Saturday, February 11, 2012
67th Annual Report, 1884
SIXTY-SEVENTH ANNUAL REPORT OF THE TRUSTEES OF THE NEW YORK STATE LIBRARY FOR THE YEAR 1884,
TRANSMITTED TO THE LEGISLATURE JANUARY 8, 1885, ALBANY: WEED, PARSONS AND COMPANY. 1885
REPORT To the Legislature of the State of New York :
The Regents of the University, as trustees of the State Library, submit to the Legislature, in pursuance of law, their Sixty-seventh
Owing to the delay in the preparation of the rooms designed for the permanent occupancy of the library, it has been necessary to conduct its affairs under the same disadvantages which surrounded it at the date of the last annual report. The want of adequate space for the accommodation of readers has been seriously felt, but in even a greater degree the want of proper space in which to arrange the books, maps, pamphlets and other material composing the library has interposed serious hindrances to the usefulness of the library. It has been impossible to secure an arrangement of the books which would furnish that ready access to the works in the library which is the end of its establishment. A heavy burden has been imposed on the librarians under these circumstances to meet so far as possible the legitimate wishes of the readers. The duplicate stock of the library is stored in a very inadequate and inconvenient room in the basement, and it is impossible to conduct the system of exchanges of the library on a proper scale.
In the meantime, however, progress is made in the preparation of the rooms. The walls have been completed and much has been done toward the construction of the ceilings and galleries. The librarians have been engaged in studying out the proper arrangement of the books, and in laying out for the use of the architect a plan for the construction of the cases. A serious difficulty has arisen on account of the diversion of a portion of the space designed for the law library to other uses. The service of the law library requires a large amount of floor space for the arrangement of the books. The portion left for it without some further addition is quite inadequate. The library is an institution which by its very nature and constitution must have space for -growth. The number of books has doubled in the past twenty years, and it may be estimated that in twenty years more it will contain not less than 250,000 volumes. The law library is only excelled in the whole country in number of volumes and in intrinsic value by the Law Department of the Congressional Library. It is plain, therefore, that in respect to the library at least an ample provision must be made for growth and expansion.
During past year the room in the State Hall occupied by the historical records was demanded by the State Museum, and in consequence the whole of the material collected there was removed to the new Capitol and deposited in temporary quarters. The trustees have taken measures to have all this material incorporated with the other historical documents in the library, and arranged with it in the rooms of the library. The clerk in charge, Mr. Berthold Fernow, has completed the preparation of a volume to comprise a complete historical register of the soldiers from the State of New York, who were engaged in the Revolutionary war. This volume is now ready for publication, and only awaits a provision to be made by the Legislature for its publication.
The Legislature last winter made an appropriation of $5,000 for the purchase of the Tompkins papers. The negotiation has been completed, and these valuable treasures are now in the library. The work of editing and indexing the George Clinton papers has been continued by the Hon. George W. Clinton. The work on the original papers are essentially complete ; but by a fortunate purchase the library has acquired a very material and important addition. When the arrangement and indexing of this collection of papers are completed they will form an important addition to our knowledge of the history of the revolutionary period. In an interesting report hereto appended, Judge Clinton has given an account of his work during the past year.
It has been deemed desirable by the trustees to change the date of closing the library-year from the end of the calendar year to the thirtieth day of September, which is the close of the fiscal year of the State. The purchases for the library are nearly all made during the nine months beginning with the first of October. The interval following this period gives the most fitting opportunity to close up not only the financial transactions of the library, but also to sum up the statements as to the additions to the library by purchase or by donation and exchange. On account of this change in the ending of the library year, the statement for the present year does not include the period from the first of October to the first of January, and in consequence presents a somewhat smaller addition than would have otherwise been reported.
Notable among the donations was that of Erastus Corning, Esq., of Albany, who gave 440 volumes of New York Laws and Legislative documents; 507 volumes of Congressional documents; 104 volumes of the Congressional Globe; 316 volumes of miscellaneous documents, and ten bundles of odd numbers of periodicals, pamphlets, etc.
By the statutes regulating their establishment, the Court of Appeals library at Syracuse, the Court of Appeals library at Kochester, and the law libraries at Brooklyn, Buffalo and Saratoga, are required to make annual reports to the trustees of the State library. No report has been received from the library at Syracuse.
The Rochester library reports that 136 volumes have been added during the preceding year of which 126 were by purchase, and ten by donation. The amount expended for books was. $588.75. In addition the sum of $89.40 was expended for binding, and $39.98 for stationery, and $4.60 for postage. The librarian is Le Hoy Satterlee, who receives a salary of $1,200.
H. R. PIERSON, Chancellor,
State Library, January 8, 1885.
REPORT OF THE LIBRARIAN OF THE GENERAL LIBRARY.
To the Regents of the University Trustees of the State Library :
The number of volumes added to the general library during the nine months ending September 30, 1884, is 1,358, making the whole number of volumes in this department of the library at that date to be 88,042. The enumeration of the volumes covers only nine months, as the request was made by the trustees that the report on the library should henceforth be conformed to the State's fiscal year.
The library, as was anticipated at the time of makings: the last report, still continues in the temporary and contracted quarters in the Capitol, where it was placed last year, and it will continue there probably for at least a year longer. Students engaged in researches can in almost all cases be supplied as promptly as usual with the books which they desire. We have not, however, sufficient chairs and room to accommodate persons obtaining an education, and the learned class at the same time. Very little use has been made as yet of the permission of the trustees that the librarian should withhold the privilege of using them from young people if their presence was embarrassing.
In regard to additions made to the library during the past year, we have been obliged to abstain from the general orders for purchases from Europe, because the money appropriated by the State for purchases was so soon exhausted. The increase in number and costliness of the class of books called Americana, as pertaining to American history, is very marked. The firms engaged in the publication of county histories all over the United States are quite numerous. The histories which they publish, even when we obtain them at a considerable discount from the published price, cost the State frequently from five to ten dollars each. Usually no more copies of these histories are printed than are subscribed for. I see no sufficient reason for declining to purchase them, or for expecting that we will in the future be able to purchase them at a lower rate.
The most important purchases made for the library at any one sale were those made from the library of Henry C. Murphy of
Brooklyn, although they amounted to not more than the sum of six hundred dollars, on account of our want of funds. Manuscripts amounting to over five hundred closely written folios were bought for the State at this sale, all of which refer to matters within the first fifteen years of the history of New Netherlands and include the discovery of the North river by Henry Hudson in 1609. Mr. Murphy while resident at the Hague as Minister of the United States from 1857 to 1861, sedulously sought for any notices he could find of Hudson's voyage, in the records of the Dutch East and West India Companies at Amsterdam or the Hague, and he caused copies of them to be carefully made. These copies are included among these purchased papers.
But the most numerous and valuable of the whole are copies of papers and reports of Willem Usselinex never yet printed. Usselinex's name does not appear in the subject-index to the Colonial History of New York, although it does occur in Brodhead's History of New York, yet with the development of the study of our early history, induced by that publication by the State, Usselinex's name has become one of exceeding prominence and interest. His career commenced about the year 1500, and though he never held a public office, he was pre-eminent among the founders of the Dutch East and West India Companies, especially of the latter. There are fifty printed publications from his pen from the year 1606 to 1644, nearly all of them having reference to the establishment and the success of these companies, which he influenced more than any private individual. An exile from Belgium along with one hundred and fifty thousand other Belgians, he designed that these companies by mercantile colonies like Manhattan, should be the means of overthrowing Spanish domination, the power of which was derived from the colonies. This West India Company in the early days of New Netherland was very prominent in shaping its affairs.
While residing in the Netherlands, Mr. Murphy, besides procuring the writings of Usselincx which have been printed, secured copies of several memoirs of his which never have been in print, and probably have neither been read or seen for two hundred years. They had been addressed by Usselincx to the States General or to W. I. Company in successive years from 1620 to 1644. It will be remembered that when Mr. Brodhead, the agent for New York in 1841, desired when in the Netherlands to secure copies of the records of the West India Company, he was greatly disappointed to learn that this material which he had regarded as his chief magazine of information, had been publicly sold as waste paper twenty years previously. Usselinex's name had not served him as a guide in searching among the archives either at the Hague or at Amsterdam. Mr, Murphy, however, was so fortunate as to obtain copies officially attested as correct, of four memorials addressed by Usselinex to the States General, recounting his own acts and those of the West India Company in favor of colonial extension. He was entitled to receive for his services a certain percentage of the profits. Besides translating one of Usselinex's papers from the Dutch, Mr. Murphy read over all of his writings printed or in manuscript which he could find, and copied in English extracts from all the passages where the writer referred to America or to New Netherland. No memoir has ever yet been published of this industrious, active and eloquent man, but we are happy to know that one is being prepared. The unique matter in these manuscripts is worth all the rest of the purchases made at the sale, and it is pleasant to think that they can now bide their time in all safety in the New Capitol.
Other purchases at this sale were of works relating to the history of our Canadian neighbors on the north, and of our Mexican neighbors on the south, with whose capitol we have become united with bonds of steel during the past year. Uur own peculiar history has been enriched with the rare supplemental volume to Van Metercu's History of the Netherlands, which was published in 1611, and contains the first printed account of the voyage of Hudson up the North river to Albany in 1609. Two facsimiles of letters of Columbus, and one of a letter of Americus Vespucius in Spanish, printed in Rome in 1881, with an Italian translation appeal to those who love minute completeness. The edition of Eusebius Chronicon, by Henry Stephens, at Paris in 1512, which is another of these acquisitions, contains under the year 1509 an account of seven Indians brought from Newfoundland in that year to France by Aubert, with a description of the Indians. We added also to the library the collection which we ought to have possessed long since, Jomard’s Monuments de la Geographic consisting of fifty early maps published in facsimile at Paris, commencing in 1854. The Memoires Chronologiques pour servir a l’histoire de Dieppe published at Paris anonymously in 1785 in two small volumes by Desmarquets, have the interesting features that under the date of 1508, they speak of the voyage of Verazzano in the discovery of the St. Lawrence river, and of Dieppe navigators who discovered the Amazon in 1488. The work is one of the rarest in this country, although Mr. J. C. Brevoort has long been in possession of a copy. Mr. Brevoort, in this connection, I will mention as having given to the library this year a copy of the original edition of the Argonautica Gastaviana by Usselincx, and printed in Frankfort in 1633. It is probably more rare than the preceding work.
Other additions, are a copy of the original edition of Johnson's Wonder working providence, London, 1654, containing the history of New England from 1628 to 1652; twenty-nine volumes of the Maiix Society publications relating to the Isle of Man ; Colburn's New Monthly Magazine, 1821 to 1870, in 146 volumes ; Kort en hondigh Verhael, Amsterdam, 1667, being an account of the war between England and the Netherlands to the peace of Breda, and containing the first printed account of the loss of New Netherland by the Dutch; and others of perhaps equal interest.
Among the valuable gifts to the library have been several loads of public documents from the Comptroller, the Hon. A. C. Chapin. They were the collections of several years, for which there was no use in the office, and which were liable to be disposed of for waste paper. His thoughtfulness not only secured for the library, books which will be useful for exchanges for many years to come, but secured for the law library, more than a dozen volumes printed at the expense of the State for investigating committees, which had never been sent to the library. The testimony taken before such committees does not enter into the regular series of State documents, and only a very small number oi copies is printed for those especially concerned. The Hon. Erastus Corning has given to the library over 1,200 volumes of New York State and United States documents, which, come from the library of his father, Hon. E. Corning and from his own. The State may well be grateful to the kind consideration and good judgment which appreciates the importance of saving such material for the years so near at hand when they will have become what will be called rare and scarce.
The additions of manuscripts have been exceedingly valuable. The Legislature of 1884, at the request of the trustees of the library, made an appropriation of five thousand dollars for the purchase of the original correspondence and other papers of Daniel D. Tompkins, Governor of the State of New-York from 1807 to 1817 and Vice-President of the United States from 1817 to 1821. This correspondence has been received at the library too late to allow of giving any detailed description of them. For the present we can say only that the collection contains the official copies of as many as three thousand letters written by Governor Tompkins, and over twenty-five hundred of letters received by him, the larger part of them having reference to the war of 1812, the theatre of which was so largely on the frontiers of the State of New York. Besides these there are nearly two thousand other papers of general military orders, accounts and miscellaneous papers. After the Governor G. Clinton papers, this new accession constitutes the most important addition to the history of the first one hundred years of the State, that it will ever be possible to secure.
Dr. Philip Ten Eyck of Albany has presented to the library the original proceedings in manuscript, in the handwriting of A. B. Bancker, one of the Secretaries of the State Convention at Poughkeopsie in the summer of 1788, held for the purpose of deciding whether the State should ratify the new proposed constitution of the United States. Before the adjournment of the convention it was ordered that the ratification, with a declaration of rights in twenty-two articles, and explanatory amendments in thirty-two articles, with the journal of the proceedings should be deposited by one of the secretaries in the office of the Secretary of State. The ratification was duly deposited, inscribed with the Constitution, upon six sheets of parchment, and has lately been duly lettered to indicate the importance of this muniment of the State ; but the journal of proceedings has remained till the present time in private hands. Besides the proceedings, this valuable gift contains the official copy of the circular letter to the Governors of the States, asking for the cooperation of their States in securing the desired amendments to the Constitution, and also, there are attached to this letter the original signatures of forty.seven of the members of the convention, the Clintons, Livingstons, Jay, Hamilton, etc. The journal of the convention gives no reason to surmise that any one signed the letter except the president, Governor Clinton, Those who voted against the adoption of the Constitution signed this circular equally with those who voted tor it. The trustees of the State library are greatly indebted to the donor for his generosity in giving this extremely interesting volume to the safe-keeping of the Capitol.
The library has purchased from Mr. H. B. Dawson, manuscript copies of unpublished papers and correspondence of General John Lacey, a general in the war of the revolution, an amount equal to 1,800 ordinary folio pages. They contain the autobiography, his journal to Ohio in 1773, his order books in 1776, 1778, 1780 and 1781, his correspondence and miscellaneous papers. Its peculiar value is that General Lacey 's services were in New York city, at Sorel, Isle aux Noix, Ticonderoga and with Washington at Valley Forge. There are copies of many letters to General Lacey from General Washington. The volume it is believed will be found to have great historical value.
Work in the library, to render it more useful to the State for the purposes for which it is established, could be performed much more effectively with additional help, to catalogue more carefully to subject-index the contents of the library in great detail, to correspond with institutions and individuals for perfecting the series of their publications, and for assorting and binding the collected pamphlets.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
HENRY A. HOMES, Librarian of the General Library.
REPORT OF THE LIBRARIAN OF THE LAW LIBRARY.
State Library, December 31, 1884.
To the Regents of the University of the State of New York :
This report covers the period from January first to September thirtieth of the present year, in conformity to your decision to close the library year on the thirtieth day of September in each calendar year, commencing with the year 1884. During this period, nine hundred and thirteen volumes were added to the law library, which increased the total number of volumes contained in this department on the thirtieth day of September last, to thirty-five thousand nine hundred and fifty-five.
The character of the books added has not varied materially from that of former years, a large part being continuations of American, British and Colonial reports, statutes, law periodicals and standard elementary works.
The effort to supply existing deficiencies in the collection of American statute law, which was begun in the year 1883, has been continued with the aid of the special appropriation for the purchase of books from the Brinley sale, which was made available, also for the purchase of statutes, by the last Legislature. As the result of such effort, one hundred and nine volumes of the session laws of twenty-seven States and Territories have been added to this collection by purchase. The one hundred volumes of statutes needed to supply the deficiencies which still remain in the library collection are among the rarest, and can be obtained only after much search and at considerable cost. It is believed, however, that the importance and value of this collection to the library will fully justify a continuance of the effort to secure the volumes necessary to its completion.
A valuable donation has been made to the law library by the Hon. William L. Learned, of Albany, consisting of a complete collection of the printed papers in cases heard at the general terms of the Supreme Court in the third judicial department during the years 1875 to 1883, inclusive. This collection embraces upwards of 10,000 separate papers and has been bound in one hundred and sixty-three octavo volumes and placed upon the shelves. An index thereto has been made by the assistant librarian, with the aid of which the papers in any case may be readily found.
The subject-index of the law library, the publication of which was authorized by chapter 306 of the Laws of 1881, was issued
from the press in January last, and distribution of the same has been made in the manner directed by the aforesaid statute. It has proved to be of great service in facilitating researches in the library, and it must be regarded as specially unfortunate that an edition large enough to supply copies to some extent, at least, to members of the bar was not authorized by the Legislature.
STEPHEN B. GRISWOLD, Librarian of the Law Library,
To the Regents of the University :
The undersigned respectfully submits the following report :
The George Clinton Papers first placed in my hands were duly calendared and bound in 23 volumes. The calendar comprised 6,347 numbers, representing, I believe, more than 7,000 papers. Upon the death of George Clinton, the great mass of his papers, public and private, personal and political, passed into the hands of his personal representatives, and, somehow, became long after divided into two principal portions which passed into different hands. The 23 volumes I have mentioned embrace the larger, and probably more valuable portion, and the papers therein mainly relate to the history of our State during the Revolution, but with scattering papers, often of great interest, subsequent to the acknowledgment of our independence and the evacuation of New York, down to June 1, 1800. The second portion was purchased in 1883, and is mentioned at some length in my report of January, 1884. It consisted of a huge and undigested mass of papers, which from a brief and cursory examination of it made by me before its purchase, I concluded contained some which were desirable for the completion and elucidation of the portions I had in hand, and others of importance to history and biography reaching down to some time subsequent to the death of George Clinton. Mr. Homes, the librarian, placed the mass in the hands of Mr. Fernow to be examined and arranged ; and Mr. Fernow has, I doubt not, discharged that duty with his usual sound judgment and thoroughness. From these recently acquired papers these gentlemen selected and added to Vol. 23 a blank of the permits of the emperor Napoleon to American vessels, the permits being to import into France named products of the French colonies in the West Indies and India, and of the late Dutch possessions in the east, on condition that the vessel exported one-half of the value of its imports in French wines and brandies, and the other half in named products and manufactures of France ; a printed circular of the General Committee of Republicans in the city and county of New York, dated March 14, 1804, favoring the election of Morgan Lewis as Governor, and opposing Aaron Burr, and signed by De Witt Clinton and others ; an undated and unsigned statement, probably made by Gen, James Clinton, the oldest son — but perhaps by Catharine McClaghry, a daughter of Charles Clinton — touching the emigration of that gentleman from Ireland and settlement in Little Britain, and the history of his family : a conveyance by Bargain and Sale to Nathaniel Griffen of a lot of land in Whitestown, dated July 22, 1790, executed by George Washington and George Clinton, of the city of New York, Esquires, and having thereon indorsed certificates of the proof of its execution by the oath of De Witt Clinton, a subscribing witness, and of its record in the county of Herkimer. From the remaining mass Mr. Fernow selected and had bound in eleven volumes, 2,300 papers which he deemed worthy of being added to the original series. And so the George Clinton papers in my charge, at present, are comprised in 8,647 continuous numbers, the numbers sometimes embracing two or more papers, bound in 34: volumes.
During the year I have resolutely adhered to the course 1 marked out for myself at the beginning of my labors ; but with the utmost diligence I was unable to insert the concluding entry in my index of the first 23 volumes, or 6,311 numbers, until on or about the third day of January instant. I shall have missed my aim and be most bitterly disappointed if that index do not make easily accessible to every searcher every thing in those volumes which can possibly be of use in settling family and local history^ as well as in elucidating the history of our State, and vindicating the claims of its earlier patriots and statesmen to that reverence which fallible humanity can justly feel for heroic, unselfish and wise men.
I have collected material and references to enable me to prepare a system of notes, to be drawn mainly from our statutes and the journals of our Legislature and of Congress, but to include supplementary matter also, without which it would be impossible to clearly understand much of the matter of these papers and appreciate the conduct of our ancestors. But in this direction much remains to be done.
The question now arises whether I shall goon and make an index of the added volumes, or whether I shall stop short and proceed at once to perfect my system of notes, and make and prepare for publication a selection of papers from all the volumes, and make an index for that. Papers included in the last 11 volumes are necessary to perfect a judicious selection from the first 23 volumes, but, the last eleven volumes being without calendar or index, the selection of papers from it must involve a labor approaching that required to prepare the material for an index of those volumes. In the frankness due, as I deem it, to my own position and duty in this matter, I state my own impression that the better way is to prepare at once a calendar and index of the added volumes, and to blend that index with the index I have prepared of the first 23 volumes, and to have two or more copies of that index of the whole collection carefully engrossed and preserved in the library ; and then to select the papers which, in the judgment of the Board, shall be deemed worthy of wide diffusion. The general index will make the preparation of an index of the selected matter a comparatively easy labor, and the needed notes will be nearly all at hand.
I submit these questions to your better judgment, and respectfully ask for the advice and direction of the Board.
Since the cursory inspection of the papers in the added volumes which I made before their purchase, I have had no time which could be given to a critical examination of them. As I stated in my last report, I believe that many of them are of value. I have only been able to commence a calendar of the first of these volumes, and to ascertain the substance of the papers from No. 6,312 to No. 6,520. I am free to say that a large majority of those papers relate to George Clinton's ownership, leasings and sales of portions of the Little Nine Partners and of Coxe's patents, and that but little interest, other than local or genealogical, can attach to them ; but there are others which have so pleased me that I am sure they will please you, and I will read a few of them and so enliven the necessary dullness of this report. But first let me remark that in these papers the love of our forefathers for honorary prefixes and titles is very clearly exhibited. Esquire was in their day an addition of much distinction. A man below the dignity of justice of the peace was merely Mr. ; the magistrate and dignitaries ranking a long way above him were Esquires. Letters to George Clinton, the then Governor of the State, were not infrequently addressed to him as His Excellency, George Clinton, Esquire.
Alexander Hamilton was born in St. Nevis, June 11, 1757, and, of course, was 21 years old in June, 1778. It was due to his good fortune which brought him very early in contact with great men, and made him familiar with the most momentous questions, as well as to the precocity of his genius, that he attained, 'while yet in the gristle, a fame and an influence in affairs which made an ineradicable impression upon our institutions and conferred immortality upon his memory. In 1778 he was an aide-de-camp of Washington, and we have two letters of his to George Clinton in that year. In 1783, he was one of the New York delegates to Congress, and in that capacity wrote another letter to Governor Clinton, which we also have. I have a strong impression that some of these letters are in print, but I have not time to inquire into the correctness of that impression.