibles
which I hope shortly to put on his back will, I have no doubt,
thoroughly tame him, especially when labouring up the flinty hills
of the north of Spain. I wished to purchase a mule, according to
my instructions, but though I offered 30 pounds for a sorry one, I
could not obtain her; whereas the cost of both the horses, tall,
powerful, stately animals, scarcely amounted to that sum.

I will now say a few words respecting the state of Spain, though
what I communicate will probably startle you, as in England you are
quite in the dark respecting what is going on here. At the moment
I am writing, Cabrera, the tiger-friar, is within nine leagues of
Madrid with an army nearly ten thousand strong; he has beaten the
Queen's troops in several engagements, and has ravaged La Mancha
with fire and sword, burning several towns; bands of affrighted
fugitives are arriving every hour bringing tidings of woe and
disaster, and I am but surprised that the enemy does not appear,
and by taking Madrid, which is at his mercy, put an end to the war
at once. But the truth is, the Carlist generals do not wish the
war to cease; for as long as the country is involved in bloodshed
and anarchy, they can plunder and exercise that lawless authority
so dear to men of fierce and brutal passions. Cabrera is a wretch
whose sole enjoyment consists in inflicting pain and torture and
causing woe and misery to his fellow creatures; he is one of the
instruments of the anger of the Almighty, a scourge in the hand of
Providence to chastise a land whose wickedness had become
intolerable. For the elect's sake, and there are a few even in
Spain, may it please the Lord to shorten the affliction of these
days, or all flesh must succumb.

I remain, dear Sir, most truly yours,

G. B.

P.S. - Pray let me hear from you shortly, and remember me
particularly to Mr. Jowett and Mr. Browne.

P.S. 2. - I have already paid, in part, for the printing and paper,
as you will have concluded by my draft. The Gospel of Saint Luke,
in the Rommany language, is nearly ready for the press. It is my
intention to subjoin a vocabulary of all the words used, with an
explanation in the Spanish language.

Before I left England I was authorised to look out for a person
competent to translate the Scriptures in Basque (Spanish). I am
acquainted with a gentleman who is well versed in that dialect, of
which I myself have some knowledge. Perhaps it would not be unwise
to engage him to translate St. Luke as a trial of his powers.

LETTER: 16th March, 1837

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. Mar. 25, 1837)
[MARCH 16th, 1837].

REVD. SIR, - I write a few lines for the purpose of informing you
that the New Testament in Castilian will be ready in a few days,
probably before you receive this epistle, should it reach you,
which I have some doubts of from the terrible and distracted state
of Spain at the present time.

The work has been printed on the best paper, and no pains have been
spared, at least on my part, to render it as correct as possible,
having read every proof-sheet three times. I must here take the
liberty of observing that the work executed in London, and of which
a copy was delivered to me to print from, abounds in errors of
every kind and reflects little credit on the person who edited it;
no systematic order is observed either in the orthography or the
use of accents or capitals, and whole sentences frequently appear
in a mangled and mutilated state which renders them unintelligible.

On my final settlement with Mr. Borrego I shall send a regular
account of my disbursements; he has already received two-thirds of
his money, as you will have conjectured from the bills I have
drawn. I wish very much that the Committee would vote a letter of
thanks to Mr. Henry O'Shea for the interest which he has taken in
this affair and the assistance which he has rendered. I shall
write again in a few days. I am afraid that you did not receive my
last letter.

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


LETTER: 27th April, 1837

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. Decr. 1, 1837)
MADRID, APRIL 27, 1837.

MY DEAR SIR, - Please to let the bearer have the under-mentioned
Bibles; they are for Dr. Usoz, from whom I have received their

Entire Bible in German.
Entire Bible in Modern Greek.
Do. do. in Portuguese.

If possible, I should wish to have the New Testament in Persian,
for my own private use.

Most sincerely yours,


The Basque translation of St. Luke is completed and in my
possession; the whole expense attending it amounts to 8 pounds and
a few odd shillings.

LETTER: 29th April, 1837

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. May 13, 1837)
[MADRID, 29 APRIL, 1837].

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - Do me the favour after reading the enclosed
letter, and making what use of it you please, to seal it, pay the
postage, and despatch it to Russia. It contains all I have at
present to say, and is as much intended for yourself, as for the
person to whom it is directed. I leave Madrid in about three days,
and it is my intention to write frequently whilst upon my journey;
but should few letters reach you, be not surprised, but attribute
it to the state of the country, which is terrible indeed. I am
first going to Salamanca, by the pass of the Guadarama; from thence
to Burgos; then to the Asturias, Galicia, and Biscay, and along the
whole chain of the Pyrenees.

Some hundreds of our books have been placed in the hands of a
bookseller at Madrid, and I have ordered them to be advertised,
once a week, in the principal journals. Dr. Usoz and another
friend will do what they can in my absence.

To-morrow I send the bill of my expenses; it would have been
despatched sooner, but I could not obtain my account from Mr.

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


P.S. - My best remembrances to Mr. Jowett, Mr. Browne, and all my

LETTER: 29th April, 1837

To Mr. John Hasfeldt
MADRID, 29 APRIL, 1837.

I RECEIVED your letter of last January a few weeks since, and I
sincerely hope that mine of February may have reached your hands.
The principal reason of my taking up the pen at present is the long
and adventurous journey which I am about to engage in, and which I
am afraid will preclude the possibility of my writing to you for
some months. In a few days I quit Madrid, it being my intention to
visit the mountainous districts of Spain, particularly Galicia and
the Basque Provinces, for the purpose of disposing of part of the
edition of the New Testament in Spanish, lately completed at
Madrid, under my superintendence. It was my intention to have set
out sooner, but the state of the weather has been such that I
thought it more prudent to defer my departure; during the last two
months violent and bitter winds have blown without ceasing, before
whose baneful influence animal and vegetable nature seems to have
quailed. I was myself, during a fortnight, prostrated, body and
limb, by a violent attack of LA GRIPPE, or, as it is styled in
English, the 'influenza.' I am, however, by the blessing of the
Almighty, perfectly recovered and enjoying excellent spirits, but
multitudes less favoured have perished, especially the poor.

I expect to be absent on my journey about five months, when, if I
am spared, not having fallen a prey to sickness, Carlists,
banditti, or wild beasts, I shall return to Madrid for the purpose
of carrying through the press my own translation of the Gospel of
St. Luke in the language of the Spanish Gypsies, and also the same
Gospel in Cantabrian or Basque, executed by the domestic physician
of the Marquis of Salvatierra. What I am destined to do
subsequently I know not; but I should wish to visit China by a land
journey, either through Russia, or by Constantinople [and] Armenia
as far as the Indian Gulf; as it is my opinion that, with God's
permission, I might sow some seed by the way which might in time
yield a good harvest.

Speaking of these matters reminds me that in your next letter
(written in your usual choice Danish) you might send me some useful
information respecting what might be done in Russia. Do you think
permission might be obtained to print the New Testament in Russ,
and that the Russian Hierarchy would be inclined to offer any
serious opposition? I wish you would speak to Gretsch on the
subject, to whom you will, as usual, present my kindest
remembrances. I believe you are acquainted with Mrs. Biller, but
if not, you would confer a great favour upon me by calling on her,
and requesting her opinion, as she is better acquainted than
perhaps any person in Russia with the course to be pursued if the
attempt were to be hazarded. Perhaps at the same time you will
enquire of her as to what has become of my translation into Russ of
the second and third Homilies which I left with her, and whether
license to print has been obtained. If not, I should wish that
energetic steps be taken to that effect, and as you are an
energetic person, and she may possibly have too many important
affairs upon her hands, I pray you to take the matter up, but at
all events to follow her advice; pray remember me to her likewise.
The translation was corrected by that unfortunate man Nicanoff,
who, though he lived and died a drunkard, was an excellent Russian
scholar; therefore I think that no objection can reasonably be made
in respect to style, though indeed the original is very plain and
homely, being adapted to the most common understanding. I offer no
apology for giving you all this trouble, as I am fully aware that
you are at all times eagerly ready to perform anything which I may
consider as a service rendered to myself.

Spain at present, I am sorry to say, is in a more distracted and
convulsed situation than at any former period, and the prospect is
gloomy in the extreme. The Queen's troops have sustained of late
grievous defeats in the Basque provinces and Valencia, and a
Carlist expedition of 18,000 men, whose object is to ravage Castile
and to carry the war to the gates of Madrid, is shortly expected to
pass the Ebro. From what I have seen and heard of the demoralised
state of the Cristinos forces, I believe they will meet with no
effectual resistance, and that Cristina and her daughter will be
compelled to flee from the capital to Cadiz, or to some strong
frontier town. Nevertheless, such is the nature of the Spanish
people, that it is impossible to say whether the liberal cause (as
it is called) be desperate or not, as neither one party nor the
other knows how to improve an advantage. Twice might Don Carlos
have marched to Madrid and seized the crown; and more than once his
army has been at the mercy of the Cristinos; yet still is the
affair undecided, and will perhaps continue so for years. The
country is, as you may well conceive, in a most distracted state;
robbery and murder are practised with impunity, and the roads are
in such an insecure state that almost all communication has ceased
between one town and another; yet I am going forth without the
slightest fear, trusting in God; for if He is with me, who shall
stand against me?

I have a servant, a person who has been a soldier for fifteen
years, who will go with me for the purpose of attending to the
horses and otherwise assisting me in my labours. His conduct on
the journey is the only thing to which I look forward with
uneasiness; for though he has some good points, yet in many
respects a more atrocious fellow never existed. He is inordinately
given to drink, and of so quarrelsome a disposition that he is
almost constantly involved in some broil. Like most of his
countrymen, he carries an exceedingly long knife, which he
frequently unsheaths and brandishes in the faces of those who are
unfortunate enough to awaken his choler. It is only a few days
since that I rescued the maid-servant of the house from his grasp,
whom otherwise he would undoubtedly have killed, and all because
she too much burnt a red herring which he had given her to cook.
You perhaps wonder that I retain a person of this description, but,
bad as he is, he is the best servant I can obtain; he is very
honest, a virtue which is rarely to be found in a Spanish servant,
and I have no fear of his running away with the horses during the
journey, after having perhaps knocked me on the head in some lone
POSADA. He is moreover acquainted with every road, cross-road,
river, and mountain in Spain, and is therefore a very suitable
squire for an errant knight, like myself. On my arrival in Biscay
I shall perhaps engage one of the uncorrupted Basque peasants, who
has never left his native mountains and is utterly ignorant of the
Spanish language, for I am told that they are exceedingly faithful
and laborious. The best servant I ever had was the Tartar Mahmoud
at St. Petersburg, and I have frequently repented that I did not
bring him with me on my leaving Russia; but I was not then aware
that I was about to visit this unfortunate country, where goodness
of every description is so difficult to find.

LETTER: 10th May, 1837

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. May 23, 1837)
MADRID, MAY 10TH, 1837.

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