A STATED Meeting of the Society was held at the house of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, No. 28 Newbury Street, Boston, on Thursday, 24 February, 1916, at three o’clock in the afternoon, Vice-President Andrew McFarland Davis in the chair.
The Records of the last Stated Meeting were read and approved.
The Corresponding Secretary reported that a letter had been received from Mr. Lawrence Shaw Mayo accepting Resident Membership.
On behalf of Mr. Fred N. Robinson the following paper was communicated:
The Society is really indebted for knowledge of the following poem to Professor Douglas Hyde, of Dublin, who generously allowed himself to be consulted about the earlier verses of O’Meehan, communicated by Mr. Kittredge in 1911,295 and who, upon finding this second song with reference to Washington, sent a copy of it to me. Dr. Hyde has also had the kindness to collate the copy with the original in the O’Curry manuscript and to make a number of valuable suggestions, which are acknowledged below, concerning the translation and interpretation.
Both of O’Meehan’s poems seem certainly to have been written during the American Revolution. In the one first published there is, as Mr. Kittredge pointed out, a reference to Washington’s defeat of Howe which fixes the date soon after the evacuation of Boston in 1776; and the second song refers with equal clearness to events of the year 1779. No specific act of Washington’s is there mentioned, and the praise of Paul Jones would have been appropriate at any time after the seizure of Whitehaven in 1778. But it was in 1779 that the hostile French fleet entered St. George’s Channel, and that Jones sailed for Scotland with a squadron of French and American vessels combined. It was in 1779, too, that Friar Arthur O’Leary — unquestionably the “Brother O’Leary” of the poem — published his Address to the Common People of the Roman Catholic Religion concerning the Apprehended French Invasion, an appeal to Irish Catholics to remain loyal to the British crown. Since both the naval campaign of the French and the activity of O’Leary are referred to by O’Meehan as if strictly contemporary, the writing of the poem is probably to be assigned to the same year.
For other allusions in the song it has not been possible to find definite explanation. The “lad of gold,” who was a pet at christenings and weddings, was either O’Leary himself — a possibility which is discussed below — or some unknown local celebrity. Dr. Hyde, whose knowledge of modern Irish manuscripts and oral tradition is probably as extensive as that of any living scholar, is unable to identify the character. The statement that the lad was “descended from Mór” is less helpful than it might appear, for it probably means, as Dr. Hyde remarks, simply that he was of pure Gaelic stock. The freedom or relief which O’Meehan says the British “Boors” have granted the Irish through fear of foreign attacks may mean merely abatement of rent, since that is a common application of the Irish word lagsaine; but it is quite as likely that reference is intended to more general measures for the improvement of Irish conditions. In 1778, it will be recalled, Lord North proposed a policy of greater liberality toward Irish Catholics, and a few trading privileges were conferred on Ireland by the British House of Commons. Again in 1779 and 1780 freer commercial laws were passed for the benefit of the Irish.
In Mr. Kittredge’s communication references were given to three poems of O’Meehan which had been previously printed.296 To these songs may be added two more.297 They are noted in the recent Bibliography of Irish Philology and of Printed Irish Literature of the National Library of Ireland,298 which, however, makes no mention of the pieces printed by O’Looney, Father Dinneen, and Mr. Kittredge, or, of course, of the one given below.
Of the song now published two manuscript copies are known to Dr. Hyde, one in O’Curry’s unpublished collection of historical poems in the Library of University College, Dublin,299 and another in the Royal Irish Academy.300 The printed text is based upon the former, and a few variants from the latter, noted by Dr. Hyde, are registered in footnotes. O’Curry’s manuscript was written, Dr. Hyde says, in Roman characters about 1838.
A note of the scribe at the end of the poem indicates that it was to be sung to the tune Do dhéanfainn-se bróg is céachta ar an g-cóir. There seems to be no mention of this title in the published treatises on Irish music, but Dr. W. H. Grattan Flood, of Enniscorthy, Ireland, who has kindly supplied information about both songs of O’Meehan, writes that the tune referred to is identical with the one more familiarly known as Fágamaoid súd mar atá sé. This air, which is said to be sung in all the counties of Munster and used for a number of songs both Gaelic and English, is published by Dr. P. W. Joyce in his Ancient Irish Music.301
Transliteration of the Irish Text
Tomás úa Miodhacháin cct.
1. A uaisle Inis Eilge de chnuas-cheap na nGaedheal
Tá luaisgithe a mbuaireamh is suaithte ag an saoghal
Do chaill le cam dlighe is le hachtannaibh daoir
Gach paiste dár sealbhuigh bhúr302 sínsear
Musclaidh go luith-chleasach feasta chun éacht
Is lubaigh go húrlainn bhúr lanna go léir
I ccoinne gach dreamm d’fhág sibh-se go fann
Le fada gan sealbh gan saoirse.
Na greann ar chómhluadar na n-uasal ’tá tréith303
Giodh bíon giolla an óir do shíolraigh ó Mhóir
’Na pheata ar gach baisteadh acus pósadh
Féuch Bráthair O Laoghaire cidh claon linn a rádh
Mar chruadhann sé an coillear304 leis an té bhíon ar fághan
Do bheirim do súd breis tairbhe an úird
Is cead raide do’n aicme ’tá scolta.305
3. Do bheirim an chraobh do Washington saor
Is do Jones atá ar fairrge ag greadadh na bpiléar
Is iad súd an bhuidhean do throideadh306 go binn
Ag seasamh i ngradam ’s i nglóire
Is tríotha so is fleet mara Laoisigh307 do shiubhail
Pé lonnradh beag lagsaine gheallaid na Búir
Ní bhfadhach sibh cead lease308 ar bothán na ngéadh
No gur leathain an eagla ar Seóirse.
4. Nach léir dhibh nuair309 bhí clann Iacob na ngníomh
I ffad aige Pharaoh fé cháin is fé chíos310
Le húrnaighthe shíor is clú-chleasaibh cloidhimh
Go dtangadar slán as an Egypt
An sompla glacaig le meanmain árd
Os dóigh linn na mairid311 lucht fearaibh as feárr
Le faobhar is le fíoch312 gan staonadh gan sgíth
Lom-chartaidh bhúr namhaid tar Thetis. — Críoch.
Thomas O’Meehan cecinit.
1. O noble Inis Eilge,313 of the fruitful stock of the Gael,
Which is rocked in trouble and shaken with the age,
Which has lost through misrule and the foreigner’s laws
Every patch which your elders possessed,
Awake now to action with strength and skill,
And bend to your spear-shafts altogether
Against every troop which has left you weak
For a long time without possession, without freedom.
2. There is no pleasure in story, in song, or in poem,
Nor mirth among the throng of nobles who are weak,
Although the lad of gold, descended from Mór,
Is a pet at every christening and wedding.
Behold Brother O’Leary — though it is an ill thing to say —
How he tightens the yoke for the man who is wandering.
I give him there more than the profits of his order,
And to the tribe who are scalded [I give] leave to talk.314
And to Jones, who is on the sea in the crashing of cannon-balls;
They are the troops who are fighting splendidly,
Standing in honor and glory.
It is because of them and the sea-fleet of Louis, which has set out,
If there is any glimmering of relief that the Boors promise us.
You would not get even leave for a lease of a hut for the geese
Till the fear [of French and Americans] spread over George.
4. Do you not know that the children of Jacob of the exploits,
When they were long with Pharaoh under tax and tribute,
By continued prayer and famous feats of the sword
Came safely forth out of Egypt?
Take example of them with high spirit, —
For I am sure there lives no body of men who are better;
With sword-edge and with anger, without flinching or ceasing,
Make clean riddance of your foes across Thetis. —
Mr. Albert Matthews made the following communication:
HIS HONORARY DEGREES AND WORKS
Samuel Mather has fared hardly both at the hands of bibliographers and in the Harvard Triennials and Quinquennials. He is supposed to have received three honorary degrees — A.M. from Yale in 1724 or 1725; A.M. from Glasgow in 1731; and D.D. from Aberdeen in 1762. Yet the first honor was not accorded him until one hundred and eight or nine years after it had been conferred, and the exact date is even now uncertain; the second honor, after having graced his name for one hundred and sixty-seven years, was ruthlessly torn from him in 1900; while the third honor was suddenly thrust upon him in the same year, though it had never before been known — at least in this country — that he had achieved it. Indeed, it is possible that his name has never been correctly entered in any edition of these biblia non biblia: and the official publications of four universities — Harvard, Yale, Glasgow, and Aberdeen — are alike defective.
These notes are offered in the hope that they will make easier the task of the editor of the next edition of the indispensable Quinquennial. Perhaps, too, they will serve as a warning to the man in the street who, on the appearance of each new edition, complains of its errors of commission or omission or both; since they show that the compilation of such a volume sometimes presents peculiar difficulties. Let us consider the degrees chronologically.
The Yale Degree, 1724
That Mather received the degree of A.M. from Yale has never been in question, though no Harvard Triennial accorded him the honor until 1833. But there has been a curious discrepancy in both the Harvard and the Yale catalogues as to when the degree was given. In 1724 Yale conferred an A.M. on David Yale, and presumably (as it will appear) on Mather also. In the 1724 Yale Triennial is this entry:
David Yale Mr.
No copies of the 1727–1736 Yale Triennials are extant. In those for 1739–1745 the entry reads:
*David Yale Mr.
Samuel Mather Mr. Cant. Nov. & Glascuœ.
If such an entry were to appear in a modern catalogue, it would mean that the two persons named had graduated A.B. at Yale in 1721 and had received their A.M. in course at the end of the third year — that is, in 1724.315 But in the eighteenth century catalogues were constructed on a different plan; and the natural inference to be drawn from the above entry is that David Yale and Mather received their degrees in 1724. No copy of the 1748 Yale Triennial is extant. In that for 1751 a still different plan was adopted, and those who received honorary degrees were placed at the end by themselves, under the name of the college from which each had graduated. Hence the entry reads:
Laurea Yalensi Donati.
Samuel Mather Mr. et Gla.
And thus the entry stood down to and including the 1865 Triennial.316 But in that for 1868 the year 1724 suddenly became 1725, and has so remained ever since.
Turning to the Harvard Triennials and Quinquennials we find, as already stated, that Mather’s degree from Yale was first recognized in 1833, when it appeared without date. In 1842 the date 1724 was added, and remained through 1885, but in 1890 the year suddenly changed from 1724 to 1725 and has so remained ever since. Probably the reason for this change was the earlier change made by Yale in 1868.
Which year is right — 1724 or 1725? The fact that the early Yale Triennials invariably give 1724, when they give a date at all, is presumptive evidence that the degree was conferred in that year. Yet if it was, why did not Mather’s name appear in the 1724 Yale Triennial as did that of David Yale?
In a letter to Gurdon Saltonstall, then Governor of Connecticut, Cotton Mather, writing on August 31, 1724, said:
A Young Man, who counts it well worth his Travel and Expence, to visit New London, only to come under Notice with your Honour, is also ambitious of Riding in your Guards to the Commencement at New-haven. . . . He wishes, that he had been of a year or two Longer Standing; then he would have humbly Supplicated, for Leave to have stood as a Candidate and Competent for a Degree, in a Colledge which his Father has been sometimes a Small Actor for; and where the Memory of his Ancestors would bespeak some Easy Terms for his Admission to so much Honour, tho’ his Learning should not be aequal to that of many others. But it must be enough unto him, to be Admitted as a Spectator, among them who wish well to Yale Colledge and would lay hold on all opportunities to putt all possible Respects upon it. So I leave Ascanius under your Honors favourable Patronage.
On September 1 he records “That Samachi may make some further Improvements and be encouraged in his Industry, I give my Countenance and Assistance, unto a Journey, which he desires to take unto New London, and so unto New-Haven, that he may be present at the Commencement there.” And under date of September 22 is this entry: “I am informed, that my Son, Samuel, in the Journey to New-haven from which he is not yett returned, has had the uncommon Respects of the Degree of M.A. conferred on him, at the Commencement there. If it be true, he is distinguished, by being a graduated Mr. of Arts, while he is yett short of eighteen years of Age.”317
It may be concluded, then, that the degree was conferred in 1724, and the fact that Mather’s name does not appear in the Triennial of that year is capable of an easy explanation. That catalogue was printed at New London, and so copy must have been sent from New Haven some time before Commencement, which came on Wednesday, September 9. David Yale had no doubt been voted his degree long before that, while the conferring of a degree on Samuel Mather was unthought of until Governor Saltonstall received early in September Cotton Mather’s letter of August 31 and took “Ascanius” under his patronage, and so the degree was voted too late for the insertion of Mather’s name.318
A few Harvard graduates had received degrees, honorary or otherwise, from various European universities previous to 1731,319 but their number was not so great that the simultaneous arrival in that year of three diplomas from Glasgow University passed without comment.320 On the contrary, when, at a meeting of the Overseers held November 1, 1731, Governor Belcher produced the diplomas, the Board was so pleased that it took immediate action.
Cambridge, November, 1. This Day there was a Meeting of the Honourable & Reverend the Overseers of Harvard College, in the Library of said College. And after the Business of their Convening was over, His Excellency Governor BELCHER produc’d three Diploma’s from the University of Glasgow, which were directed and inclosed to him: By them it appears the Senate of that Ancient & Illustrious University have conferr’d the Honour of a Doctor’s Degree of Divinity on the Reverend Mr. Benjamin Colman, and Mr. Joseph Sewall, Ministers in Boston; and of a Degree of Master of Arts on Mr. Mather, Chaplain to His Majesty’s Castle William. The Gentlemen who have been so honoured by the University, cannot but be gratyfied with the free and generous manner wherein their Degrees have been conferr’d, being what they never sought. And indeed this must be mentioned as one, among the many, distinguishing Honours of that University, That they look on Real Merit in Foreigners, as worthy of their Encouragement without any Application for it.
After His Excellency the Governor had deliver’d these Diplomas, the Overseers ordered them to be inroll’d in the Publick Records of Harvard College.321
Accordingly, the three diplomas, all dated May 28, 1731, were duly entered in College Book III. 156–158.322 The two persons honored with the degree of D.D. were the Rev. Benjamin Colman of the class of 1692 and the Rev. Joseph Sewall of the class of 1707. But who was the “Mr. Mather, Chaplain to His Majesty’s Castle William,” on whom the degree of A.M. was conferred? That this was the Samuel Mather under discussion was believed at the time. The diploma itself, as entered in College Book III. 156, reads in part as follows:
Quum compertum habeamus Egregium Juvenem Samuelem Mather apud Novæ-Angliæ Bostonienses optimis deditum Studiis ea praeditum esse Eruditione iis Virtutibus quæ eum honoribus Academicis reddant dignissimum, Nos eum optimi et nobis amicissimi Parentis non degenerem filium absentem ornare; Officii esse duximus Nostri. Dictum propterea Samuelem Mather Artium Magistrum creamus et renunciamus, . . .
The Weekly Rehearsal of November 8, 1731, said: “The Revd. Mr. Benjamin Colman and Mr. Joseph Sewall of this Town, have the last Week received Diplomas from the University of Glasgow, admitting them Doctors in Divinity. Mr. Samuel Mather was at the same Time honour’d with a Master’s Degree by a Diploma from the same Senate” (p. 2/2). Exactly when Samuel Mather became Chaplain of Castle William, I do not know, but he certainly held that position from 1728 until early in 1732.323
Hence it is not surprising to find that in the 1733 Triennial — the first one printed after the bestowal of the degree — is this entry: “Samuel Mather Mr Glascuœ.” And thus the degree remained, except that in 1842 the year 1731 was added, down to and including the Quinquennial of 1895; but it is omitted from subsequent editions. Why was he deprived of the honor? In 1898 was published the “Roll of the Graduates of the University of Glasgow, 1727–1897,” edited by the late W. Innes Addison, and in this appears (p. 425) the following entry:
Son of Rev. Cotton Mather, D.D., Boston, New England.
In December, 1898, Mr. P. J. Anderson of the University of Aberdeen inserted the following query in Scottish Notes and Queries (XII. 94):
1202. American Aberdeen Graduates. — Can Dr. Gammack, in continuation of his interesting notes in last month’s S. N. & Q. . . . give any biographical or bibliographical details of the undermentioned graduates at once of Aberdeen and of three of the older American Universities?
Harvard (1636– )
2. Samuel Mather; B.A. Harv., 1723; D.D., Marischal Coll., 1762; M.A., Glasgow, 1731. So in the Harvard Quinquennial of 1895,324 but I do not find the name in the Roll of Graduates of Glasgow, 1898. Mr. W. Innes Addison, the compiler of the Roll, writes to me: — “As you will observe, Benjamin Mather was created M.A. in 1731. Have the Harvard folks not been confusing the two in some way?”
A correspondence325 naturally ensued between Harvard and the University of Glasgow, and the following was received at the Quinquennial office from the University of Glasgow:
Excerpt from Minute of Meeting of Faculty held at the College of Glasgow on 20th April 1731. . . .
The Faculty being well informed of the great merit of the Reverend Mr. Benjamin Coleman and the Reverend Mr. Joseph Sewall, Pastors in Boston in New England, and his Excellency Jonathan Beliker, Esquire, Governor of his Majestie’s colony of Massachusetts bay having in a letter to the Society for propagating Christian knowledge in Scotland likewise testified his knowledge of their reputation in that place for their great learning and exemplary piety, and desired that Diplomas for Doctor’s degrees in Divinity might be sent to them from the University of Glasgow, The Faculty appoint that these Diplomas be drawn up and signed and transmitted with the first opportunity to Boston.
The Faculty at the same time considering the great friendship the late Reverend and learned Doctor Cotton Mather in Boston ever had for this University, and that his son Mr. Benjamin Mather continues the same, and is a young man of good reputation and learning the Faculty order a Diploma for the Degree of Master of Arts be transmitted at the same time to him.
This minute has a double interest. First, it throws an amusing light on the statement made in the Boston papers of 1731 to the effect that the “Gentlemen who have been so honoured . . . cannot but be gratyfied with the free and generous manner wherein their Degrees have been conferr’d, being what they never sought,” and that the University of Glasgow looks “on Real Merit in Foreigners, as worthy of their Encouragement without any Application for it.” For it now appears that application had been made by Governor Belcher on behalf of Colman and Sewall, though of course they themselves were ignorant of the fact. As those two gentlemen were present when the diplomas were produced, it is to be assumed that Governor Belcher kept to himself his share in the procuring of their degrees. Second, the minute once more proves, what the diploma itself sufficiently indicates, that the degree of A.M. was conferred on a son of Cotton Mather. Now Cotton Mather had five sons, no one of whom was named Benjamin, and all of whom except Samuel had died before 1725, leaving Samuel the only surviving son in 1731.326 It is obvious, therefore, not that the “Harvard folks” had confused Samuel and Benjamin Mather, but that the Glasgow folks did not know the Christian name of “the young man of good reputation and learning” on whom they conferred a degree in 1731. Yet when Samuel Mather published his Life of the Very Reverend and Learned Cotton Mather, the dedication, “Dabam, Bostonœ Nov-Anglorum, Cal. Januarii. 1728, 9,” was “Senatui Academiæ Glasguensis illustrissimo S.P. in Jesu Domino.” And when he published his Essay concerning Gratitude, he thus, six weeks after learning of the bestowal of the degree, made his acknowledgments:
The very Reverend and Honorable,
With the other most Learned and worthy Members
Of the Senate of the University
WITH the Deference and Submission, that is becoming, I here present unto You a short Essay; worthless indeed in it self, but valuable as it is an offering of Esteem and Gratitude.
I am certainly under the greatest Obligations to publish the Favors which You have extended over the wide Atlantick. They are numerous and great to my now glorified Parent, and they have been transmitted down even unto me.
IT seems as if You accounted the Son of so great and good a Parent naturally entitled to Your Regards: For I cannot suppose that my own Merits, tho’ You are pleased to mention them, so much as my Relation unto Him, have been considered in the Honor which You have lately conferred on me.
IT must needs be a great Satisfaction to any One, that the Polite and Learned Abroad will see and respect Him, when at Home his Merits are but transiently observed and but little regarded. And, if others take Comfort in this, It cannot be wondred at, if I should rejoyce in the Marks of Esteem and Affection which I have received from learned Foreigners.
IN Particular, Most Illustrious Senate, I must acknowledge my self vastly indebted unto You for Your good Opinion and Your Smiles. — Happy should I account my self if I might further enjoy and be confirmed in them.
I wish that I could make You any better Return than what I now send You: But, as I cannot make any such at present, I must beg of You kindly to accept of this. As the Wealthy are gratified with a Dish of Fruits from their poor Neighbours, when they have much more rich ones and in much greater Plenty in their own Gardens; so, when You have several Tracts and Essays on this Head preferable to mine, I hope You will not nevertheless slight my mean, but grateful, Oblation.
WHEN I had written this Essay, I presently determined in my own Mind to send it to your Acceptance: And, if I had not Dedicated unto You, I should have written of Gratitude, and should at the same Time have been destitute of it.
I will only add, that I shall endeavor to deserve the Favor which You have shewn me; and that, with the best of Wishes to Your Selves, and the University, of which You are the wise Governors and learned Instructors;
Very Reverend and
Honorable and Learned Sirs,
Your most Obliged and most Obedient
Boston, Decemb. 15. 1731.
It has already been stated that the diploma itself is dated May 28, 1731, while the minute of the Glasgow Faculty is dated April 20. It is possible that during the more than five weeks that elapsed between the vote to confer the degree and the making out of the diploma the Glasgow authorities discovered their mistake as to Mather’s Christian name; or it may be that when the diploma was entered in College Book III, the Harvard authorities silently altered Benjamin to Samuel, since there was no possible doubt as to Mather’s identity. But however that may have been, in future editions of the Quinquennial the degree can be restored to its rightful owner — Samuel Mather of the class of 1723.
In the 1895 Harvard Quinquennial is this entry:
*Samuel Mather, A.M., also Yale, 1725, Glasgow,
1731; S.T.D. 1773; Fellow Am. Acad.
In the 1900 Quinquennial the entry reads:
Samuel Mather, A.M. also Yale 1725; S.T.D. 1773,
Aberd. 1762; Fellow Am. Acad.
The disappearance of the Glasgow degree, though surprising, has been explained as due to an error. Even more startling is the appearance for the first time, one hundred and thirty-eight years after its supposed bestowal, of the Aberdeen degree. If it was in fact conferred on our Samuel Mather, why was it not included in any previous edition of the catalogue? If it was given to some other Mather, who was that Mather? The degree was first heard of in 1898, when this entry appeared in Fasti Academiae Mariscallanae Aberdonensis (II. 84):
1762, Mar. 17. —— Mather.
Minister in N. America. Probably Samuel, son of Cotton; B.A., Harvard, 1723.
That Mr. P. J. Anderson, the editor of that work, was right in saying that this was “probably” our Samuel Mather, there can be little doubt. The only other possible Mather was the Rev. Moses Mather who graduated at Yale in 1739 and received the degree of S.T.D. from Princeton in 1791. In books published between 1761 and 1790, he called himself “Moses Mather, A.M. [or M.A.],”327 and the degree has never been accorded him in any Yale catalogue.
But if Moses Mather never called himself D.D. before 1791, neither did Samuel Mather call himself D.D. previous to 1773, when he received that degree from Harvard.328 Nor was he, between 1761 and 1773, known to his contemporaries as a Doctor of Divinity. President Stiles, who was present at the Harvard Commencement in 1773, always before that day spoke of “Mr. Mather;” and when on June 21, 1777, he drew up a “List of Doctors SS.T. in America living 1777,” he records “Saml. Mather Harv.”329 — the alleged Aberdeen degree being conspicuous by its absence. In the Boston News Letter of December 16, 1762, is this item: “We hear from Halifax, that Dr. Thomas Mather, died there lately of a Fever: He was the Son of the Reverend Mr. Samuel Mather, of this Town: He was Surgeon of the Provincial Regiment in Nova-Scotia.”330 In the same paper of March 10, 1763, we read that “Last Lord’s Day Evening a Charity-Sermon for the Relief of the Poor, was preached by the Rev. Mr. Mather of this Town in Faneuil-Hall, being the first since it was Re-built. A handsome Collection was made for that charitable Use” (p. 3/2). At a meeting of the Overseers held February 16, 1764, “Mr Mather” was present.331 On November 2, 1768, “At a Meeting of the Trustees to chuse a Gentleman to preach the Dudleian Lecture next May It appeared by their written Votes brought in that the Revd Mr Samuel Mather of Boston was unanimously chosen to preach said Lecture;”332 and on May 16, 1769, “the Rev. Mr. Samuel Mather of this Town preached a Sermon from 2 Thess. 11 & 12 Verses.”333 On July 21, 1773, the Corporation voted that “the degree of Doctor of Divinity be conferred on the Revd Mr Samuel Mather of Boston;”334 and later on the same day “The Degree of Doctor in Divinity was conferr’d on the Rev’d Samuel Locke, President of Harvard-College, — and on the Rev’d Samuel Mather, of this Town.”335
To Mr. Anderson I am indebted for the following information, conveyed in a letter dated January 26, 1916:
Our record of a degree of D.D., supposed to have been conferred on Samuel Mather, is found in two different registers:
I. The contemporary Minutes of Faculty:
Marischal College, 17th of March 1762
The Faculty being met and constituted . . . Professor Gerard acquainted the Society that application had been made for a Degree of Doctor in Divinity for Mr. Mather, minister in North America. The Society agree to grant Mr. Mather this degree upon his paying the ordinary dues.
II. The register of Degrees in Arts, Divinity, Laws and Medicine conferred by the Marischal University of Aberdeen:
Rev. Mr. Mather
The juxtaposition of Mather and Langdon (B.A. Harvard 1740) is interesting. The entry in I suggests the possibility of a non-payment of “the ordinary dues,” but I think that hardly consistent with the subsequent entry in II. Diplomas were undoubtedly supplied to graduates in the eighteenth century.
Langdon’s diploma, dated “Decimo tertio Cal. Julias A. AE, C. M.DCCLXXII” — that is, June 19, 1762 — was received by him in the same year or early in 1763,336 and was duly entered in College Book III. 150.
It is proverbially difficult to prove a negative, but what evidence we have points surely to the conclusion that if the Aberdeen degree was conferred on Samuel Mather, neither he nor his contemporaries knew about it. What is the explanation of this mystery? The only one that occurs to me is, either that the Aberdeen authorities never ascertained the full name of ——— Mather, and so a diploma was never made out; or that, if sent, the diploma was so vaguely addressed — “The Rev. Mr. Mather, North America” — that it never reached its destination. In view of the extracts sent by Mr. Anderson, the former of these suppositions does not seem likely; but the latter is perhaps strengthened by the facts that Mather’s diploma is nowhere recorded in the College archives, as one might expect it to be, and that there are no contemporary allusions to it on this side of the water.
From what little experience I have had in the difficult but fascinating field of American bibliography, I am convinced that in spite of the herculean labors of Sabin, Haven, and Evans, much remains to be accomplished, particularly in the line of anonymous and pseudonymous books. Hence, as previous lists of Samuel Mather’s works appear to contain errors of both commission and omission, the present list is offered as a modest contribution to the subject.
“It seems,” said the New England Courant of January 22, 1722, “the venomous Itch of Scribbling is Hereditary; a Disease transmitted from the Father to the Son.” This referred to an unsigned letter dated “Cambridge, January 11, 1721 [O. S.]” that had appeared in the Boston Gazette of January 15, 1722. Professor Kittredge thinks that the ascription of this letter to Samuel Mather is probably correct,337 and if so it shows that the “itch of scribbling” had attacked him while yet a Junior Sophister at Harvard. A poem of his, “Filii, quum legisset, Gratulatio,” was printed in 1726 in Cotton Mather’s Manuductio ad Ministerium, pp. 148–149. In the same year his elegy in English on his sister was printed in Cotton Mather’s sermon occasioned by her death, Matutina Pietas, pp. 45–46.338 In 1728 was published Cotton Mather’s “The Comfortable Chambers, Opened and Visited, upon the Departure of that Aged and Faithful Servant of God, Mr. Peter Thacher, . . . Who made his Flight thither, on December 17. 1727.” On p.  is an Advertisement which reads in part as follows:
THE foregoing Sermon is the last that was ever Preached by that Excellent Servant of GOD mentioned in the Beginning; . . . it is therefore desir’d, if there be any the least Mistake in the Printing, it may be ascrib’d to the only Son of the Author, who corrected it.
In the same year (1728) Samuel Mather’s first book was published. Sabin attributes to him “The Holy Walk and Glorious Translation of Blessed Enoch. A Sermon preached at the Lecture in Boston, two days after the Death of the Reverend and Learned Cotton Mather” (1728), and “Two Discourses delivered October 25th, 1759, the day of Thanksgiving for the Reduction of Quebec” (1759); but the former of these was written by Benjamin Colman, and the latter by Jonathan Mayhew, each also being given by Sabin under its true author’s name. Sabin also gives under Mather “The State of Religion in New England. Letters from S. Mather and other Eminent Divines, in 1742. Glasgow. 1743.” The first edition of this work was published in 1742 and contains no letter by Mather.339 The second edition, published in 1743,340 contains a few lines from a letter written by Mather on August 4, 1742, and a letter written by him on August 3, 1742 (pp. 108–112). Mr. Charles Evans attributes to Mather “A Serious Letter to the Young People of Boston; . . . By Mathetees Archaios. . . . Boston: Printed and sold by Benjamin Edes & Sons, in Cornhill. M,DCC,LXXXIII.”341 Several books published anonymously or pseudonymously are included in the following list because they are assigned to Mather by bibliographers, though on what authority I do not know. On the other hand, one pamphlet in the list has never before been attributed to Mather; and one book, hitherto vaguely ascribed to him, is now proved to have been written by him.342
The Departure and Character of Elijah Considered and Improved. A Sermon After the Decease of the very Reverend and Learned Cotton Mather, D.D. F.R.S. And Minister of the North Church, Who expired Feb. 13. 1727,8. In the Sixty Sixth Year of his Age. By Samuel Mather, M.A. And Chaplain at Castle William. . . . Boston, . . . 1728.
The Life of the Very Reverend and Learned Cotton Mather, D.D. & F.R.S. . . . By Samuel Mather, M.A. . . . Boston, . . . MDCCXXIX.343
A Letter to Doctor Zabdiel Boylston; Occasion’d by a late Dissertation concerning Inoculation. Printed at Boston. . . . Boston: . . . M. DCC. XXX.344
An Essay concerning Gratitude. Written by Samuel Mather, M.A. And Chaplain to His Majesty’s Castle William. . . . Boston: N.E. Printed for T. Hancock, M, DCC, XXXII.345
Vita B. Augusti Hermanni Franckii, . . . Revisa, et, Cura, Samuelis Mather, A.M. et Ecclesiæ Secundæ apud Bostonum Nov-Anglorum Præpositi, Cum Dedicatione ejus, Edita. Bostoni, Nov-Anglorum, Mdccxxxiii. . . .
An Apology For the Liberties of the Church in New England: . . . By Samuel Mather, M.A. Pastor of a Church in Boston, New England. . . . Boston: . . . 1738.
The Fall of the Mighty lamented. A Funeral Discourse upon the Death of Her most Excellent Majesty Wilhelmina Dorothea Carolina, Queen-Consort to his Majesty of Great-Britain, France and Ireland: Preach’d on March 23d 1737,8, . . . By Samuel Mather, M.A. Pastor of a Church in Boston. . . . Boston, . . . 1738.
War is lawful, and Arms are to be proved. A Sermon Preached to the Ancient and Honourable Artillery Company, on June 4. 1739. . . . By Samuel Mather, M.A. . . . Boston: . . . 1739.
The Faithful Man abounding with Blessings. A Funeral discourse Upon the Death of the Honourable Thomas Hutchinson, Esq; . . . Who departed this Life on December 3. 1739. . . . By Samuel Mather, A.M. . . . Boston: . . . Mdccxl.
A Funeral Discourse preached On the Occasion of the Death of The High, Puissant and most Illustrious Prince Frederick Lewis, . . . On May 22d. 1751. At Boston, New-England. By Samuel Mather, A.M. Pastor of a Church in Boston: . . . Boston: . . . 1751.
The Walk of the Upright, with its Comfort. A Funeral Discourse After the Decease of the Reverend Mr. William Welsted, Who died April 29th. And Mr. Ellis Gray, Who died on January 7th preceeding it. Colleague Pastors of a Church in Boston. Preached To their People in the New Brick Meeting-House, On May 6. 1753. By Samuel Mather, A.M. . . . Boston, . . . 1753.
A Dissertation Concerning the most venerable Name of Jehovah. By Samuel Mather, M.A. . . . Boston: . . . M,dcc,lx.
Of the Pastoral Care: A Sermon preached to the Reverend Ministers of the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay in New-England at their Annual Convention in Boston, On May 27. 1762. . . . By Samuel Mather, M.A. . . . Boston, . . . 1762.
The Lord’s Prayer: or, A New Attempt to recover the right Version, and genuine Meaning, of that Prayer. By Samuel Mather, A.M. . . . Boston: . . . Mdcclxvi.
A Modest Account concerning the Salutations and Kissings In ancient Times: In a Letter to a Friend, Requesting the same: Wherein Mr. Sandeman’s Attempt, to revive the holy and charitable kiss, and the Love Feasts, is considered: By Constant Rock-man, M.A. . . . Boston: N.E. Printed by Kneeland and Adams, for Nicholas Bowes, in Corn-Hill, mdcclxviii.346
An Attempt to Shew, That America must be Known to the Ancients; . . . By an American Englishman. Pastor of a Church in Boston, New-England. . . . Boston . . . Mdcclxxiii.347
Christ sent to heal the Broken Hearted. A Sermon, Preached at the Thursday Lecture in Boston, On October, 21st. 1773. When Levi Ames, . . . Was present to hear the Discourse: By Samuel Mather, D.D. Pastor of a Church in Boston, . . . Boston: . . . M,DCC,LXXIII.
The Sacred Minister: A new Poem, In Five Parts; . . . By Aurelius Prudentius, Americanus. . . . Boston: . . . Mdcclxxiii.
All Men will not be saved forever: or, an Attempt to prove, That this is a Scriptural Doctrine; and To give a sufficient Answer to the Publisher of Extracts in Favor of the Salvation of all Men. By Samuel Mather, D.D. . . . Boston: . . . M,DCC, LXXXII.348
All Men will not be saved forever: . . . By Samuel Mather, D.D. . . . The Second Edition. . . . Boston: . . . M,DCC,LXXXIII.
To the Author of a Letter to Doctor Mather. By one of the Readers. . . . Boston: . . . M,DCC,LXXXIII.349
The Dying Legacy of an Aged Minister of the Everlasting Gospel, to the United States of North-America. . . . Boston: . . . M,DCC,LXXXIII.350
Manuscript sermons or letters by Mather are owned by the American Antiquarian Society,351 the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Boston Public Library, and perhaps by other libraries.
Mr. Davis read an account of a sojourn in the South in 1857 and 1858, giving a description of a trip down the Ohio and the Mississippi Rivers as far as Memphis, and then a land journey to the northeastern part of the State of Mississippi, where he was engaged as a surveyor in the construction of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. Among other incidents, he mentioned having been present at a slave auction in Lexington, Kentucky.