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[306] for the use of the institution.1 And now began the practical labors of organizing the scheme, collecting the books, and perfecting the details of a system as yet entirely new and untried.

To follow Mr. Ticknor minutely and closely through all the steps of the development of this work would require more space than belongs to the subject here, but at certain points his influence and his exertions may be described. The whole was in harmony with his life-long purpose, to make his own intellectual attainments useful by promoting culture in others.

That much labor fell upon him it is needless to say to any one who, with any knowledge of what had to be accomplished, regards certain facts,—his fitness for the work; his responsibility for the plan; the general ignorance about such institutions, which could not fail to be represented in the Board of Trustees; and the absence of Mr. Everett during a very important part of the time, he being in Washington, as Secretary of State of the United States, from November, 1852, till May, 1854.

Before Mr. Bates's offer of his first great donation was received, the City Government had granted the use of two small rooms in a school-house in Mason Street for the purposes of the library, and although the scale on which even the preliminaries were to be designed was, of course, altered by this gift, it was in those small rooms, and with about twelve thousand volumes, —only seven thousand of which could be called attractive or popular,—that the institution opened, in 1854.

Mr. Ticknor's first step was to induce Mr. Bates to have his gift funded, and to have this done in such a way that the income only should be expended by the Trustees, and also to prevail on the Trustees to agree that this should be done.2 This he brought to pass, and during the year and a half that elapsed between the first news of Mr. Bates's intentions and the opening of the little library, an immense amount of detail work was done

1 See vote of Trustees, October 18, 1864, in ‘Memorial of Joshua Bates,’ pp. 14, 15.

2 His reason for this was that it would promote other donations, from citizens who would feel secure of the permanence of their gifts.

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