Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to Samuel Mather, 1761 February 3

ms-number761153

doi
10.1349/ddlp.171

abstractWheelock writes to clarify that he will be educating Indian youths for the purpose of sending them on missions. He mentions Occom’s plan for a mission to the Oneidas.

paperPaper is in good condition, and reinforced along central crease.

EventsOccom’s First Mission to the Oneidas

Rev.d Sir.
Yours of Dec.r 15. in the Name and Behalf of the Comiſsrs from the Hon.le Society in Scotland, has given me much Satiſfaction; and opens the moſt encouraging Proſ­­pect, that ſomething will now be done more effectually than ever to carry the Gospel among the periſhing Pagans of our American Wilderneſs.
I cant but rejoyce greatly that, that Honour.le Society Whose pious Zeal to inlarge and Advance the Kingdom of the Redeemer, at Home and Abroad, has been ſo remarkably ownd & bleſsed of God in your paſt do now lay to Heart the piteous State of the vaſt swarms in this Land who are periſhing for lack of viſion, I think that, this, together with many other favourable Occurrances of divine Providence of Late give much reaſon to hope that the Day of Gods great Mercy towards those wretched Creatures, is now near at Hand, and Should encourage us to pray & Endeavor more Abundantly for it.
You ſay in Yours ‟The Com̅iſs.rs approve of the Deſign of inſtructg y.e Youth of the Weſtern Nation of Indians.” &c from which Expreſ­ſion I ſuſpect the Hon.le Com̅iſs.rs have ſomewhat miſtaken our view, in taking Several of the Near Tribes into this ſchool. and therefore would Inform them, that we have taken none into this School but with a view to a Diſtant Miſsion. excepting Woyboy (now in The Com̅iſs.rs pay in y.e ſchool at ſtonington, and the Sachems Son of whom I wrote to them. and we have that, that, conſidering the little Difficulty in ^their^ Learning one anothers Languages — the Opportunity illegible they will have for that in the School — the great advantage we are under to choſe those that are promiſing among these beyond what we are or can be at preſent among those who are remote from us — — the Tendency of it, and the ſpecial advantages we may have by it, to remove the Prejudices from the minds of the ſavages which they have imbibed againſt the Engliſh through Jeſuitical Influence &c I may do very well, at leaſt in the Infancy of the affair, to have ſome from among these Tribes.
I expected that the Rev.d Meſsrs Pomeroy & Brainerd with the aſ­­siſtance of ſome other Gentlemen, when they were Chaptains together the year before laſt, would have procured two Mohawke Boys for this purpose but by means of several Diſapointments, #
[left]Their miſsing an opportunity with Gen.l Johnſon was the Principle.
Sickneſs, and the Failure of a Letter they faild of it. The Rev. M.r Oglevie of Albany laſt year (at M.r Pomeroys Deſire) promiſed me his Aſiſstance for this Purpose. And he is doubtleſs under good Advantage to aſsiſt therein by Reaſon of his Miſsion Among them. But he is now at Mont­Real.
I have also diſcourſed Cap.t Lanſon of Albany who is now in Connecticut and he will cheirfully undertake to conſult Sir Will.m Johnſon and by his Advice and Help procure two as likely Boys as he can and Send them to me. But a fairer Door for the Purpose, as I apprehend is, than either of these is now within a few Days, opened. M.r Occom as I am informed by a Letter from him and another from M.r Buell, is going early next ſpring, on a Miſsion to the Oneida Indians, in complyance with the Deſire and by Appointment of a Number of Miniſters at the westward. (I Suppose the corriſpondent Com̅rs ^[below] becauſe^
becauſe M.r Boſtwick's Name is mentioned as one of the Miniſters who write to him. and who is their Preſid.t) M.r Occom earneſtly deſires that David Fowler one of my Indian Schollars, & who is Brother in Law to him, and a very promiſing youth Indeed, may Accompany him 4. or 5. months in that Buſineſs — but I am not yet determined what will be beſt. he is now 20 years old and I am loth he ſhould be ſolong diverted from his Studies. And yet there are conſidera­tions on the Other hand, which I don't know but may be Eſteemed more weighty. however by him (or them if David goes) we may likely be Served in this Matter as well as we can expect to be at preſent. Indeed there Seems now to be scarce anything wanting to the greateſt humane Probability of the Swift Progreſs of this great Deſign, but the money to Support it. I hope the Example of the Hon.le Commiſs.rs will have the happy Influence upon Multitudes to move them to Liberality upon this moſt inviting occaſion
I am with Sincere Reſpect Rev.d ſir. Your unworthy Brother  and Humble Servt  Eleazr Wheelock
Letter to The Revd M.r Sam.l Mather Feby. 3. 1761.
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