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[309] further generous purposes in relation to the Library. He kept up a frequent correspondence with Mr. Everett and Mr. Ticknor, and in July, 1855, he finally expressed, to both of them, a distinct intention of giving a large quantity of books to fill the shelves of the new edifice as soon as it should be ready.

Mr. Ticknor was passing the summer at Lake George, and there received two letters to this effect from Mr. Bates, and one from Mr. Everett enclosing what he had received. Immediately each of these gentlemen expressed the conviction, that some one should go soon to England to confer with this liberal benefactor, and each proposed that the other should go. Mr. Ticknor urged Mr. Everett, as far as he thought he properly might, to undertake this mission, and Mr. Everett answered him in the following terms, both feeling that this was a turning-point in the history of the Library:—

July 25, 1855.
Mr. Bates's letter to you shows, still more clearly than his letter to me, the necessity, not of sending an agent, but an Envoy Extraordinary to Europe. His purposes are liberal,—munificent, but he does not know, on the present occasion, what he ought to do to carry his own views into effect. No doubt, when he gave his first fifty thousand dollars he thought that would do all that was necessary. Now, nothing but full and free conversation with some person who does fully understand the matter, and who possesses his confidence, will raise his views to the proper elevation.

I must say, candidly, that I know nobody but you or myself competent to this; I mean, of course, who could be thought of for the errand. I would go if I could. I thought over that point before I wrote my other letter. But I really cannot. You have stated some of the obstacles,—my wife's health, my own, and Will's education (now my chief thought and duty); but there are others . . . . . But if I could go, it is no affected diffidence which makes me say that you would accomplish the object much better. I have no particular aptitude for the kind of executive operations which this errand requires, —I mean purchasing books with discrimination in large masses. Perhaps I am rather deficient in it. You possess it in an uncommon degree. I think you would buy as many books for thirty thousand dollars as I should for fifty thousand dollars,—certainly, for forty thousand dollars. . . . .


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