122 Extract of a Letter from, Increase Mather to William Stoughton

    Extract of a Letter from the Reverend Mr. Increase Mather dated, Cambridge October 17th, 1700 superscribed, To the Honorable William Stoughton Esq. Lt. Governour.

    Honourable Sir

    I have been three months (and som day’s more) residing in Cambridge. My Work there has bin a dayly Inspection of the Colledge, sometimes 2 or 3 times in a day I have stept into the Colledge, to enquire if any thing were amiss amongst the students. Seldom a day but I have called one or other of them into the Library to advise them about their studdy’s and also about their soul concernment. I have moreover preached to the Schollars every Lords day in publick and given them an Expository Lecture in the Colledge Hall once a week and have moderated the disputacions of the Graduates once a fortnight.

    Thus have I spent my time though with much difficulty because I have seldom been well three dayes togeather, either the aire or the diet of Cambridge not agreeing with me, though I must needs say, that I thinke a great hardship has been putt upon me, in urgeing me to remove to Cambridge before there was any house to receive me, or settlement of the Collidge on a charter foundation, or security of maintenance for my family which has suffered [. . .] by my being absent from them, and although I have been in the world 61 Years, this has been the most uncomfortable 3 months that ever I saw, nor dare I (lest I be should be guilty of the six commandment) continue any longer in Cambridge, as things are at present circumstanced.

    I shall not refuse to take the care of the Colledge which I have done these 19 years past, for this Winter; (if the Lord continue my life) onely I then desire that another president may in the mean time be thought of.

    Thus much I supposed it proper for me to acquaint you with. Underwritt is—

    The people to whome I stand related in Boston are importunate to have me returne to them.

    I hope I have been Instrumentall to putt the Colledge into such a state, as there will be no great need of my presence there this Winter. In the mean time care may be taken to putt the Colledge into a better hand.

    College Papers, i. 28 (No. 65). This is a later copy, which appears to contain a few errors. The first paragraph, and a few other sentences, are quoted in Morison, Seventeenth Century, ii. 531.