Letters of George Borrow to Bible Society HTML version

Letter 24: 12th August, 1835
To Rev. J. Jowett
(ENDORSED: recd. Sept. 14th, 1835)
ST. PETERSBURG, AUG. 12, 1835.
As it is probable that yourself and my other excellent and Christian friends at the
Bible House are hourly expecting me and wondering at my non-appearance, I
cannot refrain from sending you a few lines in order to account for my prolonged
stay abroad. For the last fortnight I have been detained at St. Petersburg in the
most vexatious and unheard-of manner. The two last parts of our Testaments
have been bound and ready for shipping a considerable time, and are at present
in the warehouse of a most pious and excellent person in this place, whom the
Bible Society are well acquainted with; but I have hitherto not been able to obtain
permission to send them away. You will ask how I contrived to despatch the first
six volumes, which you have doubtless by this time received. But I must inform
you that at that time I had only a verbal permission, and that the Custom House
permitted them to pass because they knew not what they were. But now,
notwithstanding I obtained a regular permission to print, and transacted
everything in a legal and formal manner, I am told that I had no right at all to print
the Scriptures at St. Petersburg, and that my coming thither on that account (I
use their own words) was a step in the highest degree suspicious and
mysterious, and that there are even grounds for supposing that I am not
connected with the Bible Society or employed by them. To-day, however, I lost
patience, and said that I would not be trifled with any longer; that next week I
should send away the books by a vessel which would then sail, and that
whosoever should attempt to stop them would do so at his peril - and I intend to
act up to what I said. I shall then demand my passport and advertise my
departure, as every one before quitting Russia must be advertised in the
newspapers two weeks successively. Pray do me the justice to believe that for
this unpleasant delay I am by no means accountable. It is in the highest degree
tormenting to myself. I am very unwell from vexation and disquietude of mind,
and am exposed to every kind of inconvenience. The term for which I took my
chambers is expired, and I am living in a dirty and expensive hotel. But there is
One above who supports me in these troubles, and I have no doubt that
everything will turn out for the best.
I take this opportunity of sending my accounts to Mr. Tarn; if there be any
inaccuracy let him excuse it, for the post hurries me.