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considered as history. The liberality of Dr. Colman is so often commended in this work, that some, probably, would be pleased to see more particularly what was thought to be liberal theology
in the first half of the eighteenth century. The following passage, from Dr. Palfrey's sermon before referred to, may gratify a very natural curiosity. “Dr. Colman was attached to the Genevan doctrine, as, with his parentage and subsequent connection, it would have been wonderful if he had not been. But he seemed to have outstripped his age, and to have risen almost to the ground of that venerable race of men now nearly extinct, which within the last century have borne the name of moderate Calvinists.” The preservation of orthodoxy appears to have been an object of his solicitude. When Yale College “received the Dean's Bounty," says Dr. Palfrey,“ Dr. Colman was alarmed, lest the benefaction should be coupled with conditions adverse to the purity of the churches, and wrote letters to the rector and some of the trustees, cautioning them to beware of making concessions to episcopacy. In one of these letters, he inquires concerning the truth of a report, that Arminianism had gained ground in that college." The detail, furnished by President Quincy of controversies arising out of the formation of the church of Brattle Square, shows no departure in any quarter from the common faith. The “ Westminster Confession" was not infringed upon. There was great uniformity of belief, we are fully persuaded, not only among the early clergy of Massachusetts, but for a long time among their
We pass now to another topic. About the year 1718, and for a few years after, some attempts were made to procure
funds for Yale College, which are represented by President Quincy in a very unfavorable light. It does not, indeed, appear from the narrative, that any of the authorities of the college were directly concerned in these transactions; but as some or all of the trustees were not improbably acquainted with them, and may have afforded the agents their aid and countenance, it seems necessary to inquire what was really done, and how far the conduct of those implicated deserves censure. Especially is it incumbent on us to pay this subject some attention, since we find Governor Saltonstall,—who, in addition to his other excellences of character, possessed, as we had always supposed, a dis-. position remarkably frank, noble and generous,--represented as favoring an “underhand”* proceeding, if he was not himself personally engaged in it.
The first attempt of this kind in favor of Yale College, which is thought by the author exceptionable, was made by Cotton Mather. It seems that in 1718 he wrote to Governor Yale, praising him for his “ overflowing liberalities to objects on this side of the Atlantic," and, extolling his disposition to do good, he "bespeaks his favor for a people who are sound and generous Christians and Protestants, having a college at Saybrook, Connecticut;" and intimates to him that his munificence to it might “obtain for it the name of Yale College, which would be better than the name of sons and daughters ;-a seminary,” he adds, “ from whence a good people expect the supply of all their synagogues.” This is President Quincy's account of the matter; and he subjoins the remark: “From the temper of his mind at this time, it cannot be questioned that he meant that Mr. Yale should understand that Harvard College was not such a seminary.” We do not suppose ourselves under very strong, obligations to defend Cotton Mather. He may, at the time of writing this letter, have entertained unfriendly feelings towards Harvard ; yet on the face of the communication we see nothing which necessarily implies hostility to that college. Governor Yale had begun to make donations to the college in Connecticut as early as 1714. As the college was about to be removed to New Haven, as Mather probably supposed, and it had in fact been removed at the date of his letter, and as Governor Yale was a native of New Haven and was aware of the intention of the trustees, Mather appears to have judged it a favorable time to incite him to some greater act of beneficence. Nothing is apparent, from which it can be inferred that he was induced to write this letter by any one immediately connected with the college of Connecticut. This active and busy divine was not disposed to withhold his services, whenever he thought they might be acceptable; and this may have been a“ labor of love, to which he needed no prompting from others. As to the expression, that the good people of Connecticut expected from their new college - the supply of all their synagogues,” it is not so clear to us as it seems to be to President Quincy, that the writer intended to cast any reproach on Harvard. It is
undoubtedly true that there was an expectation, that graduates of the college just instituted would in time become extensively the pastors of churches in Connecticut, as actually occurred; and this with the best feelings towards the older seminary. This natural anticipation is all probably which Mather intended to express, though his language, as is common in epistolary writing, may be a little too unqualified. His vanity, certainly, is apparent in his letter written soon after to Governor Saltonstall, -an extract from which President Quincy has furnished. That Mather's interference, however, was of any injury to Harvard, or service to Yale, we see no evidence whatever. That he was influenced in what he did solely by motives of resentment against his own college, in the exercise of that liberality which is sometimes called charity, we are slow to believe.
But the great transgression was in the following year. In 1719, Thomas Hollis hegan a series of donations to Harvard College alike honorable to himself and to that institution. When the disposition of Hollis to patronize a college in New England was known, Mr. Jeremiah Dummer, colonial agent, in September of the same year, sent for Mr. Hollis to meet him at a coffee-house in London, to show him a letter, and“ to acquaint him about a college building at New Haven, and proposing it for his bounty.” Hollis, it seems, did not receive this application with much favor. In the February following, 1720, Dummer brought to Hollis another letter dated the July preceding, “ handsomely worded but no name to it, recommending to him the collegiate school at New Haven." This letter came inclosed in one from Governor Saltonstall, “earnestly pressing the same affair.” In 1721, Hollis received two other
anonymous letters about Yale College." All these attempts to enlist Hollis in the support of the new institution in Connecticut were unavailing. The anonymous letter forwarded by Governor Saltonstall is supposed by President Quincy to have been written by Cotton Mather, and he adduces several reasons for his belief. To determine whether this was really so is not necessary for our object. As to any thing which we have in view, the alleged authorship of the letter or letters may be affirmed or denied. The only question with which we are concerned is, whether this request to Hollis implies any design or wish on the part of those who made it, “to turn the bounty of Thomas Hollis from Cambridge into the New Haven channel.'' This is what is alleged by President Quincy. It is readily ad
mitted, that less wisdom appears in the mode of application, so far as the circumstances of the case are disclosed, than we should have expected from Governor Saltonstall. Hollis se ms to have taken offence that an anonymous letter should have been sent him; and this occurrence was probably of itself sifficient to defeat the object, if he had otherwise been disposed to favor it. Governor Saltonstall and his anonymous coadjutor probably relied chiefly for success on what they considered the reasonableness of their request; and thought little of the manner in which it was preferred. If they had known more of the character of Hollis, the course pursued in approaching him might have been very different. But where is the proof, that it entered into the plan of Governor Saltonstall and Cotton Mather, if he was indeed the author of the anonymous letter, to benefit Yale at the expense of Harvard ? To us such a conclusion appears altogether too remote from the premises. All which is shown by the correspondence, or can be clearly inferred from the circumstances is, that the friends of Yale College had learned what Hollis was doing for Harvard ; and concluded it possible, on a fair representation of the necessities of the college in Connecticut, that he might be prevailed upon to do something for that likewise. How could they know that he intended to limit his benefactions to one institution? They might not unreasonably infer the probability that he had determined on giving Harvard a certain sum, and without diminishing it might also aid them in their enterprise. At least, there is no obvious reason why they might not bring their case before him for his consideration. If there was any error in the proceedings in this matter in Connecticut, it is found in the repetition of the application in 1721. But there may have been some grounds for this which are now unknown. Who were concerned in making this final request of Hollis is not said. That there was any thing in the whole of the transaction which can fairly be found fault with, even by the most scrupulous, has not been shown, except perhaps in the case of the anonymous letters, and this, at most, was a mere indiscretion. That there was a design or wish to do any thing which might prejudice the interests of Harvard, is not only not proved, but is not rendered in a slight degree probable. This supposition ought not to be entertained without some direct and positive proof.
Such would be our conclusion, whoever had been the actors in this business. But when we ask, who is the responsible
person, no name is given, except on conjecture, but that of Governor Saltonstall. It was he who communicated the anonymous letter. ' If Cotton Mather, or whoever was the author of it, preferred a petition adverse to Harvard, Governor Saltonstall was accessory to the wrong. President Quincy very properly remarks,“ that Governor Saltonstall would hardly have consented to have been the medium of an anonymous letter, unless he had known the author to be of some weight of character," and we would add, unless he had fully understood the design of this “underband mover;" as he inclosed the anonymous letter in one written by himself,“ earnestly pressing the same affair.”
Now, in what relation does Governor Saltonstall stand to Harvard College ? He died in 1724, and by will left that college one hundred pounds. His wife, Mary Saltonstall
, had given that college an equal sum the year before; and afterwards in her will
added to this benefaction one thousand pounds. It is not unreasonable to presume,—it may be considered as certain,--that with respect to this latter bequest, there was an understanding between Governor Saltonstall and his wife before his death. In 1717, Governor Saltonstall and his wife gave to Yale College each fifty pounds. Their joint donations, therefore, to Harvard and Yale, are as twelve to one. In view of these facts, we would ask, is it credible, or rather, on the common principles of human action, is it possible that in 1720,and the dates should be particularly noticed,-Governor Saltonstall was conspiring with Cotton Mather or any one else, who was endeavoring in an “underhand way” “ to turn the bounty of Thomas Hollis from Cambridge into the New Haven channel ?" We fully believe that there has been some strange oversight in preparing the account of this matter. We are wholly unable to persuade ourselves that President Quincy on so slight grounds, or, as we think, no grounds at all, would willingly hold up one of the principal benefactors of Harvard, and one, who" in the attributes of public spirit and benevolence was not surpassed by any of his contemporaries," to censure and reproach.
(To be concluded.)