Letters of George Borrow to Bible Society by George Borrow - HTML preview

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Letter 21: 3rd May, 1835

To the Rev. J. Jowett
(ENDORSED: recd. June 1, 1835)
MAY 3, 1835 [old style], ST. PETERSBURG.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, - I write a few hasty lines for the purpose of informing you that I shall not be able to obtain a passport for Siberia, except on the condition that I carry not one single Mandchou Bible thither. The Russian Government is too solicitous to maintain a good understanding with that of China to encourage any project at which the latter could take umbrage. Therefore pray inform me to what place I am to despatch the Bibles. I have had some thoughts of embarking the first five parts without delay to England, but I have forborne from an unwillingness to do anything which I was not commanded to do. By the time I receive your answer everything will be in readiness, or nearly so, to be forwarded wherever the Committee shall judge expedient. I wish also to receive orders respecting what is to be done with the types. I should be sorry if they were to be abandoned in the same manner as before, for it is possible that at some future time they may prove eminently useful.

As for myself, I suppose I must return to England, as my task will be speedily completed. I hope the Society are convinced that I have served them faithfully, and that I have spared no labour to bring out the work, which they did me the honour of confiding to me, correctly and within as short a time as possible. At my return, if the Society think that I can still prove of utility to them, I shall be most happy to devote myself still to their service. I am a person full of faults and weaknesses, as I am every day reminded by bitter experience, but I am certain that my zeal and fidelity towards those who put confidence in me are not to be shaken. Should it now become a question what is to be done with these Mandchou Bibles which have been printed at a considerable expense, I should wish to suggest that Baron Schilling be consulted. In a few weeks he will be in London, which he intends visiting during a summer tour which he is on the point of commencing. He will call at the Society's House, and as he is a nobleman of great experience and knowledge in all that relates to China, it would not be amiss to interrogate him on such a subject. I AGAIN REPEAT THAT I AM AT COMMAND.

In your last letter but one you stated that our noble President had been kind enough to declare that I had but to send in an account of any extraordinary expenses which I had been put to in the course of the work to have them defrayed. I return my most grateful thanks for this most considerate intimation, which nevertheless I cannot avail myself of, as according to one of the articles of my agreement my salary of 200 pounds was to cover all extra expenses. Petersburg is doubtless the dearest capital in Europe, and expenses meet an individual, especially one situated as I have been, at every turn and corner; but an agreement is not to be broken on that account.

I have the honour to remain, Revd. and dear Sir, your obedient humble servant, GEORGE BORROW.