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OF THE CITY O F BOS TON, c^v?^:^. — ^ 
17 Septembeb, 1855. 


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BOSXOKISl ij^^^^ 

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In Common Council, 1 
October 11, 1855. / 

Ordered : That the Commissioners on the erection of the Pub- 
lic Library Building be, and they are hereby authorized to cause 
to be printed for the use of the City Council, the addresses deliv- 
ered by the Hon. E. C. WiNTHROP, and His Honor the Mayor, at 
the laying of the comer-stone of the building, on the 17th of 
September last, together with an account of the proceedings upon 
that occasion, and such other matter connected therewith as may 
be deemed proper by them. 

Sent up for concurrence. 


President, pro tern. 


In Board of Aldermen, 1 
October 15, 1855. / 



October 17, 1856. 

J. V. C. SMITH, 


A true copy. 

Attest : 

S. F. McCleary, 

City Ckrh 


The Corner-Stonc of the Public Library of the City of Boston 
was laid on the 17th day of September, 1855. 

On the 5th of September, the following letter on the subject 
was addressed to the Mayor of the City by the President of the 
Board of Commissioners on the erection of the building : 

Boston, 5 September, 1855. 

My Deab Sir : — I am instructed by the Commissioners on 
the erection of a building for the Public Library of the City of 
Boston, to inform you that the work is in such a state of forward- 
ness that the Comer-Stone may be conveniently laid on the after- 
noon of the 17 th inst., our Municipal Birthday. 

The Commissioners have not contemplated any ostentatious 
display on this occasion, nor would they feel at liberty to make 
arrangements, on their own responsibility, for any public ceremo- 
nial which might involve the City in expense. 

They have presumed, however, that such a step in the progress 
of so interesting and important a work would hardly be allowed 
to be taken without something of solemn form. And they 
especially desire that whatever is done, — and their own preference 
is for simplicity, — should be done in the name and by the 
authority of the City. 

I have, accordingly, the honor, in their behalf, to invite you, as 
Chief Magistrate of the City, to lay the Comer-Stone of the 
building for the Public Library, on Monday, the 17th inst., at 4 
o'clock, P.M., with such assistance and such c-eremonies as may be 
thought fit for the occasion. 


The Commissioners desire to leave it entirely to yourself to 
invite the presence of the whole or any part of the City Authori- 
ties, and to extend the invitation to any others whom it may be 
considered joroper to include on the occasion. It will afford them 
pleasure, Sowever, to co-operate with you in carrying out any 
arrangements which may be decided upon. 

I am, my dear sir, 

With great respect and regard, 

Tour obedient servant, 


His Honor J. V. C. Smith, 
Mayor of Boston. 

At a meeting of the Board of Aldermen, on the lOih of Sep- 
tember, the foregoing letter was communicated to the City Council 
by His Honor the Mayor, as follows : 

Mayor's Office, City Hall, \ 
Boston, Sept. 10th, 1855./ 

lb the Chairman of the Board of Aldermen : 

Sir : — Through you, I have the honor to transmit a commu- 
nication from the Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, President of the 
Commissioners on the erection of the Public Library, notifying the 
City Government that it is proposed to lay the Comer-Stone of 
the new edifice on Monday, Sept. 17th. Allow me to suggest the 
propriety of raising a Special Committee, clothed with authoriiy 
to confer with the Commissioners, and make such arrangements 
as may be proper for the occasion. 

Very respectfully, 

Tour obedient servant, 

J. V. C. SMITH, 



The lctk»r of tho Mayor was thereupon read, and referred to 

Aldemien, George W. Messenger, 
Benjamin F. Cooke, and 
William Washburn, *. 

with such as the Common Council may join, to constitv{te a Com- 
mittee of Conference with the Commissioners on the sulgect of the 
ceremonies, with full powers to make the necessary arrangements. 
On the 13 th of September the Common Council concurred in 
the action of the Board of Aldermen, and 

Messrs. Farnham Plummer, 
George S. Dexter, 
Hezekiah Prince, 
Sylvester P. Gilbert, and 
William Marble, 

were joined as members of the Committee. 

On the morning of the 17th, the following resolutions -were 
adopted in the Board of Aldermen, on the motion of Alderman 

" Whereas the ancient and honored institution of Free Masons 
has and recognizes the Supreme Architect of the Universe as 
its chief corner-stone, and in all ages, from the building of Solo- 
mon's Temple, that body has officiated or taken part in the laying 
of the corner-stones for public buildings ; and whereas said insti- 
tution is Christian and charitable and in no way or manner tends 
to promote infidelity, and takes no part in political questions ; and 
whereas no expressed opinion of any gentleman of the Commis- 
sion or City Council has been given adverse to the observance of 
this time-honored custom, — 

" Therefore it is resolved, on the part of this Board, that his 
Honor the Mayor, having charge of invitations, be and hereby is 
requested to invite the attendance of the Grand Master of the 
Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, with such as the Grand Master 

may desire, in an official capacity, to he present and take part in 
the ceremony of laying the corner-stone of the Public Library." 

Agreeably to the arrangements made by the Joint Committee 
of the two branches, the City Government, with the Trustees of 
the Library, the Benefactors of the Institution, the past Mayors of 
the City, the past Trustees, the past Commissioners, and many 
other invited guests, assembled at the City Hall at half-past 3 
o'clock, P.M., on the 17th inst., and thence, under the marshalship 
of George W. Messenger, Esq., Chairman of the Committee 
of Arrangements, proceeded to Boylston street in the following 
order : 

1. National Brass Band. 

2. Chief of Police. 

3. Committee of Arrangements. 

4. Mayor, Chaplains, and Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of 

Free Masons. 

5. Board of Aldermen. 

6. Common Council. 

7. Trustees of the Library. 

8. Past Commissioners and Past Trustees. 

9. Livited Guests. 

On arriving at the ground, they were met by the Commission- 
ers on the erection of the building, when the following Exercises 
took place : 



O Thou ! from whom cometh down every good and perfect gift : 
Thou iirt the Father of our spirits, for Thou hast made us in 
Thine own image. Assembled on this occasion, reverently and 
gratefully do we thus acknowledge Thee to be the source of all 
our endowments and faculties. Thou hast also made the Universe 
to be our school ; and all the works of Thy hands, and the opera- 
tions of Thy Providence to' be our teachers. We thank Thee that 
we are made capable of knowing Thee and Thy works; that 
before us the pages of science, of history, and of literature, lie 
open ; and that we may always sit at Wisdom's feast ; that these 
noble faculties which Thou hast stamped with the seal of immor- 
tality, may now, in the present life, be cultivated, strengthened 
and refined. 

And we acknowledge the unfolding of Thy benevolent designs 
in all the progress which human society is making, and especially 
in the opening of fountains of knowledge at the door-step of 
poverty ; in the instances which we behold of the rich devoting 
their wealth to the improvement of the poor. We especially 
thank Thee on this occasion, that Thou hast inclined the hearts of 
Thy servants to devise liberal things, and to lay the broad and 
substantial foundations of that institution, in whose interest we 
are here before Thee assembled. We thank Thee for this, and 
for every other indication that men are appreciating the true 
value of superabounding wealth. Thus may men delight in 
advancing the happiness and the improvement of each other : 
thus may the bands of brotherhood be strengthened; and the 
selfishness which has so long blighted Thy heritage, cease from 
the earth. 

O Lord, except Thou build the house, they labor in vain that 
build it. We thereifore commend to Thy guardian care, and to 


tho benediction of Thy kind Providence the edifice we are here 
constructing. Thou that didst " call by name Bezaleel, the son 
' of Uri, and fill him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in 
understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of work- 
manship, to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in 
silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones, to set them, and in 
carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship,'' put 
Thou " into the hearts of all the wise-hearted, wisdom ; " that they 
may skilfully and successfully bring this work to a conclusion. 
Save Thou the workmen from all harm and sickness; let no 
untoward event interrupt this work ; crown it with Thy blessing ; 
" let Thy work appear unto Thy servants, and Thy glory unto 
their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be 
upon us ; and establish Thou the work of our hands upon us ; 
yea, the work of our hands establish Thou it." 

We now commend to thy goodness, O Thou, the G^ of our 
fathers, this institution, designed to promote the great end they 
sought in coming to the wilderness ; the establishing of a free, 
enlightened, and Christian people, apart from the conflicting 
elements which are disturbing the ancient kingdoms of the earth. 
Forbid, O God, that this noble institution should ever be so per- 
verted as to defeat that end. May it never become a fountain of 
corruption and destruction to our city ; may it furnish no wea- 
pons for the overthrow of truth and righteousness. But do 
Thou, in thine infinite mercy, watch over it, and preserve it aa a 
fountain to refresh and purify the community, with its overflowing 
streams. May the books here to be gathered become a source 
of healthful relaxation, of manly culture, and of Christian 

And, over all the interests of our beloved city wilt Thou still 
kindly watch. Promote in the midst of us sound learning and 
true godliness. Make us a wise and a righteous people, to the 
praise of Thine own infinitely revered and holy name. 

These our thanks wilt Thou kindly accept, and graciously 
answer and exceed our requests, for the sake of our Lord and 
Saviour Jesus Christ — Amen. 



Written for the occasion by the Hon. George Lmrr, 

And sung by the pupils of the Girls' High and Normal School, 
under the direction of Mr. L. H. Southabd. 

Deep lay in earth the comer-stone, 

Rise, shafted arch and airy dome 1 
On mom a light diviner shone, 

When Knowledge found this other home. 

Be this her fane ; and thither lead 

The willing steps of generous youth, 
And point the high emblazoned meed 

Of souls that seek immortal Truth. 

Here, bid them learn the lore of old, 

Here, touch the future's hidden seal, 
The secret depths of thought unfold, 

And all its flight sublime reveal. 

And long, amid the City's din. 
In sweet seclusion stand enshrined. 

Peace reign, thy cloistered walls within, 
Oh ! sacred temple of the Mind. 

/ / The following Address was then delivered by the Hon. Eobbrt 

^'^'llt^ C. WiNTHROP, President of the Board of Commissioners for the 

erection of the Library Building, on delivering the Trowel to the 

Mayor : 



We are here, Mr. Mayor, Gentlemen of the City 
Council, and Fellow Citizens, to lay the Corner-Stone 
of a Building for the Public Library of the City of 
Boston. We have come to take the first formal step 
towards making permanent provision for an institution, 
which we believe is to exert a most important and 
powerful influence upon the character of oiur commu- 
nity, — so long as our community shall have a character 
among men. 

By a more than fortunate coincidence, we have been 
able to select for this purpose the 225th anniversary 
of the day, which has become associated in New 
England history with the original foimdation of o\xr 
City. On this day, just two centiuies and a quarter 
ago, at a Court of Assistants of the Massachusetts 
Company, held at Charlestown, (Governor Winthrop 
in the chair,) it was Ordered, That Trimoimtaine shall 
be called Boston. 

I know not how a nobler commemoration of our 
Municipal. Birthday could have been devised than that 
in which we are engaged, or one calculated to invest it 
with a more enduring charm in the hearts of future 
generations. Certainly, no Birthday Ofiering could 
easily have been arranged, more welcome to a vener- 
ated mother, or more worthy of grateful and affection- 


ate cliildreii; than the institution which is here to be 

It is fit, my friends, that such a transaction, on such 
a day, should be marked by something of public and 
solemn ceremonial. It is fit, that the voice of prayer 
should be lifted up at such an hour and in such a con- 
nection, and that songs of praise should flow forth 
from the lips and from the hearts of these graceful 
yoxmg ladies and these joyous pupils of the schools. 
It is eminently fit, that the Conscript Fathers of the 
City shoitld lend the sanction of their official presence 
to the scene, and that some word of remembrance, of 
congratulation and of hope should not be wanting on 
the part of those, who have been honored with a com- 
mission to conduct so interesting a work. 

I think myself happy, Mr. Mayor, in being privi- 
leged, as President of the Board, to speak that word, 
and in being allowed to associate myself, in ever so 
humble a manner, with this crowning act of the matu- 
rity of my native place. 

And now. Fellow Citizens, it is most agreeable to 
reflect that the institution which we are engaged this 
day in establishing, is in such precise and beautiful 
conformity with the policy and the principles of those 
noble Colonists by whom Boston was founded. Too 
often, alas ! in the progress of great cities, the most 
costly and conspicuous structures serve only, as they 
rise, to signalize some fresh departure from the sim- 
plicity and purity of the olden time. But we are 
here to erect no such monument of our own degen- 
eracy. We are here to engraft no strange or uncon- 
genial branch upon the old Puritan Vine. We have 


come rather, in the fulness of timej to carry out to its 
legitimate consummation a system which was the pecu- 
har pride and glory of the New England Settlers, 
and which they cherished and cultivated as the especial 
strength and safeguard of the civil and rchgions Free- 
dom which they planted upon these shores. 

With a wisdom and a forecast^ which seem^ as wo 
look back upon them, little less than the immediate 
promptings of a Divine Power^ the Fathers of Massa^ 
chusetts and Founders of Boston allowed scarcely an 
hour to elapse after their arrival, before making some 
incipient provision for the public instruction of their 
cliildren. Within five years after Trimountainc was 
called Boston^ the small beginnings of our Common 
School System may be dintinctly traced upon our 
ancient records. And from that day to thiSj the Insti- 
tutions of Free Popular Education have gone on from 
gtrength to strength, — have been extended and im- 
proved^ year by year^ under the liberal and fostering 
care of our PubHc Authorities, — until, duribg the 
single year last past, nearly 25^000 children have 
received, within our City limits, as good an education 
as the wide world can afibrdj without cost or charge to 
themselves, but at the willingly incui'red expense, all 
told, of little less than four hundred tiiousand dollars 
to the public treasury,* 

By the munificent bequest of a native son of 
Boston, — whose name will be remembered among ub 
as long as the Pyramids amid wliich that memorable 

^ The preciae figures in tte City Auditor^a Report, just pubHsliedp are 24,827 
pupils; — ^ Expeudiiurefl, including new sohool-liouaefl^ |399;135 64, 


Codicil was conceived, or the palaces of the Pharaohs 
on one of which it was written, (John Lowell, Jr.) — 
a system of Free Lectures has been added, of late 
years, to our other means of popular instruction, and 
has abundantly justified the generous purposes of its 
lamented Founder. 

But Education does not end with the schools ; — nor 
is all education conducted within the School-room or 
the Lecture-room. Even a College Degree is but the 
significant A B of a whole alphabet of learning still 
to be acquired. The -great work of Self-Culture re- 
mains to be carried on long after Masters and Tutors 
and Professors have finished their labors and exhausted 
their arts. And no small part of this work, I need 
hardly say, is to be carried on under the influence of 
good reading and by the aid of good books. 

Who shall imdertake to measure the importance or 
calculate the value of good reading, as an instrument 
in advancing the welfare and promoting the happiness 
of mankind! Even one good book, read by snatches, 
in the intervals of labor, or in the watches of the 
night, — what unspeakable comfort and aid has it not 
often imparted to the humblest, or, it may be, to the 
loftiest mind and heart! 

I speak not of the Bible, — which is an exception 
to all books, and which might almost be a substitute 
for all ; — a library in itself, able alone to carry civili- 
zation and culture into every home where it is thor- 
oughly and thankfully and thoughtfully read ; — itself 
the comer-stone of all Christian literature forever ! 

But even among books of merely human composition 
and origin, and dealing with merely human and mortal 


relations and interests, — how many have there not 
been, and are there not still, — for a good book never 
dies, — of a power not only to aflford amusement or 
instruction for an hour or a day, but to mould a; whole 
character and marshal a whole life ! How many of 
the mightiest, as well as of the humbler, intellects of 
the world's history have borne testimony to the influ- 
ence of " the precious life-blood of some master-spirit, 
embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond 

Need I recall to you the example of our own 
Franklin, who tells us himself, in his charming Uttle 
autobiography, that, while indulging his passionate 
fondness for reading, as a child of twelve years old, he 
found among the few books which his father could 
afford to own, " a work of De Foe's, entitled an ^ Essay 
on Projects,' from which, perhaps, (says he,) I derived 
impressions that have since influenced some of the 
principal events of my life ! " Or, need I remind you 
how much of that clear, pure, transparent style, which 
distinguished him above almost all other American 
writers, or even English writers, of his own day or of 
any day, he attributed to the use which he had made 
of " an odd volume of the Spectator which fell into 
his hands" by the merest accident! 

Such were the instruments by which the great Bos- 
tonian piursued that system of self-culture which 
prepared him for his wonderful career as a Philosopher 
and a Patriot; — books, odd volumes, sometimes found 
by chance on the meagre shelves of the family book- 
case, — sometimes falling into his hands by less natural 
and accountable accidents, — sometimes borrowed from 


his fellow oppreiitices and read by stealth while they 
were sleeping, *' How often (says he) has it happened 
to nic to pasH tlic night in reading by my bedside, wlieu 
the book had been lent and was to be returned the 
next moramg, les^t it might be missed or wanted ! " 
And you all remember the practical testimony wliich 
he gave to his owix sense of the value of reading, by 
setting on foot the very first Social Circulating Library 
knuwu to the aunak of the world. 

But I may not take up more of the time of this 
occasion in rhapsodies upon readhig, or in illustrating 
or exemplifymg the value of good books. I have said 
more than enough already to justify the remark^ that 
in establishing tliis Free Public Library, we are but 
carrying forward another stage^ and that a great stage, 
towards its ultimate consummation and perfection^ tliat 
noble system of popular education which our fethers 
founded- It has originated in no mere design to 
furnish a resort for professed scholars^ where tliey may 
pursue their studies, or prosecute their researches, his- 
torical or classical^ scientific or literary^ — important 
as such an object might be. It is to be eminently a 
library for the people, — for the whole people. 

Doubtless, m the gradual accumulation of such a 
library as we hope to see here, — or as we hope others 
at least will see here, — when this spacious area shall 
be filled with books^ and when, perhaps^ the biulding 
now about to be erected shall have been extended to 
the utmost limits of this ample lot, — doubtless, in the 
gradual accumulation of such a Hbrary as future gen- 
erations will witness and enjoy here, ^ — no books will| 
be excluded because they may not seem to be of imme- 


diate, general, or popular use or interest. No books, 
certainly, will ever be rejected in this land of universal 
education and intelligence, as being beyond the com- 
prehension or capacity of the people. That compre- 
hension will be subjected to no narrow gauge, nor that 
capacity measured by any reduced or stinted standard. 
Those who shall have charge from time to time of 
making its collections, will not be likely to forget that 
we are no dwindled or degenerate offspring of a race 
which John Milton so justly and so nobly characterized, 
when he said, — "Lords and Commons of England, 
consider what nation it is whereof ye are, and whereof 
ye are the governors : — a nation not slow and dull, 
but of a quick, ingenious and piercing spirit ; acute to 
invent, subtle and sinewy to discourse, not beneath the 
reach of any point the highest that human capacity 
can soar to." 

Here, doubtless, in due time, will be found works of 
the deepest philosophy and science ; and, until the 
name of Bowditoh shall be lost to our remembrance, 
it will hardly be suggested that others beside professed 
scholars may not be able to turn these volumes to the 
best account, and even to add new ones of their own. 
Here, without question, in due time, will be found 
books in every language and tongue which is read or 
spoken beneath the sun ; and, while the living example 
of an Elihu Burritt is still before us, no one will doubt 
that others beside what are called the educated classes 
may be eager to decypher their mysteries, and may 
find no characters too difiicult for their mastery. The 
least popular books of the collection may still find 


their best readers coming forth from the forge or the 

But as a general rule, and for the present at least, 
our professed scholars and students will look to the 
libraries of our Universities and Athenaeums and Acad- 
emies of science, for the volumes which may aid them 
in their special investigations and pursuits. 

The Library whose comer-stone we are now about to 
lay, in its primary and principal design, is to furnish 
entertainment and instruction for the whole commxmity. 
Central in its situation, the dwellers in all quarters of 
the City may approach it with almost equal facility. 
Standing on the margin of our beautiful Common, it 
will reflect and reproduce some of the peculiar and 
truly republican features of that charming play-place 
of our children, and pleasure-ground of us all, — ^where 
we see, at this moment, the choicest seats and most 
inviting shade ranged along the trodden paths, and by 
the side of the broad and beaten tracks ; — and whose 
crystal fountains, — though now and then they may 
leap to the iskies and sparkle in the sun and waste 
themselves in glittering spray, to furnish a holiday 
spectacle, — find always their better use and their 
daily beauty in ministering to the refreshment of the 
wayfaring and the weary. 

And this. Fellow Citizens, is to be our intellectual 
and literary Common, — beneath whose roof and within 
whose alcoves fountains of Uving waters shall be ever 
open, and upon whose tables shall be always spread a 
banquet of wholesome and nutritious food for every 
mind, with a cover and a cordial welcome for every 
comer, and where no guest, whatever his garment, so 


it clothe an honest man, shall be excluded or disdained. 
" Free to all, with no other restrictions than are neces- 
sary for the preservation of the books/' — these are 
the noble terms of its greatest benefactor.* 

It. may never vie, indeed, with the sumptuous libra- 
ries of the old world, in the magnitude or magnificence 
of their structure, or in the costliness and rarity of 
their contents. We have aimed at no imposing fa§ades, 
or splendid colonnades. But it is confidently believed, 
that, by the skill of our ingenious architect, (Mr. C. 
K. KiRBY,) few buildings will be found to equal it in 
practical appropriateness and convenience; and that, 
through the discriminating care of the distinguished 
Trustees of the library; — our Everetts, and Ticknors, 
and ShurtlefTs, who, like the Irvings, and Astors, and 
Cogswells of a sister City, are devoting themselves so 
assiduously to this particular province, — no collection 
of books will ultimately surpass it in its adaptation to 
the improvement and instruction of a free people. 

Here, especially, will be collected without delay, 
whatever may throw light on the great practical arts 
which have characterized our age and coimtry, and 
whatever may assist our ingenious mechanics and 
inventors, — second to none throughout the world, — 
in their attempts still further to simplify the magic 
processes, and to perfect the marvellous implements 
and engines, by which difficulties and distances may 
be annihilated. 

Here, too, it is to be hoped, will be found, from time 

« Letter of Joshua Bates, 1 October, 1852. 


to time, whatever our people may be able to point to, 
as the product of th^ir own intelligence, their own 
genius, their own institutions. Here will be seen the 
whole body of American literature, as it shall gradu- 
ally unfold and develope itself imder the influence of 
American liberty. No book or pamphlet, certainly, 
which shall emanate from a Boston mind or a Boston 
pen, will be long wanting to its shelves. For here, as 
one after another of her sons or of her daughters shall 
employ the talent which her schools or her social 
advantages shall have enabled them to improve, they 
will themselves be seen hastening to lay the earliest 
fruits upon the maternal altar. In the admirable lan- 
guage of one of our early benefactors, " Every son of 
Boston justly regards the City as an illustrious parent."* 
And here that parent may peculiarly be pictured as 
opening her lap to receive gifts from her grateful 
children, — at once the pledges of their love and the 
proofs of their worthiness. 

And now, Fellow Citizens, we should be xingrateful 
were we to forget, on this occasion, those among the 
living, and those among the dead, to whom we are 
indebted for the establishment and endowment of this 
institution. The building, indeed, upon whose walls 
we are standing, is intended to be, and is, wholly a 
City building. It owes its projection and its progress 
to the enlightened and liberal counsels of the succes- 
sive City governments, who have made the necessary 
appropriations for the purchase of the site and for the 
erection of the edifice. It owes much to your imme- 

^ Letter of Jonathan Phillips, 14 April, 1853. 


diate predecessor, (Hon. Bistjamin Seavee^) and it owes 
still mox^ to yourselfj Mr, Mayor, and to your asso- 
ciates in the present City Council I am persuaded, 
Gentlemen of the two branches, that if the enterprising 
contractor (filiv Nathah Dbake) and the laithful labor- 
ers in his employ, shall fulfil the promise of these first 
beginningSj you will ha¥e no cause to regret what yon 
have done, I am persuaded, that you vnll find few 
items on the list of your annual expenditureSj — be 
your teiTOS of service longer or sliorter, — upon which 
you will look back with greater satisfaction or with 
greater pride, — nor any item for which the whole 
people of Boston, in all time to come, will be ready to 
acknowledge themselves more deeply in your debt* 

But we have other and individual benefactors to be 
remembered in connection with tliis work. And, first 
of all, it becomes us to name with the highest distinc- 
taon^ and with the most grateful regard and respect^ 
that eminent and excellent merchant and banker, 
wliom, though long resident in Loudon, we are always 
proud to recognize and to claim as a native son of 
Massachusetts;, — Joshua Bates, — whose niimificent 
donation of ^fiy thoimmid doUa-rs^ with its wise and 
well-considered conditions, put an end to all further 
doubt that this institution would have an immediate, 
prosperous and permanent existence. 

Amid all the cares and riches and honors by which 
he is surrounded in the distinguished position wliich 
his integrity and enterprise have so worthily won for 
him in the metropolis of old England, — ^he has never 
forgotten his humble beginnings, liis early friends, or 
his native soih Let liim be assured, that the metropo* 



liB of New England does DOt forget him on this occa- 
sloiij nor will ever fail to hold hia name and character 
in fresh and grateful rememhrance* We send him our 
greetings tliis day from these firm fomidations of an 
institution which owes so much to his unprompted and 
unstinted generosity^ and we waft the best wishes of a 
hundred thousand hearts acxx>ss the Atlantic for his 
continued prosperity and welfare ! 

In fit connection with this central figure in the 
group of our benefactors^ we next recall a name asso- 
ciated in successive genenitions with not a -few of our 
most valued seminaries of education and of science, 
and now worthily worn by one horn and bred and still 
residing a.mong us^ — one whose excellent words I 
have just quoted, and who is present with us at tliis 
moment, to receive our cordial and grateful acknowl- 
edgmeutsj — Jonathait Phillips; — may he long be 
spared to witness the results of his large and timely 
bounty ! 

And there are others with us here on this occasion^ 
w^hose early and Hberal gifts of money or of books 
cannot be forgotten. 

I need not name a late Mayor of our city, (Hon. 
JoHK P. B1GELOW5) who so handsomely diverted the 
amount which had been raised for a well-merited 
memorial of Ms own faithful services, to the purpose 
of conferring a fresh benefit on those who had thus 
sought to honor Mm. 

I meed not name the distinguished and eloquent 
orator and statesman^ (Hon, Edward E\^retTj) who 
was seen, about the same time, in fulfilment of a pre- 
vious and cherished purpose, gathering up the accu- 


nmlated treasures of his long public life, and laying 
them at the feet of those in whose behalf he had 
already so successfully and so brilliantly employed 

Others, too, might be referred to, among the living, 
and some of them among the present, who have made 
large and valuable additions to our collection, or who 
have rendered services to our infant library, more val- 
uable than any volumes; and more than one might be 
named, had they not forbidden me to name them, who, 
in the double capacity of Commissioner and Trustee, or 
in the threefold capacity of Commissioner, Trustee and 
Donor, have identified themselves with the whole prog- 
ress and prosperity of the institution. 

Nor can I omit to allude to that ardent and enter- 
prising foreigner, (Mons. Vattemare,) whose ofierings 
were the earliest of all, and whose enthusiastic zeal in 
the cause of intellectual and literary exchanges among 
the nations of the earth, have recently called forth 
the commendations of a Guizot and a Dupin at the 
Academy of Moral and Political Sciences at Paris. 

Nor shall "the last, best gift" be forgotten. Honor 
to the liberal lady,"^* — not alone of her sex in remem- 
bering us, — who, on the very eve of this occasion, 
has given so welcome a pledge that the mothers and 
daughters of Boston are not insensible to the value of 
such an institution. 

But the living must not alone be remembered on 
such an occasion as this. I cannot forget the generous 
gift of that intelligent and enlightened publisher, whose 

* Mrs. Sally Inman Kast Shepard. 


name had so long been the best guaranty of a good 
book, and whom few of us can miss from the scenes of 
his useful and honoral)le occupations, without a keen 
sense of personal and of public loss, — James Brown. 

I cannot forget, eitlier, the even earlier contribution 
of that kind-hearted and venerable merchant^ Samuel 
Appleton, whose countless benefactions to our commu- 
nity will render his memory fragrant to a thousand 

Still less may I omit to allude to the recent most 
liberal and noble bequest of the lamented Abbott Law- 
rence, — a bequest which we would all have prayed 
heaven still longer to postpone. His Ufe was better to 
us than any legacy, — for his heart, untouched to the 
last even by the cruel disease which pervaded and par- 
alyzed every other organ, was in every good cause, and 
his hand was ever ready to sustain what his heart 

These all, and still other honored names will be 
found inscribed on the memorials which we are about 
to deposit beneath this massive stone. They are not, 
however, about to be buried out of our remembrance. 
They will be registered "where every day we may turn 
the leaf to read them." They will be inscribed on the 
hearts of all true Bostonians, and our children and our 
children's children will repeat them as the names of the 
earliest friends and benefactors of an institution, which 
is destined, in all time to come, to be the source of so 
much true satisfaction, and the subject of so much just 

I have reminded you. Fellow Citizens, that we had 
fortunately been able to appropriate to this occasion 


the anniversary of the foundation of our City. But I 
cannot but remember that it is the anniversary of 
anotlier great and memorable event in more recent 
American history. 

^^ Done m Convention^ by the unanimous consent of 
the States present, the seventeenth day of September, 
in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred 
and eighty-seven^ and of the Independence of the 
United States of America the twelfth. In witness 
whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names. 

George Washington, President" 

Such IB the final clause^ and such the illustrioug 
attestation, of the Constitution of the United States, — 
wliose formation ig tims forever identified with the da>y 
on which we are assembled, 

I hail the omen of a coincidence which thus binds 
together, by the associations of a common anniver- 
saryj the birthday of our City and the birthday of the 
Federal Constitution* Let us renew our pledges of 
fidelity to them both. Let us accept the full import 
and cherish the whole significance of that coincidence, 
and embrace our entire Country in the good wishes of 
this occasion. And while we lay these foundations in 
the hope and in the confidence that they will never be 
overturned nor sh^en, let us hope and trust, also^ that 
they will not survive either the City in whose service 
and by whose authority they are laid, or the Liberty of 
which that city was the cradle^ or the Union which is 
the best and only sure guaranty of that liberty. May 
these walls never witness a decayed Boston, a prostrate 
Freedom, or a divided Nation ! 


It only remains for me, Mr. Mayor, in the name of 
my brother Commissioners, — to whose faithful and 
valuable co-operation in executing thus far the trust 
committed to us, I hope I may be permitted thus 
briefly to bear witness, — to invite you to proceed to 
the ceremony for which we are assembled, and to 
deliver to you this Trowel, which has been prepared for 
the purpose, and which is to be preserved as a memo- 
rial of the occasion. It is, as you perceive, Sir, of no 
precious material or elaborate workmanship, but we 
are satisfied that it will derive a more than common 
interest and value from the service in which you are 
about to employ it. 

And, in the language of our City motto, "May 
God be with us, as he was with our Fathers ! " 

In closing this Address, Mr. Winthrop, in behalf of the Com- 
missioners, presented a new and beautifully burnished steel trowel 
to the Mayor, who, on receiving it, replied as follows : 




Fellow Citizens : — The laying of this comer-stone, 
with solemn ceremonies, will be regarded in after times 
as an epoch in the history of Boston. 

The Commissioners having in charge the responsi- 
bility of carrjdng forward to completion the edifice so 
auspiciously commenced, happily for themselves, enjoy 
the perfect confidence of a community appreciating 
the advantages to be derived from studjmig the opm- 
ions, the published attainments and suggestions of 
those who have preceded them on the active stage of 
life, which are to be collected here and systematically 

You, Mr. President, the descendant, and bearing the 
name of one who is illustrious in the annals of the 
country, and who assisted in the first settlement of 
Boston, a theatre on which extraordinary movements 
have since transpired, have an opportunity on this occa- 
sion of being identified with a celebration occurring on 
the two himdred and twenty-fifth anniversary, that will 
transmit your patriotic services most favorably to re- 
mote generations, associated with the intelhgence and 
public spirit of your birthplace. 

While monuments raised to perpetuate the remem- 
brance of great events may have wasted away, and 
the special objects for which they were reared are lost 


to the archives of chronology in the revolutions to 
which nations are incident, those provisions which con- 
template the intellectual advancement of man are the 
surest and most hopefully calculated to endure through 
the ever-changing conditions of society. 

Civihzation is essentially dependent for its progress 
on the labors of those who have wrought out problems 
in the various departments which they occupied, and 
whose collected wisdom in books is the common foun- 
tain from which each succeeding age takes a departure 
for new explorations into the regions of imagination, 
art, literature and science. 

The moral atmosphere, the claims of Christianity, 
domestic comfort and economy, the courtesies, influ- 
ence and dignity of any people, are best sustained 
where the pubhc sentiment is habitually directed and 
strengthened by a judicious system of general educa- 

This Free Library will secure, if human foresight can 
accomphsh it, the certain means of supplying every 
man, woman and child, who are qualified to read, 
within our boundaries, with an unfailing source of 
intellectual gratification and rational enjoyment. 

When this large concourse of spectators, — the 
crowds of moving, thinking beiQgs, who are threading 
their way through the narrow streets, and the busy 
inhabitants residing in pleasant habitations, have re- 
tiu'ned to rest in the bosom of their mother earth, and 
even a far larger population shall be standing in their 
places, who are yet unborn, and the thronged avenues 
extended l)eyond their present limits to the surround- 
ing environs; this noble institution, we fondly trust, 


will remain firmly established^ braced and defended 
against the assaults of ignorance^ fanaticism or politi- 
cal turmoUj the pride and crowning glory of our 
beloved City, 

Of what value is mere wealthy without a cultivation 
of those immortal attributes that will never die? 
When the resulta of honest industry become instru- 
mentalities for developing the mindj and multiplj^^ng 
resources for betteiing the conditions of humanity, 
society is permanently advanced. That phUosopliy is 
false which only provides for the few what God in Ms 
goodness evidently designed for all. This idea has 
been beautifully illustrated in the munificent benefac- 
tions made to this library* Gentlemen eminent for 
tlieir probity, elevated positionSj energy of purpose^ 
Bympathy, love of home and love of country^ have 
remembered tliose less fortunate than themselves, by 
bestowing the accmuulations of successful labor with 
unsparing liberality on this long to be cherished temple 
of knowledge. Who does not repeat the names of 
Joshua Bates, Jonathan Phillips and Abbott Lawrence 
with feelmgs of respect alone due to exalted moral 
worth and virtue ? May their example in the mfancy 
of the institution tend to call forth a fostering patron- 
age in other directions from those who are to follow m 
the same exhaustlcss fields of enterprise, that a current 
of vitality m necessary to the peri>etuity of the under- 
taking shall never cease to flow. 

Past City Comicils and the present, have discharged 
their official duties acceptably and satirfaetorily to a 
vigilant public^ in respect to their legislation for the 
library. Their earnest endeavors to give form and 


character to the designs of the original projectors, 
entitle them to the consideration and gratitude of their 
constituents. Posterity will recognize them individu- 
ally as faithful servants, who planted that others might 
participate in the rich fruits of the harvest. 

Within the metallic case, let into this huge block of 
stone, hermetically sealed, is a brief account of the 
preparations for the transactions in which we axe 
engaged, with various documents, chronicles, a register 
of the municipal organization, together with ordinances, 
coins, the city newspapers of the day, an engraved 
tablet, and photographic miniatures. 

Contemplate for a moment that distant period when 
this fair city shall have expanded over a territory of 
many miles into the suburban precincts, and adjacent 
cities coalescing with the population and increasing it 
to hundreds of thousands, or even millions, and com- 
merce, manufactures, and industrial pursuits, have 
given it a wide-spread renown. 

A point of culmination will come at last. Decay, 
slow but sure, hke the admonitory advances of gray 
hairs, cannot be resisted. Rival ports may rise to view, 
the old familiar channels of trade become choked, till 
inch by inch, weak and powerless, the stately dwellings 
are forsaken, the massive warehouses crumble into 
ruin, neglected and unowned. In the last phase of ap- 
proaching obliteration, some curious antiquarian trav- 
eller, — stimulated by a zeal for discovery, may search 
among the ruins of past architectural grandeur for 
fragments to demonstrate the traditional opulence of 
the ancient capital of the once celebrated Common- 
wealth of Massachusetts. 


The memorials about to be lowered into place are 
actually designed for examination when all these 
mighty changes have been effected. What emotions 
they may excite, to what speculations they may give 
rise, or to what conclusion they may lead, can neither 
be foretold or imagined. 

Should the language in which they are written be 
lost, and a new race, speaking a dialect not yet devised, 
hereafter obtain possession of our delightful inheritance, 
the exact representation of the features of several 
persons now standing in your presence may be con- 

In short, enough, in all probability, will survive the 
friction of some coming thousands of years, should no 
unforeseen accident occur to disturb the foundation, to 
give a comprehensive notion of the arts, social order, 
government and tendencies of the inhabitants by whom 
the articles were fabricated. 

If these are unprofitable speculations, they are both 
grave and agreeable topics for reflection. 

Harmony of action characterizes the inauguration of 
this favorite institution. Let those who have charge of 
it in its maturity distinguish themselves by a faithfiil 
devotion to the plan marked out by the early friends, 
still living, to watch over its infancy. 

In closing these observations, and before retiring 
from the ground consecrated to the use of all citizens, 
of every denomination, where they may come and 
learn to be wise, without money and also without price, 
allow me to remind you of your inestimable privileges. 

Familiarity with our blessings may eventuate in 
carelessness and to a neglect of efforts on which their 
stability mainly depends. 


While the public schools^ in connection with this 
library, are confided to the protection of gifted conser- 
vators, Boston may challenge the world for a parallel 
system of popular education. 

Gratefiil to our Puritan forefathers, who in com- 
mencing the first settlement of New England, made 
seasonable preparations for the free education of the 
youth ; it is the undeniable duty of ourselves and our 
successors to uphold what they so generously estab- 

Thanking you, gentlemen of the City Council, and 
you, Mr. President^ the Board of Commissionersi, the 
Trustees, the donors, whose judicious liberahty place 
us under a weight of never ending obligation, and yoi^ 
Fellow Citizens, who have extended to each and aU of 
us a sustauiing influence, we must now separate, but 
with grateful recollections of the past, accompanied by 
an earnest aspiration for the continued prosperity, hap- 
piness and untarnished honor of the City of Boston. 



On the conclusion of the addresses, the Commissioners, the Trus- 
tees, the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, 
the Hon. Jonathan Phillips, one of the principal benefactors of 
the library, and others, proceeded, to the Stone, when it was duly 
laid by his Honor J. V. C. Smith, Mayor of Boston, in the name of 
the City, after the boxes containing the plate and the various 
articles described in the Appendix had been deposited beneath it. 

The Mayor then returned the Trowel to the President of the 
Board of Commissioners, and delivered the Square with which he 
had verified his work to the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge 
of Massachusetts, both of them to be preserved as memorials of 
the occasion. 


Sung by the pupils of the High and Normal School, with 
whom the assembled multitude united :— 

From all that dwell below the skies, 
Let the Creator's praise arise ; 
Let the Redeemer's name be sung, 
Through every land, by every tongue. 

Eternal are thy mercies. Lord ; 

Eternal truth attends thy word : 

Thy praise shaU sound from shore to shore, 

TiU suns shall rise and set no more. 



The exercises were closed by the Rev. E. S. Gannett, D.D., 
who pronounced the following 


Now unto the Supreme and Eternal Mind ; to Him who is the 
Author and Upholder of all Things, the former of our bodies and 
the Father of our spirits ; whose inspiration giveth understand- 
ing, and without whose blessing neither can the purpose of our 
hearts prosper nor the labor of our hands be crowned with 
success ; to Him who, we trust, will be with us and with our chil- 
dren as He was with our fathers ; to God only wise, be glory, 
through Jesus Christ, forever. 

And may the love of God our Father, and the grace of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, be with us all henceforth and forever. Amen. 



The Comer-Stone, a block of Connecticut sand stone, weighing 
five tons, and of the following dimensions : 

Feet. Inches. 

Length, ----- 5 11 

Breadth, 3 16 

Height, 3 2 

was laid at the north-east comer of the foundations. Within the 
cavity, in the lower face of the stone, was placed a box made of a 
composition i:esembling brass, of the following dimensions : — 

Length, - - - - - 12 J inches. 
Breadth, . . - - lo| " 
Height, 3| " 

In the box, the lid of which was securely soldered, were the 
following articles : — 

1. A silver plate, measuring seven and seven-eighths inches 
by six and three-eighths, and weighing, by Troy weight, eleven 
and one-eighth ounces, and bearing this inscription : — 


The Coraer-Stone of a Building 

for the 

Public Library of the City of Boston, 

Laid on the 17th day of September, 

A. D. 1855. 

It being the 225th Anniversary of the day on which 

Trimountaine was first called Boston, — 

In presence of the City Council, at the request of 

The Commissioners on the erection of the Building, 

By His Honor, 

Jeromb V. C. Smith, Mayor. 

Commiuioners for the Building. i Thutees of the Library, 


President ; 
Samuel G. Ward, 
George Ticknor, 
Nathaniel B. Shurtlefp, 
Charles Woodberry, 
Joseph A. Pond, 
Edward F. Porter. 


George Ticknor, 
John P. Bigelow, 
Nathaniel B. Shurtlefp, 
Thomas G. Appleton, 
Joseph Story. 


Edward Capbn. 


Charles K. Kirby. 

2. Act to authorize the City of Boston to establish a Public 
Library, approved by the Governor of the Commonwealth, 18 
March, 1848; accepted by the City Council, 8 April, 1848. 

3. Eeport of the Committee on the Library in relation to the 
donations received from the City of Paris, 22 September, 1849. 
(Doc. 46.) 

4. Communication to the President of the Common Council 
from His Honor John P. Bigelow, Mayor, transmitting a letter 
from Hon. Edward Everett, covering a catalogue of books and 
documents contributed by him to the Public Library, 19 June, 
1851. (Doc. 61) 


6. Beport of tlie Committee on the Public Library, 1 January, 
1852. (Doa79.) 

6. Message of His Honor Benjamin Seaver, Mayor, on the 
subject of a Public Library, 19 February, 1852. (Doc 10.) 

7. Report of the Trustees of the Public Library, 26 July, 
1852. (Doc. 37.) 

8. An ordinance in relation to the Public Library, establish- 
ing a Board of Trustees, passed 14 October, 1852. (Doc 57.) 

9. Order of the City Council appropriating temporary apart- 
ments for establishing and accommodating the Public Library, 9 
September, 1852. 

10. Letter from Joshua Bates, Esq., dated 1 October, 1852, 
submitted to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, 18 October, 

11. Order directing the Trustees to appropriate a suitable hall 
for the deposit and arrangement of statues, paintings and other 
memorials of public benefactors to the institutions of the City, 9 
December, 1852. 

12. An act of the Legislature to authorize the City of Boston 
to found and maintain a Public Library. Approved by the Gov- 
ernor, 12 March, 1853. Accepted by the City Council, 14 April, 

13. Majority and Minority Eeports on the subject of a new 
building for the City Government and Public Library on the same 
site. April, 1853. (Doc 31.) 

14. Bules and Eegulations of the Public Library of the City 
of Boston, adopted 8 November, 1853. 

15. Letter from Joshua Bates, Esq., dated 10 March, 1853, 
submitted to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, 28 March, 1853. 

16. Letter from Hon. Jonathan Phillips, dated 14 April, 1853. 
Submitted to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, 18 April, 1853, 
and action thereon. 

17. First Annual Eeport of the Trustees of the Public Libra- 
ry, 12 November, 1853. (Boc 73.) 

18. Eeport of the Committee on the Public Library, recom- 
mending an ordinance for the establishment of a Board of Com- 


missioners on the erection of a building for the Public Library of 
the City of Boston, 23 February, 1854. (Doc. 21.) 

19. Librarian's notice, 2 October, 1864. 

20. Second Annual Keport of the Trustees of the Public Li- 
brary, 31 October, 1854. (Doc. 74.) 

21. An Ordinance in relation to the Public Library, reported 
by the Committee on Ordinances, as amended, 28 December, 1854/ 
(Doc. 114.) 

22. An Ordinance for the establishment of a Board of Com- 
missioners on the erection of a building for the Public Library of 
the City of Boston, 27 November, 1854. (Doc. 120.) 

23. The Commissioners' advertisement for designs for a build- 
ing for the Public Library, with map annexed, 26 January, 1855. 

24. Majority and Minority Eeports recommending the adop- 
tion of ordinances in addition to an ordinance relating to the 
erection of a building for the Public Library : also, an ordinance 
offered by Alderman Washburn, as a substitute for the ordinance 
reported by the majority of the Committee, 5 March, 1855. (Doc 


25. First Eeport of the Commissioners on the erection of a 
building for the Public Library, 9 March, 1855. (Doc 22.) 

26. An ordinance in addition to an ordinance providing for 
the establishment of a Board of Commissioners on the erection of 
a building for the Public Library of the City of Boston. Re- 
ported 29 March, 1855. Passed 3 April, 1855. (Doc. 26.) 

27. Specifications for a building for the Public Library, 6 
June, 1855. (Doc 46.) 

28. Second Eeport of the Commissioners on the erection of a 
building for the Public Library, 6 June, 1855. (Doc 46.) 

29. Agreement between the Commissioners and Nathan Drake, 
Mason, 14 June, 1855. 

30. Letter from Mrs. S. L K. Shepard, 17 September, 1855. 

31. Blank Letter of acknowledgment for donations. 

82. Catalogue of the Public Library, April, 1854. 

83. Municipal Eegister for the year 1855. 
34. Auditor's Eeport, 1854-55. 


35. Rules of the School Committee and Regulations of the 
Public Schools of the City of Boston for 1855 ; also, organization 
of the Public Schools for 1855. 

36. Boston Directory for 1855. 

37. Boston Almanac for 1855. 

38. Almanac of the American Tract Society for 1856, printed 
in advance. 

39. Two large bronze Medals now used by the Massachusetts 
Humane Society, and two smaller ones of silver, in sealed metal- 
lic cases, presented by Hon. David Sears, President of the Hu- 
mane Society. 

40. Franklin Medal for boys. 

41. City Medal for girls. 

"42. Silver Coins of 1855 ; DoUar, Half Dollar, Quarter of 
a DoUar, Dime, Half Dime, Three Cent Piece. 

43. Copper Coins of 1855. Cent, Half Cent. 

44. Order of Exercises and Blank Notes of Invitation. 

45. Address of Mr. Winthrop. 

46. Address of the Mayor. 

47. Photographs by Whipple and Black : — 
Of the Mayor ; 

Of the Commissioners, their Clerk, and the Architect, in a 

Of the Trustees, individually ; 

Of George W. Messenger, Esq., Alderman, Chairman of the 
Committee of Arrangements, and Trustee elect on the part of 
the Board of Aldermen ; 

And of Famham Plummer, Esq., Chairman of the Conmiittee 
of Arrangements on the part of the Common Council. 

A leaden box was also deposited under the Comer Stone, — 

13 inches in length, 

11 " in breadth, 
5 " height, 
containing a copy of the last issue of the Weekly and Daily 
Newspapers published in the City, seventy in number. 




The first donation of Books received by the City Library, 
ninety-six in number, came by way of International Exchange, 
through the agency of Mons. Alexandre Vattemare, of Paris, 
and has been made a matter of record in City Document, No. 46, 
for the year 1849. 

The second, in point of time, was that of Hon. Eobert C. Win- 
throp, consisting of one hundred and eighty-seven volumes, sent 
to the Library in the autumn of 1849, unaccompanied by any 
letter, and with a verbal request that they should not be the 
subject of any formal notice.** 

Two hundred and nineteen volumes were next received from 
John D. W. Williams, Esq., of Boxbury, and other smaller con- 
tributions from a number of other persons soon followed. 

From this point the History of the progi'ess of the Library 
will be found in the following letters and documents : 

^ Mr. Winthrop's donation elicited the foUowing expression from the Hon. 
John P. Bigelow, in a note written some time afterwards, on a different sub- 
ject, by which it will be perceived that Mr. Everett had already promised the 
large contribution which soon followed ; — 

City HaU, October 31, 1849. 
o o o o o X thank you officially for your noble contribution to our (*' in esse ") 
Free Library. It is the first American stone contributed in that behalf, — the 
corner one, which is laid most fitly by the descendant of the founder of our 
free Commonwealth. Governor Everett promises a large contribution, — bo that 
with you and him the enterprise is already in successful progress. 

Very truly, yours, &c., 

Hon. Mr. Winthrop. 


lb Henry B. Bogers, Esq., Chairman pro tern, of the Board of 


Boston, August 5, 1850. 

Sir, — ^An amount of money having been contributed by some 
of my fellow citizens for the purpose of personal kindness to- 
wards myself, I have obtained their permission to present a large 
portion thereof to the City, in aid of the establishment of a Free 
Public Library. 

I accordingly now enclose the sum of one thousand dollars, in 
the hope that it may be appropriated for the furtherance of the 
object proposed. 

The want of such an institution in our midst, is generally ac- 
knowledged. It has an important prospective bearing upon the 
moral and intellectual character of the people of Boston ; and I 
have reason to know that there are many persons in this commu- 
nity, who are ready to tender valuable offerings for the purpose in 
view, as soon as it shall be known that the City Government is 
willing to receive such donations. 

Very respectfully. 

Tour obedient servant, 


Alderman Grant offered the following preamble and resolu- 

In Board of Aldermen, August 5, 1850. 

Whereas, His Honor the Mayor has communicated to this 
Board, that he has received a sum of money, which was subscribed 
by his fellow citizens (to be appropriated for his personal benefit,) 
as a tribute of their respect, and whereas, consent has been ob- 
tained from the liberal donors of the money (at the kind sugges- 
tion of the Mayor,) that the amount be appropriated to the 
establishment of a Free Public Library.; one of the most desira- 


ble and useful objects to which it could he given ; a^d in which 
all classes of this community will be benefitted : — therefore 

Resolved, That we gratefully accept the offered sum by the 
Mayor, of one thousand dollars, referred to above, and hereby 
request the Committee of the City Government on the Library, 
to proceed with as little delay as possible, and as far as the means 
in their hands will justify, to carry into effect the establishment 
of a " Free Public Library ;" — assurance having been given from 
several influential and wealthy persons of their readiness to co- 
operate in the measure, as soon as the same is commenced. 

The resolution passed unanimously. 

On motion of Alderman Holbrook, it was 

Voted, That the City Clerk furnish His Honor the Mayor with 
a certified cppy, signed by the Chairman pro tem.^ of the pream- 
ble and resolution offered by Alderman Grant, and their unani- 
mous acceptance. 

Cambridge, 7th August, 1850. 

Sir, — You are aware that I have more than once intimated to 
you, orally and in writing,* that I should be happy to give my 

** Extract of a note addressed by Mr. Everett to Hon. J. P. Bigelow, then 
Mayor of the City. The other portion of the note relates to a different object. 

Cambridge^ 22 Jan., 1860. 
Deak Sir, — 


1 hope you will be able to do something this year toward the establishment 
of a City Library. I shall be happy to offer to the acceptance of the City my 
collection of public documents, whenever you think it will be convenient to the 
City to receive them. It will contain near one thousand volumes when some 
chasms, which I hope to fill this winter, are supplied. 

Yours, with great regard, 

E. E. 

Note. — Mr. Everett had more than once, in the summer of 1849, intimated 
to His Honor the Mayor, his purpose of offering his collection of Public Docu- 
ments to the City, whenever it may be convenient to receive them, as a contri- 
bution toward a public Library. 


collection of Public Documents and State Papers to the City. 
Perceiving that a commencement is likely to be made toward the 
establishment of a Public Library, I will thank you to infonn the 
City Government, that this collection is at their service, whenever 
it may suit their convenience to receive it. 

I have for nearly thirty years devoted a good deal of time, 
labor, and expense to its formation. It amounts at present to 
about one thousand volumes. From the foundation of the Gov- 
ernment up to the year 1825, when I first went to Congress, it 
contains every thing material. While I was in Congress, I took 
great pains to preserve and bind up every document published by 
either house ; and from that time to the year 1840, when I went 
abroad, the collection is tolerably complete. It is my intention to 
add to it, as far as they can be procured, the documents since 
published ; and I omit no opportunity of supplying the deficien- 
cies in other parts of the series. 

In addition to the State Papers and Public Documents, the 
collection contains other works connected with the civil and politi- 
cal history of the country. 

I hope it will not be thought intrusion in me to express the 
opinion, that, if the City Government would provide a suitable 
building for a Public Library, it would be so amply supplied from 
time to time by donations, that only a moderate annual appropri- 
ation for books would be wanted. Such an establishment would 
be an object of public favor from the outset. The people would 
regard it as their own creation, and take a pride in its increase. 
Authors and publishers would feel it an honor to place their pub- 
lications on its shelves. There is hardly a citizen who would not 
have the ability and disposition to add something valuable to it ; 
and from time to time large and important additions might be 
expected by gift or bequest. Within the last thirty years, two 
additions have been made in this way to the British Museum, 
which have probably doubled the size and value of that noble 

If on a lot of public land, a building were commenced, aiming 
at nothing but convenience and neatness, (and all attempts to go 


farther in architecture are almost sure to fail,) and so planned as 
to admit future enlargement, the first expense need not exceed that 
of one of those numerous school-houses*, of which the City does 
not hesitate to erect one every two or three years. The more re- 
tired the situation the hetter. The Library ought not to he a show 
place for strangers, nor lounge for idlers ; but a quiet retreat for 
persons of both sexes who desire earnestly to improve their minds. 

Such a Library would put the finishing hand to that system of 
public education, which lies at the basis of the prosperity of Bos- 
ton, and with her benevolent institutions, gives her so much of 
her name and praise in the land. 

I ought to ask your indulgence for going so far beyond the im- 
mediate object of this letter. Though not a native of Boston, 
nor at this time an inhabitant there, I am indebted to her for a 
considerable part of my schooling, and feel the deepest interest in 
her welfare. 

I am, Sir, with high respect. 

Your obedient servant, 


His Honor John P. Bigblow. 


In Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Aug. 12, 1850. 

A communication having been received from the Honorable 
Edward Everett, expressive of his desire to give to the City his 
collection of Public Documents and State Papers, towards the 
establishment of a Public Library, therefore — 

Voted, That the City Council, entertaining a deep sense of the 
value and importance of the Papers collected by the Hon. Edward 


Everett, will receive the same whenever a suitable place shall be 
provided in which they can be deposited, and in behalf of the citi- 
zens, return their thanks to him for his generosity and public 

Voted, That the Mayor be requested to transmit a copy of the 
foregoing preamble and vote, to the Honorable Mr. Everett. 

Passed unanimously. 

Sent down for concurrence. 


In Common Council, Avgust 20, 1850. 
Concurred by an unanimous vote. 


aty Sail, June 19, 1851. 

Sra, — I transmit for the information of the Council a com- 
munication which I have received from the Honorable Edward 
Everett, covering a Catalogue of Books and Documents contribu- 
ted by hiTn to the Public Library. The suggestions and senti- 
ments expressed in the letter are entitled to especial consideration 
for their intrinsic value, as well as on account of the honored 
source whence they emanate. If published, (as I presume the 
Council will authorize,) they will eflFectively aid in establishing an 
institution, which has an important prospective bearing upon the 
moral and intellectual character of Boston. 

Besides the donation of Mr. Everett, the Library contains one 
hundred and eighty-seven volumes contributed by the Hon. Robert 
C. Winihrop : two hundred and nineteen volumes by John D. W. 
WiUiams, Esq., (of Boxbury,) and ninety-six volumes by Alex- 
andre Vattemare. Valuable contributions have likewise been 
made by Eev. J. B. McMahan, Ezra Weston, Esq., and others, — 
the whole number of books now collected amounting to two thou- 
sand volumes. The Committee on the Library have funds at 


their control whicli will probably enable them to increase the 
number to four thousand volumes before the expiration of the 
year; and if the example of the public spirited citizens, who 
have been named, should exert its proper influence in the commu- 
nity, the City wiU, within a short period, possess the largest and 
moat valuable Municipal Library in the country. 

Respectfully, &c. 


To the President of the Common Council. 

Cambridgey 7ih June, 1851. 

Sir, — I beg leave to transmit to you herewith for the informa- 
tion of the City Government, a Catalogue of the Books contained 
in the collection of State Papers and other works, which I had the 
honor of offering to the acceptance of the City last year, as a con- 
tribution toward a Public Library. The number of the volumes 
is about a thousand, and I hope to have it in my power hereafter 
to render the collection of Public Documents more complete. 

I remain of the opinion, which I took the liberty of expressing 
last year, that if the City would provide a suitable building, 
affording present accommodation for fifteen or twenty thousand 
volumes, and so constructed as to admit of enlargement hereafter, 
a valuable Public Library would very soon be formed by donation. 
A place of deposit thus provided, the Library I feel confident, 
would steadily increase. Large collections of Books would occa- 
sionally be presented, and there can be no doubt that from indi- 
viduals, and especially from authors, editors, and publishers be- 
longing to Boston, single works would be constantly coming in. 
If in addition to these sources of increase, a moderate appropria- 
tion were annually made by the City for the purchase of works of 
a dass not likely to be presented, — a large Public Library, with 
assurance of regular increase, would soon be added to the means 
of Education, possessed by the citizens of Boston. The cost of a. 


suitable building need not exceed that of one of the larger School 

In the letter which I had the honor of addressing to you on the 
7th of August last, I spoke of such a Library as the completion 
of that noble system of Public Instruction, which reflects so much 
honor upon the City and does so much to promote its prosperity. 
I am anxious to giye greater prominence to this view of the sub- 
ject than it has yet perhaps received. 

The City of Boston expends annually, I believe, a larger sum 
for Schools and School Houses, in proportion to its population, 
than any city in Europe. Nothing like the same sum is appro- 
priated by the City of London for these purposes. By this noble 
liberality the means are provided for giving our children of both 
sexes a good education up to the age of sixteen or seventeen 
years. This is done at the public expense and for public motives. 
Individuals, as such, have no more claim upon the public for their 
education than for their board and clothing. The first principles 
of popular government require that the means of education should, 
as far as possible, be equally within the reach of the whole popu- 
lation. This can be effected in no other way than by a system of 
Education supported by the public. The same great motive of 
public policy requires thai the Schools should be of a very supe- 
rior order, so that every child may receive not merely an educa- 
tion, but an excellent education ; — as good as could be got at 
the best and most expensive private Schools. I know of no place 
where these principles are so thoroughly carried out as in Boston ; 
in other words, where so great an equality exists in reference to 
the inestimable benefit of an early education. 

This however is the case only up to the age when School educa. 
tion is at an end. We provide our children with the elements of 
learning and science, and put it in their power by independent 
study and research to make further acquisitions of useful knowl- 
edge from books, — ^but where are they to find the books in 
which it is contained ? Here the noble principle of equality sadly 
fails. The sons of the wealthy alone have access to well-stored 
libraries ; while those whose means do not allow them to purchase 


books are too often debarred from them at the moment when they 
would be most useful. We give them an elementary education, 
impart to them a taste and inspire them with an earnest desire for 
further attainment, — which unite in making books a necessary of 
intellectual life, — and then make no provision for supplying them. 

I would not overrate the importance of book learning. It is of 
little value without original inquiry and original thought. But 
good books are the record of the original inquiry and thought of 
able men ; — ^which surely do not lose their value by being put 
upon paper for the benefit of others. Every one regards an op- 
portunity of personal intercourse with men eminent for talent and 
learning as a great privilege and source of improvement; — to 
study their works is most effectually to cultivate this intercourse. 
It is generally impossible, from the nature of the case, to have 
personal intercourse with any persons of eminence except a very 
few of our own countrymen and cotemporaries. By books we get 
access to the great men of every country and every age. 

Is it not then a reproach to our City, that, — as far as the means 
of carrying on the great work of instruction beyond the limits of 
School Education are concerned, — ^no public provision exists in 
favor of those unable to indulge in what is now the expensive 
luxury of a large library ? Where is the young engineer, ma- 
chinist, architect, chemist, engraver, painter, or student in any of 
the professions or of any of the exact sciences, or of any branch 
of natural history, or of moral or intellectual philosophy, — to get 
access to the books which are absolutely necessary to enable him 
to pursue his inquiries to any advantage ? There a^e no libraries 
in BDston which strictly speaking are public. " The library of the 
Athenseum and other similar collections are private property. 
They are administered with aU practicable liberality ; but are not 
and cannot be open to the public. Nothing is left to young men 
who cannot afford to buy books but to borrow them of individ- 
uals ; — a very precarious and inadequate dependence and one of 
which but very few can take advantage. 

For these reasons I cannot but think that a Public Library, 
well supplied with books in the various departments of art and 


science, and open at all times for consultation and study to the 
citizens at large, is absolutely needed to make our admirable sys- 
tem of Public Education complete ; and to continue in some good 
degree througli life that happy equality of intellectual privileges, 
which now exists in our Schools, but terminates with them. And 
I feel confident that with such moderate co-operation as I have 
indicated, on the part of the City, reliance may be safely placed 
upon individuals to do the rest. The Public Library would soon 
become an object of pride to the citizens of Boston ; and every 
one would feel it an honor to do something for its increase. 
I remain, Sir, with great respect, 

Tour obedient servant, 

His Honor the Mayor of Boston. 

112 Washington Street, June 28, 1852. 
Hon. Mr. Everett: 

Dear Sir, — I beg you to accept my promise to pay for five 
hundred dollars' worth of books, to be selected by you when you 
please and from whatever shop you please, for the City Library. 
I should hesitate to give you the trouble of selecting, but on recol- 
lection, I thought you could readily write out the list now, when 
the collection has but just commenced to be made, and there would 
be no fear of duplicates. Please to make the money go as far as 
it will, without regard to our shelves. 

I am respectfully and faithfully. 

Tour obedient servant, 

Hon. Mr. Everett. 

In Board of Trmtm, Oct 25, 1852. 
Voted, That the thanks of the Trustees be returned to Mr. 

Brown for his liberal donation. 

Attest, EDWAED CAPEN, Secretary. 



Bostofiy Sept 24, 1852. 
To THE Hon. Benjamin Seaver, Mayor of Boston : 

Sir, — I enclose you my check, on the Columbian Bank, for one 
thousand dollars, which sum I wish appropiated to the purchase of 
books for the Public Library lately established by the Govern- 
ment of the City of Boston. 

Having perfect confidence in the very able board of Trustees, 
which has been appointed,^! leave to them the selection of the 
books, not doubting they will exclude all of a hurtful tendency, 
and select such books as will be read, having for their basis piety, 
morality, the arts and sciences, and general usefulness. 

With much respect, your very obedient servant, 


att/ Ball, Bosim, Sept 24oth, 1852. 

Sir, — I have the pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of your 
letter, of this date, enclosing your check, on the Columbian Bank, 
for one thousand dollars, " to be appropriated to the purchase of 
books for the Public Library, lately established by the Govern- 
ment of the City of Boston,'' and I assure you that the Trustees 
of the Library will, in the use of the money, be governed by your 
judicious suggestions. In behalf of the Trustees, I thank you 
for this liberal and opportune donation, and trust that you may, 
ere long, witness the usefulness of the Institution you have so 
generously assisted. 

With the ardent wish that your life, so distinguished by acts of 
liberality to Public Institutions, and adorned by deeds of charity 
to your fellow men, which are equally honorable to yourself and 
to our City, may long be spared, 

I remain, with sentiments of the highest respect, 
Yours, most truly, 

Samuel Appleton, Esq. 



London, \st Oetoler, 1852. 

Dear Sir, — I am indebted to you for a copy of the Report of 
the Trustees of the Public Library for the City of Boston, which 
I have perused with great interest, being impressed with the im- 
portance, to the rising and future generations, of such a Library 
as is recommended ; and while I am sure that, in a liberal and 
wealthy community like that of Boston, there will be no want of 
funds to carry out the recommendation of the Trustees, it may 
accelerate its accomplishment, and establish the Library at once on 
a scale that will do credit to the City, if I am allowed to pay for 
the books required, which I am quite willing to do — thus leav- 
ing to the City to provide the building and take care of the 

The only condition I ask is, that the building shall be such as 
shall be an ornament to the City — that there shall be room for 
one hundred to one hundred and fifty persons to sit at reading 
tables — that it shall be perfectly free to all, with no other restric- 
tions than may be necessary for the preservation of the books. 
What the building may cost, I am unable to estimate ; but the 
books-r-counting additions during my life-time — I estimate at 
$50,000, which I shall gladly contribute, and consider it but 
a small return for the many acts of confidence and kindness 
I have received from my many friends in your City. 

Believe me, dear sir, 

Very truly yours, 

Benjamin Seaver, Esq., 

Mayor of the Oity of Boston. 


City of Boston. 1 

In Board of Mayor and Aldermen^ October 18, 1852. j 

Hesolved, That this Board is deeply sensible to the enlightened 
generosity of Joshua Bates, Esq., as manifested in the offer of 
fifty thousand dollars for the purchase of books for the Public 
Library, and that the thanks of the City Council be returned to 
him, on behalf of the citizens of Boston, for this seasonable and 
munificent provision, which ensures the speedy establishment of 
the Library on a liberal scale, and reflects the greatest honor 
upon the patriotism of the donor. 

Ordered, That a copy of the letter from Mr. Bates be placed 
upon the records of the City Council, and that an attiested copy 
of these proceedings be transmitted to him by the Mayor. 

Ordered, That Mr. Bates' letter, with the proceedings of the 
City Council thereon, be referred to the Trustees of the Public 
Library, with instructions to report to the City Council such 
measures as it may be proper to adopt in the premises with a 
view to give effect to the liberal provision of Mr. Bates. 

Passed unanimously. Sent down for concurrence. 


In Common Council, October 21, 1852. 
Passed unanimously in concurrence. 

HENKT J. GAEDNER, B-esident. 

In Board of Mayor and Aldermen, December 6, 1852. 

Whereas, the City Council of Boston are deeply impressed 
with a feeling of gratitude for the late munificent gift of 
Joshua Bates, Esq., and are desirous of manifesting to him and 
to other distinguished benefactors of the City, a sense of its 
obligation for benefits received, it is therefore 

Ordered, That whenever an edifice is constructed for the Pub' 


lie Library, the Trustees be and they hereby are directed to 
appropriate a suitable hall for the deposit and arrangement of 
statues, paintings, and other memorials of those persons who 
have distinguished themselves, or shall hereafter distinguish 
themselves, by acts of liberality to the religious, charitable, or 
literary institutions of the City. 

Eead and passed. Sent down for concurrence. Came up 
concurred, Dec. 9th. 

To THE Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Boston : 

Gentlemen, — By the public journals of this day I see you 
have purchased (and I believe very judiciously,) an estate on 
Somerset street in this City, for the erection of a building for a 
free City Library. Enclosed, I send you my check for one hun- 
dred dollars for the use and benefit of said institution — to bo 
expended by the Mayor and Aldermen in furnishing any of the 
room, or rooms of the said building when the same is completed, 
or expend the same in the purchasing of books for the benefit 
and use of the said Library as in their judgment may seem 

Gentlemen, I remain. 

Tours, with much esteem, 

Boston, March 5, 1853. 

City of Boston. ) 

In Board of Mayor and Aldermen, March 7, 1853. j 

Read, and referred to the Trustees of the Public Library. 

Sent down for concurrence. 

BEN J. SEAVER, Miyor. 



In Common Council, March 10, 1853. 

In Board of Trustees, April 25, 1853. 

Voted, That the thanks of the Trustees be given to Mr. 
Nightingale for his liberal donation ; and that the Committee 
on the purchase of books be directed to expend the same in 
books, inserting the name of Mr. Nightingale in each. 

Attest: EDWAED CAPEN, Secretary. 

London, lOth March, 1853. 
To His Honor Benjamin Seaver, 

Mayor of the City of Boston. 

Dear Sir, — I have received the Eesolutions passed by the 
City Council of Boston, on the 21st of October, which you have 
done me the favor to transmit to me, and am gratified to learn 
by them, that the assistance I had so much pleasure in offering 
to your Free Public Library, is so favorably received. Be pleased 
then to draw on me for a sum sufficient to contribute a fund of 
fifty thousand dollars, to be held by the City of Boston in trust, 
that its entire income, but only its income, shall in each and 
every year hereafter be expended in the purchase of such books 
of permanent value and authority, as may be found most needed 
and most useful, and that the City will, so soon as it may con- 
veniently be done, provide and always hereafter maintain a suit- 
able establishment for a Free Public Library, in which arrange- 
ments shall be made for the comfortable accommodation, at one 
and the same time, and at all proper hours of the day and even- 
ing, for at least one hundred readers. 

Wishing to this generous and wise institution, in which I shall 
always feel an interest, all the success you can desire for it, and 


wishing all happiness and prosperity to your City and its citi- 
zens, with whom I have so many pleasant associations, 
I remain, dear sir, 

Your friend and servant, 


Crrv OF Boston. 1 

In Board of Mayor and Aldermen, March 28, 1853. J 

Eeferred to the Committee on the Public Library, with au- 
thority to consider and report thereon. 

Sent down for concurrence. 



In Common Council, March 31, 1853. 

City of Boston, 1 

April 12, 1853./ 

The Joint Standing Committee on the Public Library to whom 
was referred the letter of Joshua Bates, Esq., dated London, 
10th March, 1853, beg leave respectfully to 


That agreeably to the authority contained in said letter, the 
Mayor has drawn on Mr. Bates for his donation to the Library, 
amounting to fifty thousand dollars, which sum has, with the 
approval of the Committee on Finance, been loaned to the City, 
subject to the conditions affixed by Mr. Bates, at an interest of 6 
per cent, per annum, payable semi-annually. 

For the Committee, 



In Common Council^ April 14, 1853. 
Read and accepted. Sent up for concurrence. 


In Board of Mayor and Aldermen, April 18, 1853. 



Boston, April lith, 1853. 
To THE Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Boston : 

Gentlemen, — Allow me through you respectfully to offer for 
the acceptance of the City of Boston, in aid of their City Library, 
ten thousand dollars, to be forever held and treated as a trust 
fund — the income of which shall be used exclusively for the pur- 
chase of books for said Library ; and if, from any cause whatso- 
ever, shall at any time happen a diminution of the capital, then 
the income is to accumulate and be added to the capital until its 
original amount shall be entirely restored. 

The past and present character of the City of Boston is a 
sufficient pledge that a trust confided to its care will be faith- 
fully and correctly performed, and I cannot discern in the future, 
a possibility that its integrity may be impaired or its fair repu- 
tation forfeited. 

In truth every son of Boston justly regards the City as an 
illustrious parent, and should exhibit, as well as feel in his deal- 
ings with it, a filial regard and confidence, which its honorable 
character in all periods for sound morals, and a profound respect 
for the sanctities of religion, naturally produce. 

Regarding, as I do, its efforts to induce the highest cultivation 
of intellect, and to cherish a strict and wise regard for the union 
of law and liberty, to be among the principal features of its 
greatness, and which have conferred upon our City a name and 


a pituse throughout Christendom, it gives me unfeigned pleasure 
in a homhle manner to aid in the accomplishment of these 

Terr respectfully, 

Tour ohedient fellow citizen, 


jBi Board of Mayor and Aldermen^ April 18, 1853. 

Hesolvedj That the munificent gift of ten thousand dollars, for 
the use of the Free Puhlie Lihrary, presented hj the Hon. Jona- 
than Phillips, he accepted upon the trust affixed hy him, and that 
the grateful thanks of the City Council he, and they herehy are 
presented to him for the same. 

jBesofeed, That the letter of Mr. Phillips which accompanied 
the ahove donation, so expressive of confidence and patriotic sen- 
timents, honorable alike to him and his native city, he placed at 
large on the records of the City Council. 

Itesolved, That the Mayor he requested to transmit to Mr. 
Phillips an attested copy of these proceedings. 

Passed unanimously. 

Sent down for concurrence. 


In Common Oouncil, April 21, 1853. 
Concurred unanimously. 

HENBT J. GAEDNER, B-esident 

A true copy. 

Attest: SAM'L F. McCLEART, Jr., Oity Clerk. 



BosUm, Nw. 4:, 1853. 
Hon. Benjamin Seaver, 

Mitfor of Boston. 

Dear Sir, — The City has at last completed its purchase of the 
Boylston street estates. I have traced the several titles back to 
the first settlement of the Town — the Book of Possessions. My 
memoranda occupy more than twenty-five pages. One of the 
titles was extremely complicated. A late owner had left a will 
— untechnically drawn — which presented questions of difficult 
legal construction. One devise was to the testator's son for life 
with a remainder limited to his children, of such a character as 
to open and let in any after-born children. This son died about 
a year since. So long as he lived it would have been impossible 
to have obtained an indefeasible title by conveyances from all 
his children. There were eventually four minors interested in 
this estate, and their shares were sold under license of court — 
rendering necessary a careful examination of the probate pro- 
ceedings. The fact, that two of the various deeds to the City 
convey respectively 32-49ths of l-3d, and 17-49ths of l-3d of 
this estate, sufficiently show the difficulties of the investigation. 

Had this been a purchase by an individual for his own benefit, 
I should have charged a large fee with a clear conscience. But 
the establishment of a City Library is eminently an act for the 
benefit of all — an act prompted by the most liberal spirit and 
the wisest foresight. Commencing where our system of public 
schools ends, it will enable us to continue thr&ugh life to educate 
ourselves. It will, I trust, aflPord, to the latest times, invaluable 
facilities for the intellectual and moral culture of the citizens of 

If, then, my professional experience has been found of any 
slight service in promoting an object like this — if the comer- 
stone of the City Library shall have been laid more securely 
through any instrumentality of mine in removing legal obstruc- 
tions — I assure you that I feel myself to have been fully com- 


pensated by the opportunity thus afforded me of becoming a 
fellow-laborer in a good cause. 

I remain, yours, very respectfully, 


In Board of Trustees, Nov. 12, 1853. 

Ordered, That the thanks of this Board be given to Mr. Bow- 
ditch for his services faithfully and gratuitously rendered, and 
that in acknowledgment of their value his name be inscribed in 
the Books of the Public Library, as their donor, to the value of 
two hundred dollars. 

Attest : EDWARD CAPEN, Secretary. 

Oiiy HaU, Dec. 4, 1853. 

Gentlemen, — I have the pleasure to inform you that I have 
received of J. IngersoU Bowditch, Esq., three hundred dollars, as 
a donation to the Public Library, to be expended in medical 
books, for the use of the medical profession only. The money 
has been placed in the City Treasury subject to your order. I 
leave you to make the proper acknowledgment to Mr. Bowditch 
for his timely liberality. 

Very respectfully. 

Tour obedient servant, 


To THE Trustees op the Public Library. 

In Board of Trmtee%, Dec. 6, 1853. 

Voted, That the thanks of the Board be presented to J. Inger- 
soU Bowditch, Esq., for his generous and timely donation, and 
that the same be expended, as he desires that it should be, in 


medical books to circulate only among the members of the med- 
ical profession. 

Attest: EDWAKD CAPEN, Secretary. 

Boston, H'emont Souses Sept, 17, 1855. 

To Dr. N. B. Shurtleff, 

One of the Oommisdonera and TrusteeB of the Boston City 

Dear Sir, — As you know I have, from the first, taken a lively 
interest in the success of the Boston Free Public Library, I here- 
with remit you one thousand dollars, to be expended in the im- 
mediate purchase of books for the same. 

Being a native of this City, where, also, both my parents were 
born and spent their days, it will ever afford me pleasure to 
know that an institution, fraught with so much good to the citi. 
zens of every class as this Library must be, continues to grow 
and flourish. 

You will please to see that this donation is appropriated as 
above requested, and so oblige 

Yours, very respectfully, 


In Board of Trustees, Sept 18, 1855. 

Ordered, That the above sum be deposited by Dr. Shurtleff in 
the Treasury of the City, subject to the order of this Board, for 
fulfilling the generous intentions of the donor. 

Resolved, That the President be requested to present to Mrs. 
Sally Inman East Shepard, the thanks of this Board, for the 
acceptable and timely gift of one thousand dollars, to be ex- 
pended immediately in books for the Library. 

Attest : EDWARD CAPEN, Secretary. 


To His Honor J. V. C. Smith, 

Mayor of the City of Boston, 

Londm, G Sept., IS^n. 
Deab Sir, — ^I learn with great satisfaction that the buiMing 
for a Free Public Library, for which such liberal appropriations 
have been made by the City Council is in progress of erection. 
I have on former occasions taken the liberty to express tho deep 
interest which I feel in the establishment of this institution, as 
the completion of that system of education at the fnn^ i)ublic 
schools, by which Boston is so honorably distinguished. It luis 
therefore been with the greatest pleasure that I liavo iVoni linu^ 
to time learned that even under the disadvantage of ti»nii)orary 
and inconvenient premises for the arrangement of its books and 
the accommodation of those who use them, it has I'oiiiid great 
favor with the community and with many libi^ral iiulividiialH, 
and has already given promise of becoming an ornament and a 
blessing to the City. 

It is, I understand, certain, that witliin eighteen months or 
two years, a building will bo com])let(»d of dimensions amply 
sufficient for the reception at once of a largo number of hooks, 
and for the regular future increase of the Library. 'J'ime and 
the public spirit of the community will, no doubt, do mueh. 
But it is desirable and important to render this Fiv^y I'nhlie. 
Library at once extensively useful as a large collection ol' books 
in a& many departments of human knowledge as possible. For 
this purpose, and still further to manifest my deep interest in 
the prosperity of the City of Boston, I now propose, if agreeahhi 
to -the City Grovernment, in addition to the fund of fifty thousand 
dollars already constituted, to purchase and present to the City 
a considerable number of books in trust, that the same shall 
always be accessible in a convenient and becoming Library 
Building, to the inliabitants of Boston generally, under such 
regulations as may be deemed needful by the persons to whom 
the government of the institution may from time to time be con- 


Trusting that the steps already taken and now proposed, to- 
gether with the continued patronage and powerful support of the 
City authorities, and of a liberal and enlightened community, 
will result in the establishment of an institution which will in all 
future time prove eminently useful and honorable to the City* 

I remain, dear sir, 

Yours, very truly, 


City op Boston. 1 

In Board of AUdermen^ Seipt. 24, 1855. / 

A communication from the Mayor covering a letter from 
Joshua Bates, Esq., of London, dated Sept. 6, 1855, tendering to 
the City a further donation of books for the use of the Public 
Library was read and referred to tho Trustees and Committee on 
the Public Library. 

Sent down for concurrence. 

Oct. 4, 1855. Came up concurred. 

City of Boston. 1 

In Board of Aldermen, Oct 8, 1855. { 

The Committee to whom was referred by the City Council, the 
letter of Joshua Bates, Esq., proposing to purchase and present 
to the Public Library a considerable number of books in trust 
for the inhabitants generally, ask leave unanimously to report 
the following resolutions, expressing the sense of the City Gov- 
ernment in relation to this new act of Mr. Bates' munificence. 

In behalf of the Committee, 


Beaolved, That in the letter of Joshua Bates, Esq., addressed 
to His Honor the Mayor, and dated Sept. 6, 1855, the City Gov- 


ernment recognize the same wise and munificent spirit and the 
same generous interest in the prosperity and honor of the City of 
Boston to which they have heretofore acknowledged the obliga- 
tions of this whole community ; and that they now accept this 
new trust on the liberal terms in which it is oflFered by him. 

Sesolved, That the Mayor be desired to request Mr. Bates, in 
the name of the City of Boston, to sit for his bust in marble or 
bronze at his pleasure, and to any artist he may select, in order 
that it may be placed in the building of the Public Library, as 
an enduring memorial of the City's obligation and gratitude. 

Hesolved, That the Mayor be requested to communicate these 
resolves to Mr. Bates, and that the Mayor be, and hereby is, 
authorized to draw on the City Treasury for any moneys that 
may be needed to carry the same into effect. 

Passed unanimously. 

Sent down for concurrence. 
Attest : SAM'L F. McCLEAEY, (Xtt/ Clerk. 

In Common Council^ Oct 11, 1855. 
Passed unanimously in concurrence. 

WM. A. BELL, B-mdmtpro tern. 

Oet 13, 1855. 

Approved. J. V. C. SMITH, Mt/or. 

A true copy. 

Attest: SAM'L F. McCLEAEY, aty Clerk. 

CiTT OF Boston. 1 

In Board of Aldermen, Oct. 8, 1855. / 

Ordered, That the letter of Mr. Bates referred to in the fore- 
going resolves, together with copies of the action of the City 


Council thereon, be deposited with the Trustees of the Public 
Library for their information and further action. 

Sent down for concurrence. 

Attest: SAM'L F. McCLEARY, aty Olerk 

In Common Council, Oct, 11, 1855. 
Concurred. WM. A. BELL, President pro tern, 

Oct. 13, 1835. 

Approved. J. V. C. SMITH, Mayor. 

A true copy. Attest : SAM'L F. McCLEARY, (Xty Clerk. 

Extract from the last Will and Testament of the late Hon. 
Abbott Lawrence, dated 27th Jantmry, 1855. 

" I give and bequeathe to the City of Boston the sum of ten 
thousand dollars for the use of the Public Library in the said 
City — the same to be paid within three years after the probate of 
this my Will, and the income thereof to be appropriated for the 
purchase of books for the said Library under the direction of the 


Appleton, Samuel ------- $1,00000 

Bates, Joshua Funded, 50,000 no 

Bigelow, John P. " 1,000 oo 

Bowditch, J. Ingersoll, ------ ;;oo o(» 

Bowditch, N. L Services valued at - - - L'oo oo 

Brown, James .--.-.. r>0() oo 

Nightingale, James 100 00 

Phillips, Jonathan, Funded, 10,000 00 

Shepari Mrs. Sally Inman East, - - - - 1,000 oo 

Voln. raiu|ili. 

1. Adams, George, - \i)i :\ 

2. Adams, Nehemiah, D.D. - - . - 4 

3. Albany Young Men's Association, - - - 1 

4. Allen, John Fiske, Salem, . - . - 1 

5. Allen, William, D.D., Northampton, - - 1 

6. American Board of Commissioners for Foreign 

Missions, by Prudential Committee, - - '^2 

7. American Tract Society, - - - - 7JJ 

8. Anderson, Paul, Cincinnati, - - - - :\ 

9. Anonymous, ------ 'M\ \(\ 

10. Athenseum Club, London, . - - - 2 

11. Appleton, John W. M. - - - - 2 

12. Appleton, Thomas Q-. - - . . n 

13. Appleton, Samuel 1 

14. Appleton, William ----- 22 3 

15. Austin, Edward, 2.S 

16. Austin, James T. 2 

17. Balch, Thomas, Philadelphia, - - - 1 

18. Balfour, David M. 82 6 

19. Ballard & Prince, 1 

20. Ballou, Maturin M. - - - - - 

21. Bates, Mrs. Joshua, London, - - - 2 

22. Barnard, Henry, Conn. . - - - 1 

23. Bigelow, Henry J., M.D. - . - - 6 

24. Bigelow, Jacob, M.D. . - . . 1 

26. Bigelow, John P. 453 624 





Biiiiiey, C. J. F. - .. - - - 1 
Binney, Horace, Philadelphia, - - - 

Bishop, Nathan, - - - - - 3 

Bolles, JohnA 24 

Boltwood, Lucius M., Amherst, - - - 2 

Bond, William C, Cambridge, . - - 1 

Boston, England - 1 

Boston, City of ..... 340 

Boston Mercantile Library Association, - - 1 

Boston Society for Medical Observation, - 4 

Boston Society of Natural History, - - 4 
Boston Young Men's Christian Union, - 

Bowditch, Henry I., M.D. - - - - 6 

Bowditch, J. 1 4 

Bowditch, N. L 1 

Bradford, Charles F. 1 

Bradlee, Eev. C. D., Cambridge, ... 8 

Bradlee, John N. 55 

Brooks, Peter C. - - - - - 144 

Brown, Obediah, Trustees of, - - - 12 

Buchanan, A., by Monroe & Co. - - - 4 

Bumham, Mrs. E. J. 3 

Bumham and Brother, - - - - 1 

Cambridge, City of, 1 

Capen, John, 4 

Cass, Mrs. L. A. - - - . - - 5 
Chandler, Greorge, Worcester, ... 
Channing, Walter, M.D. . - - - 

Chickering, Jesse, M.D. - - - - 1 

Cincinnati Young Men's Library Association, - 1 

Clapp, David 11 

Clapp, Otis --.--- 5 

Clapp, W. W. 7 

Coffin, Admiral Sir L 6«> 

Cogswell, J. G-., New York, - - - - 4 

Copeland, Elisha, 14 

Cornell, Wm. M., M.D 5 

Couthouy, J. P. *4 

Curtis, Josiah, M.D. 1 

Danforth, Mrs. Hannah G., - - - - 7 

Dall, William 70 

Davis, David E 2 

Dearborn, Nathaniel ----- 21 

Dench, Lawson B. - - . - - 3 

Dennett, C. F 

Dennet, W. H. 1 

Denton, William, 23 

Dillaway, Charles K. 

* A very early donation to the City. 













Vols. Famph. 

74. Dixon, B. Homer, 10 

76. Dodd, William, 1 8 

76. Dupee, James A. - - - : - - 1 

77. Durkee, Silas, M.D. 1 

78. Dwight, Louis, 4 

79. Eastburn, JohnH. 1 67 

80. Eliot, Samuel A 85 2 

81. Eolopoesis, Author of, 1 

82. Eustis, William T. . • - . . . 4 

83. Everett, Edward, (1 Statistical Table, 27 Maps 

and Charts,) 1653 836 

84. Flint, Charles L 17 1 

85. Foster, Miss F. E. 1 

86. French, B. F. ' 3 

87. French, James & Co., 2 

88. Frost, Oliver, - 10 

89. Gait, J. M., Va. 14 

90. Garrison, William L. 1 

91. Gasking, Samuel, 1 

92. Gilbert, A., New York, - - - 1 

93. Girard, Charles, Philadelphia, - - - 1 

94. Gould, A. A., M.D. 1 

95. Graham, Maj. George, Registrar General, Lon- 

don, by Josiah Curtis, M.D. - - - 8 

96. Gray, Asa, M.D. 2 

97. Gray, Francis C. ----- 57 

98. Greene, C. W., Greenwich, R. L - - - 33 

99. Griswold, Almon W. 1 

100. Guild, Albert, - 9 

101. Guild, Benjamin, ----- 3 

102. Guildhall Library Committee, London, - - 2 

103. Hale, Nathan and Charles, - - - - 1 

104. Hartshorn, Eliphalet P. - - - - 99 98 

105. Harvard College, President and Fellows of, - 5 

106. Hastings, Mary Ann, ----- 1 

107. Hay ward, George, M.D. - - - - 1 

108. Herrick, E. C, Yale College, - - - 1 

109. Higginson, Rev. T. W., Worcester, - - 1 

110. Hillard, George S. ----- 202 1 

111. Hills, George, 3 

112. Holland, Rev. F. W. 1 13 

113. Hooper, Robert C. (Subscription for Work of 

Prof. Agassiz,) 

114. Howe, John, Jr., 1 

1 15. Jackson, Abby C. 1 

116. Jackson, Francis, 1 

117. Jackson, James, M.D. 128 600 

118. Jarvis, Edward, M.D. 65 

119. Jones, J. S., M.D 2 


120. King, Mrs. Gedney - - - - - 

121. Kingman, Charles B 

122. Kittredge, Edward A., M.D. 

12,'3. Kneeland, Samuel, Jr., M.D. - - 

12 Jr. Lamb, Anthony, - - - - 

125. Lambord, William, 

126. Lawrence, Abbott, Jr. - : 

127. Lawrence, T. B. 

123. Li^e, Thomas J 

129. Leeds, Chiirlea H., New York, 

130. Lincoln, Roderick W., Jr. - 

131. Li vermore, George, Cambridge, . - - 

132. Loring, Ellis G. 

133. Loring, James S ^ - 

134. Lowell, John, 

135. Lniit, Win, P., D.D 

136. McCleary, S. F 

137. McCleary, S. F. Jr 

138. McMahon, Eev. J. B., M.D. - - - - 
l.;9. McVey, 

140. Manchester City Library, Trustees of, - 

141. Many penny, Geo. W., U. S. Com. Ind. AFs, - 

142. Maryland HistoriGal Society, 

143. I^lassachusottB Charitable Mechanic Association, 

144. Massacbuaetta Society for Promoting Agriculture, 

145. Massachusetts, State of - - - - 

146. Means, Eev J 

147. Merrill, Elizabeth L. 

148. Merritt, Mrs. J. 

149. Middlesex Mechanics Association, Lowell, 

150. Montagu, A. de 

151. Munroe, James 

152. Munroe, James & Co 

153. Munsell, J., Albany 

154. Murray Fund, Trustees of, - 

155. New York, State of, 

156. K Y, Mercantile Lib. Association, 

157. New York Society Library, - - - - 

158. New York University, Kegents of, - 

159. Norton, Charles B., N. Y. - 

100. Norton, Charles E 

101. Norwood, Samuel, 

162. Odiome, George, 

163. Otisi Mrs. Harrison Gray - . - - 

164. Paine, Martyn, M,D. N Y., eng'd Portraits, - 

105. Paris, City of, 2 Maps, - - - - 

106. Parker. Henry T. 

167. Parsons, Usher, M.D 

168. Peabody, Mrs. Augustus - - - . 

































Vols. Famph. 

169. Peabody Institute, Danvers, - - - - 1 

170. Pennsylvania, State of, - - - - 26 

171. Phillips, Jonathan, 315 790 

172. Phillips, Sampson & Co. - - - - 1 

173. Piper, Solomon, ------ 1 

174. Poole, William R . - . - - 1 

175. Potter, E. E., E. I. 10 10 

176. Prescott, Frederick W. . - . - 99 20 

177. Pulsifer, David, 1 

178. Putnam, Charles G., M.D. - - - - 330 166 

179. Quincy, Eliza S. - 1 

180. Quincy, Josiah, Sen'r. ----- 2 

181. Eeed, Sampson, 33 

182. Eeid, Hiram A. 2 

183. Ehode Island Historical Society, - - - 2 1 

184. Eichardson, James B. ----- 22 

186. Eich Brothers, London, - - - . 4 24 

186. Eichmond, John W., Providence, - - - 2 

187. Eiddlc, Edward, 1 

188. Bobbins, Chandler, D.D. . - - . 4 

189. Eoelker, Bernard, 2 

190. Buggies, S. B., New York, - - - - 1 

191. San Francisco Mer. Library Association, - 1 1 

192. Sawyer, F. W - 1 

193. Sears, David, Medals. 

194. Seaver, Benjamin, 1 1 

195. Shaw, G. Rowland, ... - - 1 

196. Shurtleff, Nathaniel B., M.D. - - - 23 227 

197. Sinclair, A. D 5 

198. Smith, Elbridge, Cambridge, - - - 1 

199. Snow, Eev. Herman 2 

200. Southey, Thomas, England, - - - - 3 

201. Sparks, Jared, 1 

202. Spear, Eev. Charles 6 9 

203. Spurr, 0. H. ----- - 6 

204. Stodder, Charles, ----- 4 

205. Sumner, Charles, 3 7 

206. Sumner, W. H. Eoxbury, . - - - 1 

207. Sunderland, La Eoy, 6 

208. Symonds, Sarah W. 3 

209. Tarbell, Mrs. Thomas 11 166 

210v Thayer, Gideon F 20 201 

211. Thompson, Mrs. Louisa - - - - 32 

212. Thornton, J. Wingate, 13 

213. Thwing, Thomas, 16 

214. Ticknor, George, 14 Charts, &;c., - - - 1246 70 

215. Ticknor, Eeed & Fields, - - - - 3 

216. Torrey, Henry W 1 

217. Turner, J. W. - . - . . i 


Vols. Pamph. 

218. United States, 145 

219. United States State Department, - - - 94: 

220. United States Patent Office, - - - - 3 

221. United States Treasury Department, 10 charts. 

222. United States War Department, - - - 16 

223. Vermont University, - : - . - 1 

224. Wales, George W. 8 

225. Walker, Amasa, 1 

226. Ward, Samuel G. 5 

227. Ware, John, M.D. 239 307 

228. Warren, John G., M.D. - . . - 5 

229. Warren, J. Mason, M.D. . - - - 30 

230. Warren Street Chapel Library, - - - 12 

231. Webb, Thos. H., M.D. 1 

232. Webster Daniel, 6 

233. Webster, Kev. George W., Wheeling, - - 1 

234. Weld, Moses W., M.D., 1 Crystallotype, - 2 

235. Wells, Kev. E. M. P. - - - - - 1 

236. Welsh, Charles W., U. S. Navy Department, - 21 2 

237. West, Mrs. E. L. 2 

238. Wetherbee, Moses H. 3 

239. Wetmore, Thomas, ----- 8 

240. Whipple & Black, 20 Crystallotypes. 

241. Whitney, Erederic A., Brighton, - - - 30 

242. Whitwell, Samuel, 68 112 

243. Wilkins, John H. 69 

244. Willard, E. A., M.D. 2 

245. Williams, Henry W., M.D. - - - . 1 1 

246. Williams, John D. W 296 26 

247. Willis, Nathaniel, 27 

248. Wilson, John, - 2 

249. Winthrop, Kobert C 288 32 

250. Wise, Henry A. 1 

251. Withington, Kev. William, - - - - 1 

252. Woods, Charles, .-:-.- 1 

253. Wright, Ephraim M. 10 

September 17, 1865. 

Whole number of names registered in the Beading Boom, 10,215 

Whole number of accounts opened for borrowing Books, 8,858 

Number of volumes in the Library, - - - - 22,047 



From the City Council. 

Benjamin Seayer, Edward S. Erying, 

Sampson Eeed, James B. Allen, 

Lyman Perry, George W. Warren, 

James Lawrence, George Wilson. 

From the Citizens at Large. 

Edward Eyerett, Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, 

George Ticknor, Thomas G. Appleton. 

John P. Bigelow, 


From the Citizens at Large. 

Edward Eyerett, Fres., - . - - 1852, 1853, 1854, 1855. 

George Ticknor, " " " ** 

John P. Bigelow, " " " 

Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, - - - - ** ** " ** 

Thomas G. Appleton, ----- " " " 

From the Board of Aldermen, 

Sampson Keed, 1852, 1853. 

Oliyer Frost, -.-. - 1854. 

Abel B. Munroe, 1854. 

John M. Clark, 1855. 

George W. Messenger, -------- 1855. 

From the Conwnon Council, 

George W. Warren, 1852, 1853, 1854. 

Joseph Story, 1855. 






n'S^TIu^, } /^- ^ ^-'^ of '^^-^- 

George Odiorne, from the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. 
George W. Warren, from the Common, Council. 


Named in Ike Ordinance. 

Egbert C. Winthrop, Pres., Gborgb Ticknor, 

Samuel G. Ward, Nathaniel B. Shubtleef. 

Chosen by the City QncncU, 
Charles Woo1>bbrby, of the Board of Aldermen. 
SZ^D^^^umi] ^^ ^ Common Council. 

The borrower must return this item on or before 
the last date stamped below. If another user 
places a recall for this item, the borrower will 
be notified of the need for an earlier return. | 

Non-receipt of overdue notices does not exempt 
the borrower from overdue fines. 

Harvard College Widener Library 
Cambridge, MA 02138 617-495-2413 

Please handle with care- 

Thank you for helping to preserve 
library collections at Harvard,