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These it is believed, are the principal public libraries of the United States, belonging to city corporations, literary societies, or to other associations, aniounting to 230,000. About thirty additional libraries in various cities of the United States, might be named embracing each a small number of volumes. If we allow 1000 vols, to each of them (many of which will doubtless fall short of this number) we shall have 30,000 volumes to add to the above, making the amount of volumes, in all the public libraries of this description, 260,000. Thus we have for the public libraries of the United States: Belonging to Colleges
316,900 Theological Seminaries,
83,800 Other libraries,
Total, 660,700 These 660,700 vols. are found in about 200 libraries of colleges, college students, theological seminaries, etc., and if brought together, in order to form one library, would be reduced to about 550,000 vols. by rejecting all copies excepting one of works which would occur, some two hundred times; some, one hundred and fifty times ; some, one hundred ; some, ninety; some, eighty; and some, fifty times ; and so on as we descended from the common popular works found in every library, down to those that are more rare and are met with only in a few. This reduction is necessary in order to institute a just comparison with single libraries of Europe.
The principal libraries of Europe that contain more than 100,000 volumes are the following: Royal Library of Paris,
400,000 vols. Central Library of Munich,
360,000 Imperial Library of St. Petersburgh,
300,000 Imperial Library at Vienna,
300,000 University of Göttingen,
300,000 Bodleian Library at Oxford,
300,000 Royal Library, Copenhagen,
260,000 Royal Library, Dresden,
250,000 Ducal Library, Wolfenbüttel,
210,000 British Museum,
200,000 Royal Library, Berlin,
200,000 Royal Library, Madrid,
200,000 St. Mary's, Venice,
Total, 5,797,000 Whole number of volumes in thirty European libraries
each containing more than 100,000 volumes, 5,797,000 Number of volumes in all the public libraries of Ger
many, including the Austrian empire and Prussia, 6,650,000 Number of volumes in all the public libraries of Paris, 1,330,000 Number of volumes in all the public libraries of Lyons, 600,000 Number of volumes in the public libraries of Marseilles, 150,000
Public Libraries of the city of New York, viz.
11,000 Columbia College,
8,000 Historical Society,
10,000 Episcopal Seminary,
Total, 69,500 From the preceding exposition it appears, that the whole number of volumes contained in about two hundred public libraries of the United States (amounting to 660,700), barely exceeds, numerically, the number contained in the libraries of the city of Lyons. And, if reduced to one library, would not greatly exceed, in number of volumes, some of the first rate libraries of Europe.
Again; the whole number of volumes contained in all the public libraries of the United States, form but about the tenth part of the number contained in the public libraries of Germany, viz. 6,650,000; or about half the number contained in the public libraries of Paris, viz. 1,330,000. In other words, the number of volumes belonging to the public libraries of the States of Germany amounts to 5,989,300 beyond the number to be found on the shelves of the public libraries of the whole United States. So also, the libraries of the city of Paris alone, embracing 1,330,000 volumes, exceed those of the whole United States by 669,300 volumes. And the city of Lyons alone can boast of nearly as many volumes in its public libraries, as would be furnished by all the public libraries of the twenty-six United States.
Again ; the public libraries of the city of New York collectively, amount to 69,500 volumes. If these 69,500 volumes were brought together, assorted and arranged, rejecting duplicates, etc. in order to form one library; it would numerically not much exceed the single library of Harvard University.
Again; it appears that ail the public libraries of the city of New York, will furnish about one ninth part of the number of volumes embraced in the libraries of the city of Lyons; with which, in point of population, and devotion to manufactures and commerce, a comparison may be instructively made ; and not one half as many volumes as are contained in the public libraries of Marseilles, an enterprising commercial city, with a population one half as great as that of New York.
If it be objected that the libraries of Europe have been accumulating centuries upon centuries, and thus have swollen to their present imposing size, we would remark, that the university of Göttingen dates its origin a century later than our own Harvard, and is now one of the first institutions of the age, with a library of 300,000 volumes; while our venerable Harvard has not yet been able to rise above its 42,000. The university of Berlin was founded in 1809, and is now one of the most distinguished of the universities of Germany, with a library of 200,000 volumes. The library of the university of Bonn, chartered in 1818, already numbers 50,000 volumes, exceeding the number of volumes contained in the library of Harvard University, that has just witnessed its second centennial celebration.
We ask, then, again, Is it not high time to commence an enterprise not merely noble and ennobling in itself, but really essential to the future prosperity, happiness and respectability of our country?
If there is a distinguishing trait of national character in the American people, it is untiring energy. There is here an elasticity of mind which, under the influence of our free institutions, VOL. XI. No. 29.
has both the opportunity and space to expand; and under the pressure of adversity, the power which exists in no other country, and under no other system, to resist and overcome obstacles. Naturally connected with this is the conception of large plans for the future. Every plan must, of necessity, be conceived on a grand scale, or we fall below the standard of American character. When we consider the amount of mind in active exercise in the United States, at work for good or for evil, is it not manifest that the food of mind ought to be of a quality and quantity suited to the exigencies of the case ?
When the dearth of literary food in the country is considered; —when the facts are stated which show how far it is behind some petty States, or even cities, of Europe, will the citizens of the United States be alarmed at a proposition to make their country the depository of the best library in the world?
We should not feel ourselves to be worthy of the country in which we live, could we consent to offer a little or contracted scheme, for their approbation. Who can calculate the advantages to this country of such a library? Who can estimate the effect on religion, literature, the sciences, the arts, on commerce, agriculture, manufactures, not of this country only, but of the whole world?
Lest, however, a feeling of discouragement should possess our minds in view of the supposed annount of time necessary for the accumulation of such a library, as is here contemplated, judging, as we are prone to do, by the more tardy operations of our transatlantic brethren, we are reminded forcibly of a fact, which needs only to be mentioned in order to rouse our energies, and encourage a well grounded confidence of success. We allude to the circumstance that every enterprise, of whatever character, though pregnant with difficulties, and apparently impracticable, has, when undertaken with the genuine American hardiness, and pertinacity, been brought to its accomplishment with a rapidity, which, though nothing but the natural development of vigorous faculties, under propitious circumstances, excites the amazement of every foreigner, who visits our favored shores. Two years since, the devouring element swept over acres of the crowded city of New York, and now a vestige scarce remains of its awful ravages. The foreigner, on his arrival asks to see the ruins of the great conflagration ; but they “are not.” The animated hum of business alone is heard, and, in a few more months, the event itself will appear like a vague dream, or a remote tradition.
It must, therefore, be acknowledged that another distinguishing trait of American character, is the unrivalled promptness and rapidity with which even the largest plans are carried forward to their accomplishment. The interval between the conception and the execution, usually filled up with doubts, and fears, trials and failures, hopes and anxieties, is here almost annihilated by the absorbing energy with which we press forward to the consummation.
Finally : Is there a spot on the surface of the globe whose geographical position, whose facilities for intercourse with every clime, whose easy, rapid, and comparatively cheap acquisition of every foreign valuable article it seeks to attain, in a word whose physical, commercial and political advantages call so loudly and impressively upon its citizens, to make it the envied depot not merely of every description of merchandise, but also of literature, of learning, of science, of the arts, and of their inseparable and indispensable co-adjutor—an ample library ?
Design of TheologICAL SEMINARIES.
By the Rev. L. P. Hickok, Professor of Didactic Theology, in the Western Reserve
College, Hudson, Ohio.
The great object before the church is the subjection of the world to Jesus Christ. The chief instrument divinely appointed for this end is the holy ministry. God has given to it the high commission to “disciple all nations," and each minister in bis own station is, as far as possible, to promote this object. The obligation thus resting alike upon all, secures in the aggregate the accomplishment of the ultimate end, in proportion to their number and extension. No single station has a right to urge its claims in competition with the interests of the whole. If, in the enlightened observation of christian wisdom, the ultimate design can be best promoted by the transfer of one man to another station, this, and not the separate interest of any place, must bind the conscience and control the conduct.
This article was delivered by the author as an inaugural address.-Ed.