275 Final Petition of Sever and Welsteed

    [Cambridge, June 23 1723]

    The Petition of Nicholas Sever, and William Welsteed two of the resident Fellows of Harvard College to the Honourable William Dummer Esq. the Lieutenant Governour and Comander in Chief of the province of the Massachusetts Bay; to the Honourable Council and to the Honourable House of Representatives in General Court Assembled at Boston


    That we have formerly represented to the Overseers of the College the Difficulties we were under in the Business of it by reason of our not being vested with the Powers of its Charter, and the Bad Effect which this State of things had produced in the College, who were of opinion that the resident Fellows ought to be established on the foundation as the fellows of the Corporation.

    But the Corporation being full, and the Nonresident Fellows expressing an Unwillingness to part with that Character, after much debate it was determined by the Overseers to Apply to the General Court for an Enlargement of the Corporation, to the End, that the residents might be introduced that way which accordingly was done.

    Their Memorial to the General Court was put into the hands of a Comittee of Both Houses, which said Committee reported as follows Vizt.…57

    On the 29th of June 1722, this Report was accepted by both Houses and a Resolve passed that the Corporation for the future practice accordingly. His Excellency consented to every Article of this Report and to the Resolve upon it only with this Proviso, That the Reverend Mr. Benjamin Wadsworth, the Reverend Mr. Benjamin Colman and Mr. Appleton are not removed by said Votes but still remain Fellows of the Corporation.

    And now notwithstanding what is passed, We are yet obliged to go on in the Business of the College in the same Circumstances as before, in Opposition to the Declared Sence of the Generall Court upon the Charter, which is well known to the Students, as well as to our selves, so that all that has been done does not in any Measure serve to retrieve the State of the College, but rather has a contrary Effect and renders it more difficult and perplexed than ever. And from a deep Sence hereof and that We may not be wanting in that Fidelity that we ow to the College, We have thought it our Duty with great Humility and Submission thus to apply to your Honour and this Honourable Court.

    And accordingly We your Petitioners pray that your Honour and this Honourable Court would take this Affair into your Serious Consideration and give us such Relief in the Premises as in your great Wisdom You shall think fit.

    And in particular We pray that in Conformity to the Wayes of all Colleges that We have heard of and to the Original Constitution of this and to the true Sence and Meaning of the Charter declared by the Generall Court, We who have the Business of the College may be vested with the Powers of its Charter as Members of the Corporation, As was provided in the above mentioned Report, and especially since these Powers were granted for the Support and Direction of those who have the Instruction and Government of the Students and for no other End; Or that such other Provision may be made whereby your Petitioners may in our Places be enabled to carry on the Business of the College to good Effect.

    Nicho. Sever

    Wm. Welsted

    In the House of Representatives June 24th, 1722.58

    Read and Referred to the next Session for further Consideration.

    Papers relating to the Fellowship Controversy, No. 20 (the Matthews Papers). This is a copy taken from the Charles Ewer mss at the New England Historic Genealogical Society.