THE reading of books has ever been fostered in Scotland, and in the eighteenth century Scottish education maintained a position hardly inferior to that of other European countries. With many Scotsmen of that period education was almost a passion which had much in common with their other passion—religion. From out of this feeling sprung a desire to lend books as a means of encouraging religious enthusiasm and conversion. To instance only two such schemes we may mention the Leighton Library at Dunblane founded by Archbishop Robert Leighton, and the parochial and presbyterial libraries for the use of ministers, students and schoolmasters in the highlands and islands, established in the eighteen hundreds by the General Assembly of Scotland. The East Lothian itinerating libraries scheme was started to increase the reading of theological books, and a large part of the finances were derived from the profits of the sale of religious periodicals, pamphlets and tracts. The story of Brown's life and scheme deserves retelling.
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