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HISTORICAL SKETCH

OF THE

MERCANTILE LIBRARY COMPANY.

THE Mercantile Library Company was instituted in the year 1821; the first meeting with a view to its establishment having been held at the Masonic Hall on the 10th of November in that year. From this meeting emanated a public notice, inviting merchants, merchants' clerks, and others friendly to the forma tion of a "Mercantile Library Association," to meet at the Mayor's Court-room on the 17th of the same month. The object was submitted to the consideration of this meeting, and receiving the warm approbation of a large assemblage of merchants; a committee was appointed to report a constitution to a subsequent public meeting. The following gentlemen were appointed on this committee: Robert Waln, Robert Ralston, Joseph P. Norris, Zaccheus Collins, Bernard Dahlgren, John Roberts, Joseph H. Dulles, William H. Jones, and William E. Bowen. The duties thus assigned them received the particular attention of the distinguished citizens at the head of the list, whose names are an ornament not only to this institution, but to our city and the country at large. By their personal influence and wise counsels, they have contributed greatly to the character of solid, unostentatious usefulness which the Company has hitherto sustained; and the original draft of the Constitution, with the autographs of these gentlemen, remains an interesting document among the records of the Library. The following report of the committee shows the course taken in the organization of the Company:

"The committee appointed at a meeting of the 'merchants, merchants' clerks, and others friendly to the formation of a Mercantile Library Association,' report,—

"That they have met and considered the subject referred to them, and now submit to the consideration of the meeting a draft

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