313 Thomas Hollis to Benjamin Colman

    London January 6, 1724/5

    Mr. Benjamin Colman

    Reverend Sir

    I think my last letters to you were dated 7, 19 September which you and Mr. Tresurer have received, and I think I have answers to all mine of 1724 from you. Since which I have received yours dated Aug. 12 on our 19 October by Capt. Boyce with one from the Corporation, and a coppy of a designed speech. Also your letter of Sept. 18 I received our 31 October, and a few days after your printed disputations by hand of Mr. Neale, lastly one from you dated November 28 which I received January 2, all which letters came after your ships were gone and could not be answered till now. I intreat you Sir return my thanks to the Gentlemen of the Corporation for their letter of advices and all the care they take of my benefactions to your College. I have complyed with all your desires in altering my former Scheme so far as relates to the Quinquennial Election of the Professor which now comes unto you by this Conveyance, and I hope he being now made easy in this article, will attend his work more Comfortably.

    I take notice of your Election of Mr. Sewall to be the President of Harvard College, and after due waiting he has declined for weighty reasons his accepting that honorable and laborious chaire. I am well pleased he is not at the Head of my Donations, having been informed how strait he is in Principle, and narrow in his Charity to the poor despised Baptists.

    Mr. Colman being chosen President,126 whatever difficultys were in his way I hope are removed and that by the next shipping, I shall heare he has accepted, and then I shall heartily wish him Joy, hoping [2] it may be for the real good, honour and Benefit of the College. I have not yet heard from any of the College of the receipt of my large chest of Books to your publick library, I hope they came safe to hand, and well conditioned. I am now preparing two smaller chests of Books given to your College Library—with this Rule: whatever books I forward, of my own, or for others, if you have Duplicates already, then take or keep the best, for Edition or binding in the publick Library. And with the consent of those who intrust me I order the duplicate be given to my Professor, for his own closet, or if he needs it not, then that the Professor with the advice of the President give them to such of my students as shall be going out into the Ministry for their own use. I supose folios best estemed in your College Library. If so you will have a number of Baxters and smaller works, thus to give away. Mr. Loyd has bought Gravius and Grenovius works, and I am promised they shall be sent you in Lethered.

    I intreat you Sir speake to your proper officer to prepare and send me by the first ship possible after the receipt of the books forwarded unto you this Spring a supplement127 or Appendix of all the Books sent unto you or that you have received since the printed Catalogue which you have sent me, for my ease to know what you most want, and avoid duplicates. If some of your NE Marchants had the good of your College at heart you might have a great number of books sent unto you in a little time, but one in my neiborhood has discouraged one I expected a present from, telling him how Rich and able and flourishing you are to Buy Books your selves if you want them, and [3] some think that Mr. Sam. Mathers book of his fathers life has some passages in it, tending to discourage others, which I am sorry for.

    I have been discoursing the great Bookseller Mr. Guy128 and a gentleman undertook to second me for some valluable Books; and to settle a Professor of Mathematicks among you which I discourst him upon, with some expectation, but He died 27 xber, after a short indisposition, and that motion is sunk, but has left me one of his Executors, a great Trust, and like to be attended with much labour and paine and care, relating to his Hospital for 400 Incurables. We are now indevoring to obtain an Act of Parlament so soon as may be for settling of it.

    It hath pleased God in his Soverainty to remove from me my Deare Wife—the Companion of my Joyes and Sorrows about 41 years—after a few weeks illnes of a Fever on her Spirits, xber 8 deceased with out sign of groane or struggle. Pray for me my Freind that I may behave like a Christian under this sore Trial, and be kept Honest to Death.

    Your letter of Sept. 18 brings me your nomination of three Students on my bounty in place of three then gone off.

    John Lovell for 4 years

    Jedediah Jewett for 2 years


    Daniel Brewer for 3 years

    which three upoun your recomendation I approve and confirm and earnestly recomend these and the former that remain to the Pious care and wise instruction of the Tutors and Professor, praying God to attend their Studies with Success, that their conversations may be blameles, and their study may be cheifly to know Christ, to imitate Christ, and to recomend His holy life and Doctrine to Others.

    [4] January 15

    This day I received your packet and 2 seperate letters for your Brother who has not been at my house some weeks. I have sent my man to enquire where he lodges, and to let him know I have letters for him. I opened the packet and find yours for me dated October 28, the first intimation from your Corporation, of any notice taken about the books I forwarded by Osborn, with advice of Mr. Hunt and Mr. Harris (your hearty freinds). I thought them worthy of a spedier answer; where ever the delay has been so long.

    Mr. Neuberry was bound with your Brother for the £100 I lent him to go on with his still house. I have not yet spoken to Mr. Newberry about it; the last time, I think I saw your Brother, he told me he had put effects into Mr. Newberrys hand to pay me, that he might not suffer. The turn your Brothers affairs has taken he will tell you. I am sure I have given him wise and good advice, according to my information, but he has hurt himself in refusing a good partner he might have had—coveting too much—concealing the worst, and presuming on his own skill and Wisdom; though he has met with much favour as a stranger, it is cheifly owing to the good Opinion many have had of Mr. B[enjamin] C[olman] for whose sake, it is mostly done, rather then his own.

    As to your motion about exchanging Bales french dictionary130 for an English one, I a little admire at, we have few, ne[ar] to none of our valluable Students at London, who sincerely indevour after knowlege, but they easily attaine to read French as well as Latin and that because so many very valluable books in History and Philosophy are written in French. It is very easy for one verst in Lattin to read French—and that sett of books—are esteemed very valluable. However upon your notice, I may discorage anymore French books, by my hand; though I should think such ought to be estemed in a publick Library. [5] Mr. Hunt tells me Bayles Dictionary in french is worth two of them in English, and yet they are in such demand now, that they ask 11 or 12 ginees for them. He has been much displeased with me or the Bookseller several times for sending Montfaucons Antiquities in English.131 He would have had the french been sent you—but according to your remark upon Baile—I perceive you like what you have best, as it is English.

    January 20.

    Yesterday I received yours of xber 8 by Osborn and delivered the inclosed the same night to your Brother. He undertook to put Mr. Standens into the post office, he lodging neare it, of late, and the man where he now lodges deales to Glasco and he will take spetial care to forward the packet and letter with out charge to Mr. Wig[gleswor]ths freind. I am sorry to see any Obstacles arise to hinder your seating in the Presidents chaire. I can do nothing new here now but Wish it. And when I heare you are setled I may have some farther matters to confer with you about.

    Jan. 26. Your Brother shewed me your letter this evening, with account of the reasons of your refusing the Presidents chaire. I must leave it, God is onely wise, it would have been highly pleasing to me, if matters had been so ordred, as that you might have been made easy to accept it. And now who next? I must waite to see, I hope God will in mercy to the Country sett one over them in due time, as shall be for his Glory.

    Mrs. Torys goods were sent I beleive by Capt. Osborn, but there was a neglect in not forwarding in time the letter and invoyce. Pray excuse it, I hope she has had them.

    Feb. 2 Dr. Boylston has delivered me your letter dated xber 18. and I let Mr. Neale, Harris and Hunt read it. If you would condescend to be Praeses in the College pro tempore, would please us here, though not so much as if you were President. Dr. Boylston seems to me an ingenuous man, but I flatter not your self with his leaping into Busines at once as [6] a Surgeon in London what ere he might gaine with time and his acquaintance. We have now a number of Surgeons, men of name, experience and skill more then formerly—for cutting for the stone—the under way which onely Dr. B. practises—and also the upper way which he has never practised. We have also now a number of Dexterous, careful Inoculators. I have divers Relations have not had the Smal Pox, who labour under old prejudices against the practise. I have told them of Dr. B[oylsto]n. They tell me get over the prejudice, and then they will choose an old England man before a new England man, ergo.

    Your Brother Colman is not yet resolved about his return to Boston, flatters himself a ships cargo of Boston Rum, would sell in Holland to good profit. I tell him I feare it, the hazard is too great for him, he has lost here more then all, what he works on at Boston is produce of 4 or £500 goods which he has taken up on Credit at London, is now all owing for, and he ought to pay to the men here, and not try airy projects in Holland at the Risque of other mens moneys. He is now under a great censure of many for his unaccountable managment while many for your sake pitty him. When I have proper oportunity I shall not be wanting in speaking in his favour and as you desire to the Governour Shute.

    I have written briefly to Esq. Huchinson by Capt. Shippirton and inclosed some letters, to deliver with his owne hand, without coming into the post office.

    [7] Feb. 3

    This day Mr. Wybourn brought me a packet from you qt. two sticht books, which I shal present to Mr. Hunt, and your letter of an old date Octo. 5 and a PS Sept. 29. I supose some error in dating; there is nothing in it new, but what is alreddy answered.

    Feb. 4

    This day the Society for propogating the Gospel among the Indians mett and ordred a new Commission to be sent to Boston for that work, and have appointed Adam Winthrop132 Esq. Tresurer and Secretary and Mr. Benj[amin] Colman one of the Commissioners, as I have writ larger to Mr. Tresurer Huch[inso]n. who will shew you my minutes. And I inclose my memorial133 I delivered in May last to the Tresurer hoping to have had a donation of books for your library, But could not succeed. I have had it moved to the Presbiterian Fund, but no succes; they are preparing for a publick library themselves in London so soon as they can purchase a Convenient house or Land, freehold, to build on. Dr. Williams left them for a beginning I supose above thirty thousand volums.

    Feb. 12

    This afternoon your Governor Shute called at my house, and I had a long conversation with him, your Brother was present. What relates to your Province affairs, I leave to him to inform you, but I discourst him privately about your request for some place in his Gift. He answered, the place you propose is not fitt for him, that he was fully acquainted with your Brothers affaires, that when he goes over he would Provide for him, he desired some thing better, and more suitable for him. Your Brother also told me privately, that he could not accept the place you intreated to have for him, it did not suite him. [8] I beleive the Governour will write unto you himself by the ships now preparing.

    Feb. 15

    This letter hath laine open so long, it is time to close it, your goodnes will excuse repetitions and want of connection. In my chest No. 6 is some books and letters from Mr. Guise,134 Minister at Harford. I have expectation of another parsel of books, to send by this or next shipping, and if there happen to be some books not quite Orthodox, in search after truth with an honest design dont be afraid of them. A publick library ought to be furnished if they can with Con, as well as Pro—that students may read, try, judg—see for themselvs and beleive upon Argument and just reasonings of the Scripture. Thus saith Aristotle, thus saith Calvin, will not now pass for proof in our London disputations. Pray Sir give my Service to all the Reverend the Fellows and Tutors of Harvard College. And forgive this time the length of this Epistle

    Reverend Sir

    Your very humble Servant

    Thomas Hollis

    [Endorsed:] No. 36.

    Hollis Letters and Papers, pp. 58, 59.