Trust in England

Variant name:

Trust; Trustees

Address:

London, England

Description:

The Trust in England was an organization formed in 1766 to safeguard money raised by Samson Occom and Nathaniel Whitaker on their fundraising tour of Great Britain. Initially, no trust had been planned, but less than a year into their trip, Occom and Whitaker had raised so much money it became clear that a trust was necessary to keep the money raised reputable and thus protect the images of those involved. On November 28, 1766, a trust was formed consisting of William Legge (the Earl of Dartmouth), Baron Smyth, John Thornton, Samuel Roffey, Charles Hardey, Daniel West, Samuel Savage, Josiah Robarts, and Robert Keen. These men all had prominent public reputations, and by association provided a guarantee that funds would be used for the purposes for which they had been given. All told, Occom and Whitaker raised nearly £10,000 (not including £2,000 in Scotland, which was put under the control of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge), a far greater sum than initially projected. The amount raised attracted intense public scrutiny and, given that its members had tied their reputations to the money’s collection and maintenance, the trust became enormously concerned with how Wheelock would employ it. Despite a minor scandal involving an impolitic and ultimately abandoned plan to transmit funds to America by buying trade goods and selling them at a profit, Wheelock and the English Trust managed to avoid any serious breach until March 1770, when Wheelock informed the men in England that he had obtained a charter for Dartmouth College. Wheelock had tried to get a charter for Moor’s Indian Charity School in Connecticut throughout the late 1750s and early 1760s, and there were two components to his plan: he wanted to move the school to a place where he could have room to expand, and he wanted to obtain a charter to open a college. The English Trust supported the first goal, but not the second, as a charter would interfere with its control of the funds. Wheelock was determined to have his charter, however, and when the time came, he told the English Trust only about his plan to move. The trust helped Wheelock select New Hampshire as the site for his relocation, but it did not learn about the charter -- granted by New Hampshire governor John Wentworth, with whom Wheelock had been secretly negotiating -- until more than three months after it had been issued. Adding insult to injury, Wheelock, without consultation, named the college after Lord Dartmouth, informing the man himself after the fact. (After the charter was issued, Dartmouth never wrote to Wheelock again.) The members of the English Trust were outraged; to placate them, Wheelock made superficial motions to keep Moor’s and Dartmouth separate, though in practice the institutions were one and the same. Despite its displeasure, the English Trust continued to honor Wheelock’s requests for money until 1775, when the fund ran out. It also drew from the fund to support Occom, whom it believed Wheelock had mistreated, and Kirkland, whom it saw as more faithful to the design of Christianizing Indians than Wheelock. Once the fund ran out, Thornton and Savage continued to provide Wheelock with some financial assistance when he found himself in debt.

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Sources:

Andrews, Edward E. Native Apostles: Black and Indian Missionaries in the British Atlantic World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press 2013. Brooks, Joanna. The Collected Writings of Samson Occom, Mohegan: Leadership and Literacy in Eighteenth-Century Native America. Oxford 2006. Chase, Frederick. A history of Dartmouth College and the Town of Hanover, New Hampshire. 1891. Fisher, Linford. The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America. New York: Oxford University Press 2012. Love, Deloss. Samson Occom and the Christian Indians of New England. Pilgrim Press 1899. Richardson, Leon. An Indian Preacher in England. Hanover: Dartmouth College Press 1933. Trustees of Dartmouth College. The Charter of Dartmouth College. http://www.dartmo.com/charter/charter.html Accessed 12/14/2013. Wheelock, Eleazar. "A plan for introducing religion, Learning Agriculture and Manufactures among the Pagans in America." Draft. July 7, 1763. Dartmouth College Archives 763407.2. Wheelock, Eleazar. A continuation of the narrative of the Indian charity-school, in Lebanon, in Connecticut : from the year 1768, to the incorporation of it with Dartmouth-college, and removal and settlement of it in Hanover, in the province of New-Hampshire. Hartford, 1771. Wheelock, Eleazar. A continuation of the narrative of the Indian charity school, begun in Lebanon, in Connecticut, now incorporated with Dartmouth-college, in Hanover, in the province of New-Hampshire. Portsmouth: Daniel and Robert Fowle, 1772. Wheelock, Eleazar. A continuation of the narrative of the Indian charity school, begun in Lebanon, in Connecticut, now incorporated with Dartmouth-college, in Hanover, in the province of New-Hampshire. Hartford, 1773. Wheelock, Eleazar. A continuation of the narrative of the Indian charity school, begun in Lebanon, in Connecticut, now incorporated with Dartmouth-college, in Hanover, in the province of New-Hampshire. Hartford: Ebenezer Watson, 1775.