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Robert Keen, letter, 1767 April 14

ms-number: 767264.2

abstract: Keen writes to Whitaker regarding the funds raised in England. He includes an account of donations and a letter to Occom.

handwriting: Handwriting is formal, clear and legible.

paper: Large sheet folded in half to make four pages is heavily reinforced, which makes it difficult to gauge the exact condition of the paper; there appears to be moderate creasing, staining, and wear.

ink: Brown-black.

noteworthy: It is uncertain to what Keen refers when, on one verso, he mentions "the meeting of the General Assembly in Scotland." However, he is likely referring to the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. In instances where Keen's intention regarding a word or abbreviation is uncertain, the word or abbreviation has been left unmodified in the modernized transcription. Money notation includes symbols for pounds, shillings, and pence. These have been transcribed with the pound sign before the number and the shilling and pence superscripted after. Due to account formatting, transcription line breaks may not exactly match those of the manuscript.

events: Fundraising tour of Great Britain.

Modernized Version -- deletions removed; additions added in; modern spelling and capitalization added; unfamiliar abbreviations expanded.

Dear Sir

The accounts being as material as any part of our Correspondence
I shall begin with them and after you've compared them with Yours let me
know if they agree and if not wherein that I may properly post them and
you nor I need not overhale these any more, which takes in from your leaving
London to the 9th April including Worcester — but begin regularly from thence —
at Hitchin and formerly} J. Radcliffe Esq. G 5. RM 2 G Mr. Moore [illegible] 1 Mr. Flock 10/6 Unknown 10/6 — £9..9s.-d
at Olney Collected at the Rev. Mr. Drakes £9..4s..7d at New Port Rev. Mr. Bull 10/6 — 9..15.1
at Northampton Collected at the Rev. Mr. Hextals £24.3s at the Rev. Mr. Rylands £20.10s.11 1/2d Rev. Mr. Rylands £1.1s and— 48..1..5 1/2
Welford Collected at the Rev. Mr. Kings £4..1s..6d Mrs. Bakewell £2..2s Unknown of Sundry's £2..6..6— £8..6s..6d and 0..14s..6d — — — 15..4..6
Willingborough Collected at the Rev. Mr. Grants — — — 9..1..1
Coventry Messrs. Jacksons and Lloyds people £56..7..2 1/2
The Rev. Mr. Butterworth 10..19..6
The Rev. Messrs. Simpson and Allcott 39..14..10 1/2
The Rev. Dr. Edwards and 3 of his Parishoners 3..13..6} — — —
110..15..0 3/4
Rev. Mr. Keddle's at Warwicke £5..13s..4d Rev. Mr. Broadhurst at Alecoker £2..4s..4d— — — 7..17..8
The Rev. Mr. Keddle's at Evesham £6..13s..2 1/2d given by the Rev. Mr. Whitmore of Hooknorton £2..3s. — 8..16..2 1/2
at Bourton on the Water collected at the Rev. Mr. Beddome £19..10s Mr. William Snook £10..10 — — — 30..—..—
at Cirencester Rev. Mr. Johnson 10s.6d Mr. Wavet 10/6 Mr. Kimber £1..1s Rev. Mr. Davis £1..11s..6d Mr. Freeman £2..2s Mr. Wilkins £1..1s Francis Turner 10/6 Jn[illegible] Reeve and unknown 10s} — 7..17..—
at Tewksbury Collected at the Rev. Messrs. Golsham and Haydon's £21..00.10 John Humphries £10
Rev. Mr. Jones £1..1 — Rev. Haywards 0..10..6 from Sundries £1..19.. — — — } —
at Parshore Collected at the Rev. Mr. Aske's £7..7..6 Samuel Rickards £1..1 James Rickards £1..1s
Rev. Mr. Dark 10s..6d Rev. Mr. Beal 10/6 Rev. Mr. Aske 10/6 Mr. Smith 5s — — —}
at Worcester Collected at the Mr. Messrs. Unwicke and Pointings £21..2..6 a private Gain
Subscription £21..5..3 a Donation from the public Fund £7..13s..3d Cooke and Blackmon 3}
53..4.. —
then both the following account and a Bill for it was sent me by the Rev. B. Boyce
and I sent him and Rev. Mr. Brown a letter each acknowledge it etc.
£355..18..4 3/4
Kettering Collected at the meeting in the afternoon and Evening £20..7s..3d
received by Mr. Whitaker from the Rev. Mr. Brown and put in Mr. Boyce's hands 3..13..6
from The Rev. Mr. Matlock 0..14..6 several of Mr. Boyce's people £6..8..9 }
£387..2....4 3
here follows all the Bills you've remitted me as there are before me none
being yet due but one of the 1st from Northampton which I took the account of viz. —
March 16th. in your letter from Northampton received 2 Bills viz. One on George Ross for £30..—..—
another on Thomas Orton in Woodstreet made payable to and endorsed by William Cooper and yourself 31..10..—
March 27th from Coventry. Two Bills One on Messrs. S and W Smith drawn by Messrs. Little and Lowke made
payable to and endorsed by Samuel Reader .. for — — — } —
the other dated Coventry 28th March drawn by T and S Oldham on Messrs. Fletcher and Hunt and endorsed by Nathaniel Whitaker for } 89..5..—
Apl. 2 One dated [illegible] date at 7 days Sight drawn by W. Palmer on Messrs. Pearson and Co and endorsed by Nathaniel Whitaker for — — — } 44..2..—
6th Received a Bill on William Mee payable to and endorsed by John Humphries and yourself for — — — 20..—..—
d.o a Bank Post Bill number 6552 payable to Richard Durnford and endorsed by yourself 10..—..—
9th Received a Bill dated April 9th from Worcester payable to and endorsed by Nathaniel Whitaker on W and J. Ewer 90..—..—
Received a Bill from Kettering dated 27th March due the 30th April drawn by Epm and Samuel Burwell
made payable to Robert Keen or Order on Messrs. Sawbridge and Barnston — for}
thus stands the accounts and the reason of your differing in the Bill of £40..14s..6d (whereof you say
£31..13) Mr. Samuel Reader explains at the end of your letter from Coventry March 27th — but his is
dated 4 days after viz. on the 31st. he says The Rev. Mr. Whitaker left my house yesterday morning and gave me
£22..8 with what was Collected at the the Rev. Messrs. Simpson and Allicotts meeting doors which was in my hands and ordered
me to have £7.7 from Mr. Buxton which I had and £1..18.. from Mr. Euson but Mr. Euson had £9..1..6 more left at
his house beside 2 bad shillings received at the Collection which makes the sum £40..14..6 which I have here enclosed a
Bill for — besides a Bill of £89..5 — which Mr. Whitaker left to go in this letter — I am dear Sir your Very humble servant Samuel Reader
I've inserted his Note as above which will set you right — — — — as you are at Birmingham it will be
by far the best way to go through with it, whether you get little or much — there will be a vast
Number of places you'll not be able to go to at all, much less when you're at or near a place their
desiring you to take another Opportunity — I Gave Dr. Gibbons Mr. Parry's letter etc.
he'll write no more about it, the thing is done if Mr. Parry has hindered you
of 30 or £40 and it will be made up another way the Dr. is not for your regarding
him or any others but be content and raise Money upon the laudible plan
it has hitherto been conducted with — as you go farther North you go
among the circle of his acquaintance and he will write letters of recom‐
‐mendations and send them — Mr. Whitefield went out of Town in 3 or 4
days after you left London and then returned for a week after which he
went to Cambridge etc. & is now at Norwich but is expected home by
Friday next.... I sent a large parcel of Narratives and Appendix directed
as this letter is. viz. To The Rev. Mr. Howel etc. & among is I believe several
of Mr. Wheelock's Narratives or those printed at Boston which is those you so
much want, if not when you write again, I'll send you some of them
or any others you write for — The Meeting of the General assembly
in Scotland is the 24th of May. if you are there a week or 10 days before
I imagine will do — so that you may visit as many of the Capital places
in your way thither as you can — you repeatedly write for your recommendations
from America and your commission from the Board of Connecticut signed by
Solomon Williams, Titus Smith's, Mr. Salters letters etc. to be sent you as thinking
you'll greatly need them in Scotland — what recommendations can you want
more then you have? or what better accounts can you show then is in the
Narratives, Appendix's etc.? — If you have any thoughts of Collecting Monies
in Scotland or elsewhere to run in any other channel then this One plan
already pursued, reject such thoughts, for the gentlemen of the Trust will not be
concerned if any other methods takes place — mind this and let all your intentions
be upright, never fear but providence will provide Sufficient — only let our
Eye be single and all will prosper — you see I've here no accounts yet from Rothwell
Adington, Harborough, Lutterworth etc. but when I do I shall let you know — I'm
going to write a short [illegible][guess: letter] to Mr. Occom as we have never heard from and very
little of him since he left London but as here is room enough in this, it may do as well — desiring
he may read the whole of this, as he ought to do all the letters you receive
from me or the trust — I'm glad to hear your hoarseness is abated in part
and hope you'll be restored to all your wonted usefulness — may the Lord
Guide you by his Counsel and protect you by his power, is the earnest Wish
and prayer of dear Sir
Yours in the best of Bonds
Robert Keen

Mr. Occom
How can you be so remiss as never to write here
you have been at Bedford, Stroude Hampton and many other
places, beside those in company with Your Inseperable Companion
Mr. Whitaker — has the Lord done nothing for you nor by You ?
you could tell us when preaching on these words, the master is come and
calleth for You — how he was a Good Master, a kind master, a loving
Master, a Never failing Master and so on ad infinitum — pray let
us hear whether he is the same to you in the Country, as he was
when you found him so in London — he is unchangeable I trust
you and I shall find him so, not only to the end of our Lives only, but to Eternity
— however from this day we desire you would write once a week
or at farthest once a fortnight — beside it will give us more satisfaction
to find Mr. Whitaker and you consulting and Advising with one another
that you see and read all my letters and sign your name with his
when you are together and sometimes write yourself, as a beginning let
me receive a letter from you before you leave Birmingham and acquaint
that as a beginning to do business you have read not only this part
directed to you but the whole letter as all is directed to you the same
as to Mr. Whitaker — I must conclude to save the post — wishing you
both — health of Body and [gap: tear][guess: pro]sperity of Soul
I remain yours in
our dear Redeemer

Robert Keen
London 14th April 1767
From Mr. Keen
Apr 14, 1767

The Rev. Mr. Nathaniel Whitaker
at the Rev. Mr. Howel's
From Mr. Keen
Apr. 14, 1767
Keen, Robert

Robert Keen was a London wool merchant and an ardent supporter of George Whitefield, the eminent evangelical. Although it is unclear when Keen and Whitefield first came into contact, by the 1760s Whitefield was writing to Keen frequently. In 1763, Keen, along with Daniel West, was given the task of managing Whitefield’s religious enterprises in London (specifically, his Tottenham Court Chapel and the Tabernacle, another London church), which they continued to do after Whitefield’s death. Keen was also one of the four executors of Whitefield’s affairs in England (along with West and Charles Hardy). As a result of his relationship with Whitefield, Keen was introduced to Occom and Whitaker upon their arrival in February 1766. He was a member of the informal committee that collected donations before October 1766 and provided Occom and Whitaker with advice on their route and strategies. Keen also became a member of the English Trust, the formal organization formed in October 1766 to safeguard donations. As secretary and deputy treasurer of the Trust, Keen played an important role in transmitting accounts and correspondence between the Trust and Wheelock during the tour and the long process of Wheelock’s relocation to New Hampshire. Along with fellow Trust members Samuel Savage and John Thornton, Keen continued to provide financial support to Wheelock after the Trust had been exhausted.

Whitaker, Nathaniel

Nathaniel Whitaker was an outspoken Presbyterian minister with a long and wide-ranging career. Between his ordination in 1755 and his death in 1795, Whitaker ministered to five different congregations. His longest tenure was at Chelsea, CT (near Norwich), from 1761-1769, during which he joined Occom on his two-and-a-half-year fundraising tour of Britain. While in Chelsea, Whitaker was very involved in Wheelock's project. The two engaged in frequent correspondence, and Whitaker served on Eleazar Wheelock's Board of Correspondents in Connecticut, as well as on the Board of Trustees of Moor's Indian Charity School. At one time, he was Wheelock's presumed successor, but Dartmouth's Trustees demanded that Wheelock appoint another. Wheelock, in part due to his strongly-held belief that Native Americans were childlike and rash, was convinced that Occom needed an Anglo-American supervisor on his fundraising tour. After several candidates turned down the job, Wheelock selected Whitaker. He proved to be a poor choice; he was, by many accounts, a difficult man to get along with, and many of Wheelock’s British allies, including George Whitefield and the English Trust (the organization that took control of the money Occom raised in England) preferred to deal with Occom, although Whitaker insisted on handling the tour’s logistics. Furthermore, in Britain, Occom was the obvious star of the tour, and it was unclear to many why Whitaker asserted himself so prominently. Whitaker’s poor decisions seriously alienated the English Trust and increased their suspicion of Wheelock’s later dealings and treatment of Occom. He gave the English Trust the impression that they would have control over money raised in Scotland (which was in fact lodged with the parent organization of the SSPCK), and he was the executor of the “Eells Affair,” a plan initiated by the CT Board of the SSPCK to bring the money that Occom and Whitaker raised back to the colonies by investing it in trade goods and selling them at a profit (Eells was one of the merchants who was to help with the resale of goods). The English Trust learned about the plan by reading letters that Whitaker had given them permission to open in his absence, and were immediately shocked. The wording of certain letters made it appear that only a percentage of the profit from the resale of the goods would go towards Moor’s Indian Charity School, but beyond that detail, the English Trust was scandalized at the thought of money raised for charity being invested in trade. The English Trust blamed Whitaker entirely for these affairs, and issued specific instructions for Occom to notarize all documents requiring Whitaker’s signature. In short, they wanted Occom to supervise Whitaker, when Wheelock had envisioned the opposite relationship (both Occom and Whitaker seem to have ignored their instructions, preferring to have as little contact with one another as possible). In 1769, a year after his return to Connecticut in 1768, Whitaker found himself dismissed by his Chelsea congregation (likely because he had spent two and a half years away from them). He went on to serve several more congregations before his death in 1795. Whitaker was an outspoken Whig, and during the Revolution he published several pamphlets on his political opinions.

Occom, Samson

Samson Occom was a Mohegan leader and ordained Presbyterian minister. Occom began his public career in 1742, when he was chosen as a tribal counselor to Ben Uncas II. The following year, he sought out Eleazar Wheelock, a young Anglo-American minister in Lebanon, CT, in hopes of obtaining some education and becoming a teacher at Mohegan. Wheelock agreed to take on Occom as a student, and though Occom had anticipated staying for a few weeks or months, he remained with Wheelock for four years. Occom’s academic success inspired Wheelock to open Moor’s Indian Charity School in 1754, a project which gave him the financial and political capital to establish Dartmouth College in 1769. After his time with Wheelock, Occom embarked on a 12-year mission to the Montauk of Long Island (1749-1761). He married a Montauk woman, Mary Fowler, and served as both teacher and missionary to the Montauk and nearby Shinnecock, although he was grievously underpaid for his services. Occom conducted two brief missions to the Oneida in 1761 and 1762 before embarking on one of the defining journeys of his career: a fundraising tour of Great Britain that lasted from 1765 to 1768. During this journey, undertaken on behalf of Moor’s Indian Charity School, Occom raised £12,000 (an enormous and unanticpated amount that translates roughly to more than two-million dollars), and won wide acclaim for his preaching and comportment. Upon his return to Mohegan in 1768, Occom discovered that Wheelock had failed to adequately care for his family while he was gone. Additionally, despite the vast sums of money that he had raised, Occom found himself unemployed. Wheelock tried to find Occom a missionary position, but Occom was in poor health and disinclined to leave his family again after seeing the treatment with which they had met while he was in Britain. Occom and Wheelock’s relationship continued to sour as it became apparent to Occom that the money he had labored to raise would be going towards infrastructure at Dartmouth College, Wheelock’s new project, rather than the education of Native Americans. After the dissolution of his relationship with Wheelock, Occom became increasingly focused on the needs of the Mohegan community and increasingly vocal in criticizing Anglo-Americans’ un-Christian treatment of Native Americans. In September of 1772, he delivered his famous “Sermon on the Execution of Moses Paul,” which took Anglo-American spiritual hypocrisy as one of its major themes, and which went into four printings before the end of the year. In 1773, Occom became further disillusioned when the Mason Land Case was decided in favor of the Colony of Connecticut. The details of the Mason Case are complicated, but to summarize: the Colony of Connecticut had gained control of Mohegan land early in the 18th century under very suspect circumstances, and successfully fended off the Mohegan’s 70-year-long legal challenge. The conclusion of the case came as a blow to the Mohegans, and further convinced Occom of Anglo-American corruption. Along with David Fowler (Montauk Tribe), Occom's brother-in-law, and Joseph Johnson (Mohegan), Occom's son-in-law, Occom helped found Brothertown, an Indian tribe formed from the Christian Mohegans, Pequots, Narragansetts, Montauks, Tunxis, and Niantics. They eventually settled in Oneida country in upstate New York. Occom moved there with his family in 1789, spending the remaining years of his life serving as a minster to the Brothertown, Stockbridge, and Mohegan Indians. Harried by corrupt land agents, the Brothertown and Stockbridge groups relocated to the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago, though Occom died in 1792 before he could remove himself and his family there. Occom's writings and legacy have made him one of the best known and most eminent Native Americans of the 18th century and beyond.

Salter, Richard
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.

Whitefield, George

George Whitefield, the English itinerant preacher who helped spark the Great Awakening, was an essential supporter of Eleazar Wheelock’s project. Whitefield studied at Pembroke College, Oxford, where he met the pioneers of Methodism, John and Charles Wesley. He was ordained in 1736, and he made the first of his seven trips to America two years later. While abroad in 1740, Whitefield founded an orphanage in Georgia, and went on a preaching tour during which he met Wheelock and spread ideals that prompted the Great Awakening. Although Whitefield was ordained in the Church of England, his enthusiastic preaching style and charismatic personality made him a controversial figure, and traditional clergyman on both sides of the Atlantic censured him. Nonetheless, he continued to be an important contact and friend of Wheelock’s, and his dedication to Wheelock’s vision was evident. He contributed money to the cause, secured various other funders, and donated an eighty-pound prayer bell to the school. More importantly, Whitefield not only suggested to Wheelock the idea of a fundraising tour in Great Britain, he hosted Occom and Whitaker shortly after they arrived in England, provided a house for them to reside in for the remainder of their tour, and introduced the pair to influential figures such as William Legge, the Earl of Dartmouth. Whitefield tabernacle’s was the setting of Occom’s first sermon in England on February 16, 1766, and many believe that Whitefield wrote the introduction to a pamphlet printed in London during the campaign (although he was not credited). Whitefield continued to be involved in Wheelock’s work until he died in Newburyport, MA in September of 1770.

Williams, Solomon

Solomon Williams was a Congregationalist pastor in Lebanon, CT from 1722 until his death in 1776. As pastor at Lebanon, Williams rose to prominence as a theologian and engaged in extensive correspondence and debate with some of the most eminent minds of the day. He was one of the rare truly moderate New Lights during the Great Awakening: he managed to maintain the respect of both Charles Chauncy, the rabid anti-revivalist, and George Whitefield, the famous evangelical. Williams also established a library in Lebanon and a very well-known grammar school, which became something of a feeder for Yale. Williams supported Eleazar Wheelock and Moor’s Indian Charity School through much of the 1750s and 1760s. He was something of a mentor to Samson Occom, and he became president of Wheelock’s Connecticut Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge (SSPCK). It is unclear why Williams is not named as a trustee of Moor’s in Wheelock’s 1768 will; perhaps Wheelock feared that Williams would not outlive him. Williams continued to run the Connecticut Board even after Wheelock relocated to New Hampshire in 1770. Despite the SSPCK’s disappointment in Wheelock, Williams and Wheelock seem to have remained on cordial terms. Their correspondence ceased in 1772, after Wheelock tried (and failed) to open a New Hampshire Board to replace the one in Connecticut (with, it might be added, the Connecticut Board’s blessing).


Unidentified Smith.

Smith, Titus

Titus Smith was a Yale graduate whom Wheelock trained and ordained as a missionary and sent to the Six Nations with the 1765 mission. Together with Theophilus Chamberlain, a Yale student with whom he was examined and ordained, Smith led the band of newly-examined schoolteachers and ushers into the Six Nations to set up day schools. After Ebenezer Moseley replaced him, Smith retired from the missionary life and became an itinerant preacher in Connecticut until 1768, when he converted to Sandemanianism and was re-ordained. Because of his religion (Sandemanians opposed violence), as well as his Tory politics, Smith found himself in danger when the Revolution broke out. His family fled to Long Island, and from there to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Smith lived out his remaining years.

Radcliffe, J.
Snook, William
Turner, Francis
Reeve, Jn.
Humphries, John
Rickards, Samuel
Rickards, James
Boyce, B.
Ross, George
Orton, Thomas
Cooper, William
Smith, S
Smith, W
Reader, Samuel
Oldham, S.
Fletcher, S.
Palmer, W.
Mee, William
Durnford, Richard
Ewer, W.
Ewer, J.
Burwell, Ep.m
Burwell, Samuel
Fundraising tour of Great Britain.
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