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Samuel Niles and Edward Deake, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1767 January 15

ms-number: 767115.1

abstract: Niles and Deake write to thank Wheelock for admitting Niles’s (spiritual) son, Toby, to his school and for his educational efforts.

handwriting: Clear and formal handwriting is the same as on 765566.1, 767552, 767559, 767562.2, 767630.2, 767660.2, and possibly 767231 and 767251. It is likely that of Edward Deake, schoolmaster at Charlestown.

paper: Large sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good condition, with light creasing, yellowing and wear.

ink: Black-brown.

noteworthy: When Niles, a preacher, refers to Toby as his son, he is speaking in the spiritual sense; Tobias Shattock's actual father was John Shattock, Sr. On two verso, in the address, the word “Indus” is Latin for “within."


Revd Sr,
I hope I shall not offend you, by Shew­
ing this token of love, (being a poor Native:) Your
Christian care in promoting religious knowledge
among ye poor Indians, has Greatly won mye
Heart. My prayer to GOD, is that you may be
aſsisted from above, & persevere in yr lauda­
ble Design, to y.e advancment of the Redeem­
ers Kingdom.
I shou'd esteem it a favour, cou'd I groe into
acquaintance with You, (and all other Good
Men;) especially those that are Concern'd for
the Well-fare of My Nation.— I am thank­
ful that you have gratefully allow'd My Son
Toby to receive Inſtruction in Your School. I
hope 'twill be for his Good, and his fellow­
tures.
'tis in My mind to take your House in my
way to Nahantick, and have some Conver­
ſation with you; if you please.
I am, ſr, Your Most Obedient Hum[illegible][guess: le] Servt
Saml Niles
To the Revd Mr Wheelock.
Blank page.
Revd Sr,
I take this oppertunity to expreſs
My Joy, in that You have admitted Toby Shad­
dick
into Your School, to receive Inſtruction.
His Moral Charracter is Good. His Behavi­
our has been such for a course of years, that
He's won the Hearts of Boath English, and
Indians. He appears to be a Person Devoted
to do Good among Man-kind in General:
In perticular among the Narraganset In­
dians
. He's Just in his Dealings with all Men
in Domestick affairs; (considering the disad­
vantage He labours under on account of E­
ducation) in matters of Religion Inferiour to
none that ever I Saw in that Nation.— if
You acquaint your Self with him, You'll
find him to be a Person aiming to Anſwer
ye end of his Creation. —I make no Doubt You'll
take pleasure in Inſtructing Him in ye most
fundamental principles of Religion. —
I Shou'd esteem'd it a Happineſs to had him in
My School, if his chance wou'd been equal with
what it may be now; which I'm Sinſable wou'd
not, if I was as capable of teaching as yr Son,
by reason my School is So crouded with Chil­
dren. —
I, am, (Revd ſr) with great respect
Your most obedient Humble Servt

Edwd Deake
From Saml Ni[illegible]les &
Edward Deake Jany 15
1767

To
the Revd Mr Eleazer Wheelock
 in
 Lebanon

 {Samuel Niles
Indus.{  at Narraganſett
Niles, Samuel
Deake, Edward

Edward Deake was an Anglo-American missionary and schoolmaster born in Rhode Island in 1732. After receiving reluctant approval from the Narragansett tribal council for the support of a schoolhouse and schoolmaster on Nov. 26 1765, Reverend Joseph Fish, who had been living among the Narragansetts, hired Edward Deake to serve as schoolmaster to the tribe in Charlestown, Rhode Island. Funded by the New England Company, Deake taught his students to read English, write, and cypher, following the pattern of other missionary schools for Native people in New England. Out of 151 school-aged Narragansetts, 53 students, boys and girls, attended Deake’s school. Deake regularly consulted a council of Indians for input on the best course of action for educating his students. In addition to his 24 pounds per year salary, Deake also received living quarters for himself and his family in the schoolhouse. After Tobias Shattock left for England in 1767, Deake became the main recruiter among the Narragansetts for Wheelock’s school, often corresponding with Wheelock to recommend students. But the Narragansetts, under the leadership of the charismatic Native preacher Samuel Niles, soon became disillusioned with Fish and Deake, distrusting the purpose and motivations of the school and fearing the colonial appropriation of their lands and right to self-government. In 1770, Narragansett leader John Shattock Sr. told Fish that the Narragansetts wanted Deake to leave, and attendance at Deake’s school evaporated in the next few years. Finally, on January 2, 1776, Deake requested relief from his position as schoolmaster and left soon after. There is some evidence he moved to New York state and worked as a minister. Deake died in 1794.

Wheelock, Eleazar

Eleazar Wheelock was a New Light Congregationalist minister who founded Dartmouth College. He was born into a very typical Congregationalist family, and began studying at Yale in 1729, where he fell in with the emerging New Light clique. The evangelical network that he built in college propelled him to fame as an itinerant minister during the First Great Awakening and gave him many of the contacts that he later drew on to support his charity school for Native Americans. Wheelock’s time as an itinerant minister indirectly brought about his charity school. When the Colony of Connecticut retroactively punished itinerant preaching in 1743, Wheelock was among those who lost his salary. Thus, in 1743, he began operating a grammar school to support himself. He was joined that December by Samson Occom, a Mohegan Indian, who sought out an education in hopes of becoming a teacher among his people. Occom’s academic success inspired Wheelock to train Native Americans as missionaries. To that end, he opened Moor’s Indian Charity School in 1754 (where he continued to train Anglo-American students who paid their own way as well as students who functionally indentured themselves to Wheelock as missionaries in exchange for an education). Between 1754 and 1769, when he relocated to New Hampshire, Wheelock trained approximately 60 male and female Native American students from nearby Algonquian tribes and from the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) of central New York. At the same time, he navigated the complicated politics of missionary societies by setting up his own board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, although he continued to feud with the Boston Board of the SSPCK and the London Commissioners in Boston (more colloquially called the New England Company). By the late 1760s, Wheelock had become disillusioned with the idea of Native American education. He was increasingly convinced that educating Native Americans was futile (several of his students had failed to conform to his confusing and contradictory standards), and, in late 1768, he lost his connection to the Haudenosaunee. With his inclination and ability to sponsor Native American missionaries largely depleted, Wheelock sought instead to fulfill his ultimate ambition of obtaining a charter and opening a college, which he did in 1769. To fund this new enterprise, Wheelock drew on the £12,000 that Samson Occom had raised for Moor’s Indian Charity School during a two-and-a-half year tour of Great Britain (1765 to 1768). Much of this money went towards clearing land and erecting buildings in New Hampshire for the Charity School’s relocation — infrastructure that also happened to benefit Dartmouth. Many of Wheelock’s contemporaries were outraged by what they saw as misuse of the money, as it was clear that Dartmouth College was not intended for Indians and that Moor’s had become a side project. Although Wheelock tried to maintain at least some commitment to Native American education by recruiting students from Canadian communities, the move did a great deal of damage to his public image. The last decade of Wheelock’s life was not easy. In addition to the problems of trying to set up a college far away from any Anglo-American urban center, Wheelock experienced the loss of relationships with two of his most famous and successful students, Samson Occom and Samuel Kirkland (an Anglo-American protégé). He also went into debt for Dartmouth College, especially after the fund raised in Britain was exhausted.

Shattock, Tobias

Tobias Shattock was a Narragansett leader who briefly attended Moor's Indian Charity School. He died in Edinburgh while trying to protect Narragansett land interests. Like many Moor's students, Tobias was from a powerful family: he and his brother John were the sons of John Shattock Sr., a Narragansett lay minister. Tobias and John received their basic education from Edward Deake at Charlestown and then attended Moor's from December 1766 to the fall of 1767. By all accounts, Tobias was an especially promising student. Both Tobias and John left Moor's to try to defend Narragansett land claims. The Narragansett sachems had run up massive debt over the course of the 18th century, and were trying to sell Narragansett land to the colony of Rhode Island to settle them. Much of the Narragansett Tribe opposed this course of action. Tobias and John Jr. took the lead in the Tribe's efforts to recruit powerful allies for their cause. Tobias appealed to Sir William Johnson and Andrew Oliver, who were able to secure a temporary halt on land sales. Then, with the support of Wheelock, Whitefield, and Sir William Johnson, the brothers set out to plead their case before the Privy Council in London in January 1768. They arrived in Edinburgh on April 15, 1768, where Tobias died of smallpox on May 6. John continued on to London, but was unsuccessful in his appeal. He returned to the colonies where he died in 1770.

Wheelock, Rodulphus

Ralph Rodulphus Wheelock was Wheelock's oldest son and heir apparent. While Wheelock believed that Ralph showed great aptitude for the "Indian business," others saw Ralph as arrogant and abrasive. He also suffered from epilepsy, which seriously impeded his ability to work. He died in Hanover as an invalid under almost constant care and guardianship. Wheelock's struggle to accept his son's illness and his son's struggle to overcome it provide an undercurrent for some of the stranger events in the history of Moor's Indian Charity School and Dartmouth College. Ralph grew up surrounded by and dedicated to Indian education, but also with an inflated sense of Wheelock's, and his own, importance, which stayed with him for much of his life. Joseph Brant recounts a telling anecdote: Ralph once ordered William Major, Sir William Johnson's son, to saddle his horse on the grounds that he was the son of a gentleman and William Major was not. Ralph was unable to finish coursework at the College of New Jersey, which he attended from 1761-1763, although he graduated from Yale in 1765. He made three tours of the Six Nations (in 1766, 1767, and 1768), assisting ministers in bringing back children and negotiating with tribes. He taught at Moor's for two years, and was briefly considered as a companion for Occom on the Fundraising Tour. Wheelock formally named him as his heir in the 1768 draft of his will. However, Wheelock's reliance on Ralph brought disastrous consequences for the school. In the spring of 1768, Wheelock sent Ralph to the Onondagas and Oneidas to negotiate about schoolmasters and missionaries. Once there, Ralph managed to offend the assembled chiefs beyond repair. Ralph blamed his failure on Kirkland, and it was not until 1772 that Wheelock learned the truth of the matter. It is likely that Ralph's conduct influenced the Oneidas' decision to pull their children out of Moor's later in 1768: Wheelock himself implied as much in his 1771 Journal. By the early 1770s, Wheelock had realized that Ralph was never going to take over Dartmouth College. In a later will, Wheelock provided Ralph with £50 per annum for his care, to be paid out by the College, and stipulated that his other heirs should look after his oldest son. Because Ralph was unable to serve as Wheelock's heir, the presidency of the College passed to John Wheelock, a soldier who had no theological training or desire to run a college.

HomeSamuel Niles and Edward Deake, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1767 January 15
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