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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Gerolamo Boccardo1   23 April 1868

Genova

23 | Aprile 1868.

Mio Caro Signore

Permetta che io Le scriva questa volta nella mia propria lingua, nella quale potrō, più chiaramente che nel bellisimo idioma di V. S., esprimerte alcuni pensieri che vorrei in modo particulare raccomandare alla sua attenzione.2

La ringrazio prima di tutto della gentilissima sua lettera dei 13. corrente.3 Io conserverō quell’ autografo tra i documenti a me piu cari e preziori.

Le sono pure gratissimo del dono dell’ ultima e magnifica sua opera “Plants and Animals under Domestication”, che io mi avevo [illeg] provveduta a Londra il giorno stesso ch’era stata publicata.4

Profittando ora della squisita bontà che Ella si degna dimostrarmi, mi facio ardito a [pregarsa] di due segualati favori, i quali spero la cortesia sua vorrā accordarmi.

Io mandai in dono il mio libra “Fisica del Globo” all’illustre Sig. Baronetto Carlo Lyell, al Presidente della Royal Society, al Presidente della Royal Geographical Society, al Presidente della Anthropological Society.5 Non avendo io ricevuto da alcuno di quei Signori cenno alcuno di risposta, temo che i volumi non [sieno] loro pervenuti. Io La pregherei adunque, quando cio’non dovesse costarse Soverchio incomodo, di volere avvertire i Signori summentovati, cui quali ha certamente personale rapporti, che io ho spedito loro la mia opera, la quale se non è ginuta nelle loro mani, dene sicuramente trovarsi agli uffici postali, one li prego quindi di volerne fare ricerca.

La secunda preghiera che ho io in animo di fartē, mi sta ancora più a cuore della precedente. Nel mia volume io ho procurato con tutta diligenza di fare tesoro dei grandi lavori scientifici Inglesi; ed Ella stessa si è [compiarinta] di farmene un gentile elogio nella suo lettera. Ora io [bramerei] che la dotta Inghilterra [sapesse] che in Italia si sa appregrare degnomente il merita dei meravigliosi ingegni di quella fortunata Nazione. Potrebbe Ella adunque procurare che qualite Giornale Scientifico e qualite Accademia facessero conoscere al pubblico Inglese il mio lavoro? Patrebbe questo per servio il titolo maggiore della mia riconoscenza verso la S. V., alla quale debbo giā tanto [illeg] ad uno de’ maestri piu venerati.6

La diffusione delle dottrine Darwiniane in Italia incontra ostacoli d’uno natura affatto particolare, e che sarebbe molto difficile il comprendere da chi vive e lavora in un paese da secoli avvezro alla libertà del pensiero. Io lo perō cosi profondo [sede] nella causa della Veritā, che punto non dubito che molti anni non [trasconseranno] che anche nella mia patria essa doura attenere pieno e sicuro triumfo.

Perdoni, Illustre Signore, se ho preso tanta sicurtā di V. S., da farse le [illeg] mie due preghiere, e se osso ancora sperare che Ella vorrā onorarmi di una sua ripposta intorno alle [illeg].

Viva sano, e mi creda | Suo Devotisso. Servie | Gerolamo Boccardo

P.S. La prego di accettare il tenne omaggio d’un mio recentissimo Discorso Accademico, chi Ella ricevera per posta un la presente.7

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Correspondence vol. 16, Appendix I.
No earlier letter from Boccardo has been found.
CD’s letter to Boccardo of 13 April 1868 has not been found, but see the letter to John Murray, 13 April [1868] and n. 2.
Boccardo refers to Variation, which was published on 30 January 1868 (Freeman 1977). CD had instructed his publisher, John Murray, to send a copy of Variation to Boccardo (see letter to John Murray, 13 April [1868] and n. 2).
Boccardo refers to Boccardo 1868a. The Royal Society of London and the Royal Geographical Society have copies of the book. The Anthropology Library at the British Museum (the collection of the Anthropological Society) does not have a copy.
No reply to this letter has been found.
No discourse by Boccardo has been found in the Darwin Archive. Boccardo may have sent La connessione delle scienze (Boccardo 1868b).

Translation

From Gerolamo Boccardo1   23 April 1868

Genoa

23 | April 1868.

My dear Sir,

Allow me to write this time in my own tongue, in which I will be able to express more clearly than in your beautiful language some thoughts of mine to which I would especially draw your attention.2

First of all I thank you for your very kind letter of the 13th inst.3 I will keep that autograph amongst those documents dearest and most precious to me.

I am also extremely grateful for the gift of your latest and magnificent work “Plants and Animals under domestication”, of which I had, however, already acquired a copy from London the very day of its publication.4

Taking advantage of the great kindness you have done me, I make

so bold as to beg two particular favours from you which I hope you will be kind enough to grant me.

I sent as a gift my book “Fisica del Globo” to the illustrious Sir Charles Lyell, Bart., to the President of the Royal Society, to the President of the Royal Geographical Society, and to the President of the Anthropological Society.5 Not having received any sign of a reply from any of these gentlemen, I fear that the volumes did not reach them. I would therefore beg you, if this does not cause you too much inconvenience, to inform the above-mentioned gentlemen, with whom you are certainly acquainted, that if the work that I sent them express has not arrived in their hands, it will surely be found at the post office, where they are therefore requested to make enquiries.

The second request that I wish to make to you is even more important for me than the first. In my book I have taken care with every diligence to set store by the great English scientific works; and you were kind enough to compliment me on that in your letter. Now, I would wish learned England to know that in Italy we know how to appreciate the true value of the merits of the wonderful intellects of that fortunate Nation. Could you therefore see that either some Scientific Journal or some Academy introduce my work to the British public? If you would do this to help me, I would owe a greater title for my gratitude due to You, than the great debt I already owe to one of my most venerated masters.6

The spread of Darwinian doctrines in Italy meets with obstacles of a quite distinctive kind, very difficult to understand for someone living and working in a country for centuries accustomed to freedom of thought. However, I have such profound faith in the cause of the Truth, that I do not doubt that not many years hence it will achieve a complete and lasting triumph in my country also.

Please forgive me, illustrious Sir, if I took the liberty to ask for these two favours, and dare to hope that you will be kind enough to again honour me with a reply concerning the same.

Take care of your health, and believe me, Sir, your most obedient servant | Gerolamo Boccardo

P.S. Please accept the meagre gift of a very recent Academic Discourse of mine which, you will receive with this letter.7

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original Italian, see part I: 442–3.
No earlier letter from Boccardo has been found.
CD’s letter to Boccardo of 13 April 1868 has not been found, but see the letter to John Murray, 13 April [1868] and n. 2.
Boccardo refers to Variation, which was published on 30 January 1868 (Freeman 1977). CD had instructed his publisher, John Murray, to send a copy of Variation to Boccardo (see letter to John Murray, 13 April [1868] and n. 2).
Boccardo refers to Boccardo 1868a. The Royal Society of London and the Royal Geographical Society have copies of the book. The Anthropology Library at the British Museum (the collection of the Anthropological Society) does not have a copy.
No reply to this letter has been found.
No discourse by Boccardo has been found in the Darwin Archive. Boccardo may have sent La connessione delle scienze (Boccardo 1868b).

Summary

Thanks CD for gift of Variation.

GB sent copies of his Fisica del globo [1868] to Lyell and the presidents of British scientific societies but has received no acknowledgment; asks CD to check that they received the work. Could CD arrange for a notice of the book to appear in England?

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-6142
From
Gerolamo Boccardo
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
R. Istituto Tecnico di Genova
Source of text
DAR 160: 233
Physical description
4pp (Italian)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6142,” accessed on 22 July 2019, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-6142.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16

letter