91 President Rogers, Samuel Andrew and John Cotton to Increase Mather

    [Cambridge, December 9 1683]

    Reverend Sir,

    Wee are heartily sorry that we are enforced to give you the trouble of these lines the purport whereof is to signify our great dissatisfaction with the stated time of the commencement in the first Wensday in July next, the occasion whereof is that upon that very day wil fall out a grand Eclipse of the Sun which was not foreseen or at least thought of upon the last meeting of the Corporation. What reflection wil bee upon our oversight of it, or upon our persisting notwithstanding we have still the opportunity of Correcting it before the Almanack come forth, as also how obstructive the eclipse wil bee as to the busines of the day is very obvious. Wee are not Superstitious in it, but reckon it very inconvenient. If therefore yourself shall joyne with us, and improve your interest once more with the Harvard Overseers to alter and confirme the day on the 2d Wensday in July or for this present turne on the first Tuesday in July or the forementioned 2d Wednesday, it shal be most grateful and obliging to us.

    Sir, praying a blessing upon al your Labours and begging your prayers for us, we kisse your hands and are

    your friends and Servants,

    J. Rogers

    Samuel Andrew

    Jno. Cotton

    Corporation Papers. This is a facsimile of recipient’s copy; the original was owned by Miss Theodora Willard. It was thought to be in the Boston Public Library, but this appears to be in error. On January 3, 1683/84 the Overseers concurred in the vote of the Corporation changing Commencement Day to the first Wednesday in July. Doubtless as a result of this letter, Commencement Day 1684 was on Tuesday, July 1. As it happened, President Rogers died on July 2, just as the sun was “beginning to emerge out of a Central Ecclipps”. See Sibley, Sketches, i. 168, n. where a considerable portion of this letter is printed, and CSM Publications, xv. 254. Samuel Andrew (A.B. 1675) and John Cotton (A.B. 1678) were College officers. The signatures are originals.