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MATHER, INCREASE

charge in the Plymouth Church; his son Increase turned out a ne'er-do-well; four of his children and his second wife died in November 1713; his Wife's brothers and the husbands of his sisters were ungodly and violent men; his favourite daughter Katherine, who “ understood Latin and read Hebrew fluently, ” died in 1716; his third wife went mad in 1719; his personal enemies circulated incredible scandals about him; and in 1724-1725 he saw a Liberal once more preferred to him as a new president of Harvard. He died in Boston on the 13th of February 1728 and is buried in the Copps Hill burial-ground, Boston. He was thrice married-to Abigail Phillips (d. 1702) in 1686, to Mrs Elizabeth Hubbard (d. 1713) in 1703, and in 1715 to Mrs Lydia George (d. 1734). Of hli fifteen children only two survived him.

Though self-conscious and vain, Cotton Mather had on the whole a noble character. He believed strongly in the power of prayer and repeatedly had assurances that his prayers were heard; and when he was disappointed by non-fulfilment his grief and depression were terrible. His spiritual nature was high-strung and delicate; and this condition was aggravated by his constant study, his long fasts and his frequent vigils-in one year, according to his diary, he kept sixty fasts and twenty vigils. In his later years his diaries have less and less of personal detail, and repeated entries prefaced by the letters “ G.D.” meaning Good Device, embodying precepts of kindliness and practical Christianity. He was remarkable for his godliness, his enthusiasm for knowledge, and his prodigious memory. He became a skilled linguist, a widely read scholar-though much of his learning was more curious than useful-a powerful preacher, a valued citizen, and a voluminous writer, and did a vast deal for the intellectual and spiritual quickening of New England. He worked with might and main for the continuation of the old theocracy, but before he died it had given way before an increasing Liberalism-even Yale was infected with the Episcopalianism that he hated.

Among his four hundred or more published works, many of which are sermons, tracts and letters, the most notable is his Magnalia Christi Americana: or the Ecclesiastical History of New England, from Its First Planting in the Year 1620 unto the Year of Our Lord, 1698. Begun in 1693 and finished in 1697, this work was published in London, in 1702, in one volume, and was republished in Hartford in 1820 and in 1853“1855, in two volumes. It is in seven books and concerns itself mainly with the settlement and religious history of New England. It is often inaccurate, and it abounds in farfctched conceits and odd and pedantic features. Its style, though in the main rather unnatural and declamatory, is at its best spontaneous, dignified and rhythmical; the book is valuable for occasional facts and for its picture of the times, and it did much to make Mather the most eminent American writer of his day. His other writings include A Poem Dedicated to the Memory of the Reverend and Excellent lllr Urian Oakes (1682); The Present State of New England (1690); The Life of the Renowned John Eliot (1691), later included in Book III. of the Magnalia; The Short History of New England (1694); Bonifacius, usually known as Essays To Do Good (Boston, 1710; Glasgow, 1825; Boston, 1845), one of his principal books and one which had a shaping influence on the life of Ben'amin Franklin; Psalterium Americanum (1718), a blank verse translation of the Psalms from the original Hebrew; The Christian Philosopher: A Collection of the Best Discoveries in Nature, with Religious Improvements (1721); Parentator (1724), a memoir of his father; Ratio Disciplinae (1726), an account of the discipline in New England churches; Manuductio ad Ministerium: Directions for a Candidate of the ll finis try (1726), one of the most readable of his books. He also left a number of works in manuscript, including diaries, a medical treatise and a huge commentary on the Bible, entitled “ Biblia Americana.”

See The Life of Cotton Mather (Boston, 1729), by his son, Samuel Mather; Vllilliam B. O. Peabody, The Life of Cotton Mather. (1836) (in jared Sparks's “ Library of Amejcan Biography, ” vol. vi.); Enoch Pond, The Mather Family (Boston, 1844); John L. Sibley, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, vol. iii. (Cambridge, 1885); Barrett Wendell, Cotton Mather, the Puritan Priest (New York, 1891), a remarkably sympathetic study and particularly valuable for its insight into (and its defence of) Mather's attitude toward witchcraft; Abijah P. Marvin, The Life and Times of Cotton Jllather (Boston, 1892); M. C. Tyler, A History of American Literature during the Colonial Period, vol. ii. (New York, 1878); and Barrett Wendell, A Literary History of America (New York, 1900).

Cotton Mather's son, SAMUEL MATHER (1706-1785), also INCREASE

a clergyman, graduated at Harvard in 1723, was pastor of the North Church, Boston, from 1732 to 1742, when, owing to a dispute among his congregation over revivals, he resigned to take charge of a church established for him in North Bennett Street.

Among his works are The Life of Cotton Mather (1729); An Apology for the Liberties of the Churches in New England (1738), and America Known to the Ancients (1773). (W. L. C.*)


MATHER, INCREASE (1639-1723), American" Congregational minister, was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, on the 21st of June 1639, the youngest son of Richard Mather? He entered Harvard in 1651, and graduated in 1656. In 1657, on his eighteenth birthday, he preached his first sermon; in the same year he went to visit his eldest brother in Dublin, and studied there at Trinity College, where he graduated M.A. in 1658. He was chaplain to the English garrison at Guernsey in April-December 1659 and again in 1661; and in the latter year, refusing valuable livings in England offered on condition of conformity, he returned to America. In the winter of 1661-1662 he began to preach to the Second (or North) Churchof Boston, and was ordained there on the 27th of May 1664. As a delegate from Dorchester, his father's church, to the Synod of 1662, he opposed the Half-Way Covenant adopted by the Synod and defended by Richard ~Mather and by jonathan Mitchell (1624-1668) of Cambridge; but soon afterwards he “surrendered a glad captive ” to “ the truth so victoriously cleared by Mr Mitchell, ” and like his father and his son became one of the chief exponents of the Half-Way Covenant. He was bitterly opposed, however, to the liberal practices that followed the Half-Way Covenant and (after 1677) in particular to “ Stoddardeanism, ” the doctrine of Solomon Stoddard (1643-1729) that all “ such Persons as have a good Conversation and a Competent Knowledge may come to the Lord's Supper, ” only those of openly immoral life being excluded. In May 1679 Mather was a petitioner to the General Court for the call of a Synod to consider the reformation in New England of “ the Evils that have Provoked the Lord to bring his Tudgments/' 2 and when the “ Reforming Synod ” met in September it appointed him one of a committee to draft a creed; this committee reported in May 1680, at the Synod's second session, of which Mather was moderator, the Savoy Declaration (slightly modified, notably in ch. xxiv., “Of the Civil Magistrate ”), which was approved but was not made mandatory on the churches by the General Court, and in 1708 was reaiiirmed at Saybrook, Connecticut. With the Cambridge Platform of 1646, drafted by his father, the Confession of 168O, for which Increase Mather was largely responsible, was printed as a book of doctrine and government for the churches of Massachusetts.

After the threat of a Quo Warranto writ in 1683 for the surrender of the Massachusetts charter, Mather used all his tremendous influence to persuade the colonists not to give up the charter; and the Boston freemen unanimously voted against submission. The royal agents immediately afterwards sent to London a treasonable letter, falsely attributed to Mather; but its spuriousness seems to have been suspected in England and Mather was not “fetch'd over and made a Sacrifice.” He became a leader in the opposition to Sir Edmund Andros, to his secretary Edward Randolph, and to Governor Joseph Dudley. He was chosen by the General Court to represent the colony's interests in England, eluded officers sent to arrest him, “ and in disguise boarded a ship on which he reached Weymouth on the 6th of May 1688] In London he acted with Sir Henry Ashurst, the resident agent, and had two or He was so christened “because of the never-to-be-forgotten increase, of every sort, wherewith God favoured the country about the time of his nativity." He often latinized his name, spelling it Crescentius Matherus.

“That is, King Philip's War, the Boston fires of 1676, when Mather's church and home were burned, and 1679, the threatened introduction of Episcopacy, and the general spiritual decay of the country.

3 He had previously been arrested and acquitted on a charge of having attributed the forged letter to Randolph.