John Smith, letter, to unknown, 1761 July 16

ms-number761416

abstractSmith writes to an unknown recipient about Wheelock's work among the Indians, and of the need for Indian missionaries. Mention is made of Occom.

handwritingCurly cursive writing. Letter case often difficult to discern. Several uncrossed "t's".

paperGood condition with minor creasing, staining and wear.

layoutFour total sides of paper, only first two contain writing.

noteworthySmith describes a visit from E. Wheelock and an Indian scholar. The Indian mentioned is likely David Fowler. Mention is made of the idea that American Indians are the descendents of the 10 tribes of Israel. Although this letter is clearly not written to Wheelock, a likely timeline is indicated by a comparison of this letter and 761515: 1) Wheelock and Smith visited in spring 1761, along with David Fowler, and talked about several things, including the idea that Indians might be the 10 tribes of Israel; 2) Smith wrote a letter (761416) on this and other topics, and sent it to a friend (in Great Britain, likely), and also sent a copy of the letter to Wheelock; 3) Wheelock continued their discussion in his next letter to Smith (761515), in which he also corrects some mistakes in 761416.

  Much Respected Sir 
For your favour of Decem:r the 10 Last you where pleasd to order  my Staying the last years Interest to your future orders. and as this  is your Last letter Reciv'd, I am still waiting your pleasure on this Head  If this where design.d agreable to my whishes, the Glory of the Redemers  kingdom would call it, for the Conversion's of the Indians; this is a large field,  Nor are the Numbers, even of the Nations, of these poor imortal Souls  Through wide [illegible][guess: Eaten][illegible]ed America, so much as known by name or Existence  to any English man, how much the french have learnt on this Head,  I cannot say, or so much as Gueſs, These poor people as farr as there are  known; have many signatures of being the posterity of the ten Tribes  of [illegible]Iſreal, scattered by the Babilonish Conquest; I have my Self By Conver ^Convers^  of 35 y.s past, learnt of old men at that time, That in their antient  war^r^s with them, They have suprized them in sacrifice, ^strictly^ after the mosaich  Institution, & particulary that the pascal Lamb was offerd on the  Paſsover month — I have in the same manner learnt that the  Great ^name of^ God &c is in the language of the nations however ^otherwise^ diffirent,  yet in these things simular; and not so farr adulterated from the  Hebrew, as to be hard to be understood by a Common Ear that attend.  the Repitition of the sounds — But here I shall save my  self & you Trouble — Becauſe my truly Pious Lear.d  & zealously spireted, friend the Rev.d M.r Elezer Wheelock has promiſe ^d^  to send, in order to be sent to Great Britan, [illegible: [guess: aſ]] full accots of this &  other Affairs Relating to the Indians — Mr Wheelock Brought  to my house a likely young Indian who had gotten the English Language  with Grammer Learning & some Competent Knowledge in —  Divinity, whose Design for a preacher to ye Indians, His Brother  Mr Okum has had a turn at yale  Colledge
and is so well formd that he has preach'd to acceptance in Mr  Wheelock & some other pulpits & is going among the Indians  Mr Wheelock has one or two other Boys under tuition & is sending  for 2 or 3 Mohawk Lads in order to instruct them & fitt them for thi this  minastration: & Considering sic the natural Surmising Jelous make[illegible: [guess: g]] of  the Indian in general & the perticular prejudices raised by the furor  in the minds of some of the nations against the English  it appears very Conducive to the spread of the Gosple ^That^ Those Preachers  should be formd out of men & youths of there own tribes — But as this a  subject which is to be reintroducd when I hear from Mr Wheelock  I now save you pretious time & Desist
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