Here to return to
To discuss in any detail the history of Harvard College would be, of course, quite outside the province of a book on Colonial Boston. But, as an institution of which Increase Mather, one of Boston's most noted divines, was for a number of years president, as an enterprise to which Cotton Mather longed throughout his later life to give himself as head, and as a school in which almost all the men who made deep marks upon Boston's early history were educated, Harvard has, undeniably, a certain claim upon our attention. This, too, quite apart from the fact that it memorializes an early Puritan minister to whom we owe it to ourselves here to pay at least a passing tribute.
Only seven years after the arrival of Governor Winthrop with the first charter of the colony the General Court voted (1636) "four hundred pounds towards a school or college."
Two years later, John Harvard, a young graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, who had emigrated to Charlestown, died, and bequeathed one-half of his whole property and his entire library to the proposed institution. His estate amounted to £779 17s. 2d., which. shows he must have been among the most wealthy of the early settlers, — and his library consisted of three hundred and twenty volumes. Of this goodly collection of books but one survives to-day, — Downame's "Christian Warfare," — all the others having been destroyed in the fire of 1764. At the time of his death Harvard was assistant minister to Rev. Z. Symmes in the first church at Charlestown. He was buried in the old Charlestown burying ground and to his memory the alumni of Harvard University there erected September 26, 1828, what was then regarded as a very impressive granite monument.
The munificence of the Rev. John Harvard inspired further enthusiasm in the magistrates and made the common people, also, very anxious to give their mites towards the new institution of learning. There is, indeed, something very touching in these early gifts, which reflect the simplicity of the necessities in that period as well as the earnest colonists to help on the good work of education. One man bequeathed a number of sheep, another a quantity of cotton cloth worth nine shillings, another a pewter flagon worth ton shillings and not a few their household treasures amounting to perhaps a pound or so when sold.
In 1642 a Board of Overseers, consisting of the Governor and Deputy Governor, all the magistrates and the teaching elders of the six adjoining towns was established. In 1650, a charter was granted by the General Court, empowering a corporation, consisting of the President, the treasurer, five fellows and the overseers to perpetuate themselves and govern the affairs of the college. The first president was Henry Dunster, whose pathetic end has already been referred to in the chapter on the religious persecutions. Dunster deserves always to be recalled, however, when Harvard in the making is being discussed for he contributed, at a time of its utmost need, one hundred acres of land towards the support of the college and for many years served the institution unweariedly for scarcely any recompense. How the college rewarded him we have seen.
But if they treated their presidents differently hundred and fifty years ago they also maintained quite a different attitude, from today, towards their students. In the college records are preserved several documents which throw interesting side-lights upon the academic life of that early period. None of these is more illuminating than "Dunster's Rules" printed in President Josiah Quincy's "History of Harvard University," but quite worth reprinting here because that volume is now so rare.
The original rules were in Latin and all continued in force at least until the revision of 1734 when a few were made less harsh. In translation they read:
"The Laws, Liberties and Orders of Harvard College, Confirmed by the Overseers and President of the College in the years 1642, 1643, 1644, 1645, and 1646, and Published to the Scholars for the Perpetual Preservation of their Welfare and Government."
"1. When any scholar is able to read Tully, or such like classical Latin author, extempore, and make and speak true Latin in verse and prose suo (ut aiunt) Marte, and decline perfectly the paradigms of nouns and verbs in the Greek tongue, then may he be admitted into the college, nor shall any claim admission before such qualifications.
"2. Everyone shall consider the Main end of his life and studies, to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life; John xvii., 3.
"3. Seeing the Lord giveth wisdom, everyone shall seriously, by prayer in secret, seek wisdom of Him; Proverbs ii., 2, 3, etc.
"4. Everyone shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day, that they be ready to give an account of their proficiency therein, both in theoretical observations of language and logic, and in practical and spiritual truths, as their tutor shall require, according to their several abilities respectively, seeing the entrance of the word giveth light, etc.; Psalm cxix., 130.
"5. In the public church assembly they shall carefully shun all gestures that show any contempt or neglect of God's ordinances, and be ready to give an account to their tutors of their profiting, and to use the helps of storing themselves with knowledge, as their tutors shall direct them. And all sophisters and bachelors (until themselves make common place) shall publicly repeat sermons in the hall, whenever they are called forth.
"6. They shall eschew all profanation of God's holy name, attributes, word, ordinances and times of worship; and study, with reverence and love, carefully to retain God an truth in their minds.
"7. They shall honour as their parents, magistrates, elders, tutors and aged persons, by being silent in their presence (except they be called on to answer), not gainsaying; Showing all those laudable expressions of honour and reverence in their presence that are in use, as bowing before them, standing uncovered, or the like.
"8. They shall be slow to speak, and eschew not only oaths, lies and uncertain rumours, but likewise all idle, foolish, bitter scoffing, frothy, wanton words and offensive gestures.
"9. None shall pragmatically intrude or intermeddle in other men's affairs.
"10. During their residence they shall studiously redeem their time, observe the general hours appointed for all the scholars, and the special hour for their own lecture, and then diligently attend the lectures, without any disturbance by word or gesture; and, if of anything they doubt, they shall inquire of their fellows, or in case of non-resolution, modestly of their tutors.
"11. None shall, under any pretence what-soever, frequent the company and society of such men as lead an ungirt and dissolute life. Neither shall any, without the license of the overseers of the college, be of the artillery or trainband. Nor shall any, without the license of the overseers of the college, his tutor's leave, or, in his absence, the call of parents or guardians, go out to another town.
"12. No scholar shall buy, sell or exchange anything, to the value of sixpence, without the allowance of his parents, guardians or tutors; and whosoever is found to have sold or bought any such things without acquainting their tutors or parents, shall forfeit the value of the commodity, or the restoring of it, according to the discretion of the president.
"13. The scholars shall never use their mother tongue, except that in public exercises of oratory, or such like, they be called to make them in English.
"14. If any scholar, being in good health, shall be absent from prayers or lectures, except in case of urgent necessity, or by the leave of his tutor, he shall be liable to admonition (or such punishment as the president shall think meet), if he offend above once a week.
"15. Every scholar shall be called by his surname only, till he be invested with his first degree, except he be a fellow commoner or knight's eldest son, or of superior nobility.
"16. No scholar shall, under any pretence of recreation or other cause whatever (unless foreshowed and allowed by the president or his tutor), be absent from his studies or appointed exercises, above an hour at morning never, half an hour at afternoon never, an hour and a half at dinner, and so long at supper.
"17. If any scholar shall transgress any of the laws of God, or the House out of perverseness, or apparent negligence, after twice admonition, he shall be liable, if not adultus, to correction; if adultus, his name shall be given up to the overseers of the college, that he may be publicly dealt with after the desert of his fault; but in greater offences such gradual proceeding shall not be exercised.
"18. Every scholar, that on proof is found able to read the original of the Old and New Testament into the Latin tongue and to resolve them logically, withal being of honest life and conversation, and at any public act hath the approbation of the overseers and master of the college, may be invested with his first degree.
"19. Every scholar that giveth up in writing a synopsis or summary of logic, natural and moral philosophy, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy, and is ready to defend his theses or positions, withal skilled in the originals as aforesaid, and still continues honest and studious, at any public act after trial, he shall be capable of the second degree, of Master of Arts."
By orders of the overseers in 1650, it was provided among other things that "no scholar whatever, without the fore-acquaintance and leave of the president and his tutor, shall be present at any of the public civil meetings, or concourse of people, as courts of justice, elections, fairs, or at military exercise, in the time or hours of the college exercise, public or private. Neither shall any scholar exercise himself in any military band, unless of known gravity, and of approved sober and virtuous conversation, and that with the leave of the president and his tutor.
"No scholar shall take tobacco, unless permitted by the president, with the consent of their parents or guardians, and on good reason first given by a physician, and then in a sober and private manner."
At a meeting of the corporation in 1659, it was voted that, "whereas there are great complaints of the exorbitant practices of some students of this college, by their abusive words and actions to the watch of this town.'' The Cambridge town watch were authorized to exercise their powers within the precincts of the college. It was provided, however, that none "of the said watchmen should lay violent hands on any of the students being found within the precinct of the college yards, otherwise than so that they may secure then, until they may inform the president or some of the fellows." It was also voted that "in case any student of this college shall be found absent from his lodging after nine o'clock at night, he shall be responsible for and to all complaints of disorder in this kind, that, by testimony of the watch or others shall appear to be done by any student of the college, and shall be adjudged guilty of the said crime, unless he can Purge himself by sufficient witness." In 1682, the civil authority "was formally recognized as the last resort for enforcing, in extreme cases," college discipline.
In October, 1656, the president and fellows were empowered by statute "to punish all misdemeanours of the youth in their society, either by fines, or whipping in the hall openly, as the nature of the offence shall require, not exceeding ten shillings, or ten stripes for one offence." The tutors "chastised at discretion, and on very solemn occasions the overseers were called together, either to authorize or to witness the execution of the severer punishments." An old diary tells of the punishment, in 1674, of one who had been guilty of "speaking blasphemous words." The sentence of the overseers was read twice in the library. Then, "the offender having kneeled, the president prayed, and then Publicly whipped, before all the scholars," the blasphemer. "The solemnities were closed by another prayer from the president."
Although this public flogging by the president gradually fell into disuse, it was not formally abolished until 1734 when the right of punishing undergraduates by "boxing" was "expressly reserved to the president, professors, and tutors." In 1755, the doing away with this form of punishment was considered; but no decisive action was taken, although the practice was gradually given up.
The system of imposing fines for infractions of the rules continued. Here is the schedule.
"List of pecuniary mulcts:
"Absence from prayers, 2d; tardiness at prayers, 1d; absence from professor's public lecture, 4d; tardiness at professor's public lecture, 2d; profanation of Lord's Day, not exceeding 3s; absence from public worship, 9d; tardiness at public worship, 3d; ill behaviour at public worship, not exceeding 1s 6d; going to meeting before bell-ringing, 6d; neglecting to repeat the sermon, 9d; irreverent behaviour at prayers, or public divinity lectures, 1s 6d; absence from chambers, etc., not exceeding 6d; not declaiming, not exceeding 1s 6d; not giving up a declamation, not exceeding 1s 6d; absence from recitation, not exceeding 1s 6d; neglecting analyzing, not exceeding 3s; bachelors neglecting disputations, not exceeding 1s 6d; respondents neglecting disputations, from 1s 6d to 3s; undergraduates out of town without leave, not exceeding 2s 6d; undergraduates tarrying out of town without leave, not exceeding, per diem, 1s 3d; undergraduates tarrying out of town one week without leave, not exceeding 10s; undergraduates tarrying out of town one month without leave, not exceeding £2 10s; lodging strangers without leave, not exceeding 1s 6d; entertaining persons of ill character, not exceeding 1s 6d; going out of college without proper garb, not exceeding 6d; frequenting taverns, not exceeding 1s 6d; profane cursing, not exceeding 2s 6d; graduates playing cards, not exceeding 5s; undergraduates playing cards, not exceeding 2s 6d; undergraduates playing any game money, not exceeding 1s 6d; selling and exchanging without leave, not exceeding 1s 6d; lying, not exceeding 1s 6d; opening door by pick-locks, not exceeding 5s; drunkenness, not exceeding 1s 6d; liquors prohibited under penalty, not exceeding 1s 6d; second offence, not exceeding 3s; keeping prohibited liquors, not exceeding 1s 6d; sending for prohibited liquors, not exceeding 6d; fetching prohibited liquors, not exceeding 1s 6d; going upon the top of the college, 1s 6d; cutting off the lead, 1s 6d; concealing the transgression of the 19th law, 1s 6d; tumultuous noises, 1s 6d; second offence, 3s; refusing to give evidence, 3s; rudeness at meals, 1s; butler and cook to keep utensils clean, not exceeding 5s; not lodging at their chambers, not exceeding 1s 6d; sending freshmen in studying time, 9d; keeping guns, and going on skating, 1s; firing guns or pistols in college yard, 2s 6d; fighting or hurting any person, not exceeding 1s 6d."
It is noteworthy that "undergraduates playing cards" (whether merely "for pins" or "for money") were punished by a fine of 2s 6d; but that "lying an offence of which very few students are now guilty, and for which Suspension, if not expulsion, is now considered a mild punishment — made the liar liable only to a fine of 1s 6d.
Naturally students were little disturbed by these fines. They proved so annoying to parents, however, that in 1761 a committee was appointed to consider some other method of punishing offenders. Although mulcts were not entirely abolished, a system was adopted which resembled somewhat the present methods of enforcing discipline by "admonition," "probation," "suspension," "dismissal," or "expulsion."
In addition to the formal rules, a system of "Ancient Customs of Harvard College, Established by the Government of It," grew up, was recognized by the authorities and soon had all the force of law. As these had to do chiefly with the conduct of freshmen, and as it was to the interest of all the "seniors" that these customs should be observed, doubtless they were more scrupulously lived up to than President Dunster's rules. Here is a copy of these customs as they appear in the official records:
"l. No freshman shall wear his hat in the college yard, unless it rains, hails, or snows, provided he be on foot, and have not both hands full.
"2. No undergraduate shall wear his hat in the college yard, when any of the governors of the college are there; and no bachelor shall wear his hat when the president is there.
"3. Freshmen are to consider all the other classes as their seniors.
"4. No freshmen shall speak to a senior with his hat on; or have it on in a senior's chamber, or in his own if a senior be there.
"5. All the undergraduates shall treat those in the government of the college with respect and deference; particularly they shall not be seated without leave in their presence; they shall be uncovered when they speak to them or are spoken to by them.
"6. All freshmen (except those employed by the immediate government of the college) shall be obliged to go on any errand (except such as shall be judged improper by some one in the government of the college) for any of his seniors, graduates or undergraduates, at any time, except in studying hours, or after nine o'clock in the evening.
"7. A senior sophister has authority to take a freshman from a sophomore, a middle bachelor from a junior sophister, a master from a senior sophister, and any governor of the college from a master.
"8. Every freshman before he goes for the person who takes him away (unless it be one in the government of the college), shall return and inform the person from whom he is taken.
"9. No freshman, when sent on an errand, shall make any unnecessary delay, neglect to make due return, or go away till dismissed by the person who sent him.
"10. No freshman shall be detained by a senior when not actually employed on some suitable errand.
"11. No freshman shall be obliged to observe any order of a senior to come to him, or go on any errand for him, unless he be wanted immediately.
"12. No freshman, when sent on an errand, shall tell who he is going for, unless he be asked; nor be obliged to tell what he is going for, unless asked by a governor of the college.
"13. When any person knocks at a freshman's door, except in studying time, he shall immediately open the door, without inquiring who is there.
"14. No scholar shall call up or down, to or from, any chamber in the college.
"15. No scholar shall play football or any other game in the college yard, or throw anything across the yard.
"16. The freshmen shall furnish bats, balls and footballs for the use of the students, to be kept at the buttery.
"17. Every freshman shall pay the butler for putting up his name in the buttery.
"18. Strict attention shall be paid by all the students to the common rules of cleanliness, decency and politeness.
"The sophomores shall publish these customs to the freshmen in the chapel, whenever ordered by any in the government of the college; at which time the freshmen are enjoined to keep their places in their seats, and attend with decency to the reading."
About 1772, after the overseers had repeatedly recommended abolishing the custom of allowing the upper classes to send freshmen on errands, the president and fellows voted that "after deliberate consideration and weighing all circumstances, they are not able to project any plan in the room of this long and ancient custom, that will not be attended with equal, if not greater inconveniences." Indeed, in 1786, "the retaining men or boys to perform the services for which freshmen had been heretofore employed" was declared to be a growing evil, and was prohibited by the corporation. In extenuation of the Dunster rules it should be borne in mind, of course, that Harvard, instead of being the university for young men which we now know, was then little more than a "seminary" for boys. It was indeed the puerility of the students which made it difficult, for a long time, to get a man of first class powers to act as president at Cambridge. Increase Mather, of whose dallying with the office we shall hear much a few pages on, finally said frankly, when pushed to it, that he had no mind whatever to "leave preaching to 1,500 souls... only to expound to 40 or 50 children, few of them capable of edification by such exercises."
Dunster, however, gladly consecrated fourteen years of his life to the upbuilding of the college. In this task he had the devoted cooperation of his wife, a woman of such parts as to entitle her to respectful notice on her own account. For Elizabeth Dunster was, by her first marriage, Elizabeth Glover, wife of Rev. Joseph Glover, — rector of the church at Sutton in Surrey, England, — who in 1638 resigned as minister and came to found the first printing-press ever known in New England. During the voyage over Rev. Joseph Glover passed away, and his wife was therefore confronted with the necessity of setting up her press alone. Her husband had already arranged with Stephen Daye of London to have a share in the undertaking, and it is his imprint — S. D. — which all the early productions of the press bear. But President Dunster give accommodation in his own house to the plant and very likely had a good deal to do with its early output. It is even conceivable that between planning out his rigid "Rules" he relaxed by "holding copy" for the fair widow to whose heart he soon laid siege.
Certainly he would have assisted with unction in turning out the famous "Freeman's Oath" given on the broadside which was the very first issue of the press. This oath, printed in 1639, splendidly reflects the sturdy character of the early colonists and is indeed just as pertinent to-day as it was then. One of the most stirring sights I have ever seen is its administration each spring, at Faneuil Hall, Boston, on the occasion of the New Voters Festival. It reads in part: "I do solemnly bind myself in the sight of God, when I shall be called to give my voice touching any such matter of this state, in which Free-men are to deal, I will give my vote and suffrage as I shall judge in mine own conscience may best conduce and tend to the public weal of the body, without respect of persons, or favour of any man."
After Dunster had been driven out, Chauncey, Hoar, and Oakes were successively presidents of the college, but there is little of interest to us, in the conduct of the institution, until the election in 1685 of Increase Mather as its head. Mather took the place with the understanding that he should not reside at Cambridge, and should be permitted to continue, at the same time, his work as pastor of the second church in Boston. He was still president when sent on his mission to England, and in July, 1688, in an interview with James II he brought his long-continued efforts to secure a royal charter for the college to what he thought to be a head. For he then asked the king directly to grant a charter for a non-conformist institution. Yet when the new charter really materialized, was signed by Sir William Phips and went back to England for ratification, the king vetoed it (July, 1696) for the reason that it provided no visiting board. Still Mather was not in the least discouraged; opportunity for another appointment to England seemed thus provided.
The object of the
preacher-president in all this matter of the new charter —
which it is not
worth our while here to follow in detail — was to make the
college at Cambridge
distinctly the stamping-ground of his own particular
brand of dissent. The
king, however, had an eye to the recognition of episcopacy at
Cambridge, and so
would not grant the kind of charter for which Mather yearned. Moreover,
the absence abroad of the president, certain lay members, who
were not enslaved
to him, gained power on the board. In spite of all that he could do,
Mather gradually lost his hold upon the college.
The occasion but not the cause of his enforced resignation was his refusal to live in Cambridge. For several years the legislature had been steadily passing resolutions requiring the president to go into residence, but these Mather, for the most part, blandly ignored. Then, in 1698, they voted the president the liberal salary, for that age, of two hundred pounds annually and appointed a committee to wait upon him. Judge Sewall describes the ensuing interview: "Aft. President expostulated with Mr. Speaker... about the votes being altered from 250.... We urged his going all we could; I told him of his birth and education here; that he look'd at work rather than wages, all met in desiring him.... [He] Objected want of a house, bill for corporation not pass'd... must needs preach once every week, which he preferred before the gold and silver of the West Indies. I told him would preach twice a day to the students. He said that [exposition] was nothing like preaching."
The real reason why Mather fought off settling in Cambridge was however his lingering hope that he might still get the English mission he so ardently desired. But the Massachusetts Assembly was about at the end of its patience, and on July 10, 1700, they voted Mather two hundred and twenty pounds a year, at the same time appointing a committee to obtain from him a categorical answer. This time the president apparently complied with the request of the authorities, and after a "suitable place... for his reception and entertainment" had been prepared at the public expense, he moved to Cambridge. By the last of October he was back in town again, however, professing to Stoughton that Cambridge did not suit his health and suggesting that another president be found.
To his great surprise the General Court "took him up" and resolved that "forasmuch as the Constitution requires that the President reside at Cambridge, which is now altered by his removal from thence, and to the intent that a, present necessary oversight be taken of the College,... in case of Mr. Mather's refusal absence, sickness or death, that Mr. Samuel Willard be Vice-President." Stimulated by this Increase Mather managed to sustain residence in Cambridge for three months more. Then, in a characteristic note to Stoughton, who was then acting governor, he expressed his determination to "return to Boston the next week and no more to reside in Cambridge; for it is not reasonable to desire me to be (as out of respect to the public interest I have been six months within this twelve) any longer absent from my family.... I do therefore earnestly desire that the General Court would... think of another president." "But," warns our reluctantly retiring official, "it would be fatal to the interest of religion, if a person disaffected to the order of the Gospel, professed and practiced in these churches, should preside over this society."
This letter proved Mather's undoing, for when he made it clear to the Court that he could "with no conveniency any longer reside at Cambridge and take care of the College there, a committee was promptly appointed to wait upon the Rev. Samuel Willard and to desire him to accept the care and charge of the said College and to reside in Cambridge in order thereunto." The outcome of the whole matter was that Mather, who for years would neither reside nor resign, was succeeded at length by Mr. Samuel Willard, who promised to stay at the college two days and nights a week. This appointing was made on September 6, 1701, by the General Court Council of which Sewall was a member. That worthy had, therefore, to hay the price of the decision. The manner of this is amusingly told in his Diary:
"1701, Oct. 20. Mr. Cotton Mather came to Mr. Wilkins's shop and there talked very sharply against me as if I had used his father worse than a neger; spake so loud that people in the street might hear him.... I had read in the morn Mr. Dod's saying; Sanctified afflictions are good Promotions. I found it a cordial.
"Oct. 6. I sent Mr. Increase Mather a hanch of good venison; I hope in that I did not treat him as a negro.
"Oct. 22, 1701. I, with Major Walley and Capt. Saml. Checkly, speak with Mr. Cotton Mather at Mr. Wilkins's.... I told him of his book of the Law of Kindness for the Tongue, whether this were corresponding with that. Whether correspondent with Christ's rule: He said, having spoken to me before there was no need to speak to me again; and so justified his reviling me behind my back. Charg'd the council with lying, hypocrisy, tricks and I know not what all... and then show'd my share which was in my speech in council; viz. If Mr. Mather should goe to Cambridge again to reside there with a resolution not to read the Scriptures and expound in the Hall: I fear the example of it will do more hurt than his going thither will doe good. This speech I owned.... I ask'd him if I should supose he had done something amiss in his church as an officer; whether it would be well for me to exclaim against him in the street for it." Samuel Sewall, a mere layman, thus rebuking the impeccable Mathers must certainly have been a spectacle for gods and men!
The truth is, however, that, in this matter of the college, Cotton Mather put himself, on this occasion and again on a later one, hopelessly in the wrong. For the thing did not end with the defeat of his father for president. He himself soon began to look with covetous eyes on the executive chair at Cambridge. And when, after the death of Willard in 1707, John Leverett, the right-hand man of Governor Joseph Dudley, was elected to the office the wrath of the younger Mather knew no bounds. The fact that thirty-nine ministers, presumably as interested in the welfare of the college as even he could be, had enthusiastically endorsed Dudley's choice of Leverett, counted for nothing as against his wounded pride.
Sewall describes with unction Dudley's inauguration of his friend: "The govr. prepar'd a Latin speech for instalment of the president. Then took the president by the hand and led him down into the hall.... The govr. sat with his back against a noble fire.... Then the govr. read his speech... and mov'd the books in token of their delivery. Then president made a short Latin speech, importing the difficulties discouraging and yet he did accept:... Clos'd with the hymn to the Trinity. Had a very good dinner upon 3 or 4 tables.... Got home very well. Laus Deo."
The Mathers were now
thoroughly beaten, but they could not seem to understand that a man
honestly fail in appreciation of them, and they proceeded to charge
all manner of bribery, hypocrisy and corruption. Their letters
to the governor
at this time seem to me so pitiful an exhibition of narrowness that I
reproduce them. For I still. feet that both father and son were
that to bury them beneath such adjectives as "dastardly" and
"venomous" — after the manner of many writers — is
not to reproduce
faithfully this interesting contention. Dudley, however, was
an able man, even
if his political career had not, in every particular, been
above reproach. And
this time he happened to be right. So we cannot do better than
chapter with his admirably dignified answer to the accusations of the
a reply which is also, as it seems to me, a deserved rebuke to the
the theocracy as regards the college.
"GENTLEMEN, Yours of the 20th instant received; and the contents, both as to the matter and manner, astonish me to the last degree. I must think you have extremely forgot your own station, as well as my character; otherwise it had been impossible to have made such an open breach upon all the laws of decency, honour, justice and Christianity, as you have done in treating me with an air of superiority and contempt, which would have been greatly culpable towards a Christian of lowest order, and is insufferably rude toward one whom divine Providence has honoured with the character of your governour....
"Why, gentlemen, have you been so long silent? and suffered sin to lie upon me years after years? You cannot pretend any new information as to the main of your charge; for you have privately given your tongues a loose upon these heads, I am well assured, when you thought you could serve yourselves by exposing me. Surely murder, robberies and other such flaming immoralities were as reprovable then as now....
"Really, gentlemen, conscience and religion are things too solemn, venerable or sacred, to be played with, or made a covering for actions so disagreeable to the gospel, as these your endeavours to expose me and my most faithful services to contempt; nay, to unhinge the government....
"I desire you will keep your station, and let fifty or sixty good ministers, your equals in the province, have a share in the government of the college, and advise thereabouts as well as yourselves, and I hope all will be well.... I am your humble servant,