Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to CHARLES ELIOT NORTON, dated April 18, 1864.
Since writing the accompanying note, I have seen Sir J P
Lacaita, who has received letters from England to the effect that Ld Vernon has made his library including the copy of B. da Imola an heirloom in his family and has conveyed it to
trustees for that purpose, the trustees being his oldest son and Arnold White Esq.
12 St Marlborough Street, London. The trustees and Ld V. himself are understood to
be willing to loan you the Ms on the terms I have before stated, and to put it into
the hands of Mr. Adams (or a person known to and knowing all
parties) for you. Sr J. P. L. says the matter of the copy is not much more extensive
than that of Lamorini's translation, and would make three fair octavos. I suggested
that I was afraid you would think it now too late to bring out an edition in time
for the centenario, if you had other objection to which Sir
J. P. L. replied, that if the first volume were ready at that time,
it would suffice, and the succeeding volumes might be brought out when convenient. I said that Italian Dantophiles regard the publication of B. da I. as very desirable and it is thought it would sell well. In case the first vol. should not go off readily, of course the publication of the others might be dropped, but better judges than I believe it would be altogether successful even as a financial operation.
In any event, I should be very glad if you would write both to Mr. White and to Ld Vernon (Sudbury House, Derbysh) with your acceptance in acknowledgments of their offer. Sr J. P. L. suggests that your letter to Ld V. should be with a and enclosed in the cover with you letter to Mr White, to save all susceptibilities.
Mr J P L thinks very well of my plan of a concordance. I wish you could come over here your books, and I hope that under the next administration you may.
I am, dear Sirvery truly yoursGeo P MarshC E Norton Esq
References in this letter:
Sir James P. Lacaita (1813-1895), educated as a lawyer at Naples, emigrated to England in 1852 but returned to become a member of the first Italian legislature 1861-65.
George John Warren, Baron Vernon (1803-1866), lived mostly in Florence and published numerous Dante texts and commentaries.
Benvenuto Rambaldi da Imola's commentary in Latin on the Divine Comedy was one of the earliest and most valuable discussions of Dante's great work.
Charles Francis Adams (1807-1886) was American minister to Great Britain 1861-68.
Italian for centenary. Probably refering to the centennial celebration in honor of Dante (1261-1321).