Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to George Whitefield, 1761 November 25


abstractWheelock writes on the progress of the school and various missions, describes some of his Indian students, notes the support of William Johnson, and touches on Occom’s recent mission to the Oneidas.

handwritingInformal handwriting is small and crowded, with several deletions and additions that interfere with legibility. There are some uncrossed t’s that have been corrected by the transcriber.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good-to-fair condition, with moderate creasing, staining and wear. The worn outside edge of one recto results in a minor loss of text.

inkDark-brown ink varies in intensity.

noteworthyThis document is likely a draft. The contents of this document are very similar to those of manuscript 761616. The identity of the "Farmington Boy" is uncertain, and so he had been left untagged. Wheelock makes reference to Occom’s journal from his mission to the Oneidas. Two journals in Rauner Special Collections at Dartmouth, and included in the Occom Circle, chronicle this mission: 761330.1, and 761515.1. An edtior, likely 19th-century, has added the note “Nov.r 1761," after the trailer on two verso. This note has not been included in the transcription.

signatureThe letter is signed twice; both signatures are abbreviated.

EventsOccom’s First Mission to the Oneidas

  Rev.d and dear Sir 
Laſt week, I was inform'd by a Letter  from Miſs. Smith of Boston that You have  rec.d of M.r Hardy, a Donation ^to this Indian School^ of £25. Sterling  for this Indian School. The Lord return a thouſand  fold into his generous Booſom, And reward this Liberality with ^his^ everlaſting Loving kindneſs. It comes  at a time when it is much wanted, and I truſt in anſ-  -wer to Prayer. I beleive there is Much Peace, and  Quietneſs, in Truſting in, and living upon God. but I  am ſo dull a Schollar, ſo heedleſs, forgetful and So open to a  Thouſand Allurements, that I [illegible][guess: make but poor Proficiency in the]  Art of living by Faith keep the Road but a little [illegible][illegible][guess: while] togathe[gap: worn_edge][guess: r]  and make but poor Proficiency in the Art of living by faith.  It is good for me to be often tried ^croſsed^ and diſopointed, and there by taug[gap: worn_edge][guess: h^t^]  to make but little acco.t of my own Plans, and Devices. ^and know yt^ The Council of  the Lord that Shall ſtand. 'Tis enough [illegible]that I ſee my way Step by Step,  and [illegible]know that Providence ^will^ Steers a better Courſe than I can deviſe, tho'  often quite out of My Sight till the End be accompliſhed. And when I  ſee the Courſe of Divine Providence from time to time ^in Many Inſtances^ in many Inſt  -ances In favour of the great Deſign I am purſuing ^and [illegible]^ notwithſtanding  all the Oppoſition of My unbelief, diſtruſt and carnal ſelf, I ^am^ [illegible][guess: cant]  [illegible][guess: be]Senſibly encouraged to think y.t it is really of God, and that he deſigns to  own and bleſs it.
when I came home from Boſton this Fall, I found one of my Mo- -hawke Boys in a low State of Health, which I ſupposed was occaſion^d^  by his eating three Times a Day and too much at a Time, togather  with his Inactivity. The common Road in which, I ſuppose, Num  -bers have loſt their Lives ſoon after they have been devoted to  Learning. And it was peculiarly difficult to reſtrain him  by Reaſon of his Jealous Temper ^[illegible][guess: Make], and his Ignorance of our Language & our^ not being able to Under-  -ſtand a word of Engliſh when he came. [illegible] and [illegible][guess: we] could find  none ^any body^ who could diſcourſe him ſo freely as ^Enough^ to make him under  ſtand the Reaſons of [illegible]^[illegible]^[illegible] of ourany Conduct ^towards him^ if we had tried^[below]which ſhould be at all out of ye usual courſe it was peculiarly Difficult^  to reſtrain him. Doct.r Huntington adviſed me to ſend him  Home ſoon, while he was able to ride. & Accordingly I ſent  him away Oct.r 13. with another of My Mohawke Boys to ac-  -company him. And on the 3.d Inſtant I ſent Young Kirt-  -land an Engliſh Charity Schollar, [illegible]of whom I wrote you ^in my laſt^ acco-  -mpanied by the other Mohawke Youth, with deſign that [illegible]when  these two ^have made their viſit to their Friends^ he Sh[illegible][guess: ould]all [illegible] accompany y.m back to this School ^with^ four  more of those Nations if Gen.l Johnſon, according to his  hope & Expectation had found Such as are likely and willing  to come. And I expect theymwill return as^very^ ſoon as those ^[illegible][guess: two]^ Boys who  went from hence have made their viſit to their Friends. I have also  ordered Kirtland to bring the Farmington Boy with him, when  he returns.
My black Son M.r Occom, has ^lately^ returnd from his Miſsion to  the Onoyadas [illegible][guess: there]   
And the laſt week I had the Pleaſure to ſee him with one of  theat Onoyadas^Nation^ (who deſigns to winter with him and learn  the Engliſh TongueLanguage & teach M.r Occom Mohawke) and I  was agreably entertained with M.r Occom's Journal. ^only^ a few  things moſt material [illegible][guess: in which I] it I can ^only^ ſuggeſt to you a few things  moſt material in it. And ^to^ begin where I left off. in my Laſt
when we firſt came among them they ſeemd ſhy of him thro'  a Jealoſie that there was ſomething ^waſ^ deſigned by the Engliſh againſt  them. but when Gen.l Johnſon had read his Letters Recomenda-  -tory, they appeared well Satiſfied & much pleaſed. and as a  Teſtimony of it the Kings of the Onoydas, and Tuſcarar[illegible]as, &  many others of their Cheifs came a ſhook hands with him  and bid him wellcome among them. their Cheifs then held a  council to fix upon the beſt methods to accomodate him with  that which was neceſsary for his comforta[illegible]ble Subſiſtance among  them. and You would not wonder that their Cheifs held a councel  upon this Head if You knew how extreamly poor they are, having  Scarſe any thing that may be calld Bread or any thing else except-  -ing what they get by Hunting to ſubſiſt upon, they proposed  to M.r Occom to [illegible]Chuſe where to Live, and whether to live in a  houſe already Built. he choſe the Place and let them know y.t  he choſe to live with David (my Indian Schollar) and to live  by themſelves. they im̅ediately built him a Houſe the Structure  where of which could the Form, & workmanſhip thereof be truly  repreſented, ^might gratify not a little the Curioſity of a^[illegible][guess: would doubtleſs by] [illegible][guess: Brittons], be eſteemed rare, & enter-  -taining, though there was nothing in it y.t reſembled the Temple  of old ſave this that there was not the Noiſe of Axes or Hammers  in the Building of it. The Materials were the ſimple Product  of Nature. the Remains of The Oakes & Cheſtnuts, fell many Years  ago by the violence of wind, comp[illegible][guess: act] togather without the Em- -beliſhments of Art. — many of them attended his Miniſtry ^& appeared attentive^ Numbers from diſtant Nations came to hear him. And ſome  Seemd really deſirous to underſtand and know the truths which  moſt nearly concernd them. And when he was about to leave  them their Cheifs held another Council. The conſequence of which  was, that Old Connoquies (who had been King among the  onoydas but ^had now^ reſignd by Reaſon of Age) The King of the Tuscar- -rars and other Cheifs, preſented him a Belt of wampum to  be delivered to thoſe Gentlemen who ſent [illegible] him with  these Inſtructions which he received from Old Connoquies. viz.  1. we are glad from the inſide of our Hearts that You are come  hear to teach us the right way of God. we are also thankful to  those who ſent you. and above all to God.  2. We intend by the help of God to repent of all our ſins and all  our heatheniſh ways & Cuſtoms. we will put them all behind  our Backs, and will never look on them again but will look  ſtrait forward, and run after Chriſtianity.  3. if we ſhall try to ſet up a School we beg the Aſsiſtance of  the Engliſh, if they ſee fit.  4. we deſire that ſtrong Drink may be prohibited, that it may  not be brought Among us, for we find it kills our Bodies  and souls; and we will try to hinder ait here.  5. we deſire to be protected on our Lands, that none may mo- -leſt, or incroach upon, us.  6 This Belt of Wampum ſhall bind us faſt togather in perpetual  Love, and Friendſhip.  M.r Occom delivered it to those Gentlemen to whom it  was directed, but obtaind their Leave to bring it hither.  to gratify my Curioſity, and a Curious Girdle it is M.r  occom ſays it could not be made for leſs than £15. ſterlg   
David has made good Proficiency in their Language which  is ſome compenſation for riding a thouſand miles, and  more among them. it is thot that under ſuch advan-  -tages he might become a Maſter of their Language in  one year more & I am more and more ſatiſfied of  the Expediency of fitting their youth, who live among  the Engliſh both for Interpreters & Miſsionaries.  M.r Occom is now [illegible][guess: Envyed] at home but not among  them  one of ye Girls which M.r Brainerd ſent was taken  ſick at E[illegible] Harbour, before ſhe went on board the  veſsel and returned. the other is come and is a pritty  little black Chriſtian I think ſhe walks in ye fear of  God and in the Comfort of the Holy Ghoſt. the Fruit  of dear Mr Brainerds Labour among them.
There is moſt certainly a very general and un- -uſual concern among the Indians. and a great  deſire to be fully Informd of that which by the  Report of one and another they underſtand  concerns their future and Eternal ſtate. I long to  have my Boys fit for y.r Miſsion among them.  who knows my dear Sir, but God deſigns to honour  you to be a principle Inſtrument of Supporting &  carrying on this great Deſign. bleſsed be his  Name for the ſucceſs of your Endeavours already  used.
The Rev.d M.r Graves Epi[illegible]scopal Miſs y at New  London has Sent me word y.t if I will procure  him a likely Indian Boy he will Educate him at  his own Expence. and I have by Kirtland informed  Gen.l Johnſon of the generous proposal, and deſired  him to find and ſend ſuch a Boy to him.
A thouſand things more I would communicate  and you would Love to hear which muſt be omittd  my dear Sir,  pray for   
  Yours in ye Deareſt Bonds   Eleaz.r Wheelock    The Rev.d M.r Whitefield   
P.S. ^Nov.r 26. ^laſt Evening ^My^ Kirtland Returned and informs me y.t  he left the Mohawke Youth who went up with with two  more Boys of y.e Six Nations at albany on their way  hither and that he left y.e other who accompanied him  y.t was Sick, at Mount Johnſon in order to accompany  four more as Soon as they return from their Hunting perhaps  ^within four or 5 weeks^ he Says that Gen.l Johnſon is [illegible]^greatly^ pleaſed with the  Deſign and promiſes to use his Influence with a  Number of Gentlemen of his Acquaintance (I ſuppose  In Ireland) in favour of it ^&^ the ^genl^ writes ^me^ very Frendly indeed to y.e  ^Same purpoſe^ The Indians ^also^ ſeem well pleaſed & willing to let their Children come  Nov.r 27. The Three Mohawke Lads ^Boys^ are now come, and  you would laugh to ſee how pleaſed the poor little  Naked Creatures look they cant ſpeak a word of Engliſh  nor any way to communicate but by Joseph ye  Youth before mentioned. I [illegible]  the Farmington Boy will be here within a few Days.  by all accots he is a real Chriſtian, and a very promiſing  Youth indeed.  Gen.l Johnſon Deſigns to Send an Indian Boy to M.r Graves
I have wrote M.r DeBerdt y.t we much want a Bell y.t  may be well heard a Mile (not for Ornament for we are all  in the [illegible][guess: R]ough but for the Benefit of the School. and it wo.d  indeed be very useful, the Maſters complain y.t It is ^often^ difficult  to get ye Boys togather at their Proper Hours. And 'tis likely  it would make us more regular in all our Exerciſes. &c—  pleaſe to let our Good M.r Smith have the Sight of this if he  be yet in England. I am My Hon.d and Dear Sir,  yours moſt heartily  Eleaz.r Wheelock   
[left]Letter to M.r Whitefield.  1761. M.r Hardy.s Donation  Bell. =