97 Extract from the Will of Robert Thorner

    [May 31 1690]

    In the Name of God, Amen! The thirty first day of May, in the year of our Lord God 1690, and the 2d year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord and Lady William and Mary, &c.

    I Robert Thorner of Baddesley in the County of Southampton, gentleman, do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament, hereby revoking and annulling all former and other will and wills heretofore by me made, and this to be taken for my last will and Testament—&c.—&c.—

    I devise give and bequeath to Harvard Colledge in New England whereof Mr. Increase Mather is now president, the sume of five hundred pounds to be payed to the president of the sayd Colledge, and employed for the propagating of learning and piety; which Sume I appoynt my Executors Trustees, or their successors to pay out of the Revenues of my Lands so soon as it shall be raised out of the neat proceeds thereof, after the expiration of Sir Peter Vandeputs lease according to the limitations and directions in maner and Form hereafter expressed.

    etc. etc.

    I devise the first £500 that can be raised thereof after the aforesaid lease be expired; to be to the discharging the legacy aforementioned to Harvard Colledge in N. E. to be payed to the then president thereof, to the uses aforesayd.

    [In margin:] The Trustees and Executors are Mr. Bennet Swayn, Isaac Wats, Thomas Hollis, John Brackstone.1

    Memorandum I. That this Legacy of Mr. Thorners to the College by this Clause of his wil wil not be due before Vandeputs Lease is expired which wont [be] before the year 1769 that is about 40 years hence 2 It appears by Mr. Hollis’s Letter to the President Wadsworth dated Sept. 18th 1728 that the Legacy is to be paid out of the rents and profits of Houses and Lands in Gratious Street and Leaden-Hall Market in London and that there will need a New Lease of the Houses and the Houses to be newe built before this Legacy can be paid 3 That after the expiration of Vandeputs Lease There must be Ten pounds per annum paid to four Trustees out of the rents and profits of said houses and Lands and one hundred pounds per annum to the free school of Litton and to the Children of Dorchester Southampton and Sarum before the College Legacy is to be paid 4 Mr. Hollis says that he much questions whether when a New Lease is made and New houses built the Neat proceeds of Rents and Profits wil amount to more than a £100 per annum which Mr. Thorners wil supposes wil be £400 and if so then there is £140 per annum to be paid out of a £100 per annum before the College Legacy is to be paid for which reason Mr. Hollis says in his Letter aforesaid that the Legacy is at a great Distance and greater Uncertain and Mr. Thorners Computation of 400 per annum is weak and vain.

    [Inscribed:] Copy of Mr. Robert Thorner’s Will, May 31, 1690. Mr. T. Hollis (see his Letter of Sept. 18, 1728) appoints his Kinsman Thomas Hollis to be his successor in this trust.

    College Papers, i. 16 (No. 37). This manuscript is in Increase Mather’s handwriting. Robert Thorner was “a wealthy dissenter of Baddesley, Southampton, who had known Increase’s brother Nathaniel many years before, and formed the intention of leaving a legacy to Harvard College.” Morison, Seventeenth Century, ii. 485. See also Massachusetts Historical Society Collections, Fourth Series, viii. 677; K. B. Murdock, Increase Mather, pp. 277–278; Quincy, History, i. 185–186; and CSM Publications, xvi. 832–833. Thorner was also Thomas Hollis’s uncle; the bequest, which depended on many contingencies, did not come to the University until seventy years later.

    The entire Will, with subsequent memoranda, is in Wills, Gifts and Grants, 13. The final memorandum, dated Feb. 5th 1728/9, may be quoted as showing how the College authorities felt about the bequest at that time.