abstract: Cleveland reports on the Indian Congress at Fort Stanwix.
handwriting: The document is written in Wheelock’s hand; it is informal, small and cramped. The signature appears to be in Cleveland's hand.
paper: Large single sheet is in poor condition, with heavy staining, creasing and wear that results in some loss of text. There is also damage from remnants of tape along both sides and the bottom. There is some tape remaining on the central horizontal crease.
ink: Black ink is faded in spots.
noteworthy: This document is possibly a copy or draft.
Lebanon Oct.r 18. 1768
from the Revd Doctr Wheelock I Sat out with M.r Allen Mather on a
Tour to wait upon ⇑ye honble Sir William Johnſon Baronet Superintendant of
Indian ⇑affairs in North America, and their Excellencies the Governers of the
Several Provinces concernd in ⇑the Buſineſs of the Congreſs of the Several Tribes and ⇑[below]here
[illegible]Convened by Sir Williams Order at Fort Stanwix, with a Memorial to the
Sd Governors ⇑&c from Doct.r Wheelock in favour of thise Deſign of Introdu‐
‐cing Miſsionaries & School⇑maſters among their Remote Tribes. &c.
Delawares, Shawaneſe, and Some from Cognawaga & others to the Number of
more than three Thouſand ⇑3120. Condolation of their Loſs of a Number of their Chief men,
and mutual Speaches and Belts of Peace to Strengthen & brighten the chain of Friendſhip,
which was the Buſineſs of two Days, being paſt. I Soon found the Attention of the
Cheifs to the Buſineſs of the Congreſs, was Such, as forbid any treaty with them ⇑publickly on mattrs of Religion, till [illegible]
that was finiſhed. I continued eleven days and converſed with Numbers and
ma[illegible][guess: k]de Several obſervations on the great difficulties & Embarraſsments in the
way to ⇑ye chriſtianizing them. 1. Such a long Cuſtom to ⇑in their Savages Practiſes — as
has made them even a 2.d Nature and Such atachment to them as nothing but
the Power of Divine Grace can altar. — 2. their Manner of living ⇑being Such as
Naturally creates and promotes ⇑in ym an inſatiable thirſt for Strong Drink. So that
the Nearer ⇑they live to their almoſt Heathen Uropean Neighbours come to them and the more
of their Traders deal among them the Worſe and more Wretched they are made
and unleſs this evil can be remidied they muſt continue to Waſt away as the
Dew before the riſing Sun.
3. ⇑The Generality of Their Neareſt Uropean Neighbours appearing to be far from any deſire to promote
true Religion and ⇑or So much as civilization among them, their Traders continually preying upon
them, and ⇑some Gentlemen [illegible]of Character who treat with them upon important Secular
affairs, and whoſe Examples are moſt likely to influence them, being Irreligious
& debauchd, taking their females into their Laſciveous ⇑impure Embraces &c &c gives them
a bad Idea of the people who profeſs the knowledge of the True God, and naturally
Settles them in ⇑a better opinion of their Paganiſm which has not So much Debauchery
in it — and ⇑in an abhorrance of the chriſtian Religion.
4. The Tribes who live Neareſt ⇑& moſt exposd to Europeans being moſt Exposd, and much the
moſt corrupted thereby much ⇑greatly increaſes the Prejudices of remoter Nations ⇑Tribes
who [illegible]have not able ⇑understg enough and Scarſely opportunity if they had. to diſtinguiſh between those who are truly religious & Such
as may hardly ⇑deſerve [illegible][guess: bear] the chriſtian Name.— Sir William Johnſon told me that
me that Some of the cheifs with Whom he converſed ⇑on y.e Head objected that [illegible][guess: Badneſs of] ⇑that the
Mohocks ⇑who are Surrounded by Such white ppll who have had the Gospel preached to them more than Others were made
worſe by it, and that they themſelves were waiting to See a better Effect before
they would Embrace ⇑receive the Gospel.
Incouraging. 1. that the Onoidas to Whom the Gospel has been Succeſsfully preachd
encamped by themſelves and looked behaved & talkd like Chriſtians, excepting a few of them
their air, and Temper was modeſt, kind, humble &c inſomuch that Strangers took notice
of it, a Number of them appeard much grieved & their ⇑Souls vexed Hearts depreſsd on accot of the
wickedneſs y.t was committed round about them. I diſcourſed with a Number of them
of the things of Religion, & they Seemd glad of the Opportunity, and Appeard to be
truly & genuinely Affected with the Same. Which appeared to me ⇑I tho't abundantly to com
‐penſated all Charge ⇑the Labr & Expence for them we therto beſtowed for them.—
2. [illegible]By private converſation with the Cheifs of Several Tribes they appeard willing to
have Miſsionaries & School Maſters come among them. And choſe that they
Should come ⇑upon their Ground in order to Settle the Affair of their Receiving them, as the
Buſineſs of ye congreſs would not allow them then to conſult & deliberat[gap: tear][guess: e]
[gap: tear] it at that Time. Towards the close of ye congreſs M.r Kir[gap: tear][guess: tland]
[gap: tear][guess: Chr]iſtian Indians received him with all poſsible Expreſsions of Joy. his [gap: tear]
⇑his coming and Solicited him, as did others of the Senecas to viſit that Tribe again. —
get his Son into D.r Wheelocks School, and manifeſted a great deſire to Send him
I told him there was talk of the School's going to cowas. he Said if it ſhod
be fixd there he beleived that many of that Tribe wod Send y.r children to it.
— while the Buſineſs of The Congreſs laſted Rum was withheld, and [illegible]modderation
harmony & decency was maintaind through the whole. y.e whole was conducted
with great Deliberation and great care taken to ⇑y.t all parties ſhod be mutually underſtood
when the Buſineſs of the Congreſs was Ended before the Treat ⇑Rum was given out to them
Sir William Johnſon ⇑& his Family and removed in the Night and adviſed that it was
Safeſt for all ye Engliſh to remove as Soon as they could which they accordingly
did. I tarried till about 10' oClock in ye morning ⇑it being Sabath Day when the Rum had been
delivered out about ⇑not more than two hours, in conſequence of which I beheld a Scene too
awfull & horrid to deſcribe. the Whole Streat & place of Parade was filld with
Drunkeneſs nothing to be heard or Seen but hollaring Yelling and fighting as tho'
hell itſelf had broke looſe, in which we heard that four were killd before we came
away ⇑& in this the Mohocks were not behind any of their Brethren — here the Behaviour of the few Sober and godly perſons among them did
in the Strangeſt Light exemplify those metaphors ⇑used for Such a purpoſe viz. as the Apple Tree among the
Trees of the wood &c: as the lilly among Thorns — as Sheep Among Wolves. &c
and they Separated ⇑themſelves from among them as faſt as they could. — this Scene as it
was no more than was ⇑is common upon Such occaſions. led me to the pleaſing con‐
they would not likely have the like Occaſion ⇑for a Congreſs for many Years to come, and the
Mohocks who were the worſt of the Tribes, will likely never have another ⇑occasion as
all the[illegible][guess: [se] Lands ⇑they can Spare are now [illegible][guess: abt] gone. The Lands they Sold (as I was informd) was abot
800 miles in Length & 100 in Bredth.
would be done ⇑to them by the Tribes who were to return thro' that Town.—
and Upon the whole it fully ⇑as appeard that Whoever ingages in the Work of chriſt
‐ianizing them have not only to encounter ⇑not only perils from y.e heathen but perils
from falſe Brethren, and Such obſtinate prejudices, and mountanous Difficulties
as that the Remnant that are Saved will commonly appear to be Brands pluckd
out of the Burning.
and his promiſe to countenance and Suitably encourage ⇑all Such Miſsionaries and
School Maſters as ⇑D.r Wheelock Shall See fit to Send among them.
to My underſtanding and Apprehenſions of the Same in Teſtimony Whereof
I have here unto Set my Hand this 21 Day of Novemb.r 1768.
Journal at ye Congreſs
Oct.r 18. 1768.
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.
Allyn Mather was an Anglo-American charity scholar at Moor’s Indian Charity School who had a brief career as a minister before succumbing to illness. Mather arrived at Moor’s in 1766 and entered Yale in 1767. He had a strong distaste for the college: hazing bothered him, and he found the atmosphere singularly unreligious (his dislike was not fleeting: in 1778, he wrote to the Connecticut Courant to criticize the college course of study). Mather volunteered for missions in 1768. He accompanied Ralph Wheelock on his ill-fated third trek to Oneida territory, where Ralph acted intemperately at the tribal council at Onaquaga. Mather then attended Fort Stanwix with Rev. Ebenezer Cleaveland to try to patch up the damage done to Eleazar Wheelock’s agenda by Jacob Johnson. After his adventures, Mather returned to Yale, where he obtained his degree in 1771. However, he did not return to the missionary business: instead, in 1772, he became the pastor of Fair Haven Church, or Fourth Presbyterian, in New Haven, CT. It was a conservative Old Light (or more properly, Old Side) church, largely populated by parishioners who had defected from Jonathan Edwards’ congregation. It is unclear how strongly Mather himself identified with Old Side beliefs; he seems to have described the church to Wheelock as “despised” (773208), but he may have used strong language because he was trying to get out of paying his debt as a defunct charity scholar. Wheelock never seems to have collected from him, nor did he pursue Mather as vigorously as he pursued some other students. In 1779, Mather began having serious health issues, which forced him to travel south regularly. He died in 1784 on one such trip, in Savannah, Georgia.
Sir William Johnson was a powerful British colonial official who amassed wealth and influence by integrating into the Mohawk tribe. For a brief window of time (1761-1768), he provided support for Wheelock’s missionary efforts among the Six Nations. He also helped the Brothertown Nation of Indians procure land from the Oneidas. Johnson was born in Ireland in 1715. His family had been part of the Catholic elite, but after William of Orange’s 1690 victory at the Battle of the Boyne, they at least nominally converted to the Episcopalian Church. In 1738, Johnson emigrated to America to manage his uncle Peter Warren’s estate in Mohawk territory. Over the next decade, Johnson became wealthy in his own right through trade and land sales, acquiring a vast estate crowned by his manor house, Johnson Hall, which became the central location for British and Indian treaty making. In 1745, Johnson began collecting official British titles and positions. He played an important military role in the French and Indian War and was named Superintendent of Indian Affairs in 1756 and first baronet of New York in 1757. Much of Johnson’s success was due to his influence among the Mohawks, which he obtained by learning their language and customs and integrating himself into their society. He participated in Mohawk rituals and entered into a common-law marriage with a powerful Mohawk woman, Molly Brant (also called Mary Brant). Because Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) society is matrilineal, this marriage was an essential element of his participation in Indian affairs. Wheelock desperately wanted to wield missionary influence among the Six Nations, and sought to obtain Johnson as an ally in his endeavors. At first, the two found grounds for cooperation. Wheelock sent Occom as a missionary to the Oneidas in 1761 and again in 1762, and sent a substantially larger group of missionaries and schoolmasters in 1765, 1766, and 1767. Johnson, meanwhile, encouraged Haudenosaunee children, including his brother-in-law Joseph Brant, to attend Moor’s. Johnson’s support proved indispensible to missionaries in the field; he helped with supplies, language skills, and relations with the Mohawks and Oneidas. Wheelock also valued Johnson for his influence in Britain, and drew on him for recommendations and public statements of support numerous times. From 1763 on, however, Johnson found himself decidedly uncomfortable with Wheelock’s missionary efforts, and by 1769, their relationship had dissolved completely. In 1766, Johnson was invited to join the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG), the largest and most influential Anglican missionary society in the 18th-century British-Atlantic world. He began working to place Anglican missionaries, rather than Congregationalist and Presbyterian ones, among the Six Nations, which alarmed Wheelock. Johnson was generally supportive of Native American tribes’ efforts to maintain their land and sovereignty. As the historian Linford Fisher has noted, “virtually every major Native group in southeastern New England successfully petitioned Johnson to act on their behalf during the late 1760s and early 1770s.” Among these groups was the Brothertown Nation, a Christian composite tribe formed by Southern New England Algonquian Moor’s alumni. Johnson helped them negotiate with the Oneidas, which proved essential to their successful land purchase and relocation to central New York.
Samuel Kirkland (b. Kirtland) was Eleazar Wheelock’s most famous Anglo American student. He conducted a 40-year mission to the Oneidas and founded Hamilton College (established in 1793 as Hamilton Oneida Academy). Kirkland won acclaim as a missionary at a young age by conducting an adventurous and risky mission to the Senecas, the westernmost of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Six Nations. After his year and a half among them, which was well publicized by Wheelock, he was ordained and sent as a missionary to the Oneidas under the auspices of the Connecticut Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. He spent most of the rest of his life serving the Oneidas as a minister. Kirkland’s sincere devotion to serving as a missionary was excellent publicity for Wheelock’s program, but it also brought the two men into conflict. Wheelock became jealous of Kirkland when the school’s British benefactors began urging Wheelock to make Kirkland his heir, and Kirkland, meanwhile, was upset that Wheelock had failed to provide him with sufficient supplies on his mission — a complaint that he was unafraid to publicize (and that almost all of Wheelock’s other students shared). The breaking point came in 1770, when Kirkland split from Wheelock’s Connecticut Board and affiliated with the New England Company, a missionary society that had abruptly turned against Wheelock in 1765. Wheelock and Kirkland briefly made up in 1771, but their relationship quickly dissolved into further acrimony. Although Kirkland spent most of his life as a missionary to the Six Nations, he generally held disparaging views of Native Americans. He did not approve of Wheelock’s plan to educate Indians as missionaries, and was haughty towards the Moor’s alumni that worked with him (notably David Fowler, Joseph Johnson, and Joseph Woolley). Prior to the Revolution, Kirkland had been stringent in his refusals to take Oneida land, even when offered to him. The Revolution seems to have shifted his loyalties from the Oneidas to local Anglo Americans. Kirkland served as a chaplain in the American army and was instrumental in convincing the Oneidas to remain neutral (or, more accurately, to side with the Americans). At one point he was the chaplain with General Sullivan’s army, the force sent to ransack Seneca and Cayuga territory in 1779. It is unclear what emotions this aroused in Kirkland, who had served the Senecas less than 15 years earlier, yet after the war, Kirkland freely engaged in Oneida dispossession. Along with James Dean, another Wheelock alumnus with close ties to the Oneidas, Kirkland played a pivotal role in urging the Oneidas to sell land illegally to the state of New York. The land deals that resulted gave Kirkland the property, financial capital, and connections to establish Hamilton Oneida Academy. The last decades of Kirkland’s life were difficult. He found himself in a three-way battle with Samson Occom and John Sergeant Jr., who were also ministers in Oneida territory, for the hearts and minds of their congregations; he was fired as a missionary in 1797, although he continued to serve sans salary; one of his son’s business enterprises failed, leaving Kirkland nearly destitute; and two of his three sons died unexpectedly. Hamilton Oneida Academy, like Moor’s Indian Charity School, largely failed at its goal of educating Indians, and in 1812, four years after Kirkland’s death, it was re-purposed as Hamilton College, a largely Anglo-American institution. At some point in the mid-to-late 18th century, Kirkland changed his name from Kirtland, although the reasons for this are uncertain.