266 Thomas Hollis to Benjamin Colman

    London January 14, 1722/23

    Mr. Benj. Colman

    Reverend Sir

    I have received 3 letters dated 25, 26, 30 October from you by Capt. Osborne, who arived safe here 21 xber, and my kinsman John Williams Junior also. I thank you for your Civillitys to him, he is now returning to Boston, his father having some thoughts of settling him there by degrees. I find you had received all my letters of last yeare, and have returned very particular answers to them. Your sundry letters and books under my coverts, were all forwarded presently to every one as directed. I thank you for the account you give me of the manner of my Professor’s Induction, and by what he writes in his short but pithy Epistle to me, I flatter my self he wil answer my designe, Our Gratious Good God concurring with his Spetial Blessings. It would please me to see him apointed a fellow of the College when there is a Vacancy, if the Corporation see fitt to choose him. By his residence in the College, I think he may be serviceable to the President and the house with his care and Advice. I do not meane by my Rules to hinder him of that honour, but to free him for the work of a Tutor, thinking one charge sufficient if wel kept up unto. I have reflected for some time on your resident Tutors management towards the Fellows of the Corporation and now more on receipt of a letter from one of them, Mr. Nicholas Severs who tells me that he and Mr. Wilsteed design to bring the matter on again at the next Session, and hope to carry their Point, to whom I now write an answer, in a kind and modest manner my opinion, which I hope wil be well taken. I do think on the increasing Number of your Students which he tells me is now neere 200 in the College, that the Numbers of your Fellowes for Rule should be increased, and I supose your grand board of Overseers might come into it by a suitable declaration of the Reasons, explaining that clause in your Charter, as I understand by Mr. Newman, he has written his Mind to you upon it. But if you seek to our Court at St. James’s for such explication and inlargments, our Lords the Bishops will be afraid of your growing greatnes, and find ways and means by their insinuations and pretences and certainly prevent you. [2] But if that cant be done by your Board of Overseers, it would please me to heare, that the Tutors are chosen in Fellows (if they can Waite) upon any of the present Fellows demise. But it would surely greive me to heare of any of the present Fellows being dismist to make roome for Tutors to fill up the place. But I have not any thing to do in this dispute, or to direct, farther then to tell my own private sense to a freind. By the maner of the ordering in your charter which is now before me, it seems to me, to have been intended that the Fellows of the Corporation should be resident Tutors, how it comes to be otherwise does not apeare to me.

    I have seen a letter from Boston, intimating a wish, that the Professor had been chosen for life instead of five years, but I know not the reason for it, and see no cause yet to Repent what is done. I should be glad if Mr. President and He could spare so much time to write out Coppies of their speeches on that ocasion of his Induction, for to see them and to gratify my Neibours the Ministers but I shal leave it, though I am told else where they are pleased to print and publish such Orations to plesure their freinds. I am glad you think my reasons sufficient for desiring of some bond declaratory from your Corporation as may be obligatory upon them, that they wil not divert my moneys, Principal nor Interest, to other uses then I have or shal Direct, and therefore I expect some thing of the nature you have sent me a sketch of. I doubt not you wil do it better then I can draw it up at London.

    I did not mention it last yeare, because my designed summe was not all entred into your Treasury; though I was displeased to heare that my Aged Freind had moved to give some of my Increase to your new Convert,33 as also that another person at your Board should say to this effect on reading my orders, that when Mr. Hollis was dead they could make new Orders for him.

    I have caused my orders to be wrote over again faire upon Vellym and signed and sealed before some Ministers whose hands you saw to the former papers, and also my beloved Brother John Hollis because if he survives me, I hope he will be a good Successor and a freind to your College, and I send them now by Capt. Osborne with a letter to Mr. President Leveritt. What relates to the Professor is verbatim as you sent it me over. [3] But in the money part I have made some alterations, which I expected you would have amended on the Death of Mr. White. I think I have explained my Mind in some things more strongly; but I have not added the clause relating to my Successors, that I hinted to you I had minuted by me, because I waite to see your Corporations Obligation, and how you shal continue to act. If one or the other is not to my liking, I can by the Powers I reserve add it as a Coddicill or part of my Will, but I have hopes I shal not need. What I wrote to you about my Picture, which I heare is safe arived with you, was not writ with any design to reflect upon or to greive my good freind Mr. Benjamin Colman, that was far from my thoughts, and I am sorry you took it by that handle. The ocasion was this, some while since I presented the Picture of King George, to the Drapers Company, and though then a Warden, it was not thought proper to hang it up in their Hall until leave was asked and granted by the Court of Assistants and entred in their Register, as the Gift of such a person. And I repent not the same precaution at Cambridg, though I did not doubt of your Corporation’s readily complying, and if it be found to the satisfaction of Generality, I shal be glad. I am not unaquainted by books I have read, what treatment Baptists have met with in New England in former times, and been sorry for it. I am glad to see and heare, by diverse letters and books, that they have been better treated of late, and that a better Spirit of Love and Charity now shews its self at Boston. But it may not be amiss to let you know, that the Speeches of some on that head at reading my orders have come to the knowlege of many Ministers and Gentlemen at London, which have occasioned many very hard Speeches against your College in my hearing to my sorrow. I must supose others have sent over word to their freinds, besides what you wrote to Mr. D. Neale and one at the Board wrote to me. I know not who they are, and if I did, I could not reveale, to prevent Disputes. But to my greife and sorrow I heare by every hand of a great defection in Yale College, and the neiboring Ministers in Connecticut, 3 of whom are arived here, and by a faithful account thereof, sent over to me by Dr. Cotton Mather, to shew my freinds. That [4] Ministers regularly ordained according to the usage of the greater part of the Protestant Churches in the World, tho some way differing from the lesser part and less Reformed the Episcopalians, Gentlemen who were once thought to Run wel, but what worldly snares has lead them to run backwards to the Society of those whom their Fathers reformed and fled from? Beleive me Sir this wil be cause of real greif to you and others like minded to you for what with their new Ceremonies and Orders, probably accompanied with a defection in Moralls, must be far worse then the different sentiments of a few honest Christians about the mode of Baptism because these new Schismaticks will have Numbers and Powers on their side to incourage them.

    It wil cause you and other faithful Ministers to stir up their auditories the more to holy living, and examining their grounds for their Practice and dissent from the National Church, and ocasionally be turned for a Blessing among you. Persecution for Religious Tenets through Divine Favour, has now been restrained in England for many Years, but it is not with out reason that some think, should God for holy purposes suffer our Clergy at London to Domineer as in a late Reign our Meeting houses would be strangely thinned, few comparitively among us considring or remembring the true causes of our Seperate meetings, onely go to them because that ordinarily they find there the best preaching. I heartily desire that God in his wise Providence may turn this Melancholly story for good to the Churches in New England.

    It is meet now Sir to render you my thanks, for the honest account of your travells in your younger days, Gods deliverances to you and preserving of you, and making of you useful to your fellow travellers and freinds, and inclining your heart in an early day to Principles of Charity and acts of Liberality, and I am perswaded he is stil using of you in your Ministry for his glory. I hope you wil have many seals thereof to be a part of your Crown in that Day. I thank you for the publishing your book of Sermons on the parable of the Ten Virgins,34 which my neighbour Harris lately lent me, and I have read it with pleasure, and also for all the books you have sent me.

    [5] I am now sending over some farther bounty to your Treasurer for the College use and to compleate my Promises in my devoted Trust and hope God in his Providence will secure it to Boston. And I order him for to present you with Ten pounds, which I intreat you to receive of him as a free gift from me towards your charges of postidg and printing. I have received his accounts, and now write unto him in answer. I think there are some errors in them, whether by his neglect or rather by Mr. White. I pray him to re examine, I am fully perswaded of both their honesty and faithfulnes. You wil excuse the length of this epistle, I did not think I should have done so, now you are so wel setled in my affairs, but the concerne you expres at some words hinted in my last, has caused me to be thus perticular, because I would convince you I have done nor writ any thing designedly to grieve you Sir, my best Corespondent. In my letter I now send Mr. President I have proposed a thought of his apointing an anual day for my Professor and Students, Himself the Corporation and Resident Tutors and whom else he should please to Invite in Comemoration of their Founder—to have some examination of my Students—and an Oration—and afterwards some moderate refreshment for them all. When you have considered of it pray let some one give me the sence of the Corporation upon the motion. If it be agreable to them then what day I shal appoint, and what summe may be proper for me to order the Treasurer to expend out of my increase annually on that day. And if what is sent is not sufficient, there wil more follow to make it good sooner or later.

    I now send a few books—if the College have them alreddy—I direct how to dispose of them—my love to you—and all our good freinds

    Your Loving Friend

    Thomas Hollis

    Capt. John Osborn and Mr. Joshua Winslow

    of Boston

    dining with me were willing to be Witnesses also to my sealing my Instrument for the College. The Captain was this morning he told me to see your sister Plaisted who is like to dye, of which he will give you an acount.

    [6] Pray take an oportunity to acquaint Mr. President that I think he would do wel to maintain a freindly corespondence with Mr. D. Neale and write to him some thing perticulars about your College which might be of use to him, when he comes to reprint his History of New England.

    I have shewn Mr. Harris the letters of Attorny to my Brother John relating to Mrs. Falkners legacy. He makes scruple to pay them, and says he wil write you his Reasons. I tell him I think he might get over it with out much danger or hazard, that I would, if in his place.

    January 19

    I invited Mr. Cutler35 to come and dine with me, and this day he came with whom I had several hours Conversation. I Queried with him many things about the two Colleges and the reason of his quitting us, and he gave me answers with much franknes. I urged him to have Conversation in my Parlor with some of our Ministers whom I named and said I would engage them to give him a freindly meeting. He answered if they desired it he would meet them, having leave to bring his freinds with him, which I said he should have—but to what Purpose—I am said he no Doubter—I am resolved—I hope to be speedily ordained—I may with as much reason hope to bring you over to me, as you can have to bring me over to you, he added in another part of the Conversation. I have a Wife and Seven Children am not yet 40 years old. I have lost all my old Freinds. I am turned out of all, and shewed me his Dismission, and added if I should do any thing now, that looked like doubting, were the way to loose my new freinds &c. But I am since thinking, such a meeting will be of little servise, after such positive Barring Cautions. I find he has studied Dodwell—Morris and other High Church books, and very little of the Books etc. that his father was so inclined, and that from his Youth he liked it, that he never was in judgment heartily one of us, but bore it patiently till a favorable oportunity offered, which has opened at Boston, and now he declares publickly what he before beleived privately.

    This day also our good freind the Reverend Mr. John Nesbit36 was seized with the dead Palsey. I feare his work here on earth is finished.

    January 20. This evening your sister was buried, and Mr. Cutler was visiting where the Smal Pox had been—and seing one very fresh—he was frighned very much, and said he should have them and sickned imediatly.

    [7] January 29.

    This day one of the Ministers of the Society de Pro—da Fide came to me to know the character of Mr. Cutler &c. I refered him to the Relation Dr. Cotton Mather sent me. He tells me it is strenuosly carried on before them at their bord by Gentlemen he fears not so wel affected to K. George &c., that there is a fourth man come over on the same errand, there are texts assigned them to preach on before the Society, but Mr. Cutlers illness delayes it. But what is most pushing to some of them is, that 2 or 3 of them Question their Baptism also, I told him—why not? on the same grounds—as Dodwell […] Oracle has instructed them—ReBaptize as […] Reordaine.

    He tells me they will be allowed as Missionaries by their Society £60 Star, per annum apeice—Cutler in Boston, Mr. in Bristol, the other two are to settle in Carolina. I am told this day Mr. Cutler is better, and in a likely way of doing well of the Small Pox, which continues very mortal in London and some places in the Country.

    February 6.

    Pray Sir excuse three letters in one for this once.

    Your worthy Governors37 abrupt leaving of Boston and coming over so suddenly to London is matter of great speculation to us, and we are greived to heare and feare the consequence, your senators should have treated him better. I feare you will be out of the frying pan into the fire. I am told today there are two or three Gentlemen are already putting in, and making interest for the place—and in course I expect a new Charter—and who will manage for your College in this Juncture? as I now write to your President, it is time to finish

    Deare Sir

    Your very Loving Friend

    Thomas Hollis

    [8] Owen of Ordination38

    the critical History of the Apostles Creed The Constitution &c. of the Primitive Church

    both writ in his youth.

    I say by that Great man Sir Peter King,39 and notwithstanding the great Trusts he is now in I am told he is studying the Scriptures in a crittical manner.

    Pierce40 Vindication of the Dissenters

    Altare Damascerum.

    Do.— Presbiterian Ordination Regular

    Do.— Defence thereof.

    Do.—Remarks on Dr. Wells letter.

    David Clarkson41 Primitive Episcopacy and D C of Liturgies. 2 Vol.

    Dr. Collings42 of Liturgies answer to Dr. […]

    if the College have above mentioned books, then […]

    Mr. Callender, because he has little money to spare […]

    Tho. Slater-s Sermon

    for Mr. Callender

    Joseph Morris43 Sermon

    John Green Sermon

    Fuller—on Grace and duty

    Mr. Harrison on Taylor

    Allens—Life and Letters

    Skipp—on Divine Energy

    Dr. Hancock.44 cure of Fevers by Water two letters to the Clergy

    for Mr. Colman

    [Endorsed:] by Capt. Osborne, No. 16.

    Hollis Letters and Papers, pp. 34–35. Tears in the last pages of the ms obscure some words.