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During the month of January, 1899, there were received at the Library by purchase 740 books and 211 pamphlets, and by gift 9,847 books and 36,985 pamphlets.
There were catalogued 4,341 volumes and 2,987 pamphlets, for which purpose 20,815 cards and 2,328 slips for the printer were written.
The following table shows the number of readers and the number of volumes consulted in both the Astor and Lenox branches of the Library during the month:
The most important gift of the month is that of the books and pamphlets of the Ford Library, as shown by the following letter:
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES,
NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY.
JAN. 3rd, 1899.
It is our wish to present to the New York Public Library the collection of books, pamphlets, prints, maps, etc., formed by our father, the late Gordon Lester Ford, and to constitute the gift a memorial to him. It numbers about one hundred thousand pieces, for the most part relating to American history and to Political Economy, in each of which subjects it is probably the largest private collection in this country; with a library of general character containing not a few rare and desirable books.
In offering this collection to the New York Public Library we do not wish to lessen the value of the gift by imposing conditions which shall hamper and clog its usefulness to you or to the public. We, therefore, only ask that each volume shall be so marked as to show that it is part of this collection, and that in the new building some suitable means be adopted to call attention to the fact that it contains the Gordon Lester Ford collection.
Should this gift be accepted, we shall not, in transferring it to your shelves, terminate our interest, but shall continue adding to it, as we have since our father bequeathed it to us.
Gordon Lester Ford began as a collector of autographs about 1840, and was one of four men who were interested in manuscripts at that time. Of these four, three left large collections to be dispersed by sale-Tefft, Cist and Sprague;—and of those who came later, like Emmet, Leffingwell and Duer, only the stores of Emmet and Duer have remained intact. Buying at first the autographs of prominent characters, Mr. Ford gradually ceased to accumulate mere autographs and confined his attention to historical manuscripts, believing them to be a necessary complement to any historical library.
From autographs it was an easy stage to books and pamphlets. Beginning as a collector of general literature, Mr. Ford gradually specialized, and finally gave his attention almost entirely to works on American history, and especially its political history. The collection is particularly strong on pamphlets of local or family records, the fruits of the earlier years of collecting; while the long series of tracts and contemporary records of the Stamp Act and revolutionary periods point to the gradual concentration of effort in that particular line. Continuing at a later period, the history of the Constitution and of political parties under it was regarded, and thus the library is very full and complete in a form of controversial writings of high value to the student of the history of the United States, and one that is extremely difficult to obtain. The long series of political pamphlets relating to Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, and Madison are proof of this; while the even longer series of tracts on political controversies from the Revolution through the Rebellion evidence the catholicity of taste and the ardor of collecting.
Strong as it is in this general feature of political and constitutional history, its strength and importance are shown in its special lines. The Franklin collection contains some unique features; while the Washingtoniana is very numerous. The Thomas Paine and William Cobbett features are notable, and the Noah Webster is very complete. In every part of the collection may be found volumes containing manuscript notes by the writers or by persons interested. It was not a mere presentation from the author that was wanted, but a copy containing his annotations or new material.
From government and politics the interest spread to political economy, and a very large collection of economic writings was the result. It was not only English and American works that were obtained, but those published in France, Germany and Italy were purchased freely. Even here some specialties were developed, such
as the editions of Adam Smith, the controversies over the West Indian trade, the Bullion report, the Bank Act of 1844 and the repeal of the Corn Laws. In American matters there is special fulness on tariff legislation, taxation, and currency.
In the later years of Mr. Ford's collection he was assisted by his sons Worthington C. and Paul Leicester Ford; and after his death, November 14th, 1891, they continued to add largely to both books and manuscripts. The autographs and manuscripts of the collection have been purchased by Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan, of New York, who will select from them such as he wishes to retain for his private collection and will present the remainder as his gift to the New York Public Library.
Among other important gifts of the month are the following:-From the Bibliotheca Nacional de Rio de Janeiro, 13 volumes and 11 pamphlets; from the Duc de Loubat, I volume, a reproduction of an old Spanish manuscript; from Charles Howland Russell, 14 volumes and 36 pamphlets, including a set of the Harvard Graduates' Magazine; from the Social Reform Club, 26 volumes and 192 pamphlets; from F. A. Sorge, 147 volumes, 276 pamphlets and about 400 newspapers; and from Everett P. Wheeler, 16 volumes, being partial sets of the Telegrapher and of the Journal of the Telegraph.
At a stated meeting of the Board of Trustees of the New York Public Library, held on February 8th, 1899, Mr. Bird S. Coler was elected as a member of the Board to fill the vacancy caused by the death of S. Van Rensselaer Cruger, in accordance with a change in the by-laws of the Board, in which it is prescribed that the Comptroller of the City of New York shall be elected a member ex officio.
CHARLES I's EXPEDITION AGAINST THE COVENANTERS IN 1639.
The following letters, from the Hardwicke papers, relate to the expedition of Charles I. against the Covenanters in the summer of 1639. The writer, Edward Norgate, illuminator and herald-painter, attended the king on this occasion as clerk of the signet. His correspondent was Robert Reade, secretary to Sir Francis Windebank, secretary of state and one of the comptrollers of the posts.
I promised you news. Promise is a debt and debts [are] payable by the rich as they are willing, and the poor as they are able. In some, Payments in single money is still payment, and what I cannot send you by Gross, you shall have by Retail. For here we serve Fortune by the day, when the Season is as variable as the people and reports we meet withall. At our first coming the King was met, received, and brought in by the gallantaria of this Country, People bravely vested & mounted thereafter. No King in Christendom can wish better subjects, whose greatest contention was to exceed in all expressions of zeal to the Kings service, wherein was neither want of cost or want of Courage. The first few days of our Stay here was past over in feastings & entertainments, the Lord Mayor feasting the King who knighted him & the Recorder. For Sr Arthur Ingram is not to be
named, whose every room is a several Apollo, and the Inventory of his dishes as long as these country miles. He lodges and feeds the Lo: General, the Earls of Pembroke & Salisbury, Secry Coke, with many others, & for Commanders and gallants of the short Robe, his house is the only Rendezvous. Hither are come more than a good many of the Scots, with many complaints of insolencies done by Covenanters, & losses sustained by themselves. But there is no greater discord between the two Nations, than in their reports. Some of them tell how narrowly they escaped, what Castles and Towns taken, what people imprison'd. That the Covenanters are all mad with rage & rebellion, and will venture upon any attempt, though never so dangerous or desperate. Others again deny this; and say they came fairly off, that the Covenanters have not hurt any man, not so much as a broken pate can appear, more than the stealing a little plate from the Earl of Winton; that they are instantly become very loving worms, & will lye prostrate at his Majesties feet upon the first appearance of his power, or signification of his pleasure. What to do with these reports, or how to reconcile 'em in faith I know not. You have what I hear, yet it is but sheet news, for you know I am of the Court, I am not of the Council and yet not the wiser. The Earl of Essex is in Berwick with 2000 men, from whence St Jacob Astley came hither this night, and hath been long with the King. Berwick and Carlisle are I hope secure. So that we may care the less what they do in Scotland. Some say they are all ready to disband, others that they are more vengeable minded than ever, and ready for any mischief. When I hear news of more truth and certainty, you shall have it. Present my humble service to the noble Secretary, & all my smaller friends there. Mr Thomas Windbanke came hither this Saturday night & is very well & merry. Mr Secretary is still at Sr Arthur Ingram's & hath no Diet but his. If I had as much matter as leisure, I coud weary out a Quire of paper & you. Sr Abraham's quality of angling were to me a Revenue, for then I might hope to catch something towards a dinner in these catching times. But to live altogether upon expence, is a melancholy matter. Will present my love, and best wishes to my Bro' Warwick, and intreat him to remember my Bro' [Sir Balthazer] Gerbier* Selon que les occasions se presenteront. So I will conclude with Dulman in Ignoramus. Si ingrossas instrumenta bene est. Ego quidem non ingresso Instrumenta. you all health & happiness because I am
16th April 1639.
Yo' affectionate Cousin and Servant
I thank you for your kind visit & am glad to hear that my wife was abroad and amongst em, I care more for her health than her housewifery & had rather she were well abroad, than sick at home, yet your love is not the less, nor my obligation. You shall not fail to hear how the world goes here, provided you will take things as we are made believe they are, for here are frequent reports as different & irreconcileable as the Nations. Yesterday came the news of the revolt of the Lo: Marquis Huntley to the Covenanters. He hath signed their Articles, sworn
Resident at Brussels "-Marginal note by Lord Hardwicke.
to their party, & feasted some of the principal, & is gone into the Mountains it matters not wither. Of this, & him, all here speak shame enough. The King was two days ago at Selby at the Horse quarter, whence he returned very well pleased with the sight & order of most goodly troups about 700. They are gone now towards Newcastle whether we follow on Monday come sevenight, the King is lodged & feasted by Mr. Treasurer at his Castle at Raby on Monday and the next day will be at Newcastle. The King said last night at supper that he was told that Colonel or General Lesly (for so the King called him) should report, that he would meet the King upon the Borders, or rather near Berwick with 30,000 men, & there he would parley with him. Most intolerable insolency of so worthless a Vassal to such a Sovereign. The Foot Companies coming hither have committed many insolencies upon the way especially the Essex men who have killed a woman with Child, and others, besides robbing & spoiling passengers & houses as they pass. I send this Letter by Sr. Oliver Fleming* who hath this day taken his leave of the King and returns into Switzerland. He is a most worthy honest hearted Gent: and my ancient acquaintance, and one that is worthy of yours: the rather because he desires it. And though I need not appear in so just a request wherein his own merit is incomparabley above my oratory. Yet I am confidentwhen you know him as I do, you will find, or make occasion to do him fair offices to the noble Secretary, whose affectionate servant he professes to be. Entreat my Bro'. Warwicke to partake in what I write concerning this Gent: as well as in all the Services I have sent or shall send from hence, where in there is not a line, letter nor recommendations, but is, and is to be, divided betwixt you. Tell him that wherever I am, I am his and yours, and hope he will not marry yet because whether I live or die, he hath a wife & some children to look after, who hope he will prove as good a husband as he hath been a Bro". By this time I hope Mr. Secretary Coke may see how impertinent and inconvenient it was to trouble this journey with S. Abraham Williams and myself. There being not business for half a hand. He's now here at a great & unnecessary charge. Mr. Secretary bad me write to stay his coming which I did, which he did second with his own. Letter to that effect. It seems that his wife hurried him away, fearing I got all & more too. And now having met with my Letter she swaggers with him to have him return as fast. But he will on. Mr. Secretary is still with Sr. Arthur Ingram who lodges & feasts eleven Lords & persons of Quality, besides a world of comers & goers incessantly. But I forget myself and think your leisure and mine alike. Present my service to all my friends, in especial to your self who extreamly oblige me by this favor and conveyance of my Letters to and again. But I may live to requite you by a better way than dying. Mr. Thomas Windbanke is very well and warm, arm'd in Buff, and made his appearance among the rest of those Cavalliers at Selby. So with my love remembered I rest and am
YORK, 19th April 1639.
Yor very affectionate Cousin & Servant
* "Afterwards Master of ye Ceremonys to the Protector" wicke.
-Marginal note by Lord Hard