(1706–85), son of Cotton Mather, was graduated from Harvard (1723) and the following year began preaching. He married a sister of Thomas Hutchinson, and in 1732 became pastor of the Second Church in Boston. Charges that are now uncertain caused him to be dismissed (1741), and more than 90 of his congregation withdrew with him to found a new church, which he ministered until his death. His writings include some 20 books, marked by erudition rather than intellectual strength or style. Among them were a Life of the Very Reverend and Learned Cotton Mather (1729), Attempt To Shew That America Must Be Known to the Ancients (1773), and the poem The Sacred Minister (1773). The last of the “Mather Dynasty,” he appears to have been an unsuccessful preacher with little public influence. A contemporary said that “though a treasury of valuable historical anecdotes,” he was “as weak a man as I ever knew.”
From The Oxford Companion to American Literature in Oxford Reference.