South Carolina - Acts on Education Topics

An Act for Securing the Provincial Library in Charlestown

November 16, 1700

The Statutes at Large of South Carolina - Volume VII, Pages 13-16

WHEREAS, at the promotion of the Reverend Dr. Thomas Bray, and the encouragement and bounty of the Right Honourable the true and absolute Lords and Proprietors of this Province, and the aforesaid Dr. Bray, and the inhabitants of this Province, a library hath been sent over to Charlestown, for the use of this Province, and it is justly feared that the books belonging to the same will quickly be embezzeled, damaged or lost, excepting a law be passed for the effectual preservation of the same--

I. Be it therefore enacted, by his Excellency John Earl of Bath, Palatine, and the rest of the true and absolute Lords and Proprietors of this Province, by and with the advice and consent of the rest of the members of the General Assembly, now met at Charlestown, for the South-west part of this Province, and by the authority of the same, That the Provincial Library of Carolina shall be, continue and remain in the hands, custody and possession and safe-keeping of the incumbent or minister of the Church of England, in Charlestown, in this Province, for the time being; which said incumbent is and shall be hereby bound and obliged to keep and preserve the several and respective books therein, from waste, damage, embezzelment, and all other destruction, (fire and all other unavoidable accidents only excepted,) and is and shall be hereby accountable for the same, and every book thereof, to the commissioners hereafter nominated: And to that end and purpose, the incumbent of Charlestown, and his successors, shall pass two receipts for the books belonging to the library aforesaid, one to the commissioners hereafter named, and the other to the church-wardens of Charlestown for the time being, in which receipts the titles of each book shall be inserted; and in case all or any of the books is or shall be found to be wasted, endamaged or embezzeled, or any otherwise destroyed, except as before excepted, the respective incumbent, his executors or administrators, are and shall be hereby bound and obliged to answer double the value of the same; and the said commissioners are hereby impowered to sue for the same, in any court of record in this Province, by bill, plaint or information, or other action, wherein no essoign, protection, injunction or wager of law shall be allowed; and what thereby shall be recovered, reasonable charge and expences deducted, to employ and dispose towards the compleating and perfecting the aforesaid library, so wasted, endamaged, embezzeled or otherwise destroyed, within the space of twelve months after such recovery.

II. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That in case of the death or removal of the incumbent of Charlestown, in this Province, that then the respective church-wardens of Charlestown shall immediately take into their respective hands, custody, possession and safe-keeping, all the books belonging to the said library, and shall be answerable for the same to the commissioners hereafter nominated.

III. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the church-wardens of Charlestown, upon their receiving of the books belonging to the said provincial library, into their custody, shall compare the same with the catalogue and receipt for the same, in their custody, and if any of the books are wanting or damaged, they shall give an account thereof in twenty days time at farthest, to the commissioners hereafter mentioned, who are hereby impowered to sue the said incumbent, or, in case of his death, his executors or administrators, for the same, as aforesaid: And in case the said church-wardens refuse to give such account, then they, their executors and administrators, are hereby made accountable to the commissioners hereafter named, for all the books belonging to the said library, and contained in the catalogue thereof.

IV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the inhabitants of this Province shall have liberty to borrow any book out of the said provincial library, giving a receipt for the same to the incumbent of Charlestown, for the time being, with a promise to return the said book or books; if a folio, in four months time; if a quarto, in two months time; if an octavo, or under, in one month, upon penalty of paying three times the full value of the said book or books so borrowed, in case of failure of returning or damnifying the same: And the said incumbent is hereby obliged to enter such receipt in a book, to be fairly kept for that purpose, and upon the same being returned, shall note it returned, on the other side or column of the said book, and not cross or blot the same: And in case the persons that borrowed any book or books out of the said library, doth refuse to return the same, or doth damnifie the said book, upon complaint thereof given by the said incumbent, his executors or administrators, to two or more of the commissioners, and by them, or any five of them, to the Chief Justice of this Province for the time being, or any two justices of the peace, it shall be lawful, and the said chief justice, or any two justices of the peace, are hereby impowered and required, by warrant of distress, directed to any of the constables of this Province, to levy three times the value of such book or books, on the goods and chattels of the person so refusing to deliver, or damnifying the same; and for want of such distress, to commit the person to prison, till satisfaction be made to the incumbent.

V. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the commissioners hereafter named shall make, or cause to be made, seven catalogues of all and singular the books in the said library, and the same being fairly written, one of which shall be sent to England to the Right Honourable the Lords Proprietors of this Province; one to the Right Reverend Father in God the Lord Bishop of London; one to the aforesaid Reverend Dr. Bray; one to be entered on record in the Secretary's office of this Province; one to be in the custody and for the use of the commissioners hereafter named, under which the incumbent shall sign a receipt for the respective books; one to be in the custody of the chuich-wardens of Charlestown, for the time being, under which the incumbent shall also sign a receipt for the respective books; and one to be fairly entered in a book for that purpose to be kept by the incumbent in the said library, that so any person may know what books are contained in the said library.

VI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the commissioners hereafter named, after making an exact catalogue of all and singular the respective books in the said library, shall, and are hereby impowered to, appraise and rate each book, at a price certain, in the cur rent money of this Province; which appraisement shall be an established rule to judge and determine the value of the said books, in case any suit is brought by the said commissioners against any person that shall detain or damnify any of the said books, or against the incumbent of Charlestown, or his executors or administrators.

VII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the commissioners hereafter named, or any five of them, shall, every year, on the fifth day of November, resort to the house built for the incumbent of Charlestown, where the said library shall be kept, and there examine the books thereof by the catalogue, and see that there be the full number, and that they are not damnified nor spoiled: And therefore, the incumbent is hereby required, in lending of any of the several books out of the said library, notwithstanding the time usually allowed by this Act, to oblige the said persons to return all such books as they borrow, to the said incumbent, ten days before the said fifth day of November, that so all and singular the books belonging to the library aforesaid, may be exposed to the view of the said commissioners, the better to enable them to judge if they are any way damnified or spoiled, and to give their order accordingly.

VIII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That James Moore, Esq., now Governor of Carolina, Joseph Morton, Nicholas Trott, Ralph Izard, Esqrs., Capt. Job Howes, Capt. Thomas Smith, Mr. Robert Stevens, Mr. Joseph Croskeys, and Mr. Robert Fenwicke, or any five of them, be, and are hereby nominated to be, commissioners and trustees, for the due inspection and preservation of the library aforesaid, and all and singular the respective books to the same belonging: And they, or any five of them, shall have power to commence or bring any suit or action given by this Act: And in case, by death or absence, there be not five of the said commissioners in this Province, that the Governor for the time being shall nominate such persoti or persons as shall make the number of the commissioners five, which shall have all the power given the said commissioners in this Act, and shall so continue till the next meeting of the General Assembly of this Province, who shall then choose so many persons as shall make up the full number of nine; which persons so chosen by an ordinance of a General Assembly, shall, and are hereby declared to, be the commissioners and trustees required by this Act; and they, or any five of them, to have and execute all and singular the powers given the commissioners above named by this Act.

IX. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the commissioners above named, after having examined the respective books belonging to the library aforesaid, if they find any books wanting, shall summon such persons as have the said books in their custody, to deliver the same in twenty days after such notice in writing left with the persons, or their places of abode; and in case any persons shall fail or refuse to deliver the said respective books to the said commissioners, or any five of them, that upon complaint being made by the said commissioners, or any five of them, to the chief justice of this Province, for the time being, or any two justices of the peace, against such persons refusing to deliver the said books, that the said chief justice, or any two justices of the peace, are hereby authorized, impowered and required, by warrant of distress, directed to any of the constables of this Province, to levy to the treble value of such respective book or books, on the goods and chattels of the person or persons so refusing the same, and to make sale of the same, rendering the overplus to the owner; and for want of such distress, to commit the persons to prison till satisfaction be made.

X. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all persons that have borrowed or have in their custody any of the books belonging to the provincial library aforesaid, shall, on or before the first day of January next, return the same to the present incumbent of Charlestown, upon the penalty of the forfeiture of treble the value of each book not returned as aforesaid, the better to enable the commissioners before named to make a perfect catalogue of the books belonging to the library aforesaid.

Read three times, and ratified in open Assembly, November 16, 1700.

JAMES MOORE, (L. S.)
JOHN WICH, (L. S.)
EDMD. BELLINGER, (L. S.)
ROBERT GIBBES, (L. S.)
HENRY NOBLE, (L. S.)

More on the Provincial Library in Charlestown can be found in a new Act, passed on June 7, 1712.


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