118 Draft of an Address of Sundry Ministers to the General Court

    [July 7 1699]

    To His Excellency, the Governour, And the Honourable, the great and General Assembly, now mett at Boston.

    The Address of sundry ministers who then [members] of the late Corporation of Harvard Colledge upon1 The Consideration of the Deplorable State, whereinto the Colledge is now for want of a charter-settlement reduced, and threatened with no less than a Dissolution and a Dissipation of that Society; (the Consequences whereof would bee very fatal) if due means bee not used without any Delay, to prevent so terrible a Calamity; Wee have thought it our Duty, once again to Address the Honourable Assembly That a Charter-Settlement of that Society may bee by them Endeavoured.

    And wee do more particularly pray That in the Charter for the Colledge, our Holy Religion may bee Secured unto us, and unto our posterity, by a provision That no person shall bee chosen president, or Fellow of the Colledge but such as declare their Adherence unto the principles of Reformation which were Espoused and intended by those who first settled in this Country and Founded the Colledge, and have hitherto bin the generall profession of New England. And That the power of the visitation bee so expressed,2 as that wee may have Reason to hope that the Charter will bee favoured with the Royal Approbation.

    And inasmuch as the sure and the most likely if not the only way to obtain the Charter-Settlement so much to bee desired, is to send over an Agent, to sollicit so important an Affayr, wee pray the General Assembly to take that matter into their serious consideration.

    If these things bee done, since the God of Heaven hath given us a Governour, who will improve His Great interest for us, Wee are not without Hopes, but that the Colledge may again flourish, to the manifold Advantage of more than this whole province, both in present and Future Times. But if this Assembly Rise without doing anything to Raise the Colledge, that most vital part of N.E. out of the Death now upon it, wee the subscribers of this Address must have nothing to support us under so extreme a distress coming upon this Last, but only This, That wee have delivered our own soules.3

    I M.

    James Allen

    Sam. Torrey

    Sam. Willard

    Pet. Thacher

    John Danforth

    C. Mather

    Benj. Wadsworth.

    College Papers, i. 22 (No. 56). This draft is in Cotton Mather’s handwriting, with emendations and signatures by Increase Mather. Several words have been crossed out. It is printed in Quincy, History, i. 99n. and a portion of it in Morison, Seventeenth Century, ii. 524. The signers were all ministers and supporters of President Mather on the Corporation. The two Mathers were at the Second Church, Boston. Allen (First Church) and Willard (Old South), together with Cotton Mather, were among signers of an earlier protest; see No. 109. Samuel Torrey, minister in Weymouth, was of the Class of 1656, though he did not graduate. Peter Thacher, minister of Milton, graduated from Harvard in 1671, and had served earlier as a Fellow. John Danforth (A.B. 1677) was minister in Dorchester. Wadsworth (A.B. 1690) served the First Church; he became President of the College in 1725. Willard followed Charles Morton as Vice-President, serving from 1700 to 1707. Most of these men served as Fellows until 1707; their insistence on a religious qualification was not shared by all members of the Corporation; and, when incorporated in the Charter of 1699, resulted in its veto by Governor Bellomont.