Skip to main content
 Previous Next
  • Zoom In (+)
  • Zoom Out (-)
  • Rotate CW (r)
  • Rotate CCW (R)
  • Overview (h)
Poem, written by Levi Frisbie, in praise of Wheelock and the Grand Design, 1768 May 15

ms-number: 768315.1

abstract: Long verse in couplets praises Wheelock and his plan to christianize the Indians.

handwriting: Handwriting is small and slanting, yet largely clear and legible.

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

ink: Black ink varies in intensity. There are some random ink dots and splatters.

noteworthy: On two recto, Frisbie quotes the Alexander Pope poem "Messiah." On two verso, an editor, possibly 19th-century, has added the (erroneous) note: "Probably David Macclure who graduated in 1769." This poem was enclosed with a brief letter of the same date (manuscript 768315.2), which is not included in the Occom Circle.

signature: The document is unsigned.


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


To the Rev. Dr. Wheelock
Most worthy Sir, with modesty and fear,
I crave the honour of your listening Ear,
To my weak muse who in her humble rhyme,
Attempts a Subject lofty and sublime:
Pardon the rashness of my youthful Lays,
Whilst I would try to celebrate the praise,
Of your grand Scheme your great and noble Plan,
Well worthy of the most illustrious Man — . —
Sure bounteous Heaven inspired your pious Mind,
With fervent Love and pity to Mankind,
With generous Concern inflamed your Soul,
And moved your heart with Sorrow to condole,
The dismal Lot of thousands of Mankind
Who under Satans Tyranny confined,
Bow to his Sceptre tremble at his nod,
Prostrate and before him confess him God.
Thus Adams tawny Sons you saw enslaved
You longed and wished and prayed they might be saved
From hells black Tyrant and their piteous case,
And made the subjects of triumphant Grace.
The Devil you beheld with stern Command,
Control the Natives of this fertile Land;
That roaring Monster hideous fierce and fell,
Led Millions of these Ignorant Souls to Hell,
But God propitious moved you to contrive,
A glorious Scheme whereby he might deprive,
Satan of all his vassals and throw down
His hellish Kingdom and infernal Crown.
The Plan first laid was small in infant state
The means were slender though the End was great,
But the great God beholding from the Skies
Smiled on thine attempt and bid it grow and rise,
Overruled it by his gracious Providence
His mighty Power becomes its strong Defence.
By Day he guards it and by night protects,
Blesses its interests its concerns directs:
It flourishes and blooms beneath his hands.
Its fame illustrious sounds to foreign Lands.
The Good, and wise adore its guardian Lord
And, Gold and Silver to its help afford,
Their pious hearts unite and all combine,
To forward and uphold the grand design.
As when the ant tugs at his ponderous Load
and strives to bear it through the narrow Road,
The neighbouring Train view from their humble Dome,
Run to his help and bring the Burden home.
So here your Friends with pleasure, and surprise
behold your great and glorious Enterprise
Inflamed with Zeal for such a heavenly plan
with Joy afford it all the help they can

And pleased behold the Seminary rise
Blessed by the almighty Father of the Skies,
Old Satan saw and was with motive filled
The serpent hissed and the great Dragon yelled
Fearing his power and kingdom would be lost,
He marshals all his black infernal host
His Servants all with execrable Lies
Reproach the Author and his enterprise
Mocking revile him with malicious Taunts,
"Ay, Gold he covets Money's all he wants,
"Cloaked under this pretext, he craves an alms,
"He is a Priest, they all have itching Palms,
"Their greatest care is how they may grow rich,
"So, blindly lead the blind into the Ditch.
"What will he christianize this savage Brood?
"He'd sooner much make Devils Saints of God,
"What give him Money? I'll not give a groat,
"I'd rather give him Powder Guns and shot
"I'd rather ravage all their barbarous plains,
"And cut their throats, and dash out all their Brains.
But God beholds old Satan and his Tools,
Laughs at their Rage, their Envy ridicules:
Brings down their Pride their Malice he restrains
And binds the Devil in his iron Chains
Satan is baffled and his hosts give way
The glorious Plan is wafted over the Sea
Its fame resounds in Britains prosperous isle
Her Sons rejoice and all her Daughters smile
Her noblest Heros deign to patronize
The heavenly Scheme the glorious enterprise
Great George who rules his Realm with mild command
Freely contributes with a liberal hand
Nor thinks it far beneath his Dignity
To look upon it with propitious Eye
While Peers and peasants imitate their Lord
Orphans, and Widows each their Mites afford.
All but the Devil and his Imps combine
To prosecute the great, and good Design
They bless the Lord with most exalted Lays
The noble Founder shares the second praise
And now great Sir review the small foundation,
Which first you laid; to what exalted Station,
Your School has rose by the Almighty smiles.
And by your Labours, and unwearied Toils.
No doubt your Soul rejoices in the Lord
And calmly rests upon his glorious word
That he'll one day fulfill your great desire
Affect the End to which you most aspire.
The great Jehovah's been your constant Guide
Removed your fears, and all your wants supplied
In spite of hell, and all infernal Arms,
your Institution stands amidst the Storms

of Envy Malice Rage and Enmity.
As ponderous Rocks amidst the foaming sea
Break the Loud Billows when the Ocean raves,
And Scorn the vengeance of the threatening waves.
Now pleased behold what blissful prospects rise
Gladden our hearts and bless our longing Eyes,
The Glorious Sun of righteousness displays.
His genial influence his life-giving Rays
Begins to illumine the benighted Part
of savage Lands, and bow their Stubborn hearts
To the Messiah's mild, and gentle Sway;
Scatters the Gloom, and chases clouds away.
Shall not the gracious promise be fulfilled?
And the Immanuel's Glory be revealed,
When Christ adorned with Light, and righteousness
Shall the most distant barbarous Lands possess,
Rule over the Nations with auspicious Power
Exalt his Saints his Foes in wrath devour.
Hail happy Day by ancient Bards foretold
When heathen Nations shall with Joy behold
Fresh roses bloom, and sudden verdure rise
Where the tall groves stand towering to the Skies
When barren deserts overgrown with wood,
Afford a peaceful mansion for our God.
When Rocks shall triumph and the Mountains sing
The Flood rejoice and vales with music ring.
As sang illustrious Pope of deathless fame
who tuned his Anthem to Messiah's Name.
"When Lambs with wolves shall graze the verdant Mead
"And Boys on flowery Banks the tigers lead
"The Steer, and lion at one Crib shall meet,
"And harmless Serpents lick the Pilgrims feet
In lofty forests, Haunts of savage beasts,
Where Birds of prey build, up their artful nests
Lilies shall spring; fresh verdure green appear,
And plenteous harvests crown the smiling year.
Tall Ranks of Corn shall meet our wondering Eyes,
and fill our Joyful hearts with new surprise,
Magnific Temples Sacred to our God
adorn the Place where smoky huts [illegible] late stood.
Soon may the Lord to this glad Day give birth
and joy and gladness fill the extended Earth
May Grace and Glory spread from shore to shore
and savage barbarous yells be heard no more
ye tawny Mortals leave your wild resorts
Your dismal Powwows and your cruel Sports.
Forebear to range the woods in quest of Prey
your Arrows break, your weapons cast away
Messiah woos you with his boundless Love,
yield to his Sceptre, and his Laws approve,
Give over all your necromantic Schemes
Delusive Visions and fantastic Dreams,
Forebear to worship the black hosts of Hell
Fell Rage, and Malice from your Minds expel
Instead of bloody songs, your voices raise
In heavenly Anthems and Messiahs praise

Thus the old Serpents Plots you shall confound
His tottering throne shall tumble to the Ground
His ruined Kingdom with Destruction filled
Shall force him with disgrace to quit the field.
Darkness and Clouds shall all be chased away
Gods glorious Truth and Grace their Light display,
and fill your Souls with bright resplendent Rays
And tune your Heart to sing eternal praise.
Such heart reviving Times such blissful years
Great Sir, will recompense your heaviest Cares.
Now may that God who rules unnumbered Spheres
Attend propitious to your ardent prayers
Grant you the fervent wishes of your Soul
Extend his Truth divine from Pole to pole.
And when Cold Death shall close your swimming Eyes
And your blessed Soul triumphant mount the Skies,
May Heaven receive you with this Salutation,
Come favourite Soul possess thy great Salvation.
With never ceasing Songs come join our host
And praise the Father, Son, and holy Ghost.
There may you see throned in eternal Light,
Each soul that by your Means has shunned the Spite
of Satan and his black infernal Race,
And gained the Realms of everlasting bliss.
May every Savage you to Christ have won
Sparkle like Stars in your eternal Crown.
Finis


A. Poem presented in a Letter
from Philo-musaYale College
May 15th 1768

Frisbie, Levi

Levi Frisbie was a very intelligent and unreligious charity scholar. He came to Wheelock with substantial schooling already, and after a few months at Moor's, Wheelock sent him on to Yale. There, Frisbie excelled academically. However, he never wanted to be a missionary. He arrived at Moor's sometime during April of 1767, and by May 5, he was already writing Wheelock asking to be released from missionary obligations. While at Yale, this trend continued: Levi went so far as to confess to Wheelock that he was not even a church member. Although he was not passionate about Scripture, he was quite the classicist. Under the name Philo Musae, he would write Wheelock long chains of heroic couplets styled on epic about the Indian mission. In 1769, Levi went on his first mission (a short stint to the Oneidas). Shortly thereafter, Wheelock pulled Levi out of Yale to help make up Dartmouth's first class. Levi graduated in 1771, and was ordained with David McClure in May 1772. He and McClure set out on a mission on June 19, 1772, but Levi fell ill immediately and stayed at Fort Pitt. It is unclear whether he rejoined McClure on the mission. The two men returned to Hanover on October 2, 1773. Levi stayed involved with Wheelock and the Indian mission for a few years, but by 1776, he had assumed the pulpit at Ipswich, where he remained for the rest of his life. Levi's poetry appears at the end of Wheelock's 1771 Narrative, as well as in McClure and Parish's biography of Wheelock.

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.

Frederick, George William

George William Frederick (King George III) became heir to the throne of England in 1751 upon the death of his father Frederick, Prince of Wales. He became King George III of England in the fall of 1760 at age 22, following the death of his grandfather King George II. George III passed many important edicts during his reign including that of the Royal Marriage Act of 1772; the Treaty of Paris in 1762, which ended the Seven Years War; the Stamp Act of 1765; and the Townshend Duties of 1767. However, he is most well-known for being the reigning monarch during the Revolutionary War. After the surrender of British forces to the Americans in 1782, George III considered abdicating the throne, but chose not to do so because he felt it would be too detrimental to Britain. The last 30 years of George's life were plagued with illness. In 1788 he had the first of many attacks of insanity, now believed to have been caused by an inherited disease known as porphyria. With George III unfit to rule, it was decided that his son George would become regent, an arrangement which was made permanent in 1810. King George III died on January 29, 1820 at the age of 81 after a reign of nearly 60 years (the third longest in British history). He was succeeded by his son George IV.

Pope, Alexander
HomePoem, written by Levi Frisbie, in praise of Wheelock and the Grand Design, 1768 May 15
 Text Only
 Text & Inline Image
 Text & Image Viewer
 Image Viewer Only