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Letters of George Borrow to the British and Foreign Bible Society

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about to follow, for with God's leave I will fight it out to the

I enclose you a list of all the towns and villages hitherto
visited. I have nothing more to say for the present, but that you
may make what use you please of this letter.

Such is my life in Spain.



Villa Seca. Azana.
Mocejon. Ylleicas.
Magan. Forrejon.
Oliar. Parla.
Vargas. Pinto.
Villaluenga. Baldemoro.
Yuncler. Zetafe.
Alameda. Leganez.
Anober. Aranjuez.
Cobena. Ocana.

LETTER: 23rd August, 1838

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. Sept. 12, 1838)
AUG. 23RD, 1838.]

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - Lord William Hervey was perfectly satisfied
with my conduct in the affair stated on the other side, and so was
Count Ofalia, who expressed his regret that circumstances had
compelled her Majesty's Government to take those steps against the
circulation of the Scriptures with which you are already

G. B.


AUGUST 23rd, 1838.

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

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

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


LETTER: 29th August, 1838

To the Rev. G. Browne
(ENDORSED: recd. Sept. 6th, 1838)
MADRID, AUG. 29, 1838.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I am this moment arrived at Madrid from my
expedition in Old Castile, and I have received your kind lines
appended to my friend Mr. Brandram's communication.

I will set out for England as soon as possible; but I must be
allowed time. I am almost dead with fatigue, suffering and
anxiety; and it is necessary that I should place the Society's
property in safe and sure custody.

It has pleased the Lord to assist me visibly in my last journey.
In the midst of a thousand perils I have disposed of nine hundred
Testaments amongst the peasantry on the north side of the
precipitous hills of the Guadarama range, and all in the space of
three weeks. In a day or two I shall write to Mr. Brandram with

Pray excuse these hasty lines; present my kindest remembrances to
Mrs. Browne, and believe me, Revd. and dear Sir,

Gratefully and truly yours,


LETTER: 1st September, 1838

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. Sept. 10, 1838)
MADRID, SEPT. 1, 1838.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - From my letter to the Revd. Geo. Browne of
the 28 ult. you are already doubtless aware of my arrival at Madrid
from my expedition in Old Castile. I now proceed to detail to you
a few occurrences, premising that my notices will necessarily be
brief, as I am considerably indisposed, and am moreover much
occupied in making preparations for my departure for England, and
in arranging the affairs of the Society in Spain in as satisfactory
a manner as circumstances will permit.

I set out for my journey on the 4th of last month on horseback and
accompanied by my servant. The first day brought us to La Granja,
a distance of twelve leagues from Madrid, where I expected to find
Lopez and another man whom I had sent before. Nothing particular
occurred during this day's journey, except that notwithstanding my
haste I sold some Testaments in the villages near the roadside and
that it pleased God to permit us to traverse the pass of Pena
Cerrada without coming in contact with the banditti that haunt the
gloomy pine forests which embower it and extend for leagues in
every direction. Arrived at La Granja, I could hear nothing of
Lopez nor of the other individual, and in consequence after a stay
of a day which was necessary to refresh the horses, I departed for
Segovia. I did not attempt to distribute the Word at La Granja,
being well aware that orders had been transmitted to the
authorities of the place to seize all copies of the sacred writings
which might be offered for sale. I may say the same with respect
to Segovia, where still none of my people made their appearance.
At Segovia I received from a friend a chest containing two hundred
Testaments, and almost immediately after, by the greatest chance in
the world, I heard from a peasant that there were men in the
neighbourhood of Abades selling books. Abades is about three
leagues distant from Segovia, and upon receiving this intelligence
I instantly departed for the former place, with three BURRICOS
[asses] laden with Testaments.

I reached Abades at nightfall, and found Lopez in the house of the
surgeon of the place, where I also took up my residence. He had
already disposed of a considerable number of Testaments in the
neighbourhood, and had that day commenced selling at Abades itself.
He had, however, been interrupted by two of three CURAS of the
village, who with horrid curses denounced the work, threatening
eternal condemnation to Lopez for selling it and to any person who
should purchase it; whereupon Lopez, terrified, forebore until I
should arrive. The third CURA, however, exerted himself to the
utmost to persuade the people to provide themselves with
Testaments, telling them that his brethren were hypocrites and
false guides, who by keeping them in ignorance of the word and will
of Christ were leading them to the abyss. Upon receiving this
information, I instantly sallied forth to the marketplace, and that
same night succeeded in disposing of upwards of thirty Testaments.
The next morning the house was entered by the two factious CURAS;
but upon my rising to confront them they retreated, and I heard no
more of them, except that they publicly cursed me in the church
more than once, an event which as no ill resulted from it gave me
little concern.

I will not detail the events of the next week; suffice it to say
that arranging my forces in the most advantageous way I succeeded
by God's assistance in disposing of in that period from five to six
hundred Testaments amongst the villages from one to seven leagues
distance from Abades. At the expiration of that period I received
information from Segovia, in which province Abades is situated, to
the effect that my proceedings were known in Segovia, and that an
order was about to be sent to the ALCALDE of Abades to seize all
books in my possession. Whereupon, notwithstanding that it was
late in the evening, I decamped with all my people and upwards of
three hundred Testaments, having a few hours previously received a
fresh supply from Madrid. That night we passed in the fields and
next morning proceeded to Labajos, a village on the high road from
Madrid to Valladolid. In this place we offered no books for sale,
but contented ourselves with supplying the neighbouring villages
with the Word of God; we likewise sold it in the highways. We had
not been at Labajos a week, during which time we were remarkably
successful, when the Carlist chieftain Balmaseda at the head of his
wild cavalry made his desperate inroad into the southern part of
Old Castile, dashing down like an avalanche from the pine woods of
Soria. I was present at all the horrors which ensued - the sack of
Arrevalo - and the forcible entry into Martin Munoz and San Cyrian.
Amidst these terrible scenes, we continued our labours undaunted,
with the exception of my servant, who seized with uncontrollable
fear ran away to Madrid. I now lost Lopez for three or four days,
and suffered dreadful anxiety on his account, apprehending that he
had been shot by the Carlists. At last I heard that he was in
prison at Villallos, at the distance of three leagues. The steps
which I took to rescue him you will find detailed in the
communication which I deemed it my duty to transmit to Lord Wm.
Hervey at Madrid, a copy of which, together with the letter of
Lopez which informed me of his situation, I transmit herewith.
After the rescue of Lopez, I thought it advisable to return to
Madrid, more especially as my stock of Testaments was exhausted, we
having in the course of little more than a fortnight disposed of
nearly nine hundred Testaments - not in populous and wealthy towns
but in highways and villages, not to the spurious Spaniards of
Madrid and the coasts, but to the sun-blackened peasantry of Old
Castile, the genuine descendants of those terrible men who
subjugated Mexico and Peru.

My men returned by Pena Cerrada, whilst I, encumbered by two
horses, crossed the Guadarama. I nearly perished there, having
lost my way in the darkness and tumbled down a precipice. But I am
now in Madrid and, if not well, trusting in the Lord and defying
Satan. I shall probably be in England within three weeks.

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

G. B.

LETTER: 19th September, 1838

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. Sept. 28, 1838)
MADRID, 19 SEPR. 1838,

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I write this to inform you that for the last
ten days I have been confined to my bed by a fever. I am now
better, and hope in a few days to be able to proceed to Saragossa,
which is the only road open.

I bore up against my illness as long as I could, but it became too
powerful for me. By good fortune I obtained a decent physician, a
Dr. Hacayo, who had studied medicine in England, and aided by him
and the strength of my constitution I got the better of my attack,
which however was a dreadfully severe one.

I hope my next letter will be from Bordeaux. I cannot write more
at present, for I am very feeble.

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


Account of Proceedings in the Peninsula


I beg leave to call your attention to the following statements.
They relate to my proceedings during the period which embraces my
second sojourn in Spain - to my labours in a literary point of view
- to my travels in a very remarkable country, the motive in which
they originated and the result to which they led - to my success in
the distribution of the Scripture, and to the opposition and
encouragement which I have experienced. As my chief objects are
brevity and distinctness I shall at once enter upon my subject,
abstaining from reflections of every kind, which in most cases only
tend to embarrass, being anxious to communicate facts alone, with
most of which, it is true, you are already tolerably well
acquainted, but upon all and every of which I am eager to be
carefully and categorically questioned. It is neither my wish nor
my interest to conceal one particular of what I have been doing.
And with these few prefatory observations I commence.

In the first place, my literary labours. Having on my former visit
to Spain obtained from the then Prime Minister Isturitz and his
Cabinet permission and encouragement for the undertaking, I
published on my return an edition of the New Testament at Madrid, a
copy of which I now present to you for the first time. This work,
executed at the office of Borrego, the most fashionable printer at
Madrid, who had been recommended to me by Isturitz himself and most
particularly by my excellent friend Mr. O'Shea, is a publication
which I conceive no member of the Committee will consider as
calculated to cast discredit on the Bible Society, it being printed
on excellent English paper and well bound, but principally and
above all from the fact of its exhibiting scarcely one
typographical error, every proof having been read thrice by myself
and once or more times by the first scholar in Spain.

I subsequently published the Gospel of Saint Luke in the Rommany
and Biscayan languages. With respect to the first, I beg leave to
observe that no work printed in Spain ever caused so great and so
general a sensation, not so much amongst the Gypsies, that peculiar
people, for whom it was intended, as amongst the Spaniards
themselves, who, though they look upon the Roma with some degree of
contempt as a low and thievish race of outcasts, nevertheless take
a strange interest in all that concerns them, it having been from
time immemorial their practice, more especially of the dissolute
young nobility, to cultivate the acquaintance of the Gitanos as
they are popularly called, probably attracted by the wild wit of
the latter and the lascivious dances of the females. The
apparition therefore of the Gospel of Saint Luke at Madrid in the
peculiar jargon of these people was hailed as a strange novelty and
almost as a wonder, and I believe was particularly instrumental in
bruiting the name of the Bible Society far and wide through Spain,
and in creating a feeling far from inimical towards it and its
proceedings. I will here take the liberty to relate an anecdote
illustrative of the estimation in which this little work was held
at Madrid. The Committee are already aware that a seizure was made
of many copies of Saint Luke in the Rommany and Biscayan languages,
in the establishment at which they were exposed for sale, which
copies were deposited in the office of the Civil Governor. Shortly
before my departure a royal edict was published, authorising all
the public libraries to provide themselves with copies of the said
works on account of their philological merit; whereupon, on
application being made to the office, it was discovered that the
copies of the Gospel in Basque were safe and forthcoming, whilst
every one of the sequestered copies of the Gitano Gospel had been
plundered by hands unknown. The consequence was that I was myself
applied to by then agents of the public libraries of Valencia and
other places, who paid me the price of the copies which they
received, assuring me at the same time that they were authorised to
purchase them at whatever price which might be demanded.

Respecting the Gospel in Basque I have less to say. It was
originally translated into the dialect of Guipuscoa by Dr. Oteiza,
and subsequently received corrections and alterations from myself.
It can scarcely be said to have been published, it having been
prohibited and copies of it seized on the second day of its
appearance. But it is in my power to state that it is anxiously
expected in the Basque provinces, where books in the aboriginal
tongue are both scarce and dear, and that several applications have
been made at San Sebastian and in other towns where Basque is the
predominating language.

I now proceed to the subject of my travels in Spain. Before
undertaking them I was little acquainted with the genius of the
Spanish people in general, having resided almost entirely in
Madrid, and I was fully convinced that it was not from the
inhabitants of one city that an accurate judgment could be formed
of a population of nine millions, thinly scattered over a vast
country so divided and intersected by mountain barriers as is the
Peninsula. With this population under all its various
circumstances and under all its various phases, the result of
descent from a variety of foreign nations, I was anxious to make
myself acquainted; for I reflected that he who builds a city on
ground which he has not fully examined will perhaps discover when
too late that his foundation is in a swamp, and that the whole of
his labour is momentarily in danger of being swallowed up. I
therefore went forth not so much for the purpose of distributing
the Scriptures as to make myself acquainted with the prefatory
steps requisite to be taken in order to secure my grand object.
Before departing from Madrid I consulted with the many friends,
some of them highly distinguished, which I had the honour to
possess in that capital. Their unanimous advice, whether Catholics
or Protestants, was that for the present I should proceed with the
utmost caution, but without concealing the object of my mission
which I considered to be the simple propagation of the Scripture -
that I should avoid with diligence the giving offence to the
prejudices of the people, especially in the rural districts, and
endeavour everywhere to keep on good terms with the clergy, at
least one-third of whom are known to be anxious for the
dissemination of the Word of God though at the same time unwilling
to separate themselves from the discipline and ceremonials of Rome.
I bore this advice in mind, which indeed perfectly tallied with my
own ideas, and throughout the two thousand miles of my
peregrination during the summer of last year, I performed much if
not all of what I proposed, and am not aware that in one single
instance my proceedings were such as could possibly merit reproof.
I established depots in all the principal towns of the north of
Spain, and in all gave notice to the public of the arrival of the
New Testament in a mild yet expressive advertisement which I here
exhibit, and which I beg leave to state is the only advertisement
which I ever made use of. The consequence was that the work
enjoyed a reasonable sale, and I experienced no opposition - except
in the case of Leon, a town remarkable for its ultra-Carlism - but
on the contrary much encouragement especially on the part of the
ecclesiastics. I visited Salamanca and Valladolid the chief seats
of Castilian learning, I visited Saint James of Compostella, the
temple of the great image of the Patron of Spain, and in none of
these cities was a single voice raised against the Bible Society or
its Agent. But I did not confine myself to the towns, but visited
the small and large villages, and by this means became acquainted
with both citizens and rustics; amongst the former I found little
desire for sober serious reading, but on the contrary a rage for
stimulant narratives, and amongst too many a lust for the deistical
writings of the French, especially for those of Talleyrand, which
have been translated into Spanish and published by the press of
Barcelona, and for which I was frequently pestered. I several
times enquired of the book-sellers of the various towns which I
visited as to the means to be used towards introducing the
Scripture amongst the villagers; but to this question they
invariably replied that, unless the villagers came to the towns and
purchased the work, they saw no means of making it known amongst
them, unless I made friends in the villages in whose hands I could
deposit copies for sale, though in such a case the difficulty of
recovering the money would be immense. I therefore at last
resolved to make an experiment, the result of which fully
corresponded with an opinion which I had for some time formed -
namely, that in the villages, sequestered and apart amongst the
mountains and in the sandy plains of Spain, I might at any time be
sure of a glorious harvest, far more rich than that which it was
possible for me to expect in towns and cities, unless I had
recourse to means unwarranted, nay forbidden, by the Book which I
distributed, and which means had been proscribed by the Society
itself on my departure for Spain. But now to proceed at once to
the experiment, which I made at different periods and in different

I twice sallied forth one morning alone and on horseback, and
proceeded to a distant village, bearing behind me a satchel of
books. On my arrival, which took place just after the SIESTA or
afternoon's sleep had concluded, I proceeded in both instances to
the market-place, where I spread a horse-cloth on the ground, on
which I deposited my books. I then commenced crying with a loud
voice: 'Peasants, peasants, I bring you the Word of God at a cheap
price. I know you have but little money, but I bring it to you at
whatever you can command, at four or three REALS according to your
means.' I thus went on till a crowd gathered round me, who
examined the book with attention, many of them reading it aloud.
But I had not long to tarry; in both instances I disposed of my
cargo almost instantaneously, and then mounted my horse without a
question having been asked me, and returned to my temporary
residence lighter than I left it. This occurred in Castile and
Galicia, near the towns of Santiago and Valladolid.

The above are incidents which I have hitherto kept within the
privacy of my own bosom and which I have confided to none; they
were but experiments, which at that time I had no wish to repeat,
nor to be requested so to do. I was perfectly aware that such a
line of conduct, if followed before the proper time, would give
offence to the clergy, not only to the Carlist but the liberal
clergy, and likewise to the Government; and it formed no part of my
plan to be on ill terms with either. For I remembered that I was a
stranger and a labourer on sufferance in Christ's cause in a half-
barbaric land, on which the light of freedom and true religion was
just beginning to dawn, and I was unwilling by over-precipitance
and for the sake of a mere temporary triumph to forego the solid
and lasting advantages which I foresaw, and had been told that
patience and prudence would assure. I resolved to use the
knowledge which I had obtained by these experiments only as a last
resource, provided any accident which it was impossible for me then
to foresee should overturn all the plans which my friends and
myself had been forming for the quiet and peaceful introduction of
the Scriptures amongst the Spaniards with the consent or at least
with the connivance of the Government and clergy, knowing well that
a great part of the latter were by no means disposed to offer any
serious opposition to such a measure, they having sense and talent
enough to perceive that the old system can no longer be upheld of
which the essential part is, as is well known, to keep the people
in ignorance of the great sterling truths of Christianity. I now
come to the most distressing part of my narrative and likewise to
the most miserable of my own life.

I returned to Madrid from my long, fatiguing and most perilous
journey, in which I must be permitted to say that independent of a
thousand miraculous escapes from the factious and the banditti I
had been twice arrested as a spy, namely, once at Vigo and
subsequently at Cape Finisterre, in which latter instance I
narrowly escaped with life, the ignorant fishermen having
determined upon shooting me and my guide. Upon finding the
booksellers of Madrid, with the exception of Razola, a man of no
importance, averse to undertake the sale of the New Testament I
determined upon establishing a shop of my own, a step to which I
was advised by many sincere friends of the Cause and of myself.
Having accomplished this, I advertised the work incessantly, not
only in the public prints but by placards posted in all the streets
of the city; but I wish it to be distinctly understood that the
advertisement which I used was the same quiet innocent
advertisement, a copy of which you possess, and of which I have
availed myself in the provinces, an advertisement which had never
given offence nor was calculated to give offence if squandered
about the streets by millions. I make this statement in self-
justification, I having, in consequence of a letter in which I made
some observations respecting advertisements and handbills, received
a paragraph in a communication from home, in which I was checked
with having made a plentiful use of advertisements and handbills
myself. It would have been as well if my respected and revered
friend the writer had made himself acquainted with the character of
my advertisements before he made that observation. There is no
harm in an advertisement, if truth, decency and the fear of God are
observed; and I believe my own will be scarcely found deficient in
any of these three requisites. It is not the use of a serviceable
instrument, but its abuse that merits reproof, and I cannot
conceive that advertising was abused by me when I informed the
people of Madrid, that the New Testament was to be purchased at a
cheap price in the CALLE DEL PRINCIPE.

I had scarcely opened my establishment at Madrid when I began to
hear rumours of certain transactions at Valencia, said to be
encouraged by the British and Foreign Bible Society. As these
transactions, as they were reported, were in the highest degree
absurd and improper, and as I was convinced that the Bible Society
would sanction nothing of the kind, I placed little or no credit in
them, and put them down to the account of Jesuitical malignity. In
less than a fortnight appeared in the newspapers what I conceived
to be a gross and uncalled-for attack upon the Bible Society,
appended to a pastoral of the Bishop of Valencia, in which he
forbade the sale of the Bible throughout his diocese. The
Committee are acquainted with my answer to that epistle; they are
well aware with what zeal and fervour I spoke against the spirit of
Popery, and defended the Society and their cause as far as my
feeble talents would permit. Yet I here confess that the said
answer was penned, if not in perfect ignorance of what had been
transacted in Valencia, at least in almost utter disbelief; for had
it been my fortune at the time to have been as well informed as I
have subsequently been, so far from publishing the answer in
question I would at once have publicly disclaimed, as I afterwards
did, any participation or sympathy in transactions which were not
only calculated to bring the Bible cause into odium, but the Bible
Society into difficulties, into discredit, and worst of all, into
contempt. A helpless widow was insulted, her liberty of conscience
invaded, and her only son incited to rebellion against her. A
lunatic was employed as the REPARTIDOR or distributor of the
blessed Bible, who having his head crammed with what he understood
not, ran through the streets of Valencia crying aloud that Christ
was nigh at hand and would appear in a short time; whilst
advertisements to much the same effect were busily circulated in
which the name, the noble name, of the Bible Society was
prostituted; whilst the Bible exposed for sale in an apartment of a
public house served for little more than a decoy to the idle and
curious, who were there treated with incoherent railings against
the Church of Rome and Babylon, in a dialect which it was well for
the deliverer that only a few of the audience understood. But I
fly from these details, and will now repeat the consequences of the
above proceedings to myself; for I, I, and only I, as every
respectable person in Madrid can vouch, have paid the penalty for
them all, though as innocent as the babe who has not yet seen the

I had much difficulty at Madrid, principally on account of the
state of political matters which absorbed the minds of all, in
bringing the New Testament into notice. However by dint of
perseverance I contrived to direct the public curiosity towards it,
indeed I was beginning to average a sale of twenty copies daily,
when the shop was suddenly closed by order of the Government in
consequence of the complaints from Valencia, myself being supposed
to be the instigator and director of the scenes in that place
already narrated. For the next four months I carried on
negotiations with the Government through the medium of Sir George
Villiers, who from my first arrival in the Peninsula, had most
generously befriended me. But in his endeavours to forward my
views he found exceeding difficulties. The clergy were by this
time, both Carlist and liberal, thoroughly incensed against me, and
indeed with much apparent reason; the former denounced me to the
populace as a sorcerer and a heretic, and the latter spoke of me as
an accomplished hypocrite. I was at last flung into prison - into
the pestilential CARCEL DE LA CORTE, where my faithful servant
Francisco caught the gaol-fever, of which he subsequently died.
But in this instance my enemies committed a very imprudent act, an
act which had very nearly produced the result for which I had been
so long unsuccessfully negotiating. My protector, Sir George
Villiers, informed the Spanish Prime Minister, Ofalia, that unless
full satisfaction was offered me, he should deem it his duty to
cease any further transactions with the Spanish Government, and to
order all the British land and sea-forces, co-operating with those
of the Queen to terminate the rebellion, to desist from further

I was about to obtain all I wished, when at the critical moment the
news of the scenes at Malaga arrived at Madrid, and Sir George had
little more to say than that Satan seemed to mingle in this game.
Nevertheless I left prison, with the understanding that the
Government would connive at the circulation of the Scriptures in a
quiet manner, not calculated to produce disturbances nor to give
scandal to the clergy.

But speedily followed the affair of the sectarian tracts of
Carthagena, which tracts were sworn to as having been left there by
agents of the Bible Society; and I instantly knew that I had
nothing more to expect from the Government. But some time previous
I had formed an unalterable resolution that, come what might, I
would no longer bear the odium of actions, which in whatever motive
they originated had already subjected me to unheard-of persecution,
loathsome imprisonment, loss of friends, and to the grief of seeing
prudent and long-brooded plans baffled and brought to nought, and
the Society to which I belonged subjected to opprobrium as I
believed undeserved; and I therefore published in the journals of
Madrid an advertisement, in which I disowned, in my own name and
that of the Society, any sympathy with the actor or actors in those
transactions, which had given so much cause of offence to the
authorities, civil and ecclesiastic, of Spain.

My principal reason for taking this step originated from my having
become personally acquainted with the ex-priest Pascual Marin, who
arrived at Madrid the very day in which I was committed to prison.
His narrative served to confirm all the rumours which I had
previously heard. The Committee are fully aware with what
unwillingness I formed the acquaintance of that man, who was sent
up to me in order that I might provide for him, without my consent
being obtained or even demanded; but I now rejoice in the
circumstance, without which I might still have been playing the
odious, disgraceful, and heart-breaking part which I had supported
so long. But by the decided step which I now took, the burden of
obloquy fell at once from my shoulders, as the bundle of sin from
the back of Christian, and rolling into a deep pit was seen no

That advertisement gave infinite satisfaction to the liberal
clergy. I was complimented for it by the Primate of Spain, who
said I had redeemed my credit and that of the Society; and it is
with some feeling of pride that I state that it choked and
prevented the publication of a series of terrible essays against
the Bible Society, which were intended for the official Gazette,
and which were written by the Licentiate Albert Lister, the editor
of that journal, the friend of Blanco White, and the most talented
man in Spain. These essays still exist in the editorial drawer,
and were communicated to me by the head manager of the royal
printing office, my respected friend and countryman Mr. Charles
Wood, whose evidence in this matter and in many others I can
command at pleasure. In lieu of which essays came out a mild and
conciliatory article by the same writer, which, taking into
consideration the country in which it was written and its peculiar
circumstances, was an encouragement to the Bible Society to
proceed, although with secrecy and caution. Yet this article,
sadly misunderstood in England, gave rise to communications from
home highly mortifying to myself and ruinous to the Bible cause.

In the meantime my depots had been seized in various parts of
Spain, depots the greatest part of which I had established with
immense difficulty and peril, some of them being in the remote and
almost inaccessible province of Galicia, at the distance of almost
four hundred miles from Madrid. I now deemed that the time was at
hand to avail myself of my resource, and to sell at all risks the
Testament amongst the peasantry of Spain, by whom I knew that it
would be received with transport and with gratitude. I determined
to commence with the Sagra of Toledo, where resided an honest
labourer of my acquaintance; my foot was in the stirrup when I
received a letter from home, which I can only consider as having
originated with the Enemy of mankind for the purpose of perplexing
my already harassed and agitated mind. In this letter I was told,
amongst other matter which I need not repeat, to prepare to quit
Spain. But by the shaft I knew the quiver from which it came, and,
merely exclaiming, 'Satan, I defy thee,' I hurried to Sagra, and
disposed of amongst the peasantry in one fortnight four hundred
copies of the New Testament. But it is hard to wrestle with the
great Enemy; another shaft arrived in the shape of a letter, which
compelled me to return to Madrid, whilst the cause of God was
beckoning me to Aranjuez and La Mancha, to which places I indeed
hurried as soon as I had arranged matters at Madrid.

Without losing time or being dispirited by the events of the last
journey, I repaired to Old Castile; here my success was almost
miraculous, nine hundred copies of the Holy Book being sold in less
than three weeks, but not in peace and tranquillity, as the
province became suddenly a scene of horrors which I shall not
attempt to describe. It was not the war of men, or even of
cannibals, which I witnessed; it seemed a contest of fiends from
the infernal pit. But God guided me safe and unharmed through this
'valley of the shadow,' and permitted me to regain Madrid; where,
upon finding myself formally recalled, I deposited the Society's
property in as safe a place as I could find, and was about to
return home when a fever which had been long lurking in my blood at
last prostrated me, confining me to my bed for many days, at the
expiration of which, though very unfit for travel, I departed for
England, where at last by God's will I am arrived in safety.

Before concluding, I have a communication to make, the importance
of which few, I believe, will be tempted to deny.

I have at various times stated that the Bible Cause had many and
powerful friends in Spain, though my statements up to the present
moment seem to have been hailed with little attention. I remember
in one particular letter recommending prudence, patience, and co-
operation with the liberal clergy, who were sincerely disposed to
help us on, provided that by intemperateness of conduct we gave
them no reasonable ground for offence. There is now a society
formed at Madrid, determined upon making the Word of God, without
note or comment, known amongst the children of Spain. The laws
concerning the publishing the Scripture have been diligently and
minutely examined, and it has been discovered that by none of the
laws of Spain, ancient or modern, whether made by Cortes or by
kings, is the publication of the Scripture, in the whole or in
parts, with or without comment, forbidden - but merely and solely
by particular Bulls of various Bishops of Rome, which Bulls though
respected by many of the Spaniards form no part of the law of
Spain. Provided resistance be offered to the undertaking either by
the Government or any portion of the ecclesiastics, it has been
determined to bring the matter before the Cortes, from whom a
favourable decision may be expected with certainty. An individual
has been selected as the ostensible manager of this great and
glorious undertaking, this individual is Mr. C. Wood, whom I have
already had occasion to mention, though it is in my power to state
that but for the manner in which the name of the Bible Society has
on various occasions been brought before the public, and almost
invariably to its disadvantage, myself its well-known Agent, would
have been the person selected. If it be here asked who are the
respectable and influential persons who are at the head of this
undertaking and who patronise it, I reply the Archbishop of Toledo,
the Primate of Spain, and the Bishops of Vich and Jaen.

Now merely one word in conclusion. I have related facts, and to
attempt to contravene them would be as futile as to endeavour to
breast the billows of the Atlantic. For the fact that I have
throughout my residence in Spain conducted myself as becomes a
gentleman, a Christian and an Agent of a Christian Society, I can
at all times command the evidence of Sir George Villiers. For the
fact that no act of mine has given offence to the Spanish
Government, or was calculated to do so, I can, if required, produce
a communication from Count Ofalia, who has in writing expressed to
Sir George Villiers his full reliance in my prudence and good
faith. For the fact that the establishment at Madrid was closed,
not in consequence of my own imprudence, but on account of certain
proceedings at Valencia, I can receive, if I need it, a testimonial
from Count Ofalia. For the fact that proceedings of a highly
objectionable nature were transacted in the south of Spain, I have
the affidavit of the unhappy ex-priest Pascual Marin, who can
likewise afford, when called upon, information on various points.
For the fact that my depots in various provinces of Spain were
seized in consequence of doings with which I had no connexion, I
can cite official correspondence. For the fact that my
advertisement, in which I disowned in the name of the Society and
in my own any sympathy with the scenes alluded to, was productive
of infinite benefit to the Cause, I can at any time produce
incontestable evidence. And lastly, for my zeal in the Bible
Cause, whilst employed in the Peninsula, I can have the evidence
not only of some of the most illustrious characters resident in
Madrid, but likewise that of the greatest part of Spain, throughout
which I believe my name is better known than in my native village
in East Anglia.

Mr. G. Borrow's Report on Past and Future Operations in Spain
(ENDORSED: recd. Nov. 28, 1838)

HAVING been requested to commit to paper my opinion respecting the
mode most advisable to be adopted for the propagation of the Word
of God in Spain, provided the Committee of the Bible Society should
consider it their duty to resume operations in that country, I
shall as briefly as possible communicate the results of an
experience which three years' residence has enabled me to acquire.
The Committee are already aware that I have traversed the greatest
part of Spain in all directions, and have lived for a considerable
time in Madrid and other large towns. I have therefore had
opportunities of forming a tolerably accurate idea as to the mode
of thinking upon religious subjects of the Spaniards, whether of
town or country, and of their character in general. I need not
enter into a repetition of my labours during my last sojourn in
Spain. It is well known that, after printing the New Testament at
Madrid, I endeavoured to distribute it in the principal towns, and
also in the rural districts. Particular circumstances prevented my
experiencing in the former the success which I had hoped for, and
with some reason, at the commencement of my Biblical labours; and
indeed I did not find the minds of the inhabitants of the great
cities which I visited so well disposed as I could have wished, for
receiving and relishing the important but simple truths of the
Bible. I cannot say that a spirit of fanatic bigotry was
observable amongst them, except in a very few instances, but rather
of lamentable indifference; their minds being either too much
engrossed by the politics of the period to receive the doctrine of
the Bible, or averse to it owing to the poison of infidelity
imbibed from the deistical writings of the French. My success
among the peasants was however very different, nearly two thousand
copies having been disposed of in an extraordinarily short space of
time, and under much disadvantage owing to the peculiarly unhappy
situation of those parts which it was my fortune to visit. I will
now, without further preamble, state the line of conduct which I
should wish to see pursued in Spain under existing circumstances.

As the minds of the inhabitants of the cities, from the causes
above stated, do not appear to be exactly prepared for the
reception of the Scripture, it seems most expedient for some time
to come to offer it principally to the peasantry, by the greater
part of whom there is so much ground for believing that it will be
received with gratitude and joy. True it is that the Spanish
peasantry are in general not so well educated as their brethren of
the cities, their opportunities of acquiring a knowledge of letters
having always been inferior; nevertheless it would be difficult to
enter a cottage of which at least one of the inmates could not
read, more or less. They are moreover a serious people, and any
book upon religious subjects is far more certain of captivating
their attention than one of a lighter character, and, above all,
their minds have hitherto never been tainted by those unhappy
notions of infidelity too prevalent amongst the other class. There
is one feature which I wish to mention here, which is indeed common
to the Spanish people in general but more particularly to the
peasantry, namely, that whenever a book is purchased, whether good
or bad, the purchaser entertains a firm intention of reading it,
which he almost invariably puts into execution. I do not make this
observation merely upon hearsay - though I have frequently heard it
from quarters which I am bound to respect - many examples tending
to substantiate the fact having come under my own knowledge. It is
at least a great consolation to the distributor of the Word of God
in Spain, that the seed which he casts around him is in general
received by the earth beneath the surface, from which he is induced
to trust that it will some day spring up and produce good fruit.

I now beg leave to repeat from a previous communication the manner
in which I made my first attempt to distribute the Scriptures
amongst the peasantry. I must here remind the Committee that until
[I] myself solved the problem of the possibility, no idea had been
entertained of introducing the Bible in the rural districts of
countries exclusively Papist. This remark, which I make with the
utmost humility, merely springs from an idea that a similar
attempt, if made with boldness and decision, might prove equally
successful in Italy, Mexico, and many other countries, even pagan,
which have not yet been penetrated, particularly China and Grand
Tartary, on the shores of which the Bible labours under great
disadvantage and odium from being put into the hands of the natives
by people seemingly in connection with those for whom it is
impossible they can entertain much respect, as they are well known
to contribute largely towards the corruption of the public morals.
But I now return to my subject, and proceed at once to the
experiment which I made at different periods and in different

I twice sallied forth alone and on horseback, and bent my course to
a distant village. On my arrival, which took place just after the
SIESTA or afternoon's nap had concluded, I proceeded in both
instances to the market-place, where I spread a horse-cloth on the
ground, upon which I deposited my books. I then commenced crying
with a loud voice: 'Peasants, peasants, I bring you the Word of
God at a cheap price. I know you have but little money, but I
bring it you at whatever you can command, at four or three REALS,
according to your means.' I thus went on till a crowd gathered
round me, who examined the books with attention, many of them
reading aloud, but I had not long to wait. In both instances my
cargo was disposed of almost instantaneously, and I mounted my
horse without a question being asked me, and returned to my
temporary abode lighter than I came. These instances occurred in
Castile and Galicia, near the towns of Santiago and Valladolid.

It is the firm conviction of the writer from subsequent experience
that every village in Spain will purchase Testaments, from twenty
to sixty, according to its circumstances. During the last two
months of his sojourn in Spain he visited about forty villages, and
in only two instances was his sale less than thirty copies in each.
The two villages which he alludes to were Mocejon in the Sagra of
Toledo, and Torre Lodones about four leagues from Madrid in the
road which leads to the Guadarama hills. The last village is
indeed a mere wretched assemblage of huts, the inhabitants of which
labour under the most squalid poverty, owing to the extreme
niggardness of the neighbouring soil, which consists almost
entirely of rock from which scarcely anything can be gathered, so
that the people are proverbially thieves. Only three copies of the
sacred volume were purchased in this unhappy place, and only nine
in the comparatively rich village of Mocejon - which, it is true,
was visited on the day of a festival, when the inhabitants were too
much occupied with dancing and other amusements to entertain any
serious thoughts.

There are at the present moment about two thousand copies of the
New Testament in Madrid. It appears to the writer that it would be
most expedient to distribute one-half of these books in La Mancha,
commencing from the town of Ocana, and concluding with Argamasilla
at the other end of the province; the remaining thousand might be
devoted to the many villages on the road towards Arragon,
especially to those of Alcarria where the people are honest, mild
and serious. The writer would by no means advise for the present
an attempt to distribute the entire Bible amongst the peasantry, as
he is of opinion that the New Testament is much better adapted to
their understandings and circumstances. If it be objected to the
plan which he has presumed to suggest that it is impossible to
convey to the rural districts of Spain the book of life without
much difficulty and danger, he begs leave to observe that it does
not become a real Christian to be daunted by either when it pleases
his Maker to select him as an instrument; and that moreover if it
be not written that a man is to perish by wild beast or reptiles,
he is as safe in the den even of the cockatrice as in the most
retired chamber of the king's palace; and that if on the contrary
he be doomed to perish by them, his destiny will overtake him
notwithstanding all the precautions which he, like a blind worm,
may essay for his security.

In conclusion the writer begs leave to remind the Committee that a
society of liberal Spanish ecclesiastics is being formed for
printing and circulating the Scripture without note or comment. He
does not advise the entering into an intimate alliance and co-
operation with this society, but he ventures to hope that if it
continue to progress, there will be found Christian hearts in
England to wish it success and Christian hands to afford it some
occasional assistance. If the work of the Lord be done, it matters
little whether Apollos or Paul be the labourers.


LETTER: 12th January, 1839

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. Feb. 4, 1839)
SEVILLE, JANY. 12, 1839.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I reached Cadiz in safety, after crossing the
Bay of Biscay in rather boisterous weather. I have been in Seville
about a week, part of which time I have been rather indisposed with
an old complaint; this night at ten o'clock I leave, with the
letter-courier, for Madrid, whither I hope to arrive in something
less than four days. I should have started before now, had an
opportunity presented itself. I have been much occupied since
coming here in writing to my friends in Spain apprising them of my
arrival, amongst others to Sir George Villiers. I have of course
visited the Sevillian bookseller, my correspondent here. He
informed me that seventy-six copies of the hundred Testaments
entrusted to his care were placed in embargo by the Government last
summer. They are at present in the possession of the
Ecclesiastical Governor. I visited him also the other day, to make
enquiries concerning our property. He lives in a large house in
the PAJARIA, or straw-market. He is a very old man, between
seventy and eighty, and like almost all those who wear the
sacerdotal habit in this city is a fierce persecuting Papist. I
believe he scarcely believed his ears when his two grand-nephews,
beautiful black-haired boys, who were playing in the courtyard, ran
to inform him that an Englishman was waiting to speak with him, as
it is probable that I was the first heretic who ever ventured into
his habitation. I found him in a vaulted room seated on a lofty
chair, with two sinister-looking secretaries, also in sacerdotal
habits, employed in writing at a table before him. He brought
powerfully to my recollection the grim old inquisitor who persuaded
Philip the Second to slay his own son as an enemy to the Church.
He arose as I entered, and gazed upon me with a countenance dark
with suspicion and dissatisfaction. He at last condescended to
point me to a sofa, and I proceeded to state to him my business.
He became much agitated when I mentioned the Testaments to him; but
I no sooner spoke of the Bible Society and told him who I was, than
he could contain himself no longer, and with a stammering tongue
and with eyes flashing fire like hot coals, he proceeded to rail
against the Society and myself, saying that the aims of the first
were atrocious and that as to myself, he was surprised that being
once lodged in the prison of Madrid I had ever been permitted to
quit it; adding that it was disgraceful in the Government to allow
a person of my character to roam about an innocent and peaceful
country, corrupting the minds of the ignorant and unsuspicious.
Far from allowing myself to be disconcerted by his rude behaviour,
I replied to him with all possible politeness, and assured him that
in this instance he had no reason to alarm himself, as that my sole
motive in claiming the books in question was to avail myself of an
opportunity, which at present presented itself of sending them out
of the country, which indeed I had been commanded to do by an
official notice. But nothing would soothe him, and he informed me
that he should not deliver up the books on any condition, save by a
positive order of the Government. As the matter was by no means an
affair of consequence I thought it wise not to persist, and also
prudent to take my leave before he requested me. I was followed
even down into the street by his niece and grand-nephews, who
during the whole of the conversation had listened at the door of
the apartment and heard every word.

I have at present little more to say, having detailed everything
worth mentioning which has occurred since [my] landing in the
Peninsula for the third time. As soon as I reach Madrid I shall
proceed to make preparations for a fresh expedition, but in what
direction I have scarcely determined. Please therefore to pray
that I may be enlightened, and that the angel of the Lord may
smooth my path before me. Greet all my friends in my name; I hope
speedily to be able to write to each, and in the meantime remain,
Revd. and dear Sir, yours ever,

G. B.

LETTER: 25th January, 1839

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. Feb. 4, 1839)
25 JANUARY, 1839.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - My last letter was from Seville, in which I
gave you an account of my proceedings in that place, at the same
time stating that I was about to repair to Madrid with the courier.
After travelling four days and nights we arrived, without having
experienced the slightest accident; though it is but just to
observe, and always with gratitude to the Almighty, that the next
courier was stopped.

A singular accident befell me immediately after my arrival. On
entering the arch of the POSADA, called La Reyna, where I intended
to put up, I found myself encircled in a person's arms, and on
turning round in amazement beheld my Greek servant Antonio; he was
haggard and ill-dressed, and his eyes seemed starting from their
sockets. As soon as we were alone he informed me that since my
departure he had undergone great misery and destitution, having
during the whole period been unable to obtain a master in need of
his services, so that he was brought nearly to the verge of
desperation; but that on the night immediately preceding my arrival
he had a dream in which he saw me, mounted on a black horse, ride
up to the gate of the POSADA, and that on that account he had been
waiting there during the greatest part of the day. I do not
pretend to offer any opinion concerning this narrative, which is
beyond the reach of my philosophy, and shall content myself with
observing that only two individuals in Madrid, one of them Lord
Clarendon (late Sir George Villiers), were aware of my arrival in
Spain. I was very glad to receive him again into my service, as
notwithstanding his faults, and he has many, he has in many
instances proved of no slight assistance to me in my wanderings and
Biblical labours, as indeed I have informed you on previous

I was soon settled in my former lodgings, when one of my first
cares was to pay a visit to Lord Clarendon. I need not dilate on
the particulars of our interview; suffice it to say, that he
received me with more than usual kindness, and assured me that I
might invariably rely upon him, if I should ever chance to be in
need of his assistance and protection. I told him that it was not
our intention to take any steps towards preventing the civil or
ecclesiastical authorities of Toledo from destroying the Testaments
seized at Ocana; and he smiled when I added that the only wish we
ventured to express concerning the matter was that, in the event of
these books, which contain the Word of God, being committed to the
flames, the said authorities, civil or ecclesiastic, would commit
the act with all the publicity possible.

My preparations for taking the field are now nearly completed, and
within forty hours I hope to commence operations. My first attempt
will be made in a large village [at] about a league's distance; and
if it please the Lord to permit me to succeed there, it is my
intention to proceed to all those villages or hamlets in the
vicinity of Madrid hitherto not supplied. I then wend towards the
east, to a distance of about thirty leagues. I have been very
passionate in prayer during the last two or three days; and I
entertain some hope that the Lord has condescended to answer me, as
I appear to see my way with considerable clearness. It may, of
course, prove a delusion, and the prospects which seem to present
themselves may be mere palaces of clouds which a breath of wind is
sufficient to tumble into ruin; therefore bearing this possibility
in mind it behoves me to beg that I may be always enabled to bow
meekly to the dispensations of the Almighty, whether they be of
favour or severity.

Two days ago I received my largest and most useful horse from the
Sagra of Toledo and likewise a note from Lopez; he is unable to
come himself at present to assist me, but he sent a countryman who,
he is of opinion, will be of equal utility, at least for a time. I
yesterday despatched him to the low parts of Madrid, or as they are
styled, LOS BARRIOS BAJOS; he succeeded in disposing of twelve
Testaments, amongst the very poor people, in a few hours. My other
horse is at Salamanca, in Old Castile; but he suffered so much
during my late expeditions, that it will hardly answer my purpose
to send for him.

In passing through La Mancha we stayed for four hours at
Manzanares, a large village which I hope to visit again shortly. I
was standing in the market-place conversing with a curate, when a
frightful ragged object presented itself; it was a girl about
eighteen or nineteen, perfectly blind, a white film being spread
over her huge staring eyes; her countenance was as yellow as that
of a mulatto. I thought at first that she was a Gypsy, and
addressing myself to her, enquired in Gitano if she were of that
race. She understood me; but shaking her head replied, that she
was something better than a Gitana, and could speak something
better than that jargon of witches, whereupon she commenced asking
me several questions in exceeding good Latin. I was of course very
much surprised, but summoning all my Latinity, I called her
Manchegan prophetess, and expressing my admiration at her learning
begged to be informed by what means she became possessed of it. I
must here observe that a crowd instantly gathered around us who,
though they understood not one word of our discourse, at every
sentence of the girl shouted applause, proud in possession of a
prophetess who could answer the Englishman. She informed me that
she was born blind, and that a Jesuit priest had taken compassion
on her when she was a child, and had taught her the 'holy
language,' in order that the attention and hearts of Christians
might be more easily turned towards her. I soon discovered that he
had taught her something more than Latin, for upon telling her that
I was an Englishman, she said that she had always loved Britain
which was once the nursery of saints and sages - for example, Bede
and Alcuin, Colombus [SIC] and Thomas of Canterbury; but she added,
those times had gone by since the re-appearance of Semiramis
(Elizabeth). Her Latin was truly excellent; and when I, like a
genuine Goth, spoke of Anglia and Terra Vandalica (Andalusia), she
corrected me by saying that in her language those places were
called Britannia, and Terra Betica. When we had finished our
discourse, a gathering was made for the prophetess, the very
poorest contributing something. What wonderful people are the
Jesuits! When shall we hear of an English rector instructing a
beggar girl in the language of Cicero?

Ever yours,

G. B.

LETTER: 15th February, 1839

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. Feby. 25, 1839)
15 FEBRY. 1839.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - In my last communication I stated that I had
got everything in readiness to commence operations in the
neighbourhood of Madrid, and indeed since that period I have
entered upon my labours in reality, though unforeseen circumstances
produced an unavoidable delay of several days. It is with feelings
of gratitude to the Almighty that I now state that considerable
success has attended my feeble efforts in the good cause. All the
villages within the distance of four leagues to the east of Madrid
have been visited, and Testaments to the number of nearly two
hundred have been disposed of. It will be here necessary for me to
inform you that these villages, for the most part, are very small;
some of them consisting of not more than a dozen houses, or I
should rather say miserable cabins. I left my servant Antonio to
superintend matters in Madrid, and proceeded with Vitoriano, the
peasant from Villa Seca, in the direction which I have already
mentioned. We however soon parted company, and pursued different
routes. The first village at which I made an attempt was Cobenna,
about three leagues from Madrid. I was dressed in the fashion of
the peasants of the neighbourhood of Segovia in Old Castile,
namely, I had on my head a species of leather helmet, or MONTERA,
with a jacket and trowsers of the same material. I had the
appearance of a person between sixty and seventy years of age, and
drove before me a BURRICO, with a sack of Testaments lying across
its back. On nearing the village I met a genteel-looking young
woman leading a little boy by the hand. As I was about to pass her
with the customary salutation of 'VAYA USTED CON DIOS,' she
stopped, and after looking at me for a moment she said; 'Uncle
(TIO), what is that you have on your BURRICO? Is it soap?' I
replied, 'Yes; it is soap to wash souls clean.' She demanded what
I meant; whereupon I told her that I carried cheap and godly books
for sale. On her requesting to see one, I produced a copy from my
pocket, and handed it to her. She instantly commenced reading it
with a loud voice, and continued so for at least ten minutes,
occasionally exclaiming, 'QUE LECTURA TAN BONITA, QUE LECTURA TAN
LINDA!' ('What beautiful, what charming reading!') At last, on my
informing her that I was in a hurry and could not wait any longer,
she said, 'True, true,' and asked me the price of the book. I told
her 'But three REALS'; whereupon she said that though what I asked
was very little, it was more than she could afford to give, as
there was little or no money in those parts. I said I was sorry
for it, but that I could not dispose of the book for less than I
had demanded, and accordingly resuming it, wished her farewell and
left her. I had not, however, proceeded thirty yards, when the boy
came running behind me, shouting out of breath: 'Stop, uncle! the
book, the book.' Upon overtaking me he delivered me the three
REALS in copper, and seizing the Testament, ran back to her, who I
suppose was his sister, flourishing the book over his head with
great glee.

On arriving at the village I directed my steps to a house around
the door of which I saw several persons gathered, chiefly women.
On my displaying my books their curiosity was instantly aroused,
and every person had speedily one in his hand, many reading aloud.
However, after waiting nearly an hour I had disposed of but one
copy, all complaining bitterly of the distress of the times and the
almost total want of money, though at the same time they
acknowledged that the books were wonderfully cheap and appeared to
be very good and Christian-like. I was about to gather up my
merchandise and depart, when on a sudden the curate of the place
made his appearance. After having examined the books for some time
with considerable attention, he asked me the price of a copy, and
upon my informing him that it was three REALS, he replied that the
binding was worth more, and that he was much afraid that I had
stolen the books, and that it was perhaps his duty to send me to
prison as a suspicious character. He added however that the books
were good books, however they might be obtained, and concluded by
purchasing and paying for two copies. The poor people no sooner
heard their curate recommend the volumes, than all were eager to
secure one, and hurried here and there for the purpose of procuring
money, so that between twenty and thirty copies were sold almost in
an instant. This adventure not only affords an instance of the
power still possessed by the Spanish clergy over the minds of the
people, but likewise that such influence is not always exerted in a
manner favourable to the maintenance of ignorance and superstition.

In another village on my showing a Testament to a woman, she said
that she had a child at school for whom she should like to purchase
one, but that she must first know whether the book was calculated
to be of service to him. She then went away, and presently
returned with the schoolmaster, followed by all the children under
his care. She then, showing the schoolmaster a book, enquired if
it would answer for her son. The schoolmaster called her a
simpleton for asking such a question, and said that he knew the
book well, and there was not its equal in the world. (NO HAY OTRO
EN EL MUNDO.) He instantly purchased five copies for his pupils,
regretting that he had no more money, 'For in that case,' said he,
'I would buy the whole cargo.' Upon hearing this, the woman
purchased four copies: namely, one for her son, another for her
husband who was dead, a third for herself, and a fourth for her
brother, whom, she said, she was expecting home that night from

In this manner we proceeded, not however with uniform success. In
some villages the people were so poor and needy that they had
literally no money; even in these, however, we managed to dispose
of a few copies in exchange for barley or refreshments. (Is this

On entering one very small hamlet, Vitoriano was stopped by the
curate, who on learning what he carried told him that unless he
instantly departed, he would cause him to be imprisoned, and write
to Madrid in order to give information of what was going on. The
excursion lasted about eight days. Immediately after my return, I
despatched Vitoriano to Caramanchel, a village at the distance of
half a league from Madrid, the only one towards the west which had
not been visited last year. He stayed there about an hour and
disposed of twelve copies, and then returned, as he is exceedingly
timid and was afraid of being met by the thieves who swarm on that
road in the evening. In a few days I depart for Guadalajara and
the villages of Alcarria.


LETTER: 4th March, 1839

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. Mar. 15, 1839)
MARCH 4, 1839.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I have to acknowledge the receipt of your
kind letter of the 6th ult., which I hope to be able to answer in
all points on another occasion. I am now in a small town on the
road to Talavera, to which place it is possible that I may proceed.
I take up the pen in order to give you a brief account of what has
taken place since I last wrote. I have that to communicate which I
am confident will cause yourself and the remainder of my dear
friends in Earl Street to smile; while at the same time it will not
fail to prove interesting, as affording an example of the feeling
prevalent in some of the lone and solitary villages of Spain with
respect to innovation and all that savours thereof, and the strange
acts which are sometimes committed by the rural authorities and the
priests, without the slightest fear of being called to account; for
as they live quite apart (6) from the rest of the world, they know
no people greater than themselves, and scarcely dream of a higher
power than their own. In my latest communication I stated that I
was about to make an excursion to Gaudalajara and the villages of
Alcarria; indeed I merely awaited the return of Vitoriano to sally
forth: I having despatched him in that direction with a few
Testaments as a kind of explorer, in order that from his report as
to the disposition manifested by the people for purchasing, I might
form a tolerably accurate opinion as to the number of copies which
it might be necessary to carry with me. However I heard nothing of
him for a fortnight, at the end of which period a letter was
brought to me by a peasant, dated from the prison of Fuente La
Higuera, a village eight leagues from Madrid, in the CAMPINA, or
champaign of Alcala. This letter, written by Vitoriano, gave me to
understand, that he had been already eight days imprisoned, and
that unless I could find some means to extricate him there was
every probability of his remaining in durance until he should
perish with hunger, which he had no doubt would occur as soon as
his money was exhausted and he was unable to purchase the
necessaries of life at a great price. From what I afterwards
learned it appeared that after passing the town of Alcala he had
commenced distributing, and with considerable success. His entire
stock consisted of sixty-one Testaments, twenty-five of which he
sold without the least difficulty or interruption in the single
village of Arganza, the poor labourers showering blessings on his
head for providing them with such good books at an easy price. Not
more than eighteen remained when he turned off the high road
towards Fuente La Higuera. This place was already tolerably well
known to him, he having visited it of old when he travelled the
country in the capacity of a vendor of CACHARROS or earthen pans.
He subsequently stated that he felt some misgiving whilst on the
way, as the village had invariably enjoyed a bad reputation. On
his arrival, after having put up his CABALLEJO, or little pony, at
a POSADA, he proceeded to the ALCALDE for the purpose of demanding
permission to sell books, which that dignitary immediately granted.
He now entered a house and sold a copy, and likewise in a second.
Emboldened by success he entered a third, which it appeared
belonged to the barber-surgeon of the village. This personage,
having just completed his dinner, was seated in an arm-chair within
his doorway when Vitoriano made his appearance. He was a man of
about thirty-five, of a savage, truculent countenance. On
Vitoriano's offering him a Testament he took it into his hand to
examine it; but no sooner did his eyes glance over the title-page
than he burst into a loud laugh, exclaiming: 'Ha, ha, Don Jorge
Borrow, the English heretic, we have encountered you at last.
Glory to the Virgin and the Saints! We have long been expecting
you here, and at length you have arrived.' He then enquired the
price of the book, and on being told three REALS, he flung down
two, and rushed out of the house with the Testament in his hand.
Vitoriano now became alarmed, and determined upon leaving the place
as soon as possible. He therefore hurried back to the POSADA, and
having paid for the barley which his pony had consumed, went into
the stable, and placing the pack-saddle on the animal's back was
about to lead it forth when the ALCALDE of the village, the
surgeon, and twelve other men, some of whom were armed with
muskets, suddenly presented themselves. They instantly made
Vitoriano prisoner, and, after seizing the books and laying an
embargo on the pony, proceeded amidst much abuse to drag their
captive to what they denominated their prison, a low damp apartment
with a little grated window, where they locked him up and left him.
At the expiration of three quarters of an hour they again appeared,
and conducted him to the house of the curate, where they sat down
in conclave, the curate who was a man stone-blind being president,
whilst the sacristan officiated as secretary. The surgeon having
stated his accusation against the prisoner, namely, that he had
detected him in the fact of selling a version of the Scriptures in
the vulgar tongue, the curate proceeded to examine Vitoriano,
asking him his name and place of residence - to which he replied
that his name was Vitoriano Lopez, and that he was a native of
Villa Seca in the Sagra of Toledo. The curate then demanded what
religion he professed, and whether he was a Mahometan or freemason,
and received for answer that he was a Roman Catholic. I must here
state that Vitoriano, though sufficiently shrewd in his way, is a
poor old labourer of sixty-four, and until that moment had never
heard of Mahometans or freemasons. The curate becoming now
incensed, called him a TUNANTE or scoundrel, and added, 'You have
sold your soul to a heretic; we have long been aware of your
proceedings, and those of your master. You are the same Lopez,
whom he last year rescued from the prison of Villallos, in the
province of Avila. I sincerely hope that he will attempt to do the
same thing here.' 'Yes, yes,' shouted the rest of the conclave,
'let him but venture here, and we will shed his heart's blood on
our stones.' In this manner they went on for nearly half-an-hour;
at last they broke up the meeting and conducted Vitoriano once more
to his prison.

During his confinement he lived tolerably well, being in possession
of money; his meals were sent him twice a day from the POSADA,
where his pony remained in embargo. Once or twice he asked
permission of the ALCALDE, who visited him every night and morning
with his armed guard, to purchase pen and paper, in order that he
might write to Madrid; but this favour was peremptorily refused
him, and all the inhabitants of the village were forbidden under
terrible penalties to afford him the means of writing, or to convey
any message from him beyond the precincts of the place, and two
boys were stationed before the window of his cell for the purpose
of watching everything which might be conveyed to him. It happened
one day that Vitoriano, being in need of a pillow for his head,
sent word to the people of the POSADA to send him his ALFORJAS or
saddle-bags, which they did. In these bags there chanced to be a
kind of rope or, as it is called in Spanish, SOGA, with which he
was in the habit of fastening his satchel to the pony's back. The
urchins seeing an end of this rope hanging from the ALFORJAS
instantly ran to the ALCALDE to give him information. Late at
evening the ALCALDE again visited the prisoner, at the head of his
twelve men as usual. 'BUENAS NOCHES,' said the ALCALDE. 'BUENAS
NOCHES TENGA USTED,' replied Vitoriano. 'For what purpose did you
send for the SOGA this afternoon?' demanded the functionary. 'I
sent for no SOGA,' said the prisoner, 'I sent for my ALFORJAS to
serve as a pillow, and it was sent in them by chance.' 'Thou art a
false malicious knave,' retorted the ALCALDE, 'you intend to hang
yourself, and by so doing ruin us all, as your death would be laid
to our door. Give me the SOGA.' No greater insult can be offered
to a Spaniard, than to tax him with an intention of committing
suicide. Poor Vitoriano flew into a violent rage, and after
calling the ALCALDE several uncivil names, he pulled the SOGA from
his bags, and flinging it at his head, told him to take it home and
use it for his own neck.

At length the people of the POSADA took pity on the prisoner,
perceiving that he was very harshly treated for no crime at all.
They therefore determined to afford him an opportunity of informing
his friends of his situation, and accordingly sent him a pen and
inkhorn, concealed in a loaf of bread, and a piece of writing-
paper, pretending that the latter was intended for cigars. So
Vitoriano wrote the letter; but now ensued the difficulty of
sending it to its destination, as no person in the village dare
have carried it for any reward. The good people, however,
persuaded a disbanded soldier from another village, who chanced to
be at Fuente La Higuera in quest of work, to charge himself with
it, promising that I would pay him well for his trouble. The man,
watching his opportunity, received the letter from Vitoriano at the
window; and it was he who, after travelling on foot all night,
delivered it to me in safety at Madrid.

I was now relieved from my anxiety, and had no fears for the
result. I instantly went to a friend who is in possession of large
estates about Guadalajara, in which province Fuente La Higuera is
situated, who furnished me with letters to the Civil Governor of
Guadalajara and all the principal authorities, and at Antonio's
request, I despatched him upon the errand of the prisoner's
liberation. He first directed his course to Fuente La Higuera,
where entering the ALCALDE'S house he boldly told him what he had
come about. The ALCALDE, expecting that I was at hand with an army
of Englishmen for the purpose of rescuing the prisoner, became
greatly alarmed, and instantly despatched his wife to summon his
twelve men. However, on Antonio's assuring him that there was no
intention of having recourse to violence, he became more tranquil.
In a little time Antonio was summoned before the conclave and its
blind sacerdotal president. They at first attempted to frighten
him, by assuming a loud bullying tone and talking of the necessity
of killing all strangers, and especially the detested Don Jorge and
his dependents. Antonio, however, who is not a person apt to allow
himself to be easily terrified, scoffed at their threats, and
showing them his letters to the authorities of Guadalajara said
that he should proceed there on the morrow and denounce their
lawless conduct; adding that he was a Turkish subject, and that
should they dare to offer him the slightest incivility he would
write to the Sublime Porte, in comparison with whom the best kings
in the world were but worms, and who would not fail to avenge the
wrongs of any of his children, however distant, in a manner too
terrible to be mentioned. He then returned to his POSADA. The
conclave now proceeded to deliberate among themselves, and at last
determined to despatch their prisoner on the morrow to Guadalajara,
and deliver him into the hands of the Civil Governor.

Nevertheless, in order to keep up a semblance of authority, they
that night placed two men armed at the door of the POSADA where
Antonio was lodged, as if he himself were a prisoner; these men as
often as the clock struck the hours, shouted, 'AVE MARIA! Death to
the heretics!' Early in the morning the ALCALDE presented himself
at the POSADA, but before entering he made an oration at the door
to the people in the street saying amongst other things:
'Brethren, these are the fellows who have come to rob us of our
religion.' He then went into Antonio's apartment, and after
saluting him with great politeness said that as a royal or high
mass was about to be celebrated that morning, he had come to invite
him to go to church with him; whereupon Antonio, though by no means
a mass-goer, rose and accompanied him, and remained two hours, as
he told me, on his knees on the cold stones to his great
discomfort, the eyes of the whole congregation being fixed upon him
during the time.

After mass and breakfast, he departed for Guadalajara, Vitoriano
having been already despatched there under a guard. On his arrival
he presented his letters to the individuals for whom they were
intended. The Civil Governor was convulsed with merriment on
hearing Antonio's account of the adventure. Vitoriano was set at
liberty and the books were placed in embargo at Guadalajara: the
Governor stating, however, that though it was his duty to detain
them at present, they should be sent to me whenever I chose to
claim them. He moreover said that he would do his best to cause
the authorities of Fuente La Higuera to be severely punished, as in
the whole affair they had acted in a most cruel, tyrannical manner,
for which they had no authority. Thus terminated this affair, one
of those little accidents which chequer missionary life in Spain.

Vitoriano is now with me at Naval Carnero, as he begged me almost
on his knees to be permitted to attend me and to be employed as
before. At his imprisonment he smiles. Antonio and myself have
lately been very successful at Madrid, having sold considerably
upwards of a hundred Testaments and several Bibles. It is with
deep gratitude I state that the poor of Madrid receive the
Scripture with gladness: to the rich I offer it not, their hearts
are hard. I am writing a journal of the present expedition.


LETTER: 9th March, 1839

To Mr. W. Hitchin
(ENDORSED: recd. March 21, 1839)
MADRID, MARCH 9, 1839.

ON the other side I send you my account, which I hope you will find
correct. In order to prevent confusion, I have charged my expenses
from the period of my leaving London until my arrival at Cadiz in
the Spanish, instead of the English currency. Respecting the item
of Vitoriano, it will be as well to observe that, when employed in
journeying, I allow him six REALS per diem and his diet, and two
when in Madrid. I do not know that there is anything else to which
I need direct your attention, except that I have not noted my
quarter's salary because ignorant of the rate of exchange. If you
please, you can credit me to the amount.

I did not go further than Naval Carnero on the way to Talavera, on
account of an accident which occurred, the clergy having raised the
country against me. Glory to God, they are becoming thoroughly
alarmed, and with much reason. I have disposed of all the Bibles
bound already, and have been compelled on account of the demand to
order the rest of the sheets to be got in readiness. We shall be
compelled to evacuate our storehouse and to seek another, as the
rats are doing prodigious havoc to the stores.

Pray, remember me to all friends, and believe me, etc.,


LETTER: 20th March, 1839

To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED: recd. Apr. 8, 1839)
20 MARCH 1839,

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - Having much to communicate, and of no slight
importance, I shall offer no apology for now addressing you. My
last letter was from Naval Carnero, in which I informed you of
various circumstances, connected with the distribution of the
blessed Gospel, which had recently occurred. I likewise stated
that it was very probable that I should proceed to Talavera, for
the purpose of seeing what might be done in that neighbourhood.
The day, however, subsequent to dispatching my letter ushered in
events which compelled me to alter my resolution; twenty Testaments
were seized in a village in the neighbourhood of Naval Carnero, and
I learned that our proceedings, on the other side of Madrid, had
caused alarm amongst the heads of the clergy, who made a formal
complaint to the Government - who immediately sent orders to all
the ALCALDES of the villages, great and small, in New Castile to
seize the New Testament wherever it might be exposed for sale, but
at the same time to be particularly careful not to detain or
maltreat the person or persons who might be attempting to vend it.
An exact description of myself accompanied these orders, and the
authorities, both civil and military, were exhorted to be on their
guard against me, and my arts and machinations; for, as the
document stated, I was to-day in one place and to-morrow at twenty
leagues distance. On receiving this intelligence, I instantly
resolved to change for a time my strategic system, and not to
persist in a course which would expose the sacred volume to seizure
at every step which I might take to circulate it. I therefore
galloped back to Madrid, leaving Vitoriano to follow. It will be
as well to observe here, that we sold twenty and odd Testaments in
villages adjacent to Naval Carnero, before the orders had arrived.

Arrived at Madrid, I lost not a moment in putting into execution
the plan which I had formed. Having an extensive acquaintance
amongst the lower orders, I instantly selected eight of the most
intelligent to co-operate with me, amongst whom were five women.
All these I supplied with Testaments, and then sent them forth to
all the parishes in Madrid. I will at once state the result which,
I confess, has more than answered my expectations. Since my return
from Naval Carnero nearly six hundred copies of the life and words
of Him of Nazareth have been sold in the streets and alleys of
Madrid, a fact which I hope I may be permitted to mention with
gladness and with decent triumph in the Lord. There is a place in
Madrid called the Puerta del Sol, which is a central spot,
surrounded with shops, into which the four principal streets
disembogue, if I may be allowed the expression. These streets are
the Calle Alcala, the Calle Montera, the Calle Mayor, and that of
Carreta. The wealthiest of all these is the Calle Montera, where
reside the principal merchants and shop-keepers of Madrid; it is in
fact the street of commerce, and is in many respects similar to the
Zacatin of Granada. Every house in this street is supplied with
its Testament, and the same may be said with respect to the Puerta
del Sol; nay, in some instances every individual in the house, man
and child, man-servant and maid-servant, is furnished with a copy,
which we have invariably sold, and never given. My Greek Antonio
has made wonderful exertions in this quarter, and it is but justice
to say that but for his instrumentality, on many occasions, I might
be by no means able to give so favourable an account of the spread
of the Bible in Spain, as I now conscientiously can. There was a
time when, as you are well aware, I was in the habit of saying,
'Dark Madrid,' an expression which I thank God I may now drop; for
can that city justly be called 'dark' in which thirteen hundred
Testaments, at least, are in circulation and in daily use?

It appears to me that a glorious reform is commencing in Spain;
indeed matters have lately come to my knowledge, which had they
been prophesied only a year ago by the Spirit of truth itself, I
should have experienced much difficulty in believing. You will be
surprised when I tell you that in two churches of Madrid, the New
Testament is regularly expounded every Sunday evening, by the
respective curates, to about twenty children who attend, and who
are provided with copies of the Society's edition of Madrid, 1837.
The churches which I allude to are those of San Gines and Santa
Cruz. Now I humbly conceive that this fact alone is more than
equivalent to all the expense which the Society has incurred, in
the efforts which it has hitherto made to introduce the Gospel into
Spain; but be this as it may, I am certain, if I may judge by my
own feelings, that it has amply recompensed me for all the anxiety
and unhappiness which I underwent last year. Whenever I am now
called upon to discontinue my labours in the Peninsula, I shall
comply without the slightest murmur or remonstrance, my heart being
filled with gratitude to the Lord for having been permitted,
useless vessel as I am, to see at least some of the seed springing
up which during two years I have been casting on the stony ground
of the interior of Spain.

There is at present a great demand for Bibles; since the time of
writing last we have sold upwards of one hundred copies. Indeed
the demand is far greater than I can answer, as the books are
disposed of faster than they can be bound by the man whom I employ
for that purpose, and in whose secrecy and honour I have perfect
confidence. Eight-and-twenty copies are at present bespoken and
paid for. Many of these Bibles have found their way into the best
houses in Madrid. The Marquis of Santa Coloma has a large family,
but every individual of it, old or young, is now in possession of a
Bible and likewise of a Testament, which, strange to say, were
recommended by the chaplain of the house. One of my most zealous
agents in the propagation of the Bible is an ecclesiastic. He
never walks out without carrying one beneath his gown, which he
offers to the first person he meets whom he thinks likely to
purchase. Another excellent assistant is an elderly gentleman of
Navarre, enormously rich, who is continually purchasing copies on
his own account, which he, as I am told, sends into his native
province, for distribution amongst his friends and the poor.

I have at present sold as many Testaments as I think Madrid will
bear, for a time. I have therefore called in the greatest part of
my people, and content myself with the sale of twelve or fourteen a
week, for I am afraid to over-stock the market, and to bring the
book into contempt by making it too common. The greatest part of
those which still remain (about one thousand) I reserve for
Seville, Granada, and some of the other inland cities of Andalusia,
specially Jaen, the bishop of which is very favourable to us and
our cause. I have likewise my eye on Ceuta, its garrison, its
convicts, and singular inhabitants, half Spaniards, half Moors. To
Andalusia I shall probably proceed in about three weeks.

I beg leave to call your attention to the work I sent you, and the
ferocious attack which it contains against the Bible Society, and
especially to the letter of the curate, which I sincerely wish you
would insert in your Extracts. This publication was established
and is supported by money sent by the Cardinals of Rome, and is
principally directed against us. Its abuse, however, is our
praise; and the world may form some judgment of what we are
accomplishing in Spain by attending to some of the remarks and
observations which appear in this work, and which are in all points
worthy of Rome and its clan.

My respects to Mr. Josiah Forster, who I hope will have received
the biography of Ripoll, the Quaker, executed at Valencia in 1826.

What news from China?


LETTER: 10th April, 1839

To the Rev. Joseph Jowett
(ENDORSED: recd. April 22, 1839)
APRIL 10, 1839,

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - In a few days I shall leave Madrid for
Seville; and being anxious to write a few lines before my departure
in order that yourself and others friends may be acquainted with
the exact state of affairs in Spain, I embrace the present
opportunity. In the first place however I beg leave to apologise
for not having ere this performed my promise of writing. Many
causes unnecessary to recapitulate prevented me; but I steadfastly
hope that already with your usual considerate goodness you have
imputed my tardiness to anything but neglect.

A convoy starts for Andalusia on the 13th, and I intend to avail
myself of it so far as to send therewith my servant Antonio with
the horses and the Testaments which I destine for circulation in
that province. I shall myself follow with the courier. True it is
that I had determined to proceed by Estremadura, but circumstances
have occurred which have induced me to alter my resolution. The
roads in Spain are in a worse state than ever; and in Estremadura
particularly, which for some time past has enjoyed a tolerable
state of tranquillity, a band of Carlist robbers have lately made
their appearance, who murder, make prisoner, or put at ransom every
person who has the misfortune to fall into their hands. I
therefore deem it wise to avoid, if possible, the alternative of
being shot or having to pay one thousand pounds for being set at
liberty, which has already befallen several individuals. It is
moreover wicked to tempt Providence systematically. I have already
thrust myself into more danger than was perhaps strictly necessary,
and as I have been permitted hitherto to escape, it is better to be
content with what it has pleased the Lord to do for me up to the
present moment, than to run the risk of offending Him by a blind
confidence in His forbearance, which may be over-taxed. As it is,
however, at all times best to be frank, I am willing to confess
that I am what the world calls exceedingly superstitious; perhaps
the real cause of my change of resolution was a dream, in which I
imagined myself on a desolate road in the hands of several robbers,
who were hacking me with their long ugly knives.

We have been very successful of late, having, since my last letter
to Mr. Brandram, sold no less than two hundred Bibles, so that not
more than one hundred and fifty remain of the five hundred which
were sent to me from Barcelona in sheets. I have discontinued
selling Testaments in Madrid, as it appears to me that we shall
have barely sufficient, unless something unforeseen occurs, for
Andalusia and one or two other points which I wish to visit. When
I recollect the difficulties which have encompassed our path, I can
sometimes hardly credit all that the Almighty has permitted us to
accomplish within the last year: a large edition of the New
Testament almost entirely disposed of in the very centre of old,
gloomy, fanatic Spain, in spite of the opposition and the furious
cry of the sanguinary priesthood and the edicts of a tyrannical,
deceitful Government; moreover a spirit of religious enquiry
excited, which I have fervent hope will sooner or later lead to
blessed and most important results. Till of late the name most
abhorred and dreaded in these parts of Spain was that of Martin
Luther, who was in general considered as a species of demon, a
cousin-german to Belial and Beelzebub, who under the disguise of a
man wrote and preached blasphemy against the Highest. Yet now,
strange to say, this once abominated personage is spoken of with no
slight degree of respect. People, with Bibles in their hands, not
unfrequently visit me, enquiring with much earnestness and with no
slight degree of simplicity for the writings of the great Doctor
Martin, whom indeed some suppose to be still alive. It will be as
well here to observe that of all the names connected with the
Reformation, that of Luther is the only one known in Spain, and let
me add that no controversial writings but his are likely to be
esteemed as possessing the slightest weight or authority, however
great their intrinsic merit may be. The printing, therefore, of
tracts in the Spanish language, of the description hitherto
adopted, appears to be pregnant with no good or benefit whatever.
Of what might be the result of well-executed translations of
judicious selections from the works of Luther, it is not my
business to offer an opinion.

Before commencing this journey to Andalusia I must take the liberty
of making one humble request to my friends of the Bible Society,
which is to be patient. It may not be in my power to send them for
a long time any flattering accounts of operations commenced there.
I shall be surrounded with enemies, bitter, malignant, and
powerful, against whose efforts it is very possible that I may not
be able to stand my ground; or the books which I carry with me may
be seized and sequestrated, in spite of all the plans which I have
devised for their safety. The great failing of Protestants, in
general, is a tendency to spring suddenly to the pinnacle of
exultation, and as suddenly to fall to the lowest bathos of
dejection, forgetting that the brightest day as well as the most
gloomy night must necessarily have a termination. How far more
wise are the members of that object of my undying detestation, the
Church of Rome; from mixing with whom I have acquired one principal
point of wisdom, which may be termed, EVER TO EXPECT EVIL, AND EVER
TO HOPE FOR GOOD; by attending to which maxim we find that Church
ever regaining the ground which it has lost. Yesterday seeming a
lifeless stick, as in the case of England, to-day it is a
magnificent tree, glorious with leaves and fruit. Excuse these
observations which, I assure you, are well meant. No one
acquainted with me will lay undue partiality to the Roman Church to
my charge, yet there are some points about it which I highly
admire; and you know well enough that it is lawful to receive
instruction from an enemy.

I have been lately going through Morrison's Chinese Matthew. I
confess that I am the merest tyro in the language, nevertheless I
am compelled to state that upon the whole I do not like the
translation. It appears to me that in various instances the
characters are not grammatically placed; I mean, not as they are
placed in the writings if the best Chinese authors to express the
same ideas. Moreover he has translated the sacred Name by the
character which the Chinese are in the habit of bestowing on the
spirits whose idols they worship, and which is by no means
applicable to the one great God, whom the missionaries of the Greek
and Roman Churches for want of an equivalent in Chinese have always
styled, and with justice [three Chinese characters] (TIEN TSZ
HWANG), or King of Heaven. The Holy Ghost, he renders by TCHING
FUNG, or Holy Wind, which is a Hebraism, and which can scarcely be
understood by the Chinese. In Lipoftsoff's Mandchou version it is
happily translated by the Holy Spirit. You will recollect that on
my second return to Spain you requested me to look into Morrison's
Testament, on which account I shall offer no excuse for these
trifling remarks.

Do me the favour, my dear Sir, to inform Mr. Hitchin that within a
day or two I shall send him another account of money received and
disbursed. I hope you forwarded the packet containing the life of
Ripoll to Mr. Forster. - Having now said my say for the present, I
have the honour to remain, Revd. and dear Sir,

Your most obedient humble servant,


LETTER: 2nd May, 1839

To the Rev. A. Brandram.
(ENDORSED: recd. May 21, 1839)

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I have been in Seville one week. Perhaps on
learning this you will be disposed to demand the reason of my not
having written previously to this, knowing, as I do, the anxiety of
my friends to know the fate of their adventurer in his wanderings
in wild Spain; but believe me that I had several reasons for
deferring, the principal being an unconquerable aversion to writing
blank letters. At present I have something to communicate besides
my arrival, indeed one or two odd things. The courier and myself
came all the way without the slightest accident, my usual wonderful
good fortune accompanying us. I may well call it wonderful. I was
not aware when I resolved to venture with the mail that I was
running into the den of the lion, the whole of La Mancha with the
exception of a few fortified places being once more in the hands of
Pollillos and his banditti, who whenever it pleases them, stop the
courier, burn the vehicle and letters, murder the paltry escort
which attends, and carry away any chance passenger to the
mountains, where an enormous ransom is demanded, which if not paid,
brings on the dilemma of four shots through the head, as the
Spaniards say. The upper part of Andalusia is becoming rapidly
nearly as bad as La Mancha. The last time the courier had passed,
he was attacked at the defile of La Rumblar by six mounted robbers;
he was guarded by an escort of as many soldiers; but the former
suddenly galloped from behind a solitary VENTA and dashed the
soldiers to the ground, who were taken quite by surprise, the hoofs
of the robbers' horses making no noise on account of the great
quantity of mud. The soldiers were instantly disarmed and bound to
olive-trees, with the exception of two who escaped amongst the
rocks; they were then mocked and tormented by the robbers, or
rather fiends, for nearly half an hour, when they were shot, the
head of the corporal who commanded being blown to fragments with a
blunderbuss. The robbers then burnt the coach, which they
accomplished by igniting the letters by means of the tow with which
they light their cigars. The life of the courier was saved by one
of them who had formerly been his postillion; he was, however,
robbed and stripped. As we passed by the scene of the butchery the
poor fellow burst into tears, and, though a Spaniard, cursed Spain
and the Spaniards, saying that he shortly intended to pass over to
Morocco to confess Mahomet and to learn the Law of the Moors, for
that any country and religion was better than his own. He pointed
to the tree where the corporal had been tied; though much rain had
fallen since, the ground around was still saturated with blood, and
a dog was gnawing a piece of the unfortunate wretch's skull. A
friar travelled with us the whole way from Madrid to Seville; he
was OF THE MISSIONARIES, and was going to the Philippine Islands to
conquer (PARA CONQUISTAR), for such was his word, by which I
suppose he meant preaching to the Indians. During the whole
journey he exhibited every symptom of the most abject fear, which
operated upon him so that he became deadly sick, so that we were
obliged to stop twice in the road and lay him amongst the green
corn. He said that if he fell into the hands of the factious he
was a lost priest, for that they would first make him say mass and
then blow him up with gunpowder. He had been a professor of
philosophy, as he told me, in one of the convents (I think it was
San Tomas) of Madrid, before their suppression, but appeared to be
grossly ignorant of the Scripture, which he confounded with the
works of Virgil.

We stopped at Manzanares as usual; it was Sunday morning and the
market was crowded with people. I was recognised in a moment, and
twenty pairs of legs instantly hurried away in quest of the
prophetess, who presently made her appearance in the house to which
we had retired to breakfast. After many greetings on both sides,
she proceeded in her admirable Latin to give me an account of all
that had occurred in the village since I had last been there, and
of the atrocities of the factious in the neighbourhood. I asked
her to breakfast and introduced her to the friar whom she addressed
But the friar did not understand her, and waxing angry
anathematized her for a witch and bade her begone. She was however
not to be disconcerted, and commenced singing in extemporary
Castilian verse the praises of friars and religious houses in
general. On departing I gave her a PESETA, upon which she burst
into tears and entreated that I would write to her if I reached
Seville in safety.

We did arrive at Seville in safety, and I took leave of the friar
telling him that I hoped to meet him again at Philippi. I must now
be brief. In a few days Antonio arrived with the horses.
Difficulties now began to show themselves. All the Testaments were
stopped at the custom house, they were contained in two large
chests: but I now know Spain and the Spaniards. For a few dollars
I procured a FIADOR or person who engaged THAT THE CHESTS should be
carried down the river and embarked at San Lucar for a foreign
land. Yesterday I hired a boat and sent them down, but on the way
I landed in a secure place all the Testaments which I intend for
this part of the country. The chests therefore, with the copies
required for Tangiers and England, with the hundred Gospels in
Gitano and Basque for the Library of the Bible Society, are at
present at San Lucar in the custom house, from which I expect to
receive to-morrow the receipt which the authorities here demand,
and which will be necessary for the security of my voucher. Indeed
the whole affair, though attended with considerable trouble and
expense to me, was a mere formality, as I was given to understand.
I was myself treated with the greatest politeness, and was told
that my intentions were known and honoured. Late last night
Antonio and myself returned from an excursion on foot, bringing
beneath our cloaks, as if they were smuggled goods, a considerable
number of Testaments; our path lay along the banks of the
Guadalquivir, the rain poured and the river roared, and by the time
we reached Seville we were wet through and covered with mud from
head to foot. To-day I am laid up, being so STIFF and sore that I
can hardly move; but anything for the Gospel's sake.

It is my opinion, and I am not one of those who hazard an opinion
rashly, that much may be accomplished in this place, which, though
by no means the most populous and wealthy, is the most interesting
town in all Spain, and stands beneath the most glorious heaven, and
amidst the most delightful environs; but to effect anything,
patience must be exhibited and prudence employed, and much of both.
Consider my situation here. I am in a city by nature very
Levitical, as it contains within it the most magnificent and
splendidly endowed cathedral of any in Spain. I am surrounded by
priests and friars, who know and hate me, and who, if I commit the
slightest act of indiscretion, will halloo their myrmidons against
me. The press is closed to me, the libraries are barred against
me, I have no one to assist me but my hired servant, no pious
English families to comfort or encourage me, the British subjects
here being ranker papists and a hundred times more bigoted than the
Spanish themselves, the consul a RENEGADE QUAKER. Yet
notwithstanding, with God's assistance I will do much, though
silently, burrowing like the mole in darkness beneath the ground.
Those who have triumphed in Madrid, and in the two Castiles where
the difficulties were seven times greater, are not to be dismayed
by priestly frowns at Seville. All I dread is the imprudence of
very excellent people, whose aim is good, but who are doing exactly
what is calculated to further the views of the enemy. I wish they
could be brought to see the absolute necessity of changing their
system. I suppose you heard of the affair of Cadiz.

I have of late written several letters home, which I wish may have
been received as they contain information which I think will be
considered of importance; nevertheless as the road to France has
for some time past been in the hands of the Carlists, it is very
possible that they may have miscarried. I shall therefore take the
liberty of telling you that about a thousand Testaments have been
sold, and all the Bibles, to the amount of 463, since my return to
the Peninsula. I shall be happy to receive a letter from you as
soon as possible: you can direct either to my lodgings at Madrid,
or to Posada de la Reyna, Calle Gimios, Sevilla.

Pray excuse this letter, it is badly written, with a bad pen and
with bad ink. I am moreover sick and in pain. Present my respects
to Mr. Jowett, Mr. Browne, and all friends, not forgetting Dr.
Steinkopff, to whom I shortly hope to write.


LETTER: 12th June, 1839

To the Rev. G. Browne
(ENDORSED: recd. July 1, 1839)
JUNE 12, 1839.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I received in due course of time your
exceedingly kind letter of the 16th April, and am very grateful for
the various intelligence which you were pleased to communicate. I
should have replied ere this; but I am one of those, as I believe
you are aware, who are averse to writing, especially from a
considerable distance, unless they possess matter of sufficient
consequence to fill creditably the pages of an epistle. I could
wish that at the present moment I had more to write upon, and more
interesting details to send you than these which follow. For two
or three weeks after my arrival at Seville I was unable to
accomplish anything, on account of the seizure of the books, with
which you are doubtless acquainted. I however by the assistance of
the Almighty, for which I prayed, was enabled, though not without
considerable trouble, to overcome that difficulty, and to obtain
all the Testaments of which I was in need, to the number of two
hundred and upwards. But still I commenced not operations; indeed
I was quite at a loss, being in a strange place and under very
peculiar circumstances, to imagine the best course to pursue. I
therefore waited with perfect patience until it should please
Providence to assist me, and true it is that help came in rather a
remarkable manner.

I was standing in the courtyard of the Reyna POSADA, where for the
time I had taken up my abode, when a man singularly dressed and
gigantically tall entered. My curiosity being excited, I enquired
of the master of the house who he was, when he informed me that he
was a foreigner who had resided a considerable time in Seville, and
he believed a Greek. Upon hearing this I instantly went up to the
stranger, and accosted him in the Greek language in which, though I
speak it very ill, I can make myself understood. He replied in the
same idiom, and, flattered by the interest which I a foreigner
expressed for his nation, was not slow in communicating to me his
history. He told me, that his name was Dionysius; that he was a
native of Cephalonia, and had been educated for the Church, which
however not suiting his temper, he had abandoned in order to follow
the profession of the sea, for which he had an early inclination;
that after many adventures and changes of fortune he found himself
one morning on the coast of Spain - a shipwrecked mariner; and
that, ashamed to return to his own country in poverty and distress,
he had remained in the Peninsula, residing chiefly at Seville,
where he now carried on a small trade in books. He said that he
was of the Greek religion, to which he professed strong attachment,
and soon discovering that I was a Protestant, spoke with unbounded
abhorrence of the Papal system, nay of its followers in general,
whom he called Latins, and whom he charged with the ruin of his own
country, inasmuch as they sold it to the Turk. It instantly struck
me that this individual would be an excellent assistant in the work
which had brought me to Seville, namely the propagation of the
eternal Gospel; and accordingly after some more conversation, in
which he exhibited considerable learning, I explained myself to
him. He entered into my views with considerable eagerness; and
hitherto I have had no reason to repent my confidence, he having
disposed of a considerable number of New Testaments, and even
contrived to send a certain number of copies to two small towns, at
some distance from Seville.

On account of the extreme dearness of every article at the POSADA,
where moreover I had a suspicion that I was watched, I removed with
my servant and horses to an empty house in a solitary part of the
town, where I still am, and where I purpose to remain during my
stay in Andalusia. Here I live in the greatest privacy, admitting
no person but two or three in whom I have the greatest confidence,
who entertain the same views as myself and who assist me in the
circulation of the Gospel. One of these is a very remarkable

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