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Nor could it be the ground of President Quincy's peculiar treatment of the Mathers, that they were chargeable with greater faults or more foibles, than their cotemporaries generally. That they were perfect men, is not pretended. And that the younger Mather took no great pains to conceal his foibles, so that occasionally they stand out with considerable prominence, is also true. But were they not, on the whole, as free from imperfections, as most of the distinguished men around them; and much more so than many, who come under the notice of President Quincy, and escape without a line of censure? I know it is a thankless task to uncover the ashes of those who have “passed that bourne, at which,” as our author says, “ envy usually withdraws from its victim, and hatred listens to the suggestions of humanity."* It is a task which I will not allow myself to perform, otherwise, facts might be stated with respect to several of President Quincy's favorites—not excepting even Dr. Colman, who was truly a nobleman, both by nature and grace—which would not appear at all better on paper, than some things which he has stated respecting the Mathers.
For the peculiar hostility manifested by President Quincy, and other Unitarian writers, towards the Mathers, I can account on only two grounds. In the first place, they were called, in divine Providence, to stand in the breach, when those innovations on New England usages commenced, which have since resulted in the utter apostasy of so many of the churches of the Pilgrims. When the separate, independent action of the churches, in the election of their ministers, began to be denied, and the right of examining candidates for admission to the churches was first assailed, it devolved on the Mathers to stand up and oppose, what they regarded, and what evangelical Christians now regard, as arlarming innovations. This is one of the things for which Unitarians have never yet forgiven them, and I fear never will.
The other thing to which I refer, is the position which the Mathers felt constrained to assume, at least for a time, with reference to Harvard College. Their affectionate regard and veneration for the college, they had previously shown in a thousand ways. But when at length, in the providence of God, it fell under the control of what were called, in those times,
* Would that the president had kept this passage in mind, while writing some pages of his veritable history.
SECOND SERIES, VOL. VII. NO. 11.
“ the Manifestó men,"* the abettors of the innovations spoken of above, the Mathers felt obliged to stand very much aloof. Not that they withdrew all their former regards and patronage from the college; but they were suspicious as to its influence, and complained of its government, perhaps more than they ought. It cannot be doubted, however, that their intentions were pure. They acted from what they conceived to be the imperative demands of duty and conscience. Nor can it be doubted that their exertions were, in a good degree, successful. The threatening tide of innovation was stayed ; and with an occasional exception here and there, the churches of New England held fast their integrity, for nearly or quite another half century.
OTHER POINTS IN QUINCY's HISTORY. Having paused thus long on the character of the Mathers—in discharge of what we conceived to be a duty to the memory of those venerable but much injured men--we now proceed to examine the subsequent parts of this history.
Upon the dissolution of President Mather's connection with the college, in the manner already described, the Rev. Samuel Willard, pastor of the Old South church in Boston, was appointed vice president, and succeeded to the duties of the presidency. He, too, refused to reside at Cambridge, though he consented to visit the college “ once or twice every week, and tarry there a night or two, and perform the duties there done by former presidents.” As the college, at this time, had no proper charter, the government of it seems to have devolved directly on the legislature. It was the legislature that negotiated with President Mather, in regard to the subject of residence. And when he could not be induced to reside, it was the legislature that appointed, though under an inferior title, Mr. Willard in his place. He continued in office more than six years, and died September 12, 1707. He is chiefly known at this day, by his Lectures on the Assembly's Catechism, which were published, in folio, seyeral years after his death.
It was in the month following the death of Willard, that the Hon. John Leverett was chosen president. Previous to his in
* So called from a paper, styled the Manifesto, drawn up by the founders of the Brattle-street church, in which were set forth the extent of their innovations, and the reasons of them. auguration, a resolve was passed, in the provincial legislature, reviving the old vacated charter of 1650, and directing “the president and fellows to regulate themselves according to it.” This was clearly, as President Quincy supposes, an illegal proceeding, in direct contradiction to the avowed principles, which the government of the parent state had adopted and acted upon, in relation to Massachusetts.” Still, owing either to the ignorance or indifference of the British government as to its colonial affairs, or to some other cause, the error was never looked into or revoked, and the college continued on this foundation, till the adoption of the state constitution, in 1780.
The presidency of Mr. Leverett, which continued more than twenty years, was one of great interest to the college. Some of the important events which took place during this period have been already noticed, in vindicating the character of the Mathers. Others of equal importance remain to be considered.
President Quincy introduces here his account of the origin of Yale College; although it, in fact, originated several years before. Its foundations were laid in the year 1700, and a charter was given to it by the legislature of Connecticut, in 1701. His statements in regard to this subject have been justly complained of, for their want of fidelity and accuracy.
He says: “ The first settlers of Connecticut had emigrated from Massachusetts, for the purpose of being under a stricter form of worship than they could here attain;" — whereas these first settlers assign no such reason for their emigration, but other and very different reasons. It was “their want of accommodation for their cattle," “ the fruitfulness and commodiousness of Conneticut, and the danger of having it possessed by others," which induced Mr. Hooker and his company to leave Newtown (now Cambridge) and transport themselves across the wilderness to their new location.*
Again:“ A desire had long existed in that colony (Connecticut) for the establishment in it of a school of the prophets, constructed with reference to their peculiar religious views.” p, 197. Now the fact is, the Connecticut colonists had nothing s peculiar," in their religious views, at this period. They were Calvinistic and Congregational; and so were their brethren in Massachusetts.
President Quincy goes on to say, that the projectors of the new seminary in Connecticut were very anxious that it should
* See Winthrop's Journal, Vol. I, p. 140.
be made satisfactory to the stricter party in Massachusetts ;that with this view, ihey applied to Chief Justice Sewall and Mr. Secretary Addington for the draft of a charter ;-that a draft was prepared by those gentlemen and sent on," not founded, like the charters of Harvard, on the instituting, guiding, and furthering of the said college, and the several members thereof, from time to time, in piety, morality, and learning,' but on something which they doubtless deemed more safe and scriptural, 'the reciting, memoriter, the Assembly's Catechism in Latin, Dr. Ames's Medulla, and also his Cases of Conscience, accompanied on the Sabbath by expositions of practical theology and the repeating of sermons, and on week days by reading and expounding the Scriptures;'”—that this draft “was adopted without any material alterations, by the founders of the colleg in Connecticut;" -that “from this period, the college of Connecticut began to be deemed by the stricter sect of Calvinists, the strong hold of their opinions ;”—and that “ their favor soon became to that intitution, an element of worldly prosperity and success.” pp. 198, 199. Without imputing any improper motives or bad intentions to President Quincy, we are constrained to say, that this whole statement, in nearly every branch and member of it, is little better than a tissue of misrepresentations. In the first place, there was no real foundation, at that time, among the Congregationalists of New England, for the distinction, so much insisted on by President Quincy, between the strict and the moderate Calvinists. They were all Calvinists, on the ground of the Westminster symbols,—the Brattles, and Colman, and Willard, and Leverett, as really so, as Sewall, or Addington, or even the Mathers.--And if there had been such a distinction as President Quincy supposes, there is no evidence that the Connecticut ministers made suit to the stricter class, more than to the laxer. No indication of any such design or motive as President Quincy has imputed to them can be discovered in any record of their early proceedings.
The draft of a charter, furnished by Sewall and Addington, was also a very different thing from what President Quincy represents it. In the original paper, which still exists in the archives of Yale College, there is nothing about “reciting memoriter the Assembly's Catechism ;” nothing about Ames's “ Cases of Conscience;" nothing about “expositions of practical theolgy,” or “reading and expounding the Scriptures.”
And that “the founders of the college in Connecticut adopted, without any material alterations, the draft” furnished them
from Boston, is far from being an accurate statement. This draft arrived only just in time for the friends of the college to glance at it, previous to the final action of the legislature; and almost no use was made of it, in the charter which was enacted.
So far was “the college in Connecticut” from being deemed, henceforward, “by the stricter sect of Calvinists, as the strong hold of their opinions,” that in 1714 we find Dr. Colman distressed with the apprehension that it was becoming infected with Arminianisın, and beseeching one of the trustees to look into the matter, and clear it, if possible, from so foul“ an aspersion.”*— And so far was the favor of the Boston Calvinists from becoming, to the new college, “ an element of worldly prosperity and success,” that not a student went to Yale from the eastern part of Massachusetts, for more than forty years; nor was a shilling received into its treasury from any part of Massachusetts, for more than a century.t.
It is made matter of complaint, in this connection, that some of “the sons of Harvard solicited donations for Yale College, and even attempted to give the tide of individual bounty, which was flowing towards Cambridge, a direction towards New Haven.” p. 199. That some of the sons of Harvard solicited donations for Yale College, during the period of its infancy, I hope may be admitted, without offence. Not a few of them resided in Connecticut, some as settled ministers, others as magistrates; and while they did not forget the college at Cambridge, and in some instances subscribed liberally to its funds,f it was natural that they should feel a deep interest in the college of their own state, and that such a man as Cotton Matber should be able to extend his views beyond the litte circle of Boston and Cambridge, and assist, by his letters and influence, in procuring funds for the new college in Connecticut, I regard as evidence of a liberal mind-of a noble, expansive, generous spirit. It should be recorded to his honor, and not his reproach, that he secured for the new college the patronage of the Hon. Mr. Yale ;
* See Life of Colman, p. 62.
† For these and other important facts, I am indebted chiefly to the Review of President Quincy's History of Harvard Col. lege, published in the American Biblical Repository,
I Gurdon Saltonstall, for many years governor of Connecticut, bequeathed 100 pounds, lawful money, to Harvard Col. lege. His wife gave no less than 1100 pounds to the same in. stitution, p. 420.