Letters of George Borrow to Bible Society HTML version

Letter 8a: 20th January, 1834
To the Rev. J. Jowett
(ENDORSED: recd. Feb. 17th, 1834)
ST. PETERSBURG, 20TH JANUARY (old style), 1834.
REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I received in due time your epistle of the 2nd January,
which gave me considerable pleasure, as it is exceedingly cheering in a foreign
land to hear from one's friends and to know that one is not forgotten by them. I
now proceed to give an account of my stewardship up to the present time, which
account I humbly trust will afford perfect satisfaction to the Society which has
honoured a frail creature like myself with a charge, the importance and difficulty
of which I at present see much more clearly than I originally did.
My dear Sir, even when transcribing the Mandchou Scripture, I was far from
being forgetful of the ulterior object of my mission, and therefore, as in duty
bound, applied to Dr. Schmidt for advice and information, who was the person
upon whom I mainly depended. But I found that gentleman so involved in a
multiplicity of business that it was utterly impossible for him to afford me either;
and though he was kind enough to promise to make inquiry, etc. etc., it is very
probable that he forgot to fulfil his promise, for the result never came to my ears.
Thus circumstanced, and being very uneasy in my mind, I determined to take a
bold step, and directly and without further feeling my way to petition the
Government in my own name for permission to print the Mandchou Scriptures.
Having communicated this determination to our beloved, sincere, and most truly
Christian friend Mr. Swan (who has lately departed to his station in Siberia,
shielded I trust by the arm of his Master), it met with his perfect approbation and
cordial encouragement. I therefore drew up a petition, and presented it with my
own hand to his Excellence Mr. Bludoff, Minister of the Interior. He having
perused it, briefly answered, that he believed the matter did not lie with him, but
that he would consider. I now began greatly to fear that the affair would not come
to a favourable issue, but nevertheless prayed fervently to God, and confiding
principally in Him, resolved to leave no human means untried which were within
my reach.
Since residing here I have assiduously cultivated the friendship of the
Honourable Mr. Bligh, His Britannic Majesty's plenipotentiary at the Court of
Russia, who has shown me many condescending marks of kindness, and who is
a person of superb talents, kind disposition, and of much piety. I therefore, on the
evening of the day of my presenting the petition, called upon him, and being
informed that he was out of town, and was not expected till late at night, I left a
letter for him, in which I entreated him to make use of whatever influence his high