113 Draft of Increase Mather’s Resignation

    [September 15 1697]

    Whereas I have for many years acted as President of Harvard Colledge, but have now no further1 Prospect of being Serviceable to that Society; and feeling my Labours there to be burthensom to myself as well as unacceptable to some Others. Nor can I do otherwise than resent it deeply, that all my Care2 and Pains in both Englands to promote the Wellfare of the Colledge, should be requited with Clamorous Reflections3 that the Colledge would soon be well settled if it were not for me a Non-Resident;4 whenas no rational man, under my Circumstances would have Complyed with a Residence before the Confirmation of the Charter for Incorporating the Colledge,5 and before effectuall Care is taken for the due Payment of a Salary necessary to support the Presidentship.6

    For the Causes mentioned,7 in Consideration with some other reasons, I do hereby Resign all Relation to that Society, desiring that another President may by the Corporation be chosen as soon as may be, unto whom, as well as to the whole Colledge (with thankfull Acknowledgments of the great Respects I have ever found from them all) I wish, and Pray for all happy Success and Establishment.

    This Resignation given under my hand.8

    College Papers, i. 21 (No. 51). This appears to be the final version of Mather’s resignation as prepared for the Corporation meeting in September. The Corporation met on September 15, but lacked a quorum. See Quincy, History, i. 478. For purposes of comparison in the footnotes, earlier versions, all to be found in College Papers I. 20 and 21, are identified as follows:

    1a. draft, in Mather’s hand, dated August, 1697. According to his diary, Mather tried to resign at a Corporation meeting on August 12.

    1b. fair copy, signed by Mather, but his signature is crossed out.

    2. another draft, with an additional sentence (crossed out) and minor changes; it is not dated and is not in Mather’s hand.

    3. a still longer draft, not in Mather’s hand, and also undated.

    4. the “final” version as given above; perhaps an eighteenth-century copy.