Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Casualties of war: Looting the library

In The Walrus blog, librarian Jean Weihs recounts a minor episode of the War of 1812:  the looting of the Toronto lending library by American troops. The American commander, to his credit, was shocked:
....much to my mortification I discovered that Some of the Men had pillaged a number of Books belonging to the Toronto library, as soon as the circumstance was made known to me I interdicted an intercourse with the Shore and a general Search was made and all the Books in the Fleet collected and boxed up with intention of having them returned immediately, but circumstances in Some degree beyond my control have prevented my carrying those wishes into execution before this late period. I have now the pleasure of Sending you (by the Lady of the Lake, flag of truce) Two Boxes containing the Books that were taken from York by any person belonging to the fleet.
But the subscription-based circulating library, which had been in operation since 1810, never reopened.
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