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enough) that it was not in the power of that government to constitute a corporation, it being contrary to a maxim in law, for a corporation to make a corporation. And all writers who handle the subject, say, that a college cannot be erected without sovereign authority. But how much have you of late, to serve a design, said and done contrary to your former assertions! What an happiness would it have been to the country and a glory to the college, to have had what was by the General Assembly in my Lord Bellamont's time, sent to and confirmed by royal authority. It is your fault, Sir, that it has not been done. For both Mr. Blathwait and Mr. Phips wrote, that if you desired it, the thing would be immediately despatched. You promised me, you would endeavour it yet some of the representatives told me at the same time, that you promised them the contrary. And I have been informed, that you have discouraged the matter from proceeding by letters home. Alas! Sir, your friends are not faithful as they ought to be. Some whom you have promoted will backbite you, and say you are the falsest man in the world. But which of them have attended the divine precept? Lev. xix. 17.
4th. I am afraid that the guilt of innocent blood is still crying in the ears of the Lord against you. I mean the blood of Leister and Milburn. My Lord Bellamont said to me, that he was one of the committee of Parliament who examined the matter; and that those men were not only murdered, but barbarously murdered. However, the murdered men have been cleared by the King, Lords, and Commons. It is out of my province to be a judge in things of this nature. Nevertheless, considering what the proper judges, who have had an impartial hearing of the case, have said, and what the gentleman who drew up a bill for taking off the attainder from those poor men, have written to me about it, I think you ought, for your family's sake, as well as your own, to lay that matter to heart, and consider whether you ought not to pray as Psalms, li. 14.
5th I am afraid that the Lord is offended with you, in that you ordinarily forsake the worship of God in the holy church to which you are related, in the afternoon on the Lord's day, and after the publick exercise, spend the whole time with some persons reputed very ungodly men. I am sure your father did not so. Can you sanctify the Sabbath in a conversation with such men? Would you choose to be with them or such as they are in another world, unto which you are hastening? 2 Chron. xix. 2. I had like to have said, my heart mourns for you, because I believe greater troubles are very near unto you, than any that have befallen you from your youth unto this day; but I forbear, and may not at present acquaint you with.
But, Sir, there are at present two reasons which induced me to discharge my conscience in laying before you my fears. One is, in that you have sometimes said, that if ever you had a spiritual father, I was the man. And there was a time when I encouraged the church, with whom I have been labouring in the work of the Lord these forty-six
years and more, to call you to be my assistant in the ministry. The other is, that a letter thought to have been written by me, induced the late K. William to give you a commission for the government here. Sir H. Ashurst, in a letter dated the 25th of July last, says, that the day before a Right Honourable person, one of her Majesty's Privy Council, assured him, that it was a letter of my son's which you read to the King, that inclined him to give you a commission, and that the King thought the letter had been mine.
How glad should I be, if I could receive satisfaction that my fears of your being faulty, in the matters I have faithfully mentioned to you, are groundless; but if otherwise considering such scriptures as these, Isai. lviii. 1. Jer. xxiii. 28. Math. xiv. 4, 5. 1 Tim. v. 21. I am under pressures of conscience to bear a publick testimony without respect of persons; and I shall rejoice if it may be my dying testimony. I am now aged, expecting and longing for my departure out of the world every day. I trust in Christ that when I am gone, I shall obtain a good report of my having been faithful before him. To his mercy I commend you, and remain in him,
Yours to serve,
Boston, January 20, 1707-8.
To the Governour.
AN ORIGINAL LETTER FROM DR. C. MATHER, TO GOVERNOUR
Boston, Jan. 20, 1707-8.
HERE have appeared such things in your conduct, that a just concern for the welfare of your Excellency seems to render it necessary, that you should be faithfully advised of them. It was not without a design to introduce and exercise this faithfulness, that I have in divers letters to your Excellency, sought out acceptable words, and acknowledged every thing in the world, that might at all dispose you to give me the hearing. In some of those letters, I have indeed, with the language of the tribe of Naphtali, insinuated unto you, what those points were, wherein I earnestly desired that we might observe and confess you laudable. And I still imagined that you would at the same time understand my apprehension of there being points, wherein you were too defective. But your Excellency compels me to see that the schemes of speaking and modes of addressing used among. persons of the most polite education, will not answer the expectation I have had of them. You will give me leave to write nothing, but in a style, whereof an ignorant mob, to whom (as well as the General Assembly) you think fit to communicate what fragments you please of my letters, must be competent judges. I must proceed accordingly. And though I may complain of it, that the letters, which I have written formerly to your Excellency, have been improved unto my damage;
yet I will now venture another, which if it may be for your service, I care not, though it be as much for my detriment as any of the rest, and exposed as an appendix unto them. A letter of mine, the reading whereof to K. William was (as I have heard) of some small service to you in obtaining his royal determination, that you should have his commission for the government, brought upon me an extreme displeasure in the country. I proposed therein to return good for evil, to conquer evil with good, and retaliate (in my own way) the venoms which you poured upon me, in your last conference with my father, at your leaving New England. And if I never saw after this an expression of your gratitude, yet I saw all that I proposed. However, to hand such a gross untruth about the country, as a report (which I hear some of your counsellors do as from you) that at the time of my writing that letter, I wrote another quite the contrary, to do you a disservice, is but a very mean requital. When that letter was written, I weakly believed that the wicked and horrid things done before the righteous revolution, had been heartily repented of; and that the rueful business at New York, which many iilustrious persons of both houses of parliament often called a barbarous murder, and which the king, lords, and commons, by an act of parliament invited all persons to think so, had been considered with such a repentance, as might save you and your family from any further storms of heaven for the revenging of it. I flattered myself with a belief, that you would know no interests but those of a glorious Christ, and of his people and kingdom, and study what you should render to him for his wonderful dispensations towards you, in restoring you to your family, with the government of a people, with whom you had been in such evil circumstances. The whole country were witnesses to some of my poor and plain endeavours, to do the part of a faithful monitor unto you, in the fortraiture of a good man, at your arrival. Sir, had you then received your government with serious and thankful considerations, perpetually carried on, how to discharge it as a stewardship for the glorious Lord, and how to make this an holy and an happy people; and resolution to do nothing in it but what should be just and good; how honourably, how comfortably would your government have at last expired! Your late epitaph would have been, Them that honour me, I will honour. And in the mean time, you would not have known the meaning of a troubled sea. You might have maintained a very inoffensive conduct towards the gentlemen of whom most of all you have stood in fear: or if they had been uneasy, the great God would have accomplished for you the word which the Emperor Maximilian wrote upon his tables: whereas now, they are the very persons by whose means most of all your fear is like to come upon you. It seems as if the glorious Lord had a controversy with you. He has raised you up very powerful enemies. The best office of love that can be done for you, is, to assist you that your ways may please the glorious Lord, and remind you wherein you have not pleased him.
Sir, your snare has been that thing, the hatred whereof is most expressly required of the ruler, namely COVETOUSNESS. When a governour shall make his government more an engine to enrich himself, than to befriend his country, and shall by the unhallowed hunger of riches be prevailed withal to do many wrong, base, dishonourable things; it is a covetousness which will shut out from the kingdom of heaven; and sometimes the loss of a government on earth also is the punishment of it. Now, Sir, much of this has appeared in your administration; and the disposition to make haste to be rich has betrayed you unto things, from which many have wondered, that the natural goodness, which they thought was in your temper, has not restrained you. In saying this, I use much softer terms than your departed friend, Mr. Stoughton (as well as another of nearer affinity to you) used, with some of the most eminent persons, concerning you. And the censure of such a person at least may render it reasonable and seasonable to examine yourself upon it. The main channel of that COVETOUSNESS has been the reign of bribery, which you, Sir, have set up in the land, where it was hardly known, till you brought it in fashion. When you were going over to exhibit articles against Sir William Phips, as others have done, and will do (I hear) against you, you said you could put him in a way to make the perquisites of his government worth twelve hundred a year. He did not understand the way; and said, he was sure he must not be an honest man, if he did so. But, Sir, you have made the way now to be understood. It was unaccountable, which you let fall at the Council Board, that a Governour could not be guilty of bribery. Yes, Sir, in Paul's time one could: and there lie affidavits before the Queen and Council, which affirm that you have been guilty of it in very many instances. I do also know that you have. You may expect that many more such instances will in time be declared. In the mean time the most infamous things done by your son this way (to whom I design more particularly to apply myself) do many of them reflect upon you; because the marks of a most intimate communication between you on this head, are on the view and talk of all the world. He has made himself vile, and you have been far from restraining him. Sir, you are not such a stranger to history, but that you know the stories of what was done even by Pagan emperors unto their governours, when bribends could be charged upon them. It is a fearful thing, when professing christians will do that which virtuous Pagans have condemned as the worst o crimes; and when the member of an assembly professing christianity, shall in the defence of it say, it is a very little thing. This iniquity and that one branch of it, a demand of cruel pensions for places, does fearfully betray and deprave the country. It brings in a flood of con fusion; and it is now come to pass, that lesser officers begin to do vil lanous things in that way of iniquity; to which bribends and robberie they embolden themselves, because they think they have a great exam ple. The dishonour done to the Queen's government by this iniquity irreparable it begets a low and vile idea in the minds of the peopl
But the worst wounds of all are given to the guilty person himself; because there is an essential ingredient of a sincere and saving repentance in the case, which the person will usually run any hazard rather than comply withal; and that is restitution, I say, restitution. And this it is that many do firmly believe has drawn you in to countenance that unlawful trade with the enemies, which has been carried on by some grateful merchants, and the bitterness whereof, I am afraid, is not yet over. The house of representatives did by their vote several times over, generally declare that they could not clear you from that unlawful trade; and though they were drawn at last into a vote of a more particular aspect about it, every body sees through the fallacy. Nor will such men of honour as divers of the pensioners at home (I believe) be so negligent of their own vindication, from the impolitick essays to stigmatize them, in the votes which you have (and this untruly) procured to be published in your News Letter, as unanimous; but they will pursue the inquiry, who shingled and boarded the barracks of the soldiers at the forts in Port Royal.
The whole affair of the trial of those grateful merchants will by degrees be brought to light; yea, is already so; and the communications between Roxbury and the prison are discovered, and will be published on the house top; and some fear will be found, MINOR FUIT IPSA IN
A trial of that nature by the general assembly is a thing which you always decried with the greatest abhorrence: yet you permitted it; yet you promoted it; yet you managed it, when a personal advantage might come out of it. The people were ensnared, by what you drew, Sir, them unto; the country endangered. And I must now tell you, Sir, that a certain letter to Sir Charles Hobby had never been written, if there had not come to the writer some gentlemen of your church of England (among some of whom your conversation on the Lord's day, after the publick service is over, has been by many serious christians a little wondered at !) pressing for such a letter to be written; because they protested with indignation that they perceived by some of your own private discourses among them, that you intended to improve that illegal trial unto the disadvantage of the charter.
This leads me to complain of the wrongs which you have done in that regard, or endeavoured to do, unto this poor people of God. I suppose myself to have but very little esteem among them; I have often met with unkind and unjust usage among them; I look upon my opportunities to be useful unto them as almost extinguished. Had I the wings of a dove, I know what I would do. If I remain here, it is as uneasy as Martinius tied with an iron chain to a mighty stone; or―― standing for whole years together at his prayers in the cleft of a rock: Nevertheless I will plead for them. There is among them a people dear unto God: they should be dear unto us. It cannot be for the welfare of any man, or his family, designedly to hurt such a people: No, nor Connecticut any more than Massachusetts.