New York, May 21 (IANS): A book borrowed by the first US president George Washington 221 years ago has been finally returned to the New York library.
Staff at the New York Society Library happily accepted a copy of "The Law of Nations" from members of George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate after they discovered he removed it from their collection Oct 5, 1789, but never brought it back.
Washington's act went unnoticed until 1934, when a dog-eared ledger was found in the library's basement.
Given the 221-year time lapse, he would have accrued an estimated inflation-adjusted $300,000 in late fees, New York Daily News reported.
"I hereby absolve George Washington and his representatives for any overdue library fees incurred," said Charles Berry, New York Society Library's chairman of the board of trustees.
"The library was not about to pursue a fine, but we were delighted to learn that a copy of this book was coming back to us," he said while receiving the book Wednesday.
When Mount Vernon staff heard about the mishap, they immediately got to work finding another copy of the same edition, and found one online for about $12,000.
"We express our gratitude for your patience ... and for your generosity in erasing the considerable funds that were probably owed by George Washington," James Rees, executive director of Mount Vernon Estate, told library staff.
"He did not do his public duty."