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for example, in that no charge was made for the privilege of borrowing.
Perhaps the first library that may in a sense be called public was that owned by the town of Boston and kept in the “library room” of the Town House. It was started in 1656 and came to an untimely end in the fire of 1747. While it may have been accessible to readers, it was in no sense a lending library, for its massive folios and their equally ponderous contents must have made little appeal to any but the clergy. Much more important as an aid to the spread of good literature were the subscription libraries which came into existence as soon as books were made less bulky and more interesting and entertaining. Before the middle of the eighteenth century associations began to be formed for the buying and lending of books. Of these the most famous was the Library Association of Philadelphia, founded in 1731 by a group of fifty persons, headed by Franklin, which ten years later published its first real catalogue. The Pomfret Association of Connecticut was established in 1740, that of Charleston in 1748, and that of Lancaster in 1759. To the last named Governor Hamilton and many leading Pennsylvanians gave money, globes, and astronomical apparatus. Other instances of the spread of this movement were the Georgia Library, started in 1763, and the Social Library at Salem, Massachusetts, established some time before the Revolution. But there was at that time in the colonies no library supported by public funds and similar to the free public libraries of today.
The bookseller was an important colonial character. Though many of the colonists imported their own books directly from England, by far the larger number obtained what they wanted from those who made bookselling a trade. Merchants and storekeepers in all the large towns and along the Maryland and Virginia rivers carried in stock books which they obtained from England and Scotland. The inventories and invoices of these dealers are always interesting as showing their estimate of the popular taste. Though John Usher of Boston and Portsmouth was merchant and bookseller combined, few of the merchants did more than carry a small stock of books for sale, while on the other hand scarcely any of the booksellers concerned themselves with trade. They imported and sold books, published books and pamphlets, bound books, did job printing of all kinds, including blank forms for bonds, certificates, mortgages, and charter parties. They also made up and issued the newspapers of the day, served generally as public printers for their colonies, acted as postmasters in many towns, kept inquiry bureaus and intelligence offices for their localities, and were a local source of information. They also sold pens, ink, stationery, and all sorts of school necessities. The scope of their activities was perhaps less varied in the North than in the South, but everywhere they were indispensable in the life of their neighborhood. So important did these men become in colonial life that when Boston suffered heavily by the great fire of 1711 her most serious loss was the destruction of nearly all her bookselling establishments.
THE CURE OF SOULS
THERE were many religious denominations in America in the eighteenth century. The Congregationalists predominated in New England, but outside of that region they found little support.h The Church of England was dominant in the South and by 1750 had established itself in every colony from New Hampshire to Georgia. This growth was due in part to the fact that most of the Huguenots and many of the Lutherans went over to Anglicanism, but also in largest measure to the activities of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, generally known as the "S. P. G.” but frequently called the “Venerable Society.”
The Dutch in their Reformed Church constituted the oldest body of Calvinists in America. The Germans — some of them also Calvinists in their own Reformed Chụrch — were in many cases
Lutherans or Moravians, chiefly in New York, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, and in other cases were tinctured with pietism and mysticism. The Scotch-Irish were of a sterner religious temper than any of these and, tracing their spiritual ancestry back to the Presbyterianism of Scotland and the north of Ireland, they looked upon their religion as a subject worthy of constant thought and frequent discussion.
Among the denominations associated with no particular race or locality, the Baptists were nevertheless most strongly entrenched in Rhode Island, , with a somewhat precarious hold on other parts of New England and on South Caroliną The Friends or Quakers, finding their earliest home also in Rhode Island, became specially prominent in the Middle Colonies, Virginia, and North Carolina, where their meetinghouses were often "in lonesome places in the woods.” The Methodists, at this time with no thought of becoming a separate denomination, began their career as a spiritual force in America with Robert Strawbridge in western Maryland about 1764. Most of the Roman Catholics were to be found in Maryland and a few in other colonies; the Jews had synagogues in Newport, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston;