London: Printed by E. Holt for William Hawes, 1700. ,33[i.e. 34],pp. Small quarto. 20th-century three-quarter brown morocco and cloth, spine gilt with raised bands. Light wear to extremities and joints. Titlepage a bit dust soiled, a few spots of light soiling and minor tanning throughout. Lacks final blank (as called for in ESTC). Occasional light underlining in pencil. Very good. Partially untrimmed. Item #WRCAM57221
Thomas Bray is known as the founder of the American public library system due to his efforts in establishing some of the first libraries in the English American colonies beginning in the 1690s. He was a tireless Anglican missionary who promoted his pioneering library design with zeal. This third edition of Bray's sermon, which he preached at St. Paul's in London at the ordination of missionaries to be sent to America, is prefaced with "A General View of the English Colonies in America." In this preface Bray surveys each colony, including New England, New York, Albany, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, and several Caribbean settlements, setting forth the numbers of parishes and churches in each, the number of families, ministers, and of course taking note of the new libraries. Interestingly, one of his suggestions was "to have a provision made in one or two schools at leastwise, in every province, for the instruction of half a dozen Indian youth, to be sent afterwards amongst their own people, to civilize and convert them." Concerning Virginia he notes: "50 Parishes, with 100 churches and chapels. There is also a Noble College now erected, and Endow'd by His present Majesty and the late Queen [i.e. the College of William & Mary]...."
"Thomas Bray was the founder of parish libraries in this country, especially in Maryland....He was the first advocate of the public library in America....No less than thirty-nine libraries, some containing more than a thousand volumes, were established in North America, besides many in foreign lands, during Bray's lifetime" - Church. Bray also founded the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts and the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
According to ESTC, the unnumbered eight-page section with the caption title "Proposals For the Encouragement and Promoting of Religion and Learning in the Foreign Plantations..." originally appeared between pages 10-11, but has been moved to the end in this copy. It was also published separately. In addition, "A Circular Letter to the Clergy of Mary- land" (pages 31-32) was separately published earlier the same year.
The first edition appeared in 1698; Sabin records only the second edition of 1699, and this edition. An important call for church, school, and library development in the English colonies. WING B4287. ESTC R434. EUROPEAN AMERICANA 700/25. SABIN 7473. CHURCH 770 (1698 ed).