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[305] well appointed-four or five thousand volumes were stored, consisting of documents given by the city of Paris, by Mr. Winthrop, Mr. Everett, and others,—books entirely unsuited to stimulate either the popular taste for reading, or the disposition of the Common Council to make appropriations. In the city treasury was the sum of one thousand dollars, given about two years before by the then mayor, Mr. J. P. Bigelow, ‘in aid of the establishment of a Free Public Library,’ from the income of which some of the books had been bought. Clearly the library was yet to be founded.

The newly formed Board of Trustees appointed a committee of four to consider their work, and Mr. Everett and Mr. Ticknor were made a sub-committee to draw up a report. Mr. Ticknor prepared for this purpose a paper, expounding the principles and plan on which the institution was to be founded,—these being his own,—and Mr. Everett left this entirely untouched, adding some pages, at the beginning and end, on the general import of the project.1 From this moment Mr. Ticknor felt that he had assumed a great responsibility, and, while he never met with obstacles raised by Mr. Everett, who was loyal throughout, yet he was led, thenceforward, to make many exertions, and to do much laborious, disinterested work, both here and in Europe, which would not otherwise have been incumbent on him.2

When Mr. Bates's munificence came, like a great light shining in upon their faint hopes, it came in consequence of the effect produced on his mind by this report,—drawn up by Mr. Ticknor and Mr. Everett,—because he saw the importance to his native town of such a library as is there recommended.3 Here, then, was the founding of a library, a gift of $50,000, with the condition annexed, that the city should erect a suitable building

1 City document, No. 37, 1852. Mr. Ticknor's part, p. 9 to p. 21.

2 He spent more than a year abroad, in 1856-57, at his own expense, for the express purpose of conferring with Mr. Bates, establishing agencies, and purchasing books for the Library.

3 In his letter to Mr. Seaver, October 1, 1852, Mr. Bates says, he is ‘impressed with the importance to rising and future generations of such a library as is recommended.’

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