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Letters of George Borrow to the British and Foreign Bible Society

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Spain, permit me to observe, and always with the greatest humility,
that I never ventured to form any supposition respecting the
matter. But the Vicar General of Valencia gave as a reason for
publishing the circular in which he forbids the Bible, an
advertisement inserted in the Commercial Diary of Valencia, to the
effect, that a person was commissioned in that city to sell at
cheap prices, and even to give away gratis to those who might not
have money at their disposal, copies of the Spanish Bible printed
in London; and on this passage his commentator observes, 'Fine
generosity! Charity worthy of applause and gratitude!' The friend
who brought me the newspaper stated at the time that the
advertisement was calculated to do harm. It is certainly liable to
much misconstruction.

And now, my dear Sir, having detailed my whereabouts, permit me to
subscribe myself,

Yours most truly,


LETTER: 15th January, 1838

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. Jan. 26, 1838)

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - The priests have at length 'swooped upon me,'
and I have received a peremptory order from the Political Governor
of Madrid to sell no more New Testaments. I have been apprehensive
of something similar for some little time, on account of the late
change of Ministry, the present head of the Cabinet, Ofalia, being
one of the most furious bigots in Spain. I have just paid a visit
to Sir George Villiers, who has promised to do all in his power to
cause the veto to be annulled. But I must here state that he has
not at present much influence, he having opposed with all his power
the accession of Ofalia to the premiership, to which station the
latter has been exalted for the mere purpose of serving as an
instrument of the priestly party. I therefore do not place much
reliance in Sir George Villiers' power of assisting me; but I have
still great confidence in myself, through the Almighty in whose
cause I am engaged.

Matters were going on very well before this check. The demand,
even for Testaments, was becoming considerable, so much so that the
clergy were alarmed, and the consequence has been this step. But
they had previously recourse to another well worthy of them; they
attempted to act upon my fears. One of the ruffians of Madrid,
called MANOLOS, came up to me one night in a dark street, and told
me that unless I discontinued selling 'my Jewish books' I should
have a knife 'NAILED IN MY HEART'; but I told him to go home, say
his prayers, and tell his employers that I pitied them, whereupon
he turned away with an oath. A few days after, I received an order
to send two copies of the Testament to the office of the Political
Governor, with which, after consulting with Sir George Villiers, I
complied, and in less than twenty-four hours, namely, on the
evening of last Saturday, an ALGUACIL arrived at the shop with the
notice prohibiting the further sale of the New Testament,
permission to print which I had obtained from the Ministry of
Isturitz after so much trouble and anxiety.

One circumstance rejoices me. They have not shut up my little
DESPACHO, and as soon as ever the Bibles arrive (and I have advice
from Barcelona of their being on the way) I shall advertise them,
for I have received no prohibition respecting the sale of any work
but the New Testament. Moreover, within a few days the Gospel of
Saint Luke in Rommany will be ready for delivery, so that I hope to
carry on matters in a small way till better times arrive. I have
been advised to erase from the shop windows the words 'Despatch of
the British and Foreign Bible Society,' but I intend to do no such
thing; those words have tended very much to call attention, which
was my grand object. Had I attempted to conduct things in an
underhand manner, I should at the present moment scarcely have sold
30 copies instead of nearly 300, which in Madrid are more than
equivalent to 3,000 sold on the littoral. People who know me not,
nor are acquainted with my situation, may be disposed to call me
rash; but I am far from being so, as I never adopt a venturous
course when any other is open to me. But I am not a person to be
terrified by any danger, when I see that braving it is the only way
to achieve an object. The booksellers refused to sell my work; I
was compelled to establish a shop of my own. Every shop in Madrid
has a name. What name should I give mine but the true one? I was
not ashamed of my cause nor my colours. I hoisted them, and have
fought beneath them not without success.

The Levitical party in Madrid have, in the meantime, spared no
effort to vilify me. They have started a publication called 'The
friend of the Christian religion,' in which has appeared a furious
attack upon me, which I have however treated with the contempt it
deserves. But not satisfied with this, they have endeavoured to
incite the ignorant populace against me, by telling them that I am
a sorcerer and a companion of Gypsies and witches, and I have been
called so in the streets. That I am an associate of Gypsies and
fortune-tellers I do not deny, and why should I be ashamed of their
company when my Master mingled with publicans and thieves? Many of
the poor Gypsy race come frequently to visit me, receive
instruction, and hear parts of the Gospel read to them in their own
language, and when they are hungry and faint I give them to eat and
drink. This may be deemed sorcery in Spain, but I am not without
hope that it will be otherwise estimated in England; and were I to
perish to-morrow I think there are some who would be disposed to
say that I have lived not altogether in vain (always as an
instrument of the 'Most Highest'), having been permitted to turn
one of the most valuable books of God into the speech of the most
oppressed and miserable of His creatures.

No more at present, but I hope to write again within a few days.


LETTER: 17th March, 1838

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. Mar. 27, 1838)
17 MARCH, 1838.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - As I entertain little doubt that yourself and
my other good friends are anxious to obtain information respecting
the course of matters in Madrid, I write the present letter,
although I could have wished to tarry a little longer, in the hope
of being able to afford more satisfactory intelligence. In the
first place, allow me to state that about six weeks since I
despatched to England a copy of Saint Luke in Rommany, by the
courier of the Embassy, which I hope you received, and that it
afforded you satisfaction. I may also add that yesterday the
printing of the Basque translation of the same Gospel was brought
to a happy conclusion, to my very great satisfaction, as it has
caused me much trouble and anxiety, the press having been brought
to a stop three times from the necessity of casting fresh type, the
usual Spanish founts being insufficient to print a sheet in this
singular language, owing to all its words being contained within
the compass of six or seven letters, the demand for which is in
consequence tremendous. With the Rommany I had no difficulty
whatever. Within a week or two it is my intention to publish both
Gospels simultaneously. With this preamble, I will now proceed to
other matters.

During the last two months I have been almost incessantly engaged
in negotiations with the Ministry of Count Ofalia, for the purpose
of obtaining permission to sell the New Testament in Madrid and the
nullification of the prohibition. I have experienced, as might be
expected, great opposition, which I have not yet surmounted; but I
am by no means dispirited, as these obstacles are merely temporary.
I have had to contend against six Bishops at present resident in
Madrid, and amongst them him of Toledo, the Primate of Spain, who
have denounced the Bible, the Bible Society, and myself.
Nevertheless, notwithstanding their powerful and united efforts,
they have been unable to effect their principal object, namely, my
expulsion from Madrid and Spain. The Count Ofalia is a very good
and excellent man, though weak and superstitious to an exceeding
degree; and notwithstanding he has permitted himself to be made the
instrument, to a certain extent, of these people, he will not
consent to be pushed to such a length. Throughout this business,
as far as it has proceeded, I cannot find words sufficiently
strong, to do justice to the zeal and interest which Sir George
Villiers has displayed in the cause of the Testament. He has had
six interviews with Ofalia on the subject, and in these he has
expressed to him his sense of the injustice and tyranny which have
been practised in this instance towards his countryman, as he does
me the honour of calling me. Ofalia has been much moved by these
remonstrances, and on several occasions has promised to do all in
his power to oblige Sir George; but then the Bishops, and
particularly his confessor, whom he consults every night, again
beset him, and playing upon his religious fears, prevent him from
acting a just, honest, and honourable part.

At the desire of Sir George Villiers, I drew up, a little time
since, a brief account of the Bible Society and an exposition of
its views, especially in respect to Spain, which he himself
presented with his own hand to the Count. Of this memorial I send
you a translation, and I think that you will do me the justice to
say that, if I have not flattered and cajoled, I have expressed
myself honestly and frankly, as a Christian ought. Ofalia on
reading it, said, 'What a pity that this is a mixed society, and
that all its members are not Catholics.' A few days subsequently,
to my great astonishment, he sent a message to me by a friend,
requesting that I would send him a copy of my Gypsy Gospel. I may
as well here state that the fame of this work, although
unpublished, has spread like wildfire through Madrid, and every
person is passionately eager to possess a copy; indeed, several
grandees of Spain have sent messages with similar requests, all of
which I have, however, denied. I instantly resolved to take
advantage of this overture on the part of Count Ofalia, and to call
on him myself. I therefore caused a copy of the Gospel to be
handsomely bound, and proceeding to the palace, was instantly
admitted to him. He is a dusky, diminutive person, between fifty
and sixty years of age, with false hair and teeth, but exceedingly
gentlemanly manners. He received me with great affability, and
thanked me for my present; but on my proceeding to speak of the New
Testament, he told me that the subject was surrounded with
difficulties, and that the whole body of the clergy had taken up
the matter against me; but he conjured me to be patient and
peaceable, and he would endeavour to devise some plan to satisfy
me. Amongst other things, he said that the Bishops hated a
sectarian more than an atheist; whereupon I replied, that, like the
Pharisees of old, they cared more for the gold of the Temple than
the Temple itself. Throughout the whole of our interview he
evidently laboured under great fear, and was continually looking
behind and around him, seemingly in dread of being overheard, which
brought to my mind an expression of Sir George Villiers, that if
there be any truth in metempsychosis, the ANIMA of Count Ofalia
must have originally belonged to a mouse. We parted in kindness,
and I went away wondering by what strange chance this poor man had
become Prime Minister of a country like Spain.

I have now given a plain narrative of what I have been about up to
the present moment, by which you will see that I have accomplished
all that lay within the circumscribed sphere of my ability, and
have brought every engine into play which it was in my power to
command. Let it always be borne in mind that it was no fault of
mine that, immediately after my arrival in Madrid from my journey,
a retrograde Ministry came into power, the head of which is a weak,
timid, priest-ridden man. Sir George has several times told me,
that had the Ministry of Calatrava and Mendizabal remained in
place, he himself would have answered that I should have received
no interruption in my labours, and that he will almost say the same
in respect to any future Ministry; and it is impossible that the
present can long maintain its ground, as it is disliked by the
Court and despised by the people.

I therefore write at present for instructions. Shall I wait a
little time longer in Madrid; or shall I proceed at once on a
journey to Andalusia and other places? I am in strength, health
and spirits, thanks be to the Lord! and am at all times ready to
devote myself, body and mind, to His cause. Therefore I pray that
my friends at home will point out the course which they think I
ought to pursue under these circumstances. In a few days I shall
send my account to Mr. Hitchin. I have hitherto delayed, not
having yet settled for the printing of the Basque St. Luke. I
received your kind letter of the 8th ultimo.

I remain, my dear Sir, most truly yours,

G. B.

P.S. - I have received the 500 Bibles in sheets from Barcelona.

Translation of a Memorial to his Excellence the Count D'Ofalia
(ENDORSED: Memorial of Mr. G. Borrow to Count Ofalia, Madrid, recd.
March 28,1838.)
To His Excellence The Count D'Ofalia

SIR, - I have the honour to inform you that, being a member and
Agent of the British and Foreign Bible Society, I some months since
printed, with permission, at Madrid, an edition of the New
Testament of Jesus Christ in the Castilian language according to
the authorised version of Father Felipe Scio, Confessor of the late
King Ferdinand of happy memory.

That to effect the sale of the said work, in which the Society had
subjected itself to an expense of more than 100,000 REALS, I
subsequently established a Despatch at Madrid, where the work was
publicly sold at a moderate price until the 12th of January last,
when the person intrusted with the management of the said Despatch
received a notice from Don Francisco Gamboa, Civil Governor of
Madrid, forbidding the further sale of the New Testament until
fresh information.

As very erroneous ideas are generally entertained in Spain
concerning the constitution of the Bible Society and the views in
which its proceedings originate, I will endeavour in a few words to
afford some correcting information respecting both. I beg to state
that the Bible Society is composed of Christians attached to many
and various sects and forms of worship - for example, members of
the Roman, Greek, Anglican, Calvinistic, and Lutheran Churches, and
of all ranks and grades in society, who, though they may differ
from each other in points of religious discipline, form and
ceremony, agree in the one grand and principal point: that there
is no salvation from the punishment due to original sin but through
vivid faith in Christ, manifested and proved by good works, such
being the amount of the doctrine found in those inspired writings
known as the New Testament which contain the words of the Saviour
whilst resident in flesh on earth, together with the revelations of
the Holy Spirit to His disciples after He had ascended to the
throne of His heavenly glory.

Having said thus much respecting those who constitute the Bible
Society and the religious feeling which unites them, I will now
devote a few words to the explanation of their views, than which
nothing can be more simple or easily defined. They have no other
wish or intention in thus associating together than to assist, as
humble instruments under Christ, in causing His doctrine to be
propagated and known in all the regions of the vast world, the
greatest part of which is still involved in heathenism and
ignorance; and looking upon their earthly goods as of little or no
value in comparison with such a glorious end, they expend them in
printing editions of their Master's Word in all languages, and in
transporting them to the remotest corners of the earth, that their
benighted fellow-creatures may see the lamp of salvation, and enjoy
the same spiritual advantages as themselves. Such is their wish,
such their view, totally unallied with commerce or politics, hope
of gain and lust of power. The mightiest of earthly monarchs, the
late Alexander of Russia, was so convinced of the single-mindedness
and integrity of the British and Foreign Bible Society, that he
promoted their efforts within his own dominions to the utmost of
his ability, and established at St. Petersburg a Bible Society of
his own, whose publications have been a source of blessing not only
to Russia, but to many other lands.

After the above statement it is unnecessary for me to dilate on the
intentions of the Society with respect to Spain, a country which
perhaps most of any in the world is in need of the assistance of
the Christian philanthropist, as it is overspread with the thickest
gloom of heathenish ignorance, beneath which the fiends and demons
of the abyss seem to be holding their ghastly revels; a country in
which all sense of right and wrong is forgotten, and where every
man's hand is turned against his fellow to destroy or injure him,
where the name of Jesus is scarcely ever mentioned but in
blasphemy, and His precepts [are] almost utterly unknown. In this
unhappy country the few who are enlightened are too much occupied
in the pursuit of lucre, ambition, or ungodly revenge to entertain
a desire or thought of bettering the moral state of their
countrymen. But it has pleased the Lord to raise up in foreign
lands individuals differently situated and disposed, whose hearts
bleed for their brethren in Spain. It is their belief that
ignorance of God's Word is the sole cause of these horrors, and to
dispel that ignorance they have printed the Gospel in Spain, which
they dispose of at a price within the power of the poorest to
command. Vain men would fain persuade themselves and others that
the Society entertains other motives, by which uncharitableness
they prove that they themselves are neither Christians, nor
acquainted with the spirit of Christianity. But let the most
fearful and dubious reassure themselves with the thought, that
should the Bible Society foster the very worst intentions, it would
baffle their power, if even assisted by Satanic agency, to render
Spain worse than it at present is.

I beseech you, Sir, to co-operate in a good cause, and not seek to
retard its progress; for be assured that sooner or later it will

I have the honour to remain,
Your Excellence's obedient servant,

LETTER: 30th March, 1838

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. Apr. 9th, 1838)
MARCH 30, 1838. MADRID,

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

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

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

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

G. B.

LETTER: 19th April, 1838

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. May 1, 1838)
MADRID, APRIL 19, 1838.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I enclose a letter from Mr. Rule, dated
Valencia, 12th inst., which I have just received, and upon which I
beg to make a few observations.

In this very extraordinary espistle I am requested to take charge
of an ex-priest of the name of Pascual Marin, on his arrival at
Madrid, where it appears he is hastening, to furnish him with cash,
make an estimate of his probable expenses, and moreover to write
home to the Society, without delay, for the purpose of advising the
Committee to join with the gentlemen of another religious
institution in affording the said Marin the means for supporting
himself in the Spanish capital, where it is the writer's opinion
that he may be usefully employed in DISTRIBUTING the Scriptures,
and in preparing the way for a future mission. Well and good! But
my friends at home, discreet as I know them to be, will doubtless
be anxious to be informed by virtue of what correspondence or
communication with me does Mr. Rule now write from Valencia,
consigning to my hands this person, whom I have never seen, and
whom I know not, although, as I have stated on a former occasion, I
have received two letters from him, to one of which I returned a
cautious and guarded answer.

Mr. Rule suddenly arrived at Madrid, upon some business connected
with the Society to which he belongs; he called upon me, and I,
upon learning from him that he was a perfect stranger in Madrid,
without friends or acquaintances, received him with the hospitality
which the Scripture enjoins, and which I continued during his stay
in the capital, a period of about ten days. In the course of our
conversations he spoke to me of the peculiar hardships of the case
of Pascual Marin of Valencia, who, as he informed me, had been
induced, partly by conviction, and partly by persuasion, to secede
from his own Church, but who not having received from England the
assistance which he had been led to expect, was in danger of
perishing, with his mother, in the streets of Valencia, he having
lost the benefice which constituted their support. Whereupon
through the medium of Mr. Rule I sent him 500 REALS on my own
account, without, however, directly or indirectly pledging myself
to do anything more in his behalf, or to attempt to engage the
Bible Society to do so.

Mr. Rule left Madrid for Valencia, and on his departure informed me
that it was his firm intention to carry Marin with him to
Gibraltar, to which resolution I, of course, made no objection, as
I conceived that it was a matter with which I had little or no
connection, and in which it would be advisable not to involve
myself, more especially on account of the peculiar state of the
affairs at Madrid with which the Society had done me the honour to
entrust me.

I was aware that in my situation peculiar caution in every step was
necessary and indispensable, and after Mr. Rule's departure I
harboured not the slightest surmise that my attentions to himself,
or the slight conversation which I had held with him respecting
Marin, could possibly tend to compromise me in any point. I was,
however, mistaken.

In the name of all that is singular, what does Mr. Rule mean,
without the courtesy of asking my permission, by sending this man
to me at Madrid? Assist in preparing the way for a mission! Very
probably; but that mission will be my own, over the frontiers,
under an escort of lancers. Assist in distributing the Scriptures!
Probably again; but it will be to the wild winds of Madrid, when
they are torn to pieces by the common hangman in the Plaza Mayor,
and cast into the air. I must confess that I am vexed and grieved
that as fast as I build up, some intemperate friend rushes forward,
and by his perhaps well-meant zeal casts down and destroys what has
cost me much labour.

Things are beginning to assume a more favourable aspect. I have
opened my shop once more, though not at present for the sale of
Testaments. The priests are frantic, and through the medium of one
or other of the Ministers, are continually giving me trouble; but
Sir George Villiers has vowed to protect me, and has stated so
publicly, and he is every day acquiring more and more influence
here. He has gone so far as to state to Ofalia and Gamboa, that
provided I be allowed to pursue my plans without interruption, he
will be my bail (FIADOR) and answerable for everything I do, as he
does me the honour to say that he knows me, and that he can confide
in MY discretion. Therefore let me call upon my beloved and
respected friends at home, as they love their Lord and the credit
of His cause, to offer no encouragement to any disposed 'to run the
muck' (it is Sir George's expression) against the religious or
political INSTITUTIONS of Spain, to keep clear of the EXALTADO or
republican party, and to eschew tracts, with political
frontispieces, concerning any UNCERTAIN future dispensation; but to
confine themselves strictly and severely to the great work of
propagating the Word which sooner or later is doomed to
christianise the entire world.

I hope I shall be excused the freedom of these observations, when
it is reflected that I, being the Agent of the Bible Society, have
to answer to those who protect me here for all that is done in any
part of Spain under the sanction of the Society.

Concerning Marin and what is to be done in his respect, I feel
myself after much reflection and private prayer totally incompetent
to offer a suggestion. He can be of no possible service to me in
Madrid, but the contrary. One thing, however, is evident, that,
thanks to particular individuals, we are to a certain extent

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

G. B.

LETTER: 23rd April, 1838

To the Rev. Andrew Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. May 3rd, 1838)
MADRID, APRIL 23, 1838,

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I have to acknowledge the receipt of your
letter of the 10th inst. and also my friend Mr. Jackson's of the
5th, containing the resolution of the Committee in my respect,
which I shall of course attend to.

My reason for troubling you with these lines is an apprehension
that my late communication has not been understood by you; for
there is something in the tone of your reply which has made me
rather unhappy, though I can easily conjecture that at the time you
wrote it you were labouring under a considerable pressure of
business. Had you paid a little more attention to my letter, you
would have perceived that it was written unwillingly on my part,
but Mr. Rule thought his province had been invaded. As for myself
I wish to say nothing, but it will be as well to remind you that
all the difficulty and danger connected with what has been
accomplished in Spain have fallen to my share, I having been
labouring on the flinty rock and sierra, and not in smiling meadows
refreshed by sea breezes. I hoped in Seville and other towns of
Andalusia to have secured the sale of more Testaments than it is
probable that I shall be able to do in Spain proper, where I was
afraid that my efforts had not been appreciated; but if my good
friend Mr. Graydon has preceded me to those regions let him remain
there and let no one interrupt him. I hope in the Lord that he
will be permitted to prosper. When you write to him, present my
cordial regards, and assure him that at all times I shall be happy
to hear from him.

I hope nothing in my last letter, in which I forwarded Mr. R's
communication, will be taken in bad part. I repeat that I was
grieved to have Marin saddled upon me, in a place where I am
surrounded by spies and persecuted by many and vindictive enemies.
The idea, however, of his having gone back to Rome is preposterous,
the Bishop of Jaen having assured Mr. R. that he had turned a deaf
ear to all the promises which had been made to him, with the view
of inducing him to recant. He has not yet made his appearance.

I remain, my dear Sir, yours,


P.S. - You have never had the urbanity to acknowledge the receipt
of my Gypsy Gospel. In the Spanish newspapers it has been called a
great accession to the literature of Spain.

LETTER: 26th April, 1838

To Mr. William Hitchin
(ENDORSED: recd. May 8, 1838)
MADRID, APRIL 26, 1838.

I TAKE the liberty of herewith sending you my accompt. It is still
an imperfect one, the printing of the Basque Gospel not being
charged for, which I have not defrayed, together with some other
items, for which I am indebted to my printer, who, having lately
fought a duel, is laid up with his wounds, and cannot for the
present transact business. I have charged here, as you will
observe, for the translation of the Basque St. Luke, an item, which
I sent in, in a former accompt, but which appears to have been
overlooked in your favour of Decr. 28, 1837. Independent of the
Despatch, I have charged for the hire of a room as a general depot
for the Scriptures. I am afraid to place my whole stock in the
shop, owing to the continual persecution to which I am subjected,
notwithstanding I enjoy powerful protection. Only last week a band
of ALGUAZILS rushed into the premises and seized 25 copies of the
Gospel of St. Luke in Rommany which I had advertised. To the
present accompt of the money which I have disbursed, you will
please to add the previous one of Novr. 1837, which I sent in,
which will enable you to see how I stand.

I hope the Financial Committee and yourself will excuse any
inaccuracies, supposing I have fallen into any, respecting money
drawn, as I am much busied in negociations, and have lately been so
harassed by vexatious proceedings, that I believe my mind has
somewhat suffered. However, glory to God, the Society's shop is
open AT MADRID, though we are not allowed to advertise and though
it be but a small taper burning amongst Egyptian darkness. I hope
it will serve as a watch-light and beacon to some.

I remain, etc.,


P.S. - The reprint of 1.5 sheet was owing to want of care on my
part, in the translation. I therefore wish that the amount be
struck out from my disbursements.

LETTER: 11th May, 1838

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. May 22, 1838)

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I write, as you see, from the prison of
Madrid, in which I have been confined for the last ten days; for it
has pleased God to confer upon me the highest of mortal honours,
the privilege of bearing chains for His sake. I shall not at
present detail the circumstances which occasioned my arrest, as
doubtless the English newspapers will afford you all the
particulars, nor shall I dwell upon the situation in which I find
myself, but be content with observing that the violence, the
preconcerted violence and atrocity, which have been practised
towards me, will prove the means of accomplishing not what my
enemies hoped and wished, the destruction and disgrace of the
Bible-cause in Spain, but its triumph, its pure and sublime

Satan has, as usual, foiled himself, and his poisoned shafts have
recoiled, and pierced his own bosom. You will have heard how
gallantly Sir George Villiers has taken my part, and how he has
made a national question of the persecution of which I have been
the object, and which lately reached its climax. It will be
necessary to tell you here that I have always communicated to him
the steps which I intended to take in order to promote the
circulation of the Bible, and they have uniformly met with his
approbation; therefore you will easily conceive that in what I have
done there has been no rashness nor anything which savoured of the
arts of the charlatan: I have too much respect for the Gospel and
my own character to have recourse to them.

I will now state a fact which speaks volumes as to the state of
affairs at Madrid. My arch-enemy the Archbishop of Toledo, the
Primate of Spain, wishes to give me the kiss of brotherly peace.
He has caused a message to be conveyed to me in my dungeon,
assuring me that he has had no share in causing my imprisonment,
which he says was the work of the Civil Governor, who was incited
to that step by the Jesuits. He adds that he is determined to seek
out my persecutors amongst the clergy and to have them punished,
and that when I leave prison he shall be happy to co-operate with
me in the dissemination of the Gospel!!!

I cannot write much now, for I am not well, having been bled and
blistered. I must, however, devote a few lines to another subject,
but not one of rejoicing or Christian exultation. Marin arrived
just after my arrest, and visited me in prison, and there favoured
me with a scene of despair, abject despair, which nearly turned my
brain. I despised the creature, God forgive me, but I pitied him;
for he was without money and expected every moment to be seized
like myself and incarcerated, and he is by no means anxious to be
invested with the honours of martyrdom. I have offered him some
relief - what else could I do? He seems partly insane. I reap, as
I expected, the full credit of his conversion. The Bishop of
Cordova got up the other day in council, and said that I was a
dangerous pestilent person, who under the pretence of selling the
Scriptures went about making converts, and moreover employed
subordinates, for the purpose of deluding weak and silly people
into separation from the Mother Church.

Of this man I have said in a letter to Mr. Rule, not yet sent: 'I
hope that Marin's history will prove a warning to many of our
friends, and tend to a certain extent to sober down the desire for
doing what is called at home SMART THINGS, many of which terminate
in a manner very different from the original expectations of the
parties concerned. To do a great and a good thing requires a heart
replete with the love of Christ and a head cooled by experience and
knowledge of the world; both of which desiderata I consider
incompatible with a wish to shine.'

It is probable that I shall leave prison to-morrow. Pray write to
my mother and beg her not to be alarmed.

I remain, Revd. and dear Sir,

Yours faithfully,


LETTER: 13th May, 1838

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. May 23, 1838)
MADRID, May 13 [1838].

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - Post is just about to start, but I am
compelled to write a few words. The Bible cause has triumphed in
Spain. Whatever I do in future connected with the Gospel is to
have the sanction of the Government, who have expressed a desire to
co-operate with the Bible Society towards the civilization of the

I left prison yesterday, and this morning was sent for to the
British Embassy, where Sir George entered into an infinity of
details which I cannot state at present. Sir George has commanded
me, however, to write to the following effect:-

Mr. Graydon must leave Spain, or the Bible Society must publicly
disavow that his proceedings receive their encouragement, unless
they wish to see the Sacred Book, which it is their object to
distribute, brought into universal odium and contempt. He has
lately been to Malaga, and has there played precisely the same part
which he acted last year at Valencia, with the addition that in
printed writings he has insulted the Spanish Government in the most
inexcusable manner. A formal complaint of his conduct has been
sent up from Malaga, and a copy of one of his writings. Sir George
blushed when he saw it, and informed Count Ofalia that any steps
which might be taken towards punishing the author would receive no
impediment from him.

I shall not make any observation on this matter further than
stating that I have never had any other opinion of Mr. Graydon than
that he is insane - insane as the person who for the sake of
warming his own hands would set a street on fire. Sir George said
to-day that he, Graydon, was the cause of my harmless shop being
closed at Madrid and also of my imprisonment. The Society will of
course communicate with Sir George on the subject: I wash my hands
of it.

I remain, dear Sir, most truly yours,


LETTER: 17th May, 1838

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. May 28, 1838)
MADRID, May 17, 1838.

EXCUSE the haste in which my last letter was written; it doubtless
seemed somewhat incoherent, I will now endeavour to be more
explicit. Moreover, since sending it, I have had an interview of
nearly two hours with Count Ofalia, and have much that is new to
communicate. But previously to stating what is likely to afford
pleasure and satisfaction, I must proceed to disburden myself of
what I heard with the greatest pain, and which I communicate with
sorrow and reluctance.

Sir George Villiers and Mr. Southern, first Secretary of Legation,
were the persons who first informed me of what has taken place at
Malaga. It appears that Mr. Graydon arrived there a short time
before my imprisonment at Madrid; and instead of endeavouring to
circulate the Scriptures in a quiet and reasonable manner, such as
becomes a gentleman and a Christian, and such as had been
recommended to me previous to my late long journey in the north of
Spain and which I have always endeavoured to follow, he had
recourse to means the most improper and disreputable, very similar
to those which he is said to have followed in all the other towns
which he has visited. In order to excite curiosity and cause a
sensation, he published advertisements and handbills replete with
the lowest abuse of the Spanish clergy and Government, and
containing his own private opinions concerning religion. However,
not contented with this, he had the cruelty - I will not call it
baseness - to speak of MYSELF, with, whom he asserted that he was
co-operating in every point, and that all he was doing was under
the sanction of the Bible Society.

Intelligence of these proceedings was of course sent to Madrid,
with one of the handbills, which I have not seen, but of which Mr.
Southern, a literary and accomplished gentleman, has said that its
abusive virulence is only to be equalled by its stupidity and
folly. Sir George Villiers, though very unwell, was deeply engaged
in my affair, and exchanging official notes with the Government.
He had just informed Count Ofalia that unless full and summary
satisfaction were afforded me, he should demand his passports, and
write to the commanders of all the English ships of war engaged in
furnishing assistance to Spain, commanding them to suspend
operations forthwith. Suddenly Count Ofalia arrived at the
Embassy, and flinging down on the table one of Graydon's handbills,
exclaimed: 'Peruse that, and then tell me, as a Cavalier and a
gentleman, and the Envoy of a powerful and enlightened nation,
whether you can any longer uphold the cause of your friend in
prison, and persist in saying that he has been cruelly and unjustly
treated. You see that he is in the closest connexion with an
individual whose conduct every civilised man must reprobate, it
being a most flagrant breach of common decency and order.'

This unexpected incident occurring at such a critical moment almost
stunned Sir George; but, recovering himself, he denied in the most
positive manner that I had any connexion with Graydon, and asserted
that he did not believe the latter was an Agent of the Bible
Society, and that at all events he was quite sure that he had acted
in this case without its knowledge and concurrence, and that it
would be willing to declare so in the clearest and most
satisfactory manner.

Count Ofalia, finding Sir George so positive, said that since I had
such a voucher he could not reasonably doubt my innocence; and that
with respect to the Society he supposed that it too well understood
its own interest to trust its affairs to a person whose conduct was
calculated to bring odium and misfortune on the fairest and most
promising cause. But Sir George has subsequently assured me that,
but for this unfortunate occurrence, he could have made much better
terms for me with the Spanish Government than from that period he
thought it politic to demand.

I will now state one circumstance, and the Lord knows how true it
is. It was my prayer night and morning in my dungeon that I might
hear of no fresh outbreak of this man, whose character I was but
too well acquainted with, as I think you will concede when you call
to mind my letter written immediately after I had received
intelligence that he was on the way to Andalusia. He has up to the
present moment been the 'Evil Genius' of the Bible cause in Spain
and of myself, and has so chosen his means and moments of operation
that he has been almost invariably successful in shaking to the
ground every feasible plan which my friends and myself have devised
for the propagation of the Gospel in a STEADY AND PERMANENT MANNER.
But I wish not to dwell upon this subject, and shall only observe
that his insane career (for in charity I believe him to be insane)
must be instantly brought to a termination. Sir George has already
written him a letter, in which I believe he advises him to quit the
country. Mr. Southern the other day made the following
observation, which I shall ever remember:-

'Sir George Villiers up to the present moment has been disposed to
render you (meaning myself) every assistance, and especially the
Bible Society, which he looks upon as the most philanthropic
institution which the world has ever known. Take care, however,
that he be not wearied and disgusted. He must not be involved in
such affairs as this of Malaga, and it must not be expected that he
is to put his lance in rest in defence of every person who visits
Spain to insult the authorities, and who, after having received
merited reproof and correction, writes home to his friends that he
is a martyr in the holy cause of religion.'

I may perhaps give offence by what, I have written. I shall be
grieved if it prove so. But I have had no other resource, and I
have stated the truth and what my conscience commanded me; and
permit me here to observe, that if any one in the world has a right
to be thus free it is myself, who have ventured and suffered much
in Spain.

Excuse me now for speaking one moment of myself. Notwithstanding I
have travelled very extensively in this strange country, and have
established many depots of Testaments most of which are flourishing
(I have just received intelligence from my correspondent at
Valladolid that forty copies have been sold at Burgos, the heart of
Old Castile), not one word of complaint has been transmitted to the
Government; and though I have suffered so much persecution in
Madrid, I have been but paying (one of my sources of information is
Count Ofalia himself) the account of others who seem to have been
reckless as to how much woe and misery they might heap on my head,
provided they could play the part with impunity which their own
distempered desires dictated.

Now to pleasanter subjects. Count Ofalia has given me very
excellent advice, which it will be well if the Society permit me to
follow. Amongst other things he said:- 'Be very cautious for some
time, and even suspend the sale of the Gospel in Madrid, and devote
all your energies to make friends amongst the clergy, very many of
whom are disposed to favour your enterprise. It would not be
prudent at present for the Government to interfere with
ecclesiastical matters, as the war is not yet terminated, but much
can be done in a quiet way by yourself.'

I must here state that there is a board of ecclesiastics at present
sitting, occupied in examining the Spanish Bible as printed by the
Society. It has been denounced by the Jesuits as not being a
faithful edition of Father Scio's version, independent of the
omission of the Apocrypha; but hitherto the opinion of the board
has been decidedly in our favour, and the Bishop of Vich has,
moreover, declared that it probably will be expedient to co-operate
with the Society in printing cheap editions of the Scripture for
the use of the people, as daily experience shows that the old
system cannot be carried on and that the sacred writings must be
thrown open.

The chief difficulty to settle will be the Apocrypha; but I have
authorised a friend to state that the Society is disposed to make
every possible concession, and to go so far as to relinquish the
Old Testament entirely and to content itself with circulating the
New. Perhaps I went too far in this advance; but I believe a
similar concession has been made in the case of Ireland, and I
feared to lose all by aiming at too much. However flattering
affairs may appear at present, I am well aware that a herculean
labour is to be surmounted before matters can be placed on a safe
footing in Spain. Prudence, coolness and firmness are at this
moment particularly necessary; and let it never for a moment be
supposed that religious instruction and the knowledge of genuine
Christianity can be introduced into Spain by scurrilous handbills
and the low arts of the mountebank.

A split with Rome will very shortly ensue, by which I mean that no
attention will be paid to Bulls, against which several of the
principal ecclesiastics have spoken; with these puissant
auxiliaries we must act in concert.

Allow me in conclusion to state a beautiful piece of conduct of Sir
George Villiers. I have commissioned one of the Bishops to request
for me an interview with the Archbishop of Toledo. Sir George on
hearing this said:- 'Tell the Archbishop that I also am anxious for
the favour of an interview, in order that I may assist in clearing
up any doubt, which he may still entertain, respecting the
intentions of the Bible Society; he has only to state the day, and
I will wait upon him.'


P.S. - I yesterday transmitted you a Spanish newspaper in which I
have published an advertisement, disclaiming in the name of the
Bible Society any writings which may have been circulated tending
to lower the authorities, civil and ecclesiastic, in the eyes of
the people, and denying that it is its intention or wish to make
proselytes from the Catholic form of worship. I took this step by
advice, I had likewise a particular reason of MY OWN.

Marin is still here looking out for some secular employ, but he is
continually haunting me. He tells me that he is preparing an
accounts of all his dealings with G [Graydon] and R [Rule], in
which he details the promises made him to induce him to sign a
document purporting to be a separation from the Roman Church. He
says that he was abandoned because he refused to preach publicly
against the Chapter of Valencia, which step would have insured him
a dungeon. This may be true or false, but I have taken my

(ENDORSED: recd. May 28, 1838)

A rumour having been spread that some individuals, calling
themselves agents of the British and Foreign Bible Society, under
the pretext of circulating copies of the Holy Scriptures, have
traversed several towns on the eastern and western coasts of Spain,
and have published writings in which the respect due to the
ecclesiastical and civil authorities of Spain has not been
observed, but on the contrary an intention has evidently been
manifested in them to disparage them in the eyes of the population
of those parts, I hasten to make the following public Declaration:

That such individuals - if it be certain that there are such - have
in this respect acted upon their own responsibility, without
permission and even in direct opposition to the intentions of the
Bible Society, inasmuch as on the principles of the New Testament
similar attempts are to be reprobated and regarded with horror,
being in direct opposition to the express commands of the Saviour
and His Apostles, who in their addresses and writings have on
various occasions exhorted the faithful to shew respect and
obedience to their masters and superiors, even when they were
heretics or idolaters.

And as it has been stated that certain persons, under pretext of
being agents of the British and Foreign Bible Society, have shown
zeal in persuading, and have actually in some cases persuaded,
various individuals to sign documents purporting to be declarations
of separation from the Catholic Faith - I herewith publicly declare
that the British and Foreign Bible Society has no connection with
such persons; and should there be any such, it is not disposed
either to confirm or to approve their proceedings, but on the
contrary is desirous of stating in the most energetic and solemn
manner that it disavows and rejects all connexion or intercourse
with them.

The British and Foreign Bible Society is composed of individuals
belonging to all sects, in which those are divided who follow the
faith of Jesus Christ, amongst whom are seen co-operating for one
grand and holy object, followers of the Apostles, Romans, and
members of the Greek and [of the] English Church, whose design is
the propagation of the word of Christ in all countries, separating
wholly from the forms of discipline of the Church, [which are]
matters of secondary consideration, which for a long time have
filled the world with bloodshed and calamity, and have tended to
keep up in the hearts of Christians unhappy and malignant feuds.
Far from being desirous of making proselytes among those professing
the Catholic worship, the Bible Society is at all times disposed to
hold out the hand of Christian fraternity to the clergy of Spain
and to co-operate with those who believe, as the Catholic clergy
assuredly do, 'that all shall be saved, who, believing in Jesus
Christ, show it by their good works.'

Madrid MAY 12, 1838,
Office of the Bible Society,
Calle del Principe.
Sole authorised Agent of the British
and Foreign Bible Society in Spain.

LETTER: 23rd May, 1838

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. June 2, 1838)
MADRID, [MAY 23rd, 1838].

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I have just had an interview with the
Archbishop [of Toledo]. It was satisfactory to a degree I had not
dared to hope for.

In the name of the MOST HIGHEST take steps for preventing that
miserable creature Graydon from ruining us all.


LETTER: 25th May, 1838

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. June 4, 1838)
MADRID, MAY 25, 1838,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


LETTER: 13th June, 1838

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. June 23, 1838)
JUNE 13, 1838, MADRID,

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I have received your letter of June 1st, but
not that of the 30th May which you allude to in the same, therefore
I am still in the dark upon many points.

Another bitter cup has been filled for my swallowing. The Bible
Society and myself have been accused of blasphemy, sedition, etc.
A collection of tracts has been seized in Murcia, in which the
Catholic religion and its dogmas are handled with the most abusive
severity; these books have been sworn to as having been left BY THE
Ofalia has been called upon to sign an order for my arrest and
banishment from Spain. Sir George, however, advises me to remain
quiet and not to be alarmed; as he will answer for my innocence.

I am now compelled to ask a blunt question. Will the Bible Society
look calmly on and see itself compromised and my life and liberty
exposed to danger by the lunatic vagaries of that unfortunate
Graydon, who, like a swine in a field newly sown, has of late been
solely occupied in rooting up the precious seed and destroying
every hope of a glorious harvest? The newspapers are teeming with
articles against us, for we are no longer looked upon as a Society
founded on the broad principles of Christianity, but as one
instituted for the carrying into effect of sectarian purposes.

In justice to me, it behoves the Society to communicate with Sir
George Villiers, who has abstracts of all the letters which I have
written to the Society, and who will vouch for their correctness.

Do not be cast down; all will go well if the stumbling block be
removed. I write in haste.


P.S. - What do you mean, my dear Sir, by the 'GRANO SALIS'?

LETTER: 14th June, 1838

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. June 25, 1838)
MADRID, JUNE 14, 1838.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - Immediately after having despatched my letter
of yesterday, I received through my friend, Mr. Wood, a
communication from the Bishop of -, the president of the body of
ecclesiastics at present engaged in examining our Bible.

He is of my opinion that the Committee of the Bible Society should
in the present exigency draw up an exposition of their views
respecting Spain, stating what they are prepared to do, and what
they are not prepared to do - above all, whether in seeking to
circulate the Gospel in this country they harbour any projects
hostile to the Government and the established religion; moreover,
whether the late distribution of tracts was done by their
connivance or authority, and whether they are disposed to sanction
in future the publication in Spain of such a class of writings.

It of course does not become me to advise the Committee and
yourself upon this point. I merely take the liberty of
communicating the circumstance, and observing that the Prelate in
question is a most learned and respectable man, and one of the
warmest of our friends.

I have not seen any of the tracts seized at Murcia, nor do I wish.
If examined by the Council, I shall declare on oath that I am
innocent and ignorant of the matter, and that I believe the Bible
Society to be the same. Sir George assured me that one or two of
them were outrages not only to common sense but decency.

I forgot to tell you yesterday that my poor servant is dead. He
died of the pestilential typhus caught in the prison; his body at
the period of his death was a frightful mass of putridity, and was
in consequence obliged to be instantly shovelled into the Campo
Santo or common field of the dead near Madrid. May Christ be his
stay at the Great Day; a more affectionate creature never breathed.

Hear now what the MADRID GAZETTE says of our Society, in an article
in which it reproves in the strongest terms the conduct lately
pursued by pseudo-agents, and gives me a rap on the knuckles for an
anti-catholic expression or two in the advertisement in which I
denounced them. The GAZETTE is the official organ of the
Government, and all it says is under authority:-

'We will not conclude this article without bestowing the merited
tribute of praise on the project truly magnificent of the Bible
Society, considered not under the religious but the social aspect.
Christianity has been, is, and will be the grand agent in the
civilisation of the world; and the preaching of its doctrine, and
the propagation of its maxims among the nations who know it not, is
the most costly present which can be offered them, and the pledge
of belonging one day to the civilised world; or if they already
belong to it, of ameliorating their actual condition in society.

'Excellent moral results must also be produced among the poorer
classes of the people in Christian countries by the distribution of
copies of the sacred writings; and the Bible Society acts with the
highest prudence, by accommodating itself to the civil and
ecclesiastic laws of each country, and by adopting the editions
there current. In Spain, where every translation of the Bible is
forbidden, and in general every book of religion, without previous
censure and license of the ecclesiastical authority, much good may
arise from distributing either of the two translations, that of
Father Scio or that of Amat; but precisely as they are, and without
the suppression of the notes, which explain some difficult
passages. If the great object be the propagation of the evangelic
maxims, the notes are no obstacle, and by preserving them we fulfil
our religious principle of not permitting to private reason the
interpretation of the sacred Word.'

Excuse me this long extract.

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


P.S. - I should wish to make another Biblical tour this summer,
until the storm be blown over. Should I undertake such an
expedition, I should avoid the towns and devote myself entirely to
the peasantry. I have sometimes thought of visiting the villages
of the Alpujarra mountains in Andalusia, where the people live
quite secluded from the world. What do you think of my project?

LETTER: 16th June, 1838

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. 27th June, 1838)
MADRID, JUNE 16, 1838.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I have received your communication of the
30th ult., containing the resolutions of the Committee, to which I
shall of course attend.

Of your letter in general, permit me to state that I reverence the
spirit in which it is written, and am perfectly disposed to admit
the correctness of the views which it exhibits. [Greek text which
cannot be reproduced]. But it appears to me that in one or two
instances I have been misunderstood in the letters which I have
addressed [to you] on the subject of Graydon.

I bear this unfortunate gentleman no ill will, God forbid, and it
will give me pain if he were reprimanded publicly or privately;
moreover I can see no utility likely to accrue from such a
proceeding. All that I have stated hitherto is the damage which he
has done in Spain to the cause and myself, by the - what shall I
call it? - imprudence of his conduct; and the idea which I have
endeavoured to inculcate is the absolute necessity of his leaving
Spain instantly.

Take now in good part what I am about to say, and O! do not
misunderstand me! I owe a great deal to the Bible Society, and the
Bible Society owes nothing to me. I am well aware and am always
disposed to admit that it can find thousands more zealous, more
active, and in every respect more adapted to transact its affairs
and watch over its interests. Yet with this consciousness of my
own inutility I must be permitted to state that linked to a man
like Graydon I can no longer consent to be, and that if the Society
expect such a thing, I must take the liberty of retiring, perhaps
to the wilds of Tartary or the Zigani camps of Siberia.

My name at present is become public property - no very enviable
distinction in these unhappy times, and neither wished nor sought
by myself. I have of late been subjected to circumstances which
have rendered me obnoxious to the hatred of those who never
forgive, the bloody Church of Rome, which I have doubt will sooner
or later find means to accomplish my ruin; for no one is better
aware than myself of its fearful resources, whether in England or
Spain, in Italy or in any other part. I should not be now in this
situation, had I been permitted to act alone. How much more would
have been accomplished, it does not become me to guess.

I had as many or more difficulties to surmount in Russia than I
originally had here, yet all that the Society expected or desired
was effected without stir or noise, and that in the teeth of an
imperial UKASE which forbade the work which I was employed to

Concerning my late affair, I must here state that I was sent to
prison on a charge which was subsequently acknowledged not only to
be false but ridiculous. I was accused of uttering words
disrespectful towards the GEFE POLITICO of Madrid; my accuser was
an officer of the police who entered my apartment one morning
before I was dressed, and commenced searching my papers and
flinging my books into disorder. Happily, however, the people of
the house who were listening at the door heard all that passed, and
declared on oath that, so far from mentioning the GEFE POLITICO, I
merely told the officer that he, the officer, was an insolent
fellow and that I would cause him to be punished. He subsequently
confessed that he was an instrument of the Vicar General and that
he merely came to my apartment in order to obtain a pretence for
making a complaint. He has been dismissed from his situation, and
the Queen has expressed her sorrow at my imprisonment. If there be
any doubt entertained on the matter, pray let Sir George Villiers
be written to!

I should be happy to hear what success attends our efforts in
China. I hope a prudent conduct has been adopted; for think not
that a strange and loud language will find favour in the eyes of
the Chinese; and above all, I hope that we have not got into war
with the Augustines and their followers, who, if properly managed,
may be of incalculable service in propagating the Scriptures.

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


P.S. - The documents, or some of them, shall be sent as soon as

LETTER: 26th June, 1838

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(Endorsed: recd. July 5, 1838)
MADRID, JUNE 26, 1838.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I shall not be able to send the documents in
question, as they are lodged in the archives, and are now become
state-papers. Those that relate to the affair at Malaga I have not
yet been able to obtain a perusal of; it will therefore perhaps
suffice for the present to say that in one of them the Government
was stigmatized as being 'VORAZ DE PESETAS' (voracious of pesetas),
and the Catholic religion termed 'UN SISTEMA DEL MAS GROSERO
FANATISMO' (a system of the grossest fanaticism). It was well for
the writer of this trash that the Government were at the time
alarmed at the step which they had taken in imprisoning myself, and
did not wish to press the matter home: otherwise he could not have
escaped so easily as he did. Yet what must we think of an
Englishman, who, relying for protection on the fear and respect
which the mighty country to which he belongs everywhere inspires,
visits a Spanish town in a state of revolution - as Malaga was -
and, for the bringing about a particular object, adds to the
ferment by appealing to already excited passions? But I shall not
dwell further on this subject. The Society are already aware of
the results of the visit of our friend to Malaga, all their Bibles
and Testaments having been seized throughout Spain, with the
exception of my stock in Madrid (upwards of 3000) - Count Ofalia
having in a communication to Sir George declared that he had full
confidence in my honour and good faith, being well persuaded that I
harboured no designs but those I professed.

I send you on the other side some extracts from one of the tracts
which purports to be 'A true history of the Virgin of Sorrows, to
whom Don Carlos, the Rebel and Fanatic, has dedicated his cause,
and the ignorance which he trumpets.' The one, however, which has
given most offence is 'A Catechism on the Principal Controversies
between Protestants and Catholics,' translated from the English.

I now await your orders. I wish to know whether I am at liberty to
pursue the course which may seem to me best under existing
circumstances, and which at present appears to be to mount my
horses which are neighing in the stable, and once more to betake
myself to the plains and mountains of dusty Spain, and to dispose
of my Testaments to the muleteers and peasants. By doing so I
shall employ myself usefully, and at the same time avoid giving
offence. Better days will soon arrive, which will enable me to
return to Madrid and reopen my shop; till then, however, I should
wish to pursue my labours in comparative obscurity.

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


P.S. - I am engaged in translating the Acts of the Apostles into

On the fly-leaf of this letter appear the following extracts.

Historia Verdadera de la Virjen Dolorosa
a Quien el rebelde y fanatico D. Carlos
Ha Dedicado su causa y la ignorancia que Pregona.


P. 17. 'Echase de ver en todos estos epitetos grandiosos prodigados
a Maria la obra del enemigo de Dios, el cual, ensencialmente
idolatra, ha sabido introducir la idolatria bajo las apariencias
del Cristianismo, y se esfuerza en desviar sobre una criatura, y
hasta en la imagen de esta, la adoracion que se debe a Dios tan
solo. Sin duda que con igual objeto se colocan por todas partes
las estatuas de Maria, adornadas con una corona, y llevando en
brazos un tierno infante, como para acostumbrar al pueblo al
concepto entranable de [la superi] oridad de Maria sobre Jesus.'

P. 30. 'Tal es nuestra conclusion. Reconociendo y sancionando este
culto, la Iglesia de Roma se constituye iglesia IDOLATRA, y todos
sus miembros que no saben buscar la verdad detras del monstruos-o
hacinamiento de impiedad con que la oculta, son supuestos por la
misma condenados a la perdicion. El caudillo de esta Iglesia, que
no se averguenza de prohibir y hacer que se prohiba, por donde
quiera alcanza su ferula, la palabra de Dios, debiera saber cuando
menos, se atesorase el espiritu de Cristo, que mejor empleara sus
bulas barriendo la Iglesia Romana de todas sus iniquidades, que no
promulgando tan injustas prohibiciones. Pero ya que, afferrandose
contra mejora, esta iglesia proteje y consagra por todas partes un
sinnumero de supersticiones y cultos erroneos, claro esta que con
esto se alza y caracteriza como uno de los principales ajentes del

LETTER: 9th July, 1838

To Mr. W. Hitchin
(ENDORSED: recd. July 20, 1838)
MADRID, JULY 9, 1838.

ON the other side I beg leave to present my account. One or two
items require some explanation.

1st, Mr. Borrego's bill of 3084 REALS, of which 1760 are for the
printing of the Basque Gospel, the remainder is for advertisements,
boxes, package and freight of books to various parts of Spain,
namely, to Valencia, Malaga, Santander, Corunna, etc. The original
bill I shall forward as soon as it has been signed and vouched for
by Messrs. O'Shea, who paid the money.

2nd, As to prison expenses, I must observe that the Government
after placing me at liberty offered to indemnify me for all the
expense I had incurred in prison, but I refused to accept their
offer; should, however, the Committee think that I ought to have
done so, they will deduct the amount.

3rd, 60 REALS for porterage; on receiving intelligence that my
depots had been seized in various parts of the country, I thought
it advisable to place my stock in Madrid in safety, and in
consequence under cover of night removed it from the shop, and
concealed it in portions in the houses of various friends.

In conclusion, I must beg that you will collate my present account
with my last, as I am apprehensive that I may have charged the same
outlay twice; the copy of my last account was lost when my papers
were seized.

I make an excursion to-morrow to the rural districts of New
Castile, which will probably occupy a fortnight. I have sent
before me two hundred Testaments.

I remain, etc.,


LETTER: 14th July, 1838

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. July 28, 1838)
JULY 14, 1838.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I write these lines from Villa Seca, a
village situated on the bank of the Tagus about nine leagues from
Madrid. A few minutes before my departure I received your letter
of the 29th June, in which you mention letters being on the way for
me. I, however, could not wait for them for many reasons,
principally because in that event I should have lost a considerable
number of Testaments, which I had sent before me. I am moreover
tolerably well acquainted with the contents [of] those
communications from the one which I have already received.

For some time past I have been determined at whatever risk to make
an effort to circulate the Scriptures in the rural districts of New
Castile, where I am grieved to say the most profound ignorance of
true religion prevails. I have been induced to take up my quarters
for the present in Villa Seca, from being well acquainted with a
labourer of the place; moreover its situation is favourable to my
views as there are many other villages in its vicinity. Poverty it
is true abounds, but I am perfectly sure that our friends at home
are disposed to make every reasonable sacrifice, and not for a
moment to balance the dust of Mammon against the eternal welfare of
their fellow-creatures.

For the last two days I have been riding in various directions. It
is a great blessing that heat agrees with me wonderfully, as we
have no less than thirty-six degrees according to Reaumur;
otherwise it would be impossible for me to accomplish anything, the
atmosphere resembling the flickering glow about the mouth of an
oven. I have already disposed of about thirty Testaments, of
course at exceedingly low prices. To-day, however, I have
commenced a new course, and have sent abroad various peasants with
some parcels of Testaments; my host, whom it has pleased the Lord
to render favourable to the cause, has himself taken the field, and
has proceeded to the neighbouring village of Vargas mounted on his
donkey. If success do not attend my efforts, the Lord knows that
it will be no fault of mine. It will be the working of His own
holy will.

I had scarcely written the above lines when I heard the voice of
the donkey in the court-yard, and going out I found my host
returned. He had disposed of his whole cargo of twenty Testaments
at the old Moorish village of Vargas, distant from hence about two
leagues, and all in the space of about half an hour. Eight poor
harvest-men, who were refreshing themselves at the door of the
wine-house, purchased each a copy; whilst the village schoolmaster
took all the rest for the little ones beneath his care, lamenting
at the same time the great difficulty he had long experienced in
obtaining religious books, owing to their scarcity and extravagant
price. Many other persons were also anxious to procure Testaments,
but my envoy (Juanito Lopez) was unable to supply them. At his
departure they requested him to return within a few days.

I will not conceal from you that I am playing a daring game, and it
is very possible that when I least expect it I may be seized, tied
to the tail of a mule, and dragged either to the prison of Toledo
or Madrid. Yet such a prospect does not discourage me in the
least, but rather urges me on to persevere; for I assure you - and
in this assertion there lurks not the slightest desire to magnify
myself and produce an effect - that I am eager to lay down my life
in this cause, and whether a Carlist's bullet or the jail-fever
bring my career to an end, I am perfectly indifferent. But I have
other matters now to speak of.

You hint that a desire is entertained at home to have a personal
conference with me. In the name of the Highest I entreat you all
to banish such a preposterous idea. A journey home (provided you
intend that I should return to Spain) could lead to no result but
expense and the loss of precious time. I have nothing to explain
to you which you are not already perfectly well acquainted with by
my late letters. I was fully aware at the time I was writing them
that I should afford you little satisfaction, for the plain
unvarnished truth is seldom agreeable. But I now repeat, and these
are perhaps among the last words which I shall ever be permitted to
pen, that I cannot approve, and I am sure no Christian can, of the
system which has lately been pursued in the large sea-port cities
of Spain, and which the Bible Society has been supposed to
sanction, notwithstanding the most unreflecting person could easily
foresee that such a line of conduct could produce nothing in the
end but obloquy and misfortune.

It was unkind and unjust to taunt me with having been unsuccessful
in distributing the Scriptures. Allow me to state that no other
person under the same circumstances would have distributed the
tenth part. Yet had I been utterly unsuccessful, it would have
been wrong to check me with being so, after all I have undergone -
and with how little of that are you acquainted. You are perfectly
correct in concluding that certain persons are laughing in their
sleeve. But at what? At the success of their own machinations?
Not at all! They are laughing at the inconceivable fatuity which
induces those whom THEY ONCE DREADED to destroy themselves and
their own labours. The stone with immense toil is rolled up to the
brow of the mountain, when they see it recoil, not at the touch of
Jupiter but at the impulse of the insane Sisyphus, who pulls it
down on his own body. With common sense and prudence very much
might have been accomplished in Spain, and still may. I am sorry
to say that hitherto very little of [that] has been used.

You are surprised that I should presume to hint that I have been
linked to G. [Graydon], but at the same time admit that my
identification with him by my enemies has been unavoidable. Now in
the name of all that is reasonable, to what does such an admission
amount but that I have been linked to this man, and it matters very
little whether or not I have been brought into personal contact
with him. But now farewell to him: and in taking leave of this
subject, I will add that the unfortunate M. [Marin] is dying of a
galloping consumption, brought on by distress of mind. All the
medicine in the world would not accomplish his cure.

With God's permission I will write again in a few days and till

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


LETTER: 17th July, 1838

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. July 30, 1838)

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I addressed a letter to you on the 14th
instant, which I hope you will receive in course of time, together
with the present; in that letter I informed you where I was,
stating my proceedings and intentions. It has pleased the Lord to
permit me to be hitherto very successful in these regions, so much
so that during less than a week I have disposed of the entire stock
of Testaments which I brought with me, namely two hundred; only
three or four remain, which are already bespoken. Last night I
sent off a messenger to Madrid for a fresh supply, which I expect
will arrive in a day or two.

I must here observe that up to the present moment I have
endeavoured as much as possible to avoid noise, and notoriety.
Advertisements and handbills I have utterly eschewed. I brought
none with me, and in these rural places, the name of a printing
press is unknown; nor have I much endeavoured to work upon the mind
of the simple peasantry around me by words. I merely tell them
that I bring them the words and life of the Saviour and His saints
at a price adapted to their humble means. Nevertheless the news of
the arrival of the book of life is spreading like wild-fire through
the villages of the Sagra of Toledo, and wherever my people and
myself direct our course we find the inhabitants disposed to
receive our merchandise; it is even called for where not exhibited.
Last night as I was bathing myself and [my] horse in the Tagus, a
knot of people gathered on the bank crying: 'Come out of the
water, Englishman, and give us books; we have got our money in our
hands.' The poor creatures then held out their hands filled with
CUARTOS, a copper coin of the value of a farthing, but I had
unfortunately no Testament to afford them. My servant, however,
who was at a short distance, having exhibited one, it was instantly
torn from his hands by the people, and a scuffle ensued to obtain
possession of it. It has very frequently occurred that the poor
labourers in the neighbourhood, being eager to obtain Testaments
and having no money to offer us in exchange, have brought various
other articles to our cottage as equivalents - for example,
rabbits, fruit and barley; and I have made a point never to
disappoint them, as such articles are of utility either for our own
consumption or that of the horses.

In Villa Seca there is a school in which fifty-seven children are
taught the first rudiments of education. Yesterday morning the
schoolmaster, a tall slim figure of about sixty, bearing on his
head one of the peaked hats of Andalusia and wrapped
notwithstanding the excessive heat of the weather in a long cloak,
made his appearance, and having seated himself requested to be
shown one of our books. Having delivered it to him, he remained
examining it for nearly half an hour without uttering a word. At
last he laid it down with a sigh and said that he should be very
happy to purchase some of these books for his school, but from
their appearance, especially from the quality of the paper and
binding, he was apprehensive that to pay for them would exceed the
means of the parents of his pupils, as they were almost destitute
of money, being poor labourers. He then commenced blaming the
Government, which, he said, established schools without affording
the necessary books, adding that in his school there were but two
books for the use of all his pupils, and these he confessed
contained but little good. I asked him what he considered the
Testaments were worth. He said, 'SENOR CAVALIER, to speak frankly
I have in other times paid twelve REALS for books inferior to yours
in every respect, but I assure you that my poor pupils would be
utterly unable to pay the half of that price.' I replied, 'I will
sell you as many as you please for three REALS each; I am
acquainted with the poverty of the land, and my friends and myself
in affording the people the means of spiritual instruction have no
wish to curtail their scanty bread.' He replied: 'BENEDITO SEO
DIOS' ('blessed be God'), and could scarcely believe his ears. He
instantly purchased a dozen, expending therein, as he said, all the
money he possessed with the exception of a few CUARTOS. The
introduction of the reading of the Word of God into the country
schools of Spain is therefore now begun, and I humbly hope that it
will prove one of those events which the Bible Society after the
lapse of years will have most reason to remember with joy and
gratitude to the Almighty.

An old peasant is at present reading in the portico. Eighty-four
years have passed over his head, and he is almost entirely deaf;
nevertheless he is reading aloud the second [chapter] of Matthew.
Three days since he bespoke a Testament, but not being able to
raise the money he has not redeemed it until the present moment; he
has just brought thirty farthings. As I survey the silvery hair
which overshadows his sun-burnt countenance, the words of the song
occur to me: 'Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace,
according to Thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.'

I will now conclude these anecdotes with one not divested of
singularity. Over a branch of the Tagus by the bridge Azeca there
is a large water-mill. I have formed an acquaintance with the
tenant of this mill, who is known in the neighbourhood by the name
of Don Antero. Two days ago, taking me into a retired place, he
asked me to my great astonishment if I would sell him a thousand
Testaments at the price at which I was disposing of them to the
peasantry, saying that if I would consent he would pay me
immediately; in fact he put his hand into his pocket, and pulled it
out filled with gold ounces. I asked him what was the reason for
his wish to make so considerable a purchase. Whereupon he informed
me that he had a relation in Toledo whom he wished to establish,
and that he was of opinion that he could do no better than take a
shop there and furnish it with Testaments. I told him that he must
think of nothing of the kind, as probably the books would be seized
on the first attempt to introduce them into Toledo, as the priests
and canons were much averse to their distribution. He was,
however, not disconcerted, and said his relation could travel, as I
myself was doing, to dispose of them to the peasants with profit to
himself. I confess I was disposed at first to accept his offer,
but at length declined it, as I did not wish to expose a poor man
to the risk of losing money, goods, and perhaps liberty and life.
I was likewise averse to the books being offered to the peasantry
at an advanced price, being aware that they could not afford it;
and the books, by such an attempt would lose a considerable part of
that PRESTIJIO (I know no English word to express my meaning) which
they now enjoy. Their cheapness strikes the minds of the people
with wonder, and they consider it almost as much in the light of a
miracle as the Jews [did the] manna which dropped from heaven at
the time they were famishing, or the spring which suddenly gushed
from the flinty rock to assuage their thirst in the wilderness.

The following is a list of the villages of the Sagra; or champaign
country of Toledo, already supplied with Testaments.

It will perhaps be expedient to print this list in the 'Extracts.'

Vargas Mocejon Villa Seca
Cobeja Villaluenga Yuncler.

In about a week I shall depart from hence and proceed to another
district, as it would not be prudent to make a long sojourn in any
particular district under existing circumstances. It is my
intention to cross the country to Aranjuez, and endeavour to supply
with the Word the villages on the frontier of La Mancha. Write to
me as soon as possible, always directing to my lodgings in Madrid.
I wish to know the lowest price at which I am at liberty to dispose
of Testaments, and conclude with hoping that what I have narrated
will meet the approbation of you ALL.


LETTER: 23rd July, 1838

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. Aug. 2nd, 1838)
JULY 23, 1838.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - As, I was about to leave Villa Seca for
Aranjuez I received your letters of the 3rd and 7th inst., on the
perusal of which I instantly returned to Madrid instead of pursuing
my intended route.

My answer will be very brief, as I am afraid of giving way to my
feelings; I hope, however, that it will be to the purpose.

It is broadly hinted in yours of the 7th that I have made false
statements in asserting that the Government, in consequence of what
has lately taken place, had come to a resolution of seizing the
Bible depots in various parts of this country.

In reply, I beg leave to inform you that by the first courier you
will receive from the British Legation at Madrid the official
notice from Count Ofalia to Sir George Villiers of the seizures
already made, and the motives which induced the Government to have
recourse to such a measure.

The following seizures have already been made, though some have not
as yet been officially announced:

The Society's books at Oviedo, Pontevedra, Salamanca, Santiago,
Seville, and Valladolid.

It appears from your letters that the depots in the south of Spain
have escaped. I am glad of it, although it be at my own expense.
I see the hand of the Lord throughout the late transactions. He is
chastening me. It is His pleasure that the guilty escape and the
innocent be punished. The Government give orders to seize the
Bible depots throughout the country on account of the late scenes
at Malaga and Valencia. I have never been there, yet only MY
depots are meddled with, as it appears! The Lord's will be done,
blessed be the name of the Lord!

I will write again to-morrow. I shall have then arranged my
thoughts, and determined on the conduct which it becomes a
Christian to pursue under these circumstances. Permit me in
conclusion to ask you:

Have you not to a certain extent been partial in this matter? Have
you not, in the apprehension of being compelled to blame the
conduct of one, who has caused me unutterable anxiety, misery, and
persecution, and who has been the bane of the Bible cause in Spain,
refused to receive the information which it was in your power to
command? I called on the Committee and yourself, from the first,
to apply to Sir George Villiers; no one is so well versed in what
has lately been going on as himself. But no. It was God's will
that I, who have risked all and lost almost all in the cause, be
taunted, suspected, and the sweat of agony and tears which I have
poured out be estimated at the value of the water of the ditch or
the moisture which exudes from rotten dung. But I murmur not, and
hope I shall at all times be willing to bow to the dispensations of
the Almighty.

Sir George Villiers has returned to England for a short period; you
have therefore the opportunity of consulting him. I WILL NOT leave
Spain until the whole affair has been thoroughly sifted. I shall
then perhaps appear and bid you an eternal farewell.

Four hundred Testaments have been disposed of in the Sagra of


P.S. - I am just returned from the Embassy, where I have had a long
interview with that admirable person, Lord Wm. Hervey. He has
requested me to write him a letter on the point in question, which
with the official documents he intends to send to the Secretary of
State in order to be laid before the Bible Society. He has put
into my hands the last communication from Ofalia. It relates to
the seizure of MY depots at Malaga, Pontevedra, etc. I have not
opened it, but send it for your perusal.

LETTER: 3rd August, 1838

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. Aug. 14th, 1838)
AUGUST 3, 1838.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - Since writing to you last I have been at some
distance from Madrid. Indeed my affairs at the time were in such a
condition and so much depended upon my personal superintendence,
that I was obliged to depart almost immediately after dispatching
my answers to your two last. I am now returned principally on
account of a rather unfortunate accident which occurred on the
frontier of La Mancha, the particulars of which I shall give you
presently. I shall, however, only tarry sufficient time to rest
the horses and again go forth, for I am but too well aware that no
time must now be lost, my enemies being numerous and watchful.

On leaving Madrid I proceeded in the direction of Aranjuez, selling
from twenty to forty copies in every village that lay in the way or
near it; my intention was to penetrate deep into La Mancha, and in
that view I had forwarded a large supply of books to Aranjuez.
Having arrived there I made a sojourn of three days, during which
time, myself, [my] servant and Juan Lopez, of whom I have
previously spoken to you, visited every house in the town. We
found a vast deal of poverty and ignorance amongst the inhabitants,
and experienced some opposition; nevertheless it pleased the
Almighty to permit us to dispose of about eighty Testaments, which
were purchased entirely by the very poor people, those in easier
circumstances paying no attention to the Word of God, but rather
turning it to scoff and ridicule. One circumstance was very
gratifying and cheering to me, namely, the ocular proof which I
possessed that the books which I disposed of were read, and with
attention, by those to whom I disposed of them, and that many
others participated in their benefit. In the streets of Aranjuez
and beneath the mighty cedars and gigantic elms and plantains which
compose its noble woods, I have frequently seen groups assembled,
listening to individuals who, with the New Testament in their
hands, were reading aloud the comfortable words of salvation.

It is probable that had I remained a longer period in Aranjuez I
might have sold many more of our divine books, but I was eager to
gain La Mancha and its sandy plains, and to conceal myself for a
season amongst its solitary villages; for I was apprehensive that a
storm was gathering around me. But when once through Ocana, the
frontier town, I knew well that I should have nothing to fear from
the Spanish authorities as their power ceased there, the rest of La
Mancha being almost entirely in the hands of the Carlists, and
overrun by small parties of banditti, from whom however I trusted
that the Lord would preserve me. I therefore departed for Ocana,
situate about three leagues from Aranjuez.

I started with my servant about six in the evening, having early in
the morning sent forward Lopez with between two and three hundred
Testaments. We left the high road and proceeded by a shorter way,
through wild hills and over very broken and precipitous ground.
Being well-mounted we found ourselves just after sunset opposite
Ocana, which stands on a steep hill. A deep valley lay between us
and the town; we descended and came to a small bridge which
traverses a rivulet at the bottom of the valley, at a very small
distance from a kind of suburb; we crossed the bridge, and were
passing by a deserted house on our left hand when a man appeared
from under the porch.

What I am about to state will seem incomprehensible to you, but a
singular history and a singular people are connected with it. The
man placed himself before my horse so as to bar the way, and said
SCHOPHON, which in the Hebrew tongue signifies a rabbit. I knew
this word to be one of the Jewish countersigns, and asked the man
if he had anything to communicate. He said: 'You must not enter
the town, for a net is prepared for you. The CORREGIDOR of Toledo,
on whom may all evil light, in order to give pleasure to the
priests of Maria, in whose face I spit, has ordered all the
ALCALDES of these parts and the ESCRIBANOS and the CORCHETES to lay
hands on you wherever they may find you, and to send you and your
books and all that pertains to you to Toledo. Your servant was
seized this morning in the town above as he was selling the
writings in the streets, and they are now awaiting your arrival in
the POSADA; but I knew you from the accounts of my brethren, and
have been waiting here four hours to give you warning, in order
that your horse may turn his tail to your enemies and neigh in
derision of them. Fear nothing for your servant, for he is known
to the ALCALDE and will be set at liberty, but do you flee, and may
God attend you.' Having said this, he hurried towards the town.

I hesitated not a moment to take his advice, knowing full well
that, as my books had been taken possession of, I could do no more
in that direction. We turned back, in the direction of Aranjuez,
the horses notwithstanding the nature of the ground galloping at
full speed, and like the true Moorish breed bearing their tails
erect and stiff; but our adventures were not over. About mid-way,
and about half a league from the small village of Antigola, we saw
close to us on our left hand three men on a low bank. As far as
the darkness would permit us to distinguish they were naked, but
each bore in his hand a long gun; these were RATEROS, or the common
assassins and robbers of the roads. We halted, and cried out 'Who
goes there?' They, replied, 'What's that to you? Pass by.' Their
drift was to fire at us from a position from which it would be
impossible to miss. We shouted: 'If you do not instantly pass to
the right side of the road, we will tread you down beneath the
horses' hoofs.' They hesitated, and then obeyed, for all Spanish
assassins are dastards, and the least show of resolution daunts
them. As we galloped past, one cried with an obscene oath,
'TIRAREMOS' ('fire') but another said, 'NO! HAY PELIGRO' ['there's
danger']. We reached Aranjuez, where early next morning Lopez
rejoined us, and we returned to Madrid.

I am sorry to state that two hundred Testaments were seized at
Ocana, where they were sealed and despatched to Toledo. Lopez
informed me that in two hours he could have sold them all, the
demand was so great; as it was, twenty-seven were sold in less than
ten minutes. He is just departed on another expedition, and I am

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