Letters of George Borrow to Bible Society HTML version

Letter 32: 13th February, 1836
To the Rev. A. Brandram
(ENDORSED. recd. Feb. 29th, 1836)
FEBY. 13TH, 1836.
THE game is now in our own hands, and it is our fault if we do not win it, for a
little patience and a little prudence is all that is required. I came to Madrid without
a single letter of introduction, and without knowing an individual there. I have now
some powerful friends, and through the kindness of Sir Geo. Villiers, the British
Ambassador at the Spanish Court, I have had an interview with that most
singular man, Mendizabal, whom it is as difficult to get nigh as it is to approach
the North Pole. I have obtained his promise that when matters are in some
degree settled in this country, he will allow us to commence our operations; but
the preposterous idea, which by some means or other he has embraced, that we
have been endeavouring to foment disturbances amongst the slaves of Cuba,
prevents his looking upon us with favourable eyes.
I now write for orders; if you have received my letters and journals (copious
extracts from which you had better print), you will see how successful I have
been in the Alemtejo, as our books are now for sale at Evora and Elvas, the two
principal towns, and the Gospel of Christ has been preached to many who were
ignorant of it even by name; you will see what I have been doing at Badajoz,
especially amongst the Spanish Gypsies, whose dialect of the Rommany I have
so far mastered as to be able to translate into it with tolerable ease. Now, until
my friends here and myself can claim the fulfilment of Mr. Mendizabal's promise,
do you wish me to go to Granada, or back to Badajoz, and finish my translation
of St. Luke into Rommany, with the assistance of the Gypsies of those places,
who are far more conversant with their native language than their brethren in
other parts of Spain; or shall I return to Lisbon and exert all my interest towards
the execution of the plan which I communicated first to Mr. Wilby, and then to
yourself, namely, attempting to induce the Government to adopt the Scriptures in
the schools which they are about to establish? Since I have been at Madrid I
have obtained letters to individuals of great importance at Lisbon, and I know that
Don Jose d'Azveto will do anything to serve me within the limits of reason.
Therefore let the Committee be summoned, and a resolution forthwith adopted
as to my next course. I think all our negotiations in the Peninsula may be brought
to a successful termination in a few months; then you must send over an agent, a
plain man of business, to engage colporteurs and to come to arrangements with
booksellers, both in Spain and in the provincial towns of Portugal, but let him not
be a hesitater and starter of needless doubts and difficulties; anything may be
accomplished with a little shrewdness, a little boldness, and a great trust in God.
I hope that my exertions have afforded satisfaction at home, but if not, let me be