142 Southern Historical Society Papers.
Books were a concomitant in the houses of the planter from an early period. I have met with many memorials from Virginia libra- ries of the seventeenth century in auction sales in Richmond waifs that have been transmitted in successive ownership. I have in rev- erential sentiment garnered many of them in my personal library. In the early decades of the eighteenth century libraries, comprehen- sive in subject and extensive for the period, became quite numerous in the colony.
Catalogues of the libraries of Colonel William Byrd, of " Westover," the second of the name, and of John Mercer, of " Marlboro," are in my possession. The first, the formation of which was commenced by the immigrant William Byrd, and augmented by his more famous son, enumerates three thousand six hundred and twenty-five volumes, in size from duodecimo to folio. - The library of John Mercer com- prised one thousand five hundred volumes, of which about one-third were law-books. The libraries of Sir John Randolph, George Mason, William Beverley, John Herbert, William Stith, Gabriel Jones, Ralph Wormley, and others, were also extensive.
I have referred to the Philosophical Society, organized in 1773, with one hundred members. Its first president was John Clayton, author of the "Flora Virginianica" published in 1739. Its treasurer was David Jameson, long a member and for a time president of the Council. The second president of the society was John Page, an able and accomplished man, subsequently Governor of Virginia. He was an early contributor to the transactions of the American Philosophical Society. Both he and Jameson were fond of astron- omy. I possess a letter, which I have mislaid, written by Jameson to Page in, I think, 1781, noting his observations of some astronomi- cal phenomena, and jotted on the same sheet are the observations of Page himself of the same manifestations. The society of propitious title, whose offices were suspended by the American Revolution, has left a tangible memorial. In the cabinet of the Virginia Historical Society is an engraved gold medal awarded John Hobday in 1774 for the model of a machine for threshing wheat. I would not have you forget John Banister, the eminent naturalist, who lost his life in 1697 by a fall in endeavoring to secure a coveted plant. The motto adopted by a lamented friend, the late Thomas Hicks Wynne, as that of his valuable serial "Documents Relating to the Old Domin- ion"- -'Gather up the fragments that remain" I would, young gentlemen, earnestly commend to you;