496 Paid Dudley’s Lecture Bequest

    [January 2 1750/51]

    To all christian people unto whom these presents shall come Paul Dudley of Roxbury in the County of Suffolk and Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England Esq. sends greeting. Whereas the said Paul Dudley among other legacies by him given in his last will and Testament has bequeathed to Harvard College in Cambridge in New England the sum of one hundred and thirty three pounds six shillings and eight pence lawfull money (which is to be paid and discharged in and by good bonds and mortgages of that value) the said legacy to be appropriated in such manner as the said Paul Dudley should declare under his hand and seal. Now know ye that I the said Paul Dudley have and hereby do declare the design of my legacy to be as follows, that is to say, the yearly income interest or profit of the sum before mentioned to be applied towards the erecting maintaining supporting and continuing an Anniversary sermon or lecture to be held or preached at the said College once every year successively, by such persons as the Trustees of the said legacy shall choose and appoint.

    The first lecture or anniversary sermon to be for the proving explaining and proper use and improvement of the principles of Natural Religion as it is commonly called and understood by Divines and learned men.

    The second lecture to be for the confirmation illustration and improvement of the great articles of the Christian Religion properly so called, or the Revelation which Jesus Christ the son of God was pleased to make first by himself and afterwards by his holy Apostles to his Church and the World for their salvation.

    The third lecture to be for the detecting and convicting and exposing the Idolatry of the Romish church, their tyranny, usurpations, damnable heresies, fatal errors, abominable superstitions, and other crying wickednesses in their high places; and finally that the church of Rome is that mystical Babylon, that man of sin, that Apostate church spoken of in the new Testament.

    The fourth and last lecture I would have for the maintaining explaining and proving the validity of the Ordination of Ministers or Pastors of the churches, and so their administration of the Sacraments or Ordinances of Religion, as the same has been practiced in New England from the first beginning of it, and so continued at this day: not that I would any ways invalidate Episcopal Ordination, as it is commonly called and practiced in the Church of England, but I do esteem the method of Ordination, as practiced in Scotland, at Geneva, and among the Dissenters in England, and in the churches in this Country to be very safe scriptural and valid, and that the great Head of the church by his blessed spirit has owned sanctified and blessed them accordingly and will continue so to do to the end of the World Amen.

    These four lectures I would have held alternately every year in succession so long as the profits of my legacy will support the charge of it.

    As for the Trustees of this lecture I appoint and name them as follows: the President of Harvard College for the time being, the Professor of Divinity at Cambridge for the time being, the Pastor of the first Church in Cambridge for the time being, the senior Tutor resident at said College for the time being, the pastor of the first church in Roxbury for the time being, and whenever any vacancy happens the same to be filled up by those that remain or the major part of them.

    I do also appoint the [blank] President of Harvard College to begin and preach the first of these four lectures, and that he and all such as succeed him in the said lectures, be at the sole charge of leaving a fair copy of their discourses with the Treasurer of said College to be by him filed with the public Records of said House.

    And in testimony of my humble desire that God would be graciously pleased to accept of this poor thank offering from his unworthy servant for his many and great mercies to me in my education at that College, and my sincere prayer and desire for the favor of God to that Society in all ages to come, I have hereunto set my hand and seal at Roxbury the second day of January in the twenty fourth year of his Majesty’s Reign A.D. 1750.

    Paul Dudley Seal

    Sealed and delivered in presence of Ebenezer Peirpoint

    Samuel Winthrop


    Let him that preaches the last lecture before mentioned be a sound grave experienced Divine, and at least forty years of age, and let those that preach the several lectures aforesaid have their stipend or pay given them as soon as may be.

    Sealed and Delivered in presence of

    Paul Dudley and a Seal

    Ebenezer Peirpoint


    Samuel Winthrop


    College Papers, 1. 88 (No. 182). Paul Dudley (A.B. 1690) died in 1751. This is a later copy; an extract, relating to the money involved only, is in Wills, Gifts and Grants, p. 16. Pertinent parts of the Will are also in CSM Publications, xvi. 854–857. The Dudley Lectures are still given; the Fund stood at $12,344, according to the Report of the Treasurer for 1971/72.