KIRKWOOD, James. An overture for founding and maintaining of bibliothecks in every paroch
throughout this kingdom: humbly offered to the consideration
of the General-Assembly.
KIRKWOOD, James A copy of a letter anent a project, for erecting a library, in every presbytery, or at least county, in the Highlands. [Edinburgh : 1702] Mu30-e.23
This pamphlet described Kirkwood's modified scheme adopted by the General Assembly in 1705. There was to be no levy at all this time, and all books were to be supplied by private benevolence and the area covered was to be limited to the Highlands. He was able to offer to the Assembly 19 presbytery libraries and 58 parish libraries complete.
The scheme was closely linked with a similar English plani sponsored by the S.P.C.K., for the provision of books in the remote districts of England and Wales and in the colonies overseas. The Highlands were included in these deserving areas, and it is interesting to note that at first, at any rate, the books came from Church of England clergymen in the south. At once Kirkwood had much opposition to overcome and he had to show great diplomacy in negotiating between the two countries under their different religious establishments. Against the English objection that the ruling party in Scotland were Presbyterian enemies of the Church of England, he argued that the sending of good books among them might help to rectify their errors and prejudices, and he was able to persuade the Scots to agree that in order to be able to answer heretics it was necessary to read their books.
It is possible that the coming Union, promising to open up an era of closer relationship between England and Scotland, helped the scheme to get as far as it did.