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   Chapter 11 — HARVARD COLLEGE.

The Emancipation of Massachusetts By Brooks Adams Characters: 45702

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

For more than two centuries one ceaseless anthem of adulation has been chanted in Massachusetts in honor of the ecclesiastics who founded Harvard University, and this act has not infrequently been cited as incontrovertible proof that they were both liberal and progressive at heart. The laudation of ancestors is a task as easy as it is popular; but history deals with the sequence of cause and effect, and an examination of facts, apart from sentiment, tends to show that in building a college the clergy were actuated by no loftier motive than intelligent self-interest, if, indeed, they were not constrained thereto by the inexorable exigencies of their position.

The truth of this proposition becomes apparent if the soundness of the following analysis be conceded.

There would seem to be a point in the pathway of civilization where every race passes more or less completely under the dominion of a sacred caste; when and how the more robust have emerged into freedom is uncertain, but enough is known to make it possible to trace the process by which this insidious power is acquired, and the means by which it is perpetuated. A flood of light has, moreover, been shed on this class of subjects by the recent remarkable investigations among the Zu?is. [Footnote: Made by Mr. F. H. Cushing, of the Bureau of Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution.]

Most American Indians are in the matriarchal period of development, which precedes the patriarchal; and it is then, should they become sedentary, that caste appears to be born. Some valuable secret, such as a cure for the bite of the rattlesnake, is discovered, and this gives the finder, and chosen members of his clan with whom he shares it, a peculiar sanctity in the eyes of the rest of the tribe. Like facts, however, become known to other clans, and then coalitions are made which take the form of esoteric societies, and from these the stronger savages gradually exclude the weaker and their descendants. Meanwhile an elaborate ritual is developed, and so an hereditary priesthood comes into life, which always claims to have received its knowledge by revelation, and which teaches that resistance to its will is sacrilege. Nevertheless the sacerdotal power is seldom firmly established without a struggle, the memory whereof is carefully preserved as a warning of the danger of incurring the divine wrath. A good example of such a myth is the fable of the rebellious Zu?i fire-priest, who at the prayer of his orthodox brethren was destroyed with all his clan by a boiling torrent poured from the burning mountain, sacred to their order, by the avenging gods. Compare this with the story of Korah; and it is interesting to observe how the priestly chronicler, in order to throw the profounder awe about his class, has made the great national prophet the author of the exclusion of the body of the Levites from the caste, in favor of his own brother. "And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, ... wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?

"And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face." Then he told Korah and his followers, who were descendants of Levi and legally entitled to act as priests by existing customs, to take censers and burn incense, and it would appear whether the Lord would respect their offering. So every man took his censer, and Korah and two hundred and fifty more stood in the door of the tabernacle.

Then Moses said, if "the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord....

"And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.

"They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them:... And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also." [Footnote: Numbers xvi.] Traces of a similar conflict are found in Hindoo sacred literature, and probably the process has been well-nigh universal. The caste, therefore, originates in knowledge, real and pretended, kept by secret tradition in certain families, and its power is maintained by systematized terrorism. But to learn the mysteries and ritual requires a special education, hence those destined for the priesthood have careful provision made for their instruction. The youthful Zu?i is taught at the sacred college at the shrine of his order; the pious Hindoo lives for years with some famous Brahmin; as soon as the down came on the cheek, the descendants of Aaron were taken into the Temple at Jerusalem, and all have read how Hannah carried the infant Samuel to the house of the Lord at Shiloh, and how the child did minister unto the Lord before Eli the priest.

These facts seem to lead to well-defined conclusions when applied to New England history. In their passionate zeal the colonists conceived the idea of reproducing, as far as they could, the society of the Pentateuch, or, in other words, of reverting to the archaic stage of caste; and in point of fact they did succeed in creating a theocratic despotism which lasted in full force for more than forty years. Of course, in the seventeenth century such a phase of feeling was ephemeral; but the phenomena which attended it are exceptionally interesting, and possibly they are somewhat similar to those which accompany the liberation of a primitive people.

The knowledge which divided the Massachusetts clergy from other men was their supposed proficiency in the interpretation of the ancient writings containing the revelations of God. For the perpetuation of this lore a seminary was as essential to them as an association of priests for the instruction of neophytes is to the Zuni now, or as the training at the Temple was to the Jews. In no other way could the popular faith in their special sanctity be sustained. It is also true that few priesthoods have made more systematic use of terror. The slaughter of Anne Hutchinson and her family was exultingly declared to be the judgment of God for defaming the elders. Increase Mather denounced the disobedient Colman in the words of Moses to Korah; Cotton Mather revelled in picturing the torments of the bewitched; and, even in the last century Jonathan Edwards frightened people into convulsions by his preaching. On the other hand, it is obvious that the reproduction of the Mosaic law could not in the nature of things have been complete; and the two weak points in the otherwise strong position of the clergy were that the spirit of their age did not permit them to make their order hereditary, nor, although their college was a true theological school, did they perceive the danger of allowing any lay admixture. The tendency to weaken the force of the discipline is obvious, yet they were led to abandon the safe Biblical precedent, not only by their own early associations, but by their hatred of anything savoring of Catholicism.

Men to be great leaders must exalt their cause above themselves; and if so godly a man as the Rev. Increase Mather can be said to have had a human failing it was an inordinate love of money and of flattery. The first of these peculiarities showed itself early in life when, as his son says, he was reluctant to settle at the North Church, because of "views he had of greater service elsewhere." [Footnote: Parentator, p. 25.] In other words, the parish was not liberal; for it seems "the deacons ... were not spirited like some that have succeeded them; and the leaders of the more honest people also, were men of a low, mean, sordid spirit.... For one of his education, and erudition, and gentlemanly spirit, and conversation, to be so creepled and kept in such a depressing poverty!-In these distresses, it was to little purpose for him to make his complaint unto man! If he had, it would have been basely improved unto his disadvantage." [Footnote: Idem, p. 30.] His diary teemed with repinings. "Oh! that the Lord Jesus, who hears my complaints before him, would either give an heart to my people to look after my comfortable subsistance among them, or ... remove me to another people, who will take care of me, that so I may be in a capacity to attend his work, and glorify his name in my generation." [Footnote: Idem, p. 33.] However, matters mended with him, for we are assured that "the Glorious One who knew the works, and the service and the patience of this tempted man, ordered it, that several gentlemen of good estate, and of better spirit, were become the members of his church;" and from them he had "such filial usages... as took away from him all room of repenting, that he had not under his temptations prosecuted a removal from them." [Footnote: Parentator, pp. 34, 35.]

The presidency of Harvard, though nominally the highest place a clergyman could hold in Massachusetts, had always been one of poverty and self-denial; for the salary was paid by the legislature, which, as the unfortunate Dunster had found, was not disposed to be generous. Therefore, although Mr. Mather was chosen president in 1685, and was afterward confirmed as rector by Andros, he was far too pious to be led again into those temptations from which he had been delivered by the interposition of the Glorious One; and the last thing he proposed was to go into residence and give up his congregation. Besides, he was engrossed in politics and went to England in 1688, where he stayed four years. Meanwhile the real control of education was left in the hands of Leverett, who was appointed tutor in 1686, and of William Brattle, who was in full sympathy with his policy. Among the many powers usurped by the old trading company was that of erecting corporations; hence the effect of the judgment vacating the patent had been to annul the college charter which had been granted by the General Court; [Footnote: 23 May, 1650. Mass. Rec. iii. 195.] and although the institution had gone on much as usual after the Revolution, its position was felt to be precarious. Such being the situation when the patriarch came home in 1692 in the plenitude of power, he conceived the idea of making himself the untrammelled master of the university, and he forthwith caused a bill to be introduced into the legislature which would certainly have produced that result. [Footnote: Province Laws, 1692-93, c. 10.] Nor did he meet with any serious opposition in Massachusetts, where his power was, for the moment, well-nigh supreme. His difficulty lay with the king, since the fixed policy of Great Britain was to foster Episcopalianism, and of course to obtain some recognition for that sect at Cambridge. And so it came to pass that all the advantage he reaped by the enactment of this singular law was a degree of Doctor of Divinity [Footnote: Sept. 5, 1692. Quincy's History of Harvard, i. 71.] which he gave himself between the approval of the bill by Phips and its rejection at London. The compliment was the more flattering, however, as it was the first ever granted in New England. But the clouds were fast gathering over the head of this good man. Like many another benefactor of his race, he was doomed to experience the pangs inflicted by ingratitude, and indeed his pain was so acute he seldom lost an opportunity of giving it public expression; to use his own words of some years later, "these are the last lecture sermons... to be preached by me.... The ill treatment which I have had from those from whom I had reason to have expected better, have discouraged me from being any more concerned on such occasions." [Footnote: Address to Sermon, The Righteous Man a Blessing, 1702.]

Certainly he was in a false position; he was necessarily unappreciated by the liberals, and he had not only alienated many staunch conservatives by his acceptance of the charter, but he had embittered them, by rigorously excluding all except his particular faction from Phips's council. To his deep chagrin, the elections of 1693 went in favor of many of these thankless men, and his discontent soon took the form of an intense longing to go abroad in some official position which would give him importance. The only possible opening seemed to be to get himself made agent to negotiate a charter for Harvard; and therefore he soon had "angelical" suggestions that God needed him in England to glorify his name.

"1693. September 3d. As I was riding to preach at Cambridge, I prayed to God,-begged that my labors might be blessed to the souls of the students; at the which I was much melted. Also saying to the Lord, that some workings of his Providence seemed to intimate, that I must be returned to England again; ... I was inexpressibly melted, and that for a considerable time, and a stirring suggestion, that to England I must go. In this there was something extraordinary, either divine or angelical."

"December 30th. Meltings before the Lord this day when praying, desiring being returned to England again, there to do service to his name, and persuasions that the Lord will appear therein."

"1694. January 27th. Prayers and supplications that tidings may come from England, that may be some direction to me, as to my returning thither or otherwise, as shall be most for his glory."

"March 13th. This morning with prayers and tears I begged of God that I might hear from my friends and acquaintance in England something that should encourage and comfort me. Such tidings are coming, but I know not what it is. God has heard me." [Footnote: History of Harvard, i. 475, 476, App. ix.]

His craving to escape from the country was increased by the nagging of the legislature; for so early as December, 1693, the representatives passed the first of a long series of resolves, "that the president of Harvard College for the time being shall reside there, as hath been accustomed in time past." [Footnote: Court Rec. vi. 316.] Now this was precisely what the Reverend Doctor was determined he would not do; nor could he resign without losing all hope of his agency; so it is not surprising that as time went on he wrestled with the Deity.

1698. "September 25th. This day as I was wrestling with the Lord, he gave me glorious and heart-melting persuasions, that he has work for me to do in England, for the glory of his name. My soul rejoiceth in the Lord." [Footnote: History of Harvard, i. 480, App. ix.]

Doubtless his trials were severe, but the effect upon his temper was unfortunate. He brought forward scheme after scheme, and the corporation was made to address the legislature, and then the legislature was pestered to accede to the prayer of the corporation, until everybody was wrought to a pitch of nervous irritation; he himself was always jotting in his Diary what he had on foot, mixed with his hopes and prayers.

"1696. December 11th. I was with the representatives in the General Court, and did acquaint them with my purpose of undertaking a voyage for England in the spring (if the Lord will), in order to the attainment of a good settlement for the college."

"December 28th. The General Court have done nothing for the poor college.... The corporation are desirous that I should go to England on the college's account."

1696. "April 19th (Sabbath.) In the morning, as I was praying in my closet, my heart was marvellously melted with the persuasion, that I should glorify Christ in England."

"1697. June 7th. Discourse with ministers about the college, and the corporation unanimously desired me to take a voyage for England on the college's account." [Footnote: History of Harvard, i. 476, App. ix.]

But of what the senior tutor was doing with the rising generation he took no note at all. His attention was probably first attracted by rumors of the Brattle Church revolt, for not till 1697 was he able to divert his thoughts from himself long enough to observe that all was not as it should be at Cambridge. Then, at length, he made an effort to get rid of Leverett by striking his name from the list of fellows when a bill for incorporation was brought into the legislature; but this crafty politician had already become too strong in the house of representatives, of which he was soon after made speaker.

Two years later, however, the conservative clergy made a determined effort and prepared a bill containing a religious test, which they supported with a petition praying "that, in the charter for the college, our holy religion may be secured to us and unto our posterity, by a provision, that no person shall be chosen president, or fellow, of the college, but such as declare their adherence unto the principles of reformation, which were espoused and intended by those who first settled the country ... and have hitherto been the general profession of New England." [Footnote: Idem, i. 99.] This time they narrowly missed success, for the bill passed the houses, but was vetoed by Lord Bellomont.

Hitherto Cotton Mather had shown an unfilial lack of interest in his father's ambition to serve the public; but this summer he also began to have assurances from God. One cause for his fervor may have been the death of the Rev. Mr. Morton, who was conceded to stand next in succession to the presidency, and he therefore supposed himself to be sure of the office should a vacancy occur. [Footnote: Idem, i. 102.]

"1699. 7th d. 4th m. (June.) The General Court has, divers times of late years, had under consideration the matter of the settlement of the college, which was like still to issue in a voyage of my father to England, and the matter is now again considered. I have made much prayer about it many and many a time. Nevertheless, I never could have my mind raised unto any particular faith about it, one way or another. But this day, as I was (may I not say) in the spirit, it was in a powerful manner assured me from heaven, that my father should one day be carried into England, and that he shall there glorify the Lord Jesus Christ;... And thou, O Mather the younger, shalt live to see this accomplished!" [Footnote: History of Harvard, i. 482, 483, App. x.]

"16th d. 5th m. (July.) Being full of distress in my spirit, as I was at prayer in my study at noon, it was told me from heaven, that my father shall be carried from me unto England, and that my opportunities to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ will, on that occasion, be gloriously accommodated."

"18th d. 5th m.... And now behold a most unintelligible dispensation! At this very time, even about noon, instead of having the bill for the college enacted, as was expected, the governor plainly rejected it, because of a provision therein, made for the religion of the country."

After the veto the patriarch seems to have got the upper hand for a season, and to have made some arrangement by which he evicted his adversary, as appears by a very dissatisfied letter written by Leverett in August, 1699: "As soon as I got home I was informed, that Rev. President (I. M.), held a corporation at the college the 7th inst., and the said corporation, after the publication of the new settlement, made choice of Mr. Flynt to be one of the tutors at college.... I have not the late act for incorporating the college at hand, nor have I seen the new temporary settlement; but I perceive, that all the members of the late corporation were not notified to be at the meeting. I can't say how legal these late proceedings are; but it is wonderful, that an establishment for so short a time as till October next, should be made use of so soon to introduce an unnecessary addition to that society." [Footnote: History of Harvard, i. 500, App. xvi.]

A long weary year passed, during which Dr. Mather must have suffered keenly from the public ingratitude; still, at its end he was happy, since he felt certain of being rewarded by the Lord; for, just as the earl's administration was closing, he had succeeded by unremitting toil in so adjusting the legislature as to think the spoil his own; when, alas, suddenly, without warning, in the most distressing manner, the prize slipped into Bellomont's pocket. How severely his faith was tried appears from his son's Diary.

"1700. 16th d. 4th mo. (Lord's Day.) I am going to relate one of the most astonishing things that ever befell in all the time of my pilgrimage.

"A particular faith had been unaccountably produced in my father's heart, and in my own, that God will carry him unto England, and there give him a short but great opportunity to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, before his entrance into the heavenly kingdom. There appears no probability of my father's going thither but in an agency to obtain a charter for the college. This matter having been for several years upon the very point of being carried in the General Assembly, hath strangely miscarried when it hath come to the birth. It is now again before the Assembly, in circumstances wherein if it succeed not, it is never like to be revived and resumed any more....

"But the matter in the Assembly being likely now to come unto nothing, I was in this day in extreme distress of spirit concerning it.... After I had finished all the other duties of this day, I did in my distress cast myself prostrate on my study floor before the Lord.... I spread before him the consequences of things, and the present posture and aspect of them, and, having told the Lord, that I had always taken a particular faith to be a work of heaven on the minds of the faithful, but if it should prove a deceit in that remarkable instance which was now the cause of my agony, I should be cast into a most wonderful confusion; I then begged of the Lord, that, if my particular faith about my father's voyage to England were not a delusion, he would be pleased to renew it upon me. All this while my heart had the coldness of a stone upon it, and the straitness that is to be expected from the lone exercise of reason. But now all on the sudden I felt an inexpressible force to fall on my mind, an afflatus, which cannot be described in words; none knows it but he that has it.... It was told me, that the Lord Jesus Christ loved my father, and loved me, and that he took delight in us, as in two of his faithful servants, and that he had not permitted us to be deceived in our particular faith, but that my father should be carried into England, and there glorify the Lord Jesus Christ before his passing into glory....

"Having left a flood of tears from me, by these rages from the invisible world, on my study floor, I rose and went into my chair. There I took up my Bible, and the first place that I opened was at Acts xxvii. 23-25, 'There stood by me

an angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, thou must be brought before Caesar.' ... A new flood of tears gushed from my flowing eyes, and I broke out into these expressions. 'What! shall my father yet appear before Caesar! Has an angel from heaven told me so! And must I believe what has been told me! Well then, it shall be so! It shall be so!'"

"And now what shall I say! When the affair of my father's agency after this came to a turning point in the court, it strangely miscarried! All came to nothing! Some of the Tories had so wrought upon the governor, that, though he had first moved this matter, and had given us both directions and promises about it, yet he now (not without base unhandsomeness) deferred it. The lieutenant-governor, who had formerly been for it, now (not without great ebullition of unaccountable prejudice and ingratitude) appeared, with all the little tricks imaginable, to confound it. It had for all this been carried, had not some of the council been inconveniently called off and absent. But now the whole affair of the college was left unto the management of the Earl of Bellamont, so that all expectation of a voyage for my father unto England, on any such occasion, is utterly at an end." [Footnote: History of Harvard, i. 484-486, App. x.]

During all these years the legislature had been steadily passing resolutions requiring the president to go into residence; and in 1698 they went so far as to vote him the liberal salary, for that age, of two hundred pounds, and appointed a committee to wait upon him. Judge Sewall describes the interview:-

"Mr. President expostulated with Mr. Speaker ... about the votes being alter'd from 250 [£.?]." ... "We urg'd his going all we could; I told him of his birth and education here; that he look'd at work rather than wages, all met in desiring him.... Objected want of a house, bill for corporation not pass'd ... must needs preach once every week, which he preferred before the gold and silver of the West-Indies. I told him would preach twice aday to the students. He said that [exposition] was nothing like preaching." [Footnote: Sewall's Diary. Mass. Hist. Coll. fifth series, v. 487.] And in this the patriarch spoke the truth; for if there was anything he loved more than money it was the incense of adulation which steamed up to his nostrils from a great congregation. Of course he declined; and yet this importunity pained the good man, not because there was any conflict in his mind between his duty to a cause he held sacred and his own interest, but because it was "a thing contrary to the faith marvellously wrought into my soul, that God will give me an opportunity to serve and glorify Christ in England, I set the day apart to cry to heaven about it." [Footnote: History of Harvard, vi. 481, App. ix.]

There were limits, however, even to the patience of the Massachusetts Assembly with an orthodox divine; and no sooner was the question of the agency decided by the appointment of Bellomont, than it addressed itself resolutely to the seemingly hopeless task of forcing Dr. Mather to settle in Cambridge or resign his office. On the 10th of July, 1700, they voted him two hundred and twenty pounds a year, and they appointed a committee to obtain from him a categorical answer. This time he thought it prudent to feign compliance; and after a "suitable place... for the reception and entertainment of the president" had been prepared at the public expense, he moved out of town and stayed till the 17th of October, when he went back to Boston, and wrote to tell Stoughton his health was suffering. His disingenuousness seems to have given Leverett the opportunity for which he had been waiting; and his acting as chairman of a committee appointed by the representatives suggests his having forced the issue; it was resolved that, should Mr. Mather be absent from the college, his duties should devolve upon Samuel Willard, the vice-president; [Footnote: History of Harvard, i. 111; Court Rec. vii. 172, 175.] and in March the committee apparently reported the president's house to be in good condition. Stimulated by this hint, the doctor went back to Cambridge and stayed a little more than three months, when he wrote a characteristic note to Stoughton, who was acting governor. "I promised the last General Court to take care of the college until the Commencement. Accordingly I have been residing in Cambridge these three months. I am determined (if the Lord will) to return to Boston the next week, and no more return to reside in Cambridge; for it is not reasonable to desire me to be (as, out of respect to the public interest, I have been six months within this twelve) any longer absent from my family.... I do therefore earnestly desire, that the General Court would... think of another president.... It would be fatal to the interest of religion, if a person disaffected to the order of the Gospel, professed and practised in these churches, should preside over this society. I know the General Assembly, out of their regard to the interest of Christ, will take care to prevent it." [Footnote: History of Harvard, i. 501, App. xvii.] Yet though he himself begged the legislature to select his successor, in his inordinate vanity he did not dream of being taken at his word; so when he was invited to meet both houses in the council chamber he explained with perfect cheerfulness how "he was now removed from Cambridge to Boston, and ... did not think fitt to continue his residence there, ... but, if the court thought fit to desire he should continue his care of the colledge as formerly, he would do so." [Footnote: Court Records, vii. 229.]

Increase Mather delighted to blazon himself as Christ's foremost champion in the land. He predicted, and with reason, that should those who had been already designated succeed him at Harvard, it would be fatal to that cause to which his life was vowed. The alternative was presented of serving himself or God, and to him it seemed unreasonable of his friends to expect of him a choice. And yet when, as was his wont, he would describe himself from the pulpit, as a refulgent beacon blazing before New England, he would use such words as these: "Every ... one of a publick spirit ... will deny himself as to his worldly interests, provided he may thereby promove the welfare of his people.... He will not only deny himself, but if called thereto, will encounter the greatest difficulties and dangers for the publicks sake." [Footnote: Sermon, The Publick Spirited Man, pp. 7, 9.]

The man had presumed too far; the world was wearying of him. On September 6, 1701, the government was transferred to Samuel Willard, the vice-president, and Harvard was lost forever. [Footnote: History of Harvard, i. 116.]

No education is so baleful as the ecclesiastical, because it breeds the belief in men that resistance to their will is not only a wrong to their country and themselves, but a sacrilege toward God. The Mathers were now to give an illustration of the degree to which the theocratic training debauched the mind; and it is only necessary to observe that Samuel Sewall, who tells the story, was educated for the ministry, and was perhaps as staunch a conservative as there was in the province.

1701, "October 20. Mr. Cotton Mather came to Mr. Wilkins's shop, and there talked very sharply against me as if I had used his father worse than a neger; spake so loud that people in the street might hear him.... I had read in the morn Mr. Dod's saying; Sanctified afflictions are good promotions. I found it now a cordial."

"October 9. I sent Mr. Increase Mather a hanch of very good venison; I hope in that I did not treat him as a negro."

"October 2, 1701. I, with Major Walley and Capt. Samuel Checkly, speak with Mr. Cotton Mather at Mr. Wilkins's.... I told him of his book of the Law of Kindness for the Tongue, whether this were correspondent with that. Whether correspondent with Christ's rule:

"He said, having spoken to me before there was no need to speak to me again; and so justified his reviling me behind my back. Charg'd the council with lying, hypocrisy, tricks, and I know not what all. I ask'd him if it were done with that meekness as it should; Answer'd, Yes. Charg'd the council in general, and then shew'd my share, which was my speech in council; viz. If Mr. Mather should goe to Cambridge again to reside there with a resolution not to read the Scriptures, and expound in the Hall: I fear the example of it will do more hurt than his going thither will doe good. This speech I owned.... I ask'd him if I should supose he had done somthing amiss in his church as an officer; whether it would be well for me to exclaim against him in the street for it."

"Thorsday October 23. Mr. Increase Mather said at Mr. Wilkins's, If I am a servant of Jesus Christ, some great judgment will fall on Capt. Sewall, or his family." [Footnote: Sewall's Diary. Mass. Hist. Coll. fifth series, vi. 43-45.]

Had the patriarch been capable of a disinterested action, for the sake of those principles he professed to love, he would have stopped Willard's presidency, no matter at what personal cost, for he knew him to be no better than a liberal in disguise, and he had already quarrelled bitterly with him in 1697 when he was trying to eject Leverett. Sewall noted on "Nov. 20.... Mr. Willard told me of the falling out between the president and him about chusing fellows last Monday. Mr. Mather has sent him word, he will never come to his house more till he give him satisfaction." [Footnote: Mass. Hist. Coll. fifth series, v. 464.] But they had in reality separated years before; for when, in the witchcraft terror, Willard was cried out upon, and had to look a shameful death in the face, he learned to feel that the men who were willing to risk their lives to save him were by no means public enemies. And so, as the vice-president lived in Boston, the administration of the college was left very much to Leverett and the Brattles, who were presently reinstated.

Joseph Dudley was the son of that old governor who wrote the verses about the cockatrice to be hatched by toleration, yet he inherited very little of his father's disposition. He was bred for the ministry, and as the career did not attract him, he turned to politics, in which he made a brilliant opening. At first he was the hope of the high churchmen, but they afterward learned to hate him with a rancor exceptional even toward their enemies. And he gave them only too good a handle against him, for he was guilty of the error of selling himself without reserve to the Andros government. At the Revolution he suffered a long imprisonment, and afterward went to England, where he passed most of William's reign. There his ability soon brought him forward, he was made lieutenant-governor of the Isle of Wight, was returned to Parliament, and at last appointed governor by Queen Anne. Though Massachusetts owes a deeper debt to few of her chief magistrates, there are few who have found scantier praise at the hands of her historians. He was, it is true, an unscrupulous politician and courtier, but his mind was broad and vigorous, his policy wise and liberal, and at the moment of his power his influence was of inestimable value.

Among his other gifts, he was endowed with infinite tact, and when working for his office he managed not only to conciliate the Mathers, but even to induce the son to write a letter in his favor; and so when he arrived in 1702 they were both sedulous in their attentions in the expectation of controlling him. A month had not passed, however, before this ominous entry was made in the younger's diary:-

"June 16, 1702. I received a visit from Governour Dudley.... I said to him ... I should be content, I would approve it, ... if any one should say to your excellency, 'By no means let any people have cause to say, that you take all your measures from the two Mr. Mathers.' By the same rule I may say without offence,' By no means let any people say, that you go by no measures in your conduct, but Mr. Byfield's and Mr. Leverett's.'... The WRETCH went unto those men and told them, that I had advised him to be no ways advised by them; and inflamed them into an implacable rage against me." [Footnote: Mass. Hist. Coll. first series, iii. 137.]

Leverett, on the contrary, now reached his zenith; from the house he passed into the council and became one of Dudley's most trusted advisers. The Mathers were no match for these two men, and few routs have been more disastrous than theirs. Lord Bellomont's sudden death had put an end to all hope of obtaining a charter by compromise with England, and no further action had been taken, when, on September 12, 1707, Willard died. On the 28th of October the fellows met and chose John Leverett president of Harvard College; and then came a demonstration which proved not only Increase Mather's prescience, when he foretold how a liberal university would kill a disciplined church, but which shows the mighty influence a devoted teacher can have upon his age. Thirty-nine ministers addressed Governor Dudley thus:-

"We have lately, with great joy, understood the great and early care that our brethren, who have the present care and oversight of the college at Cambridge, have taken, ... by their unanimous choice of Mr. John Leverett, ... to be the president ... Your Excellency personally knows Mr. Leverett so well, that we shall say the less of him. However, we cannot but give this testimony of our great affection to and esteem for him; that we are abundantly satisfied ... of his religion, learning, and other excellent accomplishments for that eminent service, a long experience of which we had while he was senior fellow of that house; for that, under the wise and faithful government of him, and the Rev. Mr. Brattle, of Cambridge, the greatest part of the now rising ministry in New England were happily educated; and we hope and promise ourselves, through the blessing of the God of our fathers, to see religion and learning thrive and flourish in that society, under Mr. Leverett's wise conduct and influence, as much as ever yet it hath done." [Footnote: History of Harvard, i. 504, App. xx.]

His salary was only one hundred and fifty pounds a year; but the man worked for love of a great cause, and did not stop to haggle. Nor were he and Dudley of the temper to leave a task half done. Undoubtedly at the governor's instigation, a resolve was introduced into the Assembly reviving the Act of 1650 by which the university had been incorporated, and it is by the sanction of this lawless and masterly feat of statesmanship that Harvard has been administered for almost two hundred years.

Sewall tells how Dudley went out in state to inaugurate his friend. "The governour prepared a Latin speech for instalment of the president. Then took the president by the hand and led him down into the hall;... The governour sat with his back against a noble fire.... Then the governour read his speech ... and mov'd the books in token of their delivery. Then president made a short Latin speech, importing the difficulties discouraging, and yet that he did accept: ... Clos'd with the hymn to the Trinity. Had a very good dinner upon 3 or 4 tables.... Got home very well. Laus Deo." [Footnote: Mass. Hist. Coll. fifth series, vi. 209.]

Nor did Dudley fail to provide the new executive with fit support. By the old law he had revived the corporation was reduced to seven; of this board Leverett himself was one, and on the day he took his office both the Brattles and Pemberton were also appointed. And more than this, when, a few years later, Pemberton died, the arch-rebel, Benjamin Colman, was chosen in his place. The liberal triumph was complete, and in looking back through the vista of the past, there are few pages of our history more strongly stamped with the native energy of the New England mind than this brilliant capture of Harvard, by which the ancient cradle of bigotry and superstition was made the home of American liberal thought. As for the Mathers, when they found themselves beaten in fair fight, they conceived a revenge so dastardly that Pemberton declared with much emotion he would humble them, were he governor, though it cost him his head. Being unable longer to withstand Dudley by honorable means, they tried to blast him by charging him with felony. Their letters are too long to be reproduced in full; but their purport may be guessed by the extracts given, and to this day they remain choice gems of theocratic morality.

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SIR, That I have had a singular respect for you, the Lord knows; but that since your arrival to the government, my charitable expectations have been greatly disappointed, I may not deny....

1st. I am afraid you cannot clear yourself from the guilt of bribery and unrighteousness....

2d. I am afraid that you have not been true to the interest of your country, as God (considering his marvellous dispensations towards you) and his people have expected from you....

3d. I am afraid that you cannot clear yourself from the guilt of much hypocrisy and falseness in the affair of the college....

4th. I am afraid that the guilt of innocent blood is still crying in the ears of the Lord against you. I mean the blood of Leister and Milburn. My Lord Bellamont said to me, that he was one of the committee of Parliament who examined the matter; and that those men were not only murdered, but barbarously murdered....

5th. I am afraid that the Lord is offended with you, in that you ordinarily forsake the worship of God in the holy church to which you are related, in the afternoon on the Lord's day, and after the publick exercise, spend the whole time with some persons reputed very ungodly men. I am sure your father did not so.... Would you choose to be with them or such as they are in another world, unto which you are hastening?... I am under pressures of conscience to bear a publick testimony without respect of persons.... I trust in Christ that when I am gone, I shall obtain a good report of my having been faithful before him. To his mercy I commend you, and remain in him,

Yours to serve, I. MATHER. [Footnote: Mass. Hist. Coll. first series, iii. 126.] BOSTON, January 20, 1707-8. To the Governour.

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BOSTON, Jan. 20, 1707-8.

Sir, There have appeared such things in your conduct, that a just concern for the welfare of your excellency seems to render it necessary, that you should be faithfully advised of them.... You will give me leave to write nothing, but in a style, whereof an ignorant mob, to whom (as well as the General Assembly) you think fit to communicate what fragments you please of my letters, must be competent judges. I must proceed accordingly.... I weakly believed that the wicked and horrid things done before the righteous Revolution, had been heartily repented of; and that the rueful business at New York, which many illustrious persons ... called a barbarous murder, ... had been considered with such a repentance, as might save you and your family from any further storms of heaven for the revenging of it.... Sir, your snare has been that thing, the hatred whereof is most expressly required of the ruler, namely COVETOUSNESS. When a governour shall make his government more an engine to enrich himself, than to befriend his country, and shall by the unhallowed hunger of riches be prevailed withal to do many wrong, base, dishonourable things; it is a covetousness which will shut out from the kingdom of heaven; and sometimes the loss of a government on earth also is the punishment of it.... The main channel of that covetousness has been the reign of bribery, which you, sir, have set up in the land, where it was hardly known, till you brought it in fashion.... And there lie affidavits before the queen and council, which affirm that you have been guilty of it in very many instances. I do also know that you have....

Sir, you are sensible that there is a judgment to come, wherein the glorious Lord will demand, how far you aimed at serving him in your government; ... how far you did in your government encourage those that had most of his image upon them, or place your eyes on the wicked of the land. Your age and health, as well as other circumstances, greatly invite you, sir, to entertain awful thoughts of this matter, and solicit the divine mercy through the only sacrifice.... Yet if the troubles you brought on yourself should procure your abdication and recess unto a more private condition, and your present parasites forsake you, as you may be sure they will, I should think it my duty to do you all the good offices imaginable.

Finally, I can forgive and forget injuries; and I hope I am somewhat ready for sunset; the more for having discharged the duty of this letter....

Your humble and faithful servant,

COTTON MATHER. [Footnote: Mass. Hist. Coll. first series, iii. 128.]

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But these venomous priests had tried their fangs upon a resolute and an able man. Dudley shook them off like vermin.

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GENTLEMEN, Yours of the 20th instant I received; and the contents, both as to the matter and manner, astonish me to the last degree. I must think you have extremely forgot your own station, as well as my character; otherwise it had been impossible to have made such an open breach upon all the laws of decency, honour, justice, and Christianity, as you have done in treating me with an air of superiority and contempt, which would have been greatly culpable towards a Christian of the lowest order, and is insufferably rude toward one whom divine Providence has honoured with the character of your governour....

Why, gentlemen, have you been so long silent? and suffered sin to lie upon me years after years? You cannot pretend any new information as to the main of your charge; for you have privately given your tongues a loose upon these heads, I am well assured, when you thought you could serve yourselves by exposing me. Surely murder, robberies, and other such flaming immoralities were as reprovable then as now....

Really, gentlemen, conscience and religion are things too solemn, venerable, or sacred, to be played with, or made a covering for actions so disagreeable to the gospel, as these your endeavours to expose me and my most faithful services to contempt; nay, to unhinge the government....

I desire you will keep your station, and let fifty or sixty good ministers, your equals in the province, have a share in the government of the college, and advise thereabouts as well as yourselves, and I hope all will be well....

I am your humble servant,


To the Reverend Doctors Mathers. [Footnote: Mass. Hist. Coll. first series, iii. 135.]

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