The Info List - Increase Mather

Increase Mather
Increase Mather
(June 21, 1639 O.S. – August 23, 1723 O.S.) was a major figure in the early history of the Massachusetts Bay Colony
Massachusetts Bay Colony
and Province of Massachusetts Bay
Province of Massachusetts Bay
(now the Commonwealth of Massachusetts). He was a Puritan
minister who was involved with the government of the colony, the administration of Harvard College, and most notoriously, the Salem witch trials. He was the son of Richard Mather, and the father of Cotton Mather, both influential Puritan


1 Biography

1.1 Early life

1.1.1 Education

1.2 Establishing himself in Massachusetts

1.2.1 Harvard College

1.3 Involvement in politics 1.4 Involvement in the Salem witch trials 1.5 Later life and death

2 Beliefs 3 Given name 4 In popular culture 5 Portraiture 6 See also 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External links

Biography[edit] Early life[edit] Mather was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts
Dorchester, Massachusetts
Bay Colony,[1] on June 21, 1639 to Rev. Richard Mather
Richard Mather
and Kathrine Holt Mather,[2] following their participation in the Great Migration from England due to nonconformity with the Church of England.[3] He was the youngest of six[4] brothers, the others being: Samuel, Nathaniel, Eleazar, Joseph, and Timothy.[4] Three of his brothers (Samuel, Nathaniel and Eleazar) also became ministers.[5] Education[edit] In 1651 Mather was admitted to Harvard College
Harvard College
where he roomed with and studied under Robert Massey. When he graduated in 1656 with a B.A.,[2] he began to train for the ministry and gave his first sermon on his 18th birthday.[6] He quickly left Massachusetts and went to Ireland, where he studied at Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College, Dublin
for an M.A. He graduated in 1659,[1] and spent the next 3 years as a chaplain attached to a garrison in the Channel Islands.[citation needed] During his time at Trinity College he was licensed as a Commonwealth Minister by Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
to the joint charge of St Tida's Church (Ballyscullion), and St Swithan's Church (Magherafelt). Upon Cromwell's death in 1658, Mather's joint charge at these churches was quickly severed by the new authorities.[why?] Harvard later awarded Mather the first honorary degree in the New World, becoming a Doctor of Sacred Theology, in 1692.[2]

The house built in 1677 by Increase Mather
Increase Mather
near the north corner of Hanover and North Bennet Streets, Boston, survived into the 20th century; pictured in 1898

Establishing himself in Massachusetts[edit] In 1661, with the advent of the English Restoration
English Restoration
and resurgence of Anglicanism, Increase returned to Massachusetts, where he married Maria Cotton. She was his step-sister by virtue of his father's marriage to Sarah Hankredge, widow of John Cotton and mother of Maria.[6] She gave birth to Cotton Mather
Cotton Mather
in 1663. In 1676, he published A Brief History of the War with the Indians in New-England,[7] a contemporary account of King Philip's War. He was ordained as minister of the North Church,[8] whose congregation included many of the upper class and governing class, on May 27, 1664. He held this post until he died.[1] Harvard College[edit] On June 11, 1685, he became the Acting President of Harvard College and steadily advanced: A little over a year later, on July 23, 1686, he was appointed the Rector. On June 27, 1692, he became the President of Harvard, a position which he held until September 6, 1701.[2] He was rarely present on campus or in the town, especially during his term of Rector as he was out of the Colony for all but two years of his term in that office. Despite his absences he did make some changes: re-implementation of Greek and Hebrew instruction, replacement of classical Roman authors with Biblical and Christian authors in ethics classes, enactment of requirements that students attend classes regularly, live and eat on campus, and that seniors not haze other students.[2] Involvement in politics[edit] While politics and Puritan
religion were closely related during Increase's lifetime, his first direct involvement with politics occurred as a result of James II of England's manipulation of the New England governments. In 1686 James revoked the Charter of Massachusetts in the process of creating the Dominion of New England.[1] The Dominion was headed by Edmund Andros, who not only disliked puritanism and was haughty,[2] but ruled as a near absolute dictator: Town meetings were outlawed, leaving the Dominion without consent of the governed, marriage was removed from the clergy, and the Old South Church was temporarily appropriated for Anglican services.[9] The 1687 Declaration of Indulgence, prohibiting discrimination against Catholics, saw staunch opposition from the Puritan
establishment. When Mather successfully roused opposition to revocation of the charter, he was nearly framed for treason. He traveled to London (eluding spies out to catch him) to petition the King. While engaged in petitioning he published pieces to build popular support for his positions, such as A Narrative of the Miseries of New-England, By Reason of an Arbitrary Government Erected there Under Sir Edmund Andros
Edmund Andros
(1688) and A Brief Relation for the Confirmation of Charter Privileges (1691).[6] He attempted to restore the old charter[1] and obtain a royal charter for Harvard; however, he abandoned that course and changed his petitions to a new charter not lacking any of the rights previously granted. Following the Glorious Revolution
Glorious Revolution
and subsequent overthrow of Andros, a new charter was granted to the colony.[2] The 1692 charter was a major departure from its predecessor, granting sweeping home rule, establishing an elective legislature, enfranchising all freeholders (previously only men admitted to a congregation could vote), and uniting the Massachusetts Bay Colony
Massachusetts Bay Colony
and Plymouth Colony.[2] Following Andros' deposition and arrest,[9] he had William Phips appointed as Royal Governor and they returned to Massachusetts, arriving on May 14, 1692.[10] Following his return, the administration of Harvard grew increasingly insistent that he reside nearer to the institution. Not wanting to leave his Second Church, he did not do so, and eventually resigned the Presidency.[2] Involvement in the Salem witch trials[edit] As an influential member of the community, having handpicked Governor Phips and his deputy Stoughton, Mather was involved in the notorious witch hysteria of Salem, Massachusetts. As the court of oyer and terminer was beginning to hear cases of suspected witchcraft, Increase's son Cotton wrote a letter known as "The Return of Several Ministers Consulted", which urged caution but failed to denounce the use of "spectral evidence".[11] In June and July 1692 as the trials and executions grew, Increase Mather
Increase Mather
made a number of sermons interpreted as a plea to cool the heated atmosphere.[11] In September 1692 he published Cases of Conscience Concerning Evil Spirits Personating Men, Witchcrafts, infallible Proofs of Guilt in such as are accused with that Crime (more commonly known as just "Cases of conscience concerning evil spirits"), which defended the judges and trials, but strongly denounced the spectral evidence used by them. It said, "It were better that Ten Suspected Witches should escape, than that one Innocent Person should be Condemned." (A slightly altered version of this phrase would later become known as Blackstone's formulation.) Notwithstanding this, his reputation was not improved afterwards or for posterity due to his association with the trials as well as his subsequent refusal, for whatever reasons, to denounce them.[10] He was also briefly mentioned in a thorough treatment of his son Cotton by Robert Calef
Robert Calef
in his comprehensive book of the Salem Trials and their aftermath, More Wonders of the Invisible World[12] (referred to as More Wonders of the Spiritual World by the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition).[6] Increase Mather
Increase Mather
was said to have burned Calef's book in Harvard Yard. Later life and death[edit]

The Mather tomb in Copp's Hill
Copp's Hill

In 1715, following the death of his wife Maria the previous year, he married Ann Cotton, widow of his nephew John.[13] On September 27, 1722, he fainted and was thereafter bedridden. In August 1723 he suffered bladder failure and died three weeks later on August 23, 1723, in Boston, aged 84. He was buried on Copp's Hill.[14] Before his death, he took lodging at the retreat of Mineral Spring Pond to recover from his illness and drink from the famous healing waters of the springs from Spring Pond.[15] Beliefs[edit] Throughout his life Mather was a staunch Puritan, opposing anything openly contradictory to, mutually exclusive with, or potentially "distracting" from his religious beliefs. He supported suppression of intoxication, unnecessary effort on Sundays and ostentatious clothing. He was initially opposed to the Half-Way Covenant but later supported it. He firmly believed in the direct appearance of God's disfavor in everyday life, e.g. the weather, political situations, attacks by Native Americans, fires and floods, etc.[6][10] He was strenuous in attempting to keep people to his idea of morality,[2] making strong use of jeremiads to try to prevent indifference and especially to try to get government officials to enforce public morality. During his tenure at Harvard he regularly stamped out any relaxation of Puritan
strictness, such as latitudinarianism, which had flourished during his overseas absence.[2] Following his acceptance of the Covenant, Solomon Stoddard and others attempted to further liberalize Puritanism by baptism of children who had nonmember parents[2] and admittance of all but the openly immoral to services. To try and stop this, Mather had a synod called to outlaw similar measures. A declaration was adopted, but never made binding.[6] Given name[edit] The stated reason for his first name was "...the never-to-be-forgotten increase, of every sort, wherewith God favoured the country about the time of his nativity."[6] The name "Increase" is a literal translation of the Hebrew "Yosëf" (Joseph). In popular culture[edit] Increase Mather
Increase Mather
is played by Stephen Lang
Stephen Lang
in the 2014 TV series Salem.[16][17] Portraiture[edit] A portrait of Increase Mather
Increase Mather
hangs in the Middle Common Room of Mansfield College, Oxford.[18] See also[edit]

Salem witch trials John Ratcliff


^ a b c d e "Mather, Increase. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001–05". Bartleby.com. Retrieved 2006-10-12.  ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Mather, Increase, 1639–1723. Papers of Increase Mather: an inventory". Harvard University. Archived from the original on 2006-09-02. Retrieved 2006-10-12.  ^ Atheneum, Dorchester. "Dorchester Atheneum: Richard Mather". Archived from the original on 2006-09-06. Retrieved 2006-10-12.  ^ a b The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans. VII. Boston: The Biographical Society. 1904.  access-date= requires url= (help) — The relevant excerpt can be seen here ^  Webster, Richard (1911). "Mather, Richard". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.  ^ a b c d e f g  Webster, Richard (1911). "Mather, Increase". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.  ^ Profile, digitalcommons.unl.edu; accessed December 24, 2014. ^ (the original Old North meetinghouse, not to be confused with the Anglican/Episcopal Old North Church), ^ a b "Interactive State House". Governors of Massachusetts. Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 2006-12-14.  ^ a b c "Biography of Increase Mather". Archived from the original on 2006-11-07. Retrieved 2006-10-12.  ^ a b Madden, Mathew. "Salem Witch Trials: Increase Mather". Archived from the original on 2006-08-29. Retrieved 2006-10-12.  ^ "More wonders of the invisible world". University of Virginia. Retrieved 2006-12-09.  ^ "Increase Mather", britannica.com; accessed March 3, 2018. ^ "MHS Increase Mather
Increase Mather
Papers, 1659–1721 Guide to the Microfilm Edition". Massachusetts Historical Society. 2006-10-21.  ^ The Register of the Lynn Historical Society, Volumes 15–16 By Lynn Historical Society, page 105 ^ Sokol, Tony (May 20, 2015). " Stephen Lang
Stephen Lang
Interview: Salem's Most Feared Witch-Hunter Speaks". Den of Geek. Retrieved 2018-03-04.  ^ Goldman, Eric (May 30, 2014). "Salem Exclusive Clip: Stephen Lang Makes His Debut as a Formidable Witch Hunter". IGN. Retrieved 2018-03-04.  ^ "Increase Mather". Retrieved May 30, 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

Michael G. Hall. The Last American Puritan: The Life of Increase Mather. Wesleyan, 1992. Thomas James Holmes. Increase Mather: a Bibliography of his Works. Cleveland, 1931. Mason I. Lowance. Increase Mather. New York, 1974. Robert Middlekauff. The Mathers: Three Generations of Puritan Intellectuals, 1596–1728. New York, 1971. Kenneth B. Murdock. Increase Mather: The Foremost American Puritan. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1925. Increase Mather's Catechismus Logicus: "A Translation and an Analysis of the Role of a Ramist Catechism at Harvard", co-authored with Thomas Knoles, Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 109 (1999): 145–181  Mather, Frederic Gregory (1900). "Mather, Richard". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Increase Mather.

Works by Increase Mather
Increase Mather
at Project Gutenberg Works by Increase Mather
Increase Mather
at LibriVox
(public domain audiobooks) Works by or about Increase Mather
Increase Mather
at Internet Archive Works by Increase Mather
Increase Mather
at Google Books

Academic offices

Preceded by John Rogers President of Harvard College 1685–1686, acting 1686–1692, Rector 1692–1701 Succeeded by Samuel Willard, acting

Religious titles

Preceded by John Mayo Old North Church 1673–1723 Succeeded by Cotton Mather

v t e

Salem witch trials
Salem witch trials

Timeline People Cultural depictions

Magistrates and court officials

Jonathan Corwin Bartholomew Gedney John Hathorne Joseph
Herrick George Herrick John Richards Nathaniel Saltonstall (aka Nathanial Saltonstall; resigned from the court in protest over nature of proceedings) Samuel Sewall William Stoughton Waitstill Winthrop

Town physician

William Griggs


Thomas Barnard George Burroughs (convicted of withcraft and hanged) Francis Dane John Hale John Higginson Deodat Lawson Cotton Mather Increase Mather William Milbourne Nicholas Noyes Samuel Parris Edward Payson Samuel Phillips Samuel Willard

Politicians and public figures

Thomas Danforth William Phips Thomas Brattle Robert Calef Thomas Maule


Benjamin Abbot Ebenezer Babson William Barker Sr. Thomas Barnard Elizabeth Booth John Bly Sr. and Rebecca Bly Thomas Boreman Thomas Chandler Nathaniel Coit Mary Daniel John DeRich Joseph
Draper Joseph
Fowler Mary Fuller Mary Herrick John Howe Elizabeth Hubbard Joseph
Hutchinson John Indian Nathaniel Ingersoll Thomas and Mary Jacobs Margaret Wilkins Knight Mercy Lewis Abigail Martin Jr. Jeremiah Neale Sarah Nurse Betty Parris Edward Payson Samuel and Ruth Perley (or Pearly) John and Lydia Porter Thomas Preston Ann Putnam
Ann Putnam
Jr. Ann Putnam
Ann Putnam
Sr. Edward Putnam Hannah Putnam John Putnam Jr. John Putnam Sr. Jonathan (or Johnathan) Putnam Nathaniel Putnam Thomas Putnam Nicholas Rist Margaret Rule Susannah Sheldon Mercy Short Martha Sprague Timothy Swan or Swann Christian Trask Peter Tufts Moses Tyler Jonathan Walcott Mary Walcott Richard Walker Mary Warren Joseph
Whipple Bray Wilkins John Wilkins Samuel Wilkins Abigail Williams Frances Wycomb

Accused but survived

Arthur Abbot Nehemiah Abbot Jr. Abigail Barker Katerina Biss Edward Bishop Edward Bishop III Mary Black Anne Bradstreet Dudley Bradstreet John Bradstreet Mary Bridges Sr. Sarah Bridges Sarah Buckley John Busse (or Buss) Andrew Carrier Richard Carrier Sarah Carrier Thomas Carrier Jr. Bethiah Carter Jr. Bethiah Carter Sr. Rachel Clinton Sarah Cloyce Elizabeth Colson Mary Colson Francis Dane Phoebe Day Elizabeth Dicer Rebecca Dike Ann Dolliver Mehitable Downing Mary Dyer Daniel and Lydia Eames Rebecca Blake Eames Esther Elwell Martha Emerson Joseph
Emons Thomas Farrar Sr. Abigail Faulkner Jr. Abigail Faulkner Sr. Dorothy Faulkner Elizabeth Fosdick Eunice Frye Dorothy Good Mary Green Sarah Noyes Hale (wife of John Hale) Elizabeth Hutchinson Hart Margaret Hawkes Sarah Hawkes Jr. Dorcas Hoar Deliverance Hobbs William Hobbs Elizabeth Johnson Sr. Stephen Johnson Rebecca Jacobs Jane Lilly (or Lillie) Mary Marston Sarah Morey Sarah Murrell Robert and Sarah Pease Joan Penney (or Penny) Sarah Phelps Lady Mary Phips Mary Post Susannah Post Margaret Prince Elizabeth Bassett Proctor Sarah Proctor William Proctor Sarah Davis Rice Sarah Rist Sarah Root Susanna Rootes Abigail Rowe Mary Rowe Elizabeth Scargen Ann Sears Abigail Somes Sarah Clapp Swift Mary Harrington Taylor Margaret Thacher Job Tookey Margaret Toothaker Mary Toothaker Hannah Tyler Joanna Tyler Mary Lovett Tyler Hezekiah Usher II Rachel Vinson Mary Whittredge (or Witheridge) Sarah Wilson Jr. Sarah Wilson Sr. Edward Wooland

Confessed and/or accused others

Mary Barker William Barker Jr. William Barker Sr. Sarah Bibber Mary Bridges Jr. Sarah Churchwell Deliverance Dane Rebecca Blake Eames Abigail Hobbs Margaret Jacobs Mary Lacey Jr. Mary Lacey Sr. Martha Tyler Mercy Wardwell Sarah Wardwell Mary Warren Candy Tituba

Executed by hanging

Bridget Bishop George Burroughs Martha Carrier Martha Corey Mary Eastey Sarah Good Elizabeth Howe George Jacobs Sr. Susannah Martin Rebecca Nurse Alice Parker Mary Ayer Parker John Proctor Ann Pudeator Wilmot Redd Margaret Scott Samuel Wardwell Sarah Wildes John Willard

Pressed to death

Giles Corey

Born in prison

Mercy, infant child of Sarah Good John Proctor III

Died in prison

John Durrant Lydia Dustin Ann Foster Mercy, infant child of Sarah Good Sarah Osborne Infant child of Elizabeth Scargen Roger Toothaker

Escaped or otherwise fled

John Alden Daniel Andrew Mary Bradbury Elizabeth Cary Phillip and Mary English Edward Farrington Mary Green George Jacobs Jr. Ephraim Stevens

v t e

Presidents of Harvard University

Eaton† (1637–1639) Dunster (1640–1654) Chauncy (1654–1672) Hoar (1672–1675) Oakes (1675–1681) Rogers (1682–1684) Mather # (1685–1701) S. Willard # (1701–1707) Leverett (1708–1724) Wadsworth (1725–1737) Holyoke (1737–1769) Winthrop # (1769) Locke # (1770–1773) Winthrop # (1773) Langdon (1774–1780) J. Willard (1781–1804) Pearson # (1804–1806) Webber (1806–1810) Kirkland (1810–1828) Quincy (1829–1845) Everett (1846–1849) Sparks (1849–1853) Walker (1853–1860) Felton (1860–1862) Hill (1862–1868) Eliot (1869–1909) Lowell (1909–1933) Conant (1933–1953) Pusey (1953–1971) Bok (1971–1991) Rudenstine (1991–2001) Summers (2001–2006) Bok # (2006–2007) Faust (2007–2018) Bacow (2018-)

† – Eaton was known as the Schoolmaster; # indicates acting president

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 56653545 LCCN: n50044161 ISNI: 0000 0000 8384 5842 GND: 119062992 SUDOC: 030409241 BNF: cb12182865j (data) SN