Solomon Williams, letter, to Rev. Samuel Wood, 1761 November 12

ms-number761662.1

doi
10.1349/ddlp.1445

abstractWilliams writes a lengthy letter regarding news of his sister-in-law, events in Great Britain and in the colonies, and the desire of various tribes to receive missionaries. Mention is made of Samson Occom.

handwritingHandwriting is very informal and extremely difficult to decipher. There is shorthand sprinkled throughout.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to make four pages is heavily reinforced, which renders it difficult to discern the condition of the paper. It appears to be in good condition, however, with light creasing, staining and wear. The preservation work is beginning to wear around the edges.

inkDark-brown ink is somewhat dimmed by reinforcement.

noteworthyAs noted in the trailer, this document is a copy. Due to the extreme difficulty of discerning Williams’ hand, the transcribers have used their discretion with regard to letter case, shorthand, and abbreviations.

signatureThe signature is abbreviated.

EventsOccom’s First Mission to the Oneidas

Hond & very dear Sir
your Favr of 16 Feb laſt I Recd wth Great Plea ſure & Thankfulneſs in Septr I am the more obliged for your Goodneſs in it as It came [illegible] from your [illegible] Friendſhip without any Motive of My Repeatd Lrs to you wch as you dont mention I conclude you have not Recd. I Return My warmeſt thanks for your kind & moſt deſira ble Friendſhip & at the Same [illegible][guess: time]but bluſh to See what Great Notice you take of My Reſpect & Friendſhip^affection^ for my Dear Siſter; the beſt & one of the moſt deſervg of women for wm If I had any Senti ments of Piety virtue, or Even humanity, I could Not but have the moſt tender Affection ^Reſpect^ Since I have had the happineſs of her ac‐ quaintance for the Sincerity, Integrity, Tenderneſs of her heart, the diſtinguſhing accompliſhments of Mnd God has bleſsed her with, her undiſsembled piety, Conſtant, Friendſhip & undeſerved affectn & alſo Con ſiderg ^knowg^ that Tender Love ſhe Expreſsd for my dear Br (Now no More) wch Inducd her leve her Native Land her Dear & moſt deſervg Friends & come into a far diſtant Land^Country^ among Perſons Unknown to her. Alaſ wt have I done for her? how little Cd I do but wiſh It had been in My Power to Render her as happy as ſhe Cd wiſh to be. long before this Reaches you you will know that ſhe has changed her Condn & Situation & Married Mr Wm Smith of N York a very worthy Gentleman & of high Character Among all virtues People there & In this Colony to whom he is known; a Gentleman of ample Fortune & one of his Majeſties Council there. there are ſome Circumſtances ^connected^ [illegible][guess: which] I was [illegible]afraid wd not be Agreable to her his Large Family, & the Place. however I own^confeſs^ upon the whole I could not but [illegible]thought it adviſable for her to comply with the Propoſal, as Providence Seemd Evidently to Point out & lead the way & to open a Proſpect for her more Extenſive uſefulneſs, & I hoped^hopg alſo it wd be a means to diſsipate ye Gloom & Melancholly wch is too apt to Cloud her mind.^ yt the Troubles [illegible]^[illegible][guess: muſt attend]^ her Situation hd not [illegible] ye the uncomfortable Sollitude of her widdowhood. [illegible]Yet I own in givg that adviceſg to her^her to a compliance wth ye [illegible][guess: propoſal]^ I was obligd to [illegible]^go Counter to^ My own moſt Earneſt^Strong^ de ſires ^[illegible][guess: knowg yt [illegible][guess: by] [illegible][guess: Remove] I muſt be]^ Deprived My Self of ſome of the deareſt Comfort & ſociety of my life. Partg with her was a Painful & bitter thing one of the hardeſt Partings of my Friends I have Ever Experienced. for tho there is no Sea betwixt us yet I have Never had the Small Pox & the fear of [illegible]g ye Infection at New York whichis is Seldom Clear of it bars me from the hope of Seeing her. [illegible][guess: however for]^but^ the Proſpect of her Comfort & uſefulneſs I [illegible][guess: wd] Patiently deny my Self^teaches Me yt tis my duty to bear Patiently^ the Great Satiſfaction^ye loſs or want of yt Pleaſure^ I ſhd [illegible]^[illegible] have Enjoyd [illegible] life been^ Spndg [illegible][guess: have Enjoy] in ſeeg her frequently at her own houſe & ſometimes at Mine. May Every Bleſsing of Life & Godlineſs Attend her. It is a Senſible Grief Dear Sir that your bodily Infirmities ſhould Prevent the Executn of any of the wiſe & Pious Plans for uſefulneſs to mankind you are [illegible][guess: framing] from time to time & amg the Reſt hinder me from Recg your Kind & Edifying Letters I doubt Not Sir but a wiſe & Good God Makes this one Means of [illegible][guess: Rendring] you more Active & Servicable to the Km of ye Great Redeemer. to this End you aſk My Poor Prayers & [illegible] a moſt forcible & delightful argument the Intereſt I have in yours. I moſt hartily thank you Sr for kind & dayly Remembrance of Unworthy Me I beg Your Continuance of that moſt deſirable Favr for her
I can with Equal Sincerity, & honſty aſsure you that no day [illegible][guess: Brks] in which I do Not Remember my dear & Good Friend Dr wood & Recommend him, & his deepeſt Intereſts & life his Precious Life & uſefulneſs to the Father of Mercies — Dear ſir may our Hly Father help us to Continue this Friendly Chriſtian Intercourſe & Correſpondence by the way of Hn & dayly Meetg there ſo long as we are on this Side of it. this favr this Bleſsing of your Kind, & [illegible] [illegible] Remembrance of Me I Rank Among many others owg to that wiſe & Good Providence which brot my dear Siſter from her Native Land to this Country. & while She thinks her Life is ^almoſt^ uſeleſs & Spent in vain I [illegible] [illegible][guess: Such] Great May [illegible][guess: bring] kind & merciful [illegible][guess: Events] of Providence Iſsuing from it in a very Extenſive Manner, & may God Ren der her More & More uſeful in proportion to the [illegible][guess: truest] & [illegible][guess: Enlargd] deſires of his heart. I was Senſibly touchd with the Intima tion you gave of an uneaſineſs & Clamour Existg in the Nation by ye Tax or Additional Duty on beer or ale, I have not heard how the Iſsue of it was or wt Influence it had on the Election of Members of Parliamt but hope the beſt & that the Kind Pro vidence which has for So long^Such a^ time paſt overuld the Publick Affairs in ſuch a wiſe, Steady, & kind manner has Given you a wiſe & Good Parliamt. we In theſe ^Diſtant^ Regions of the Brittiſh Empire Share [illegible]^ye Genl^ [illegible] in the Happy Occaſion of So Good a King ſo Excellt & amiable a Man ^to ye [illegible] of his [illegible]^ we feel the Pleaſure of the Delight ful Proſpect of his Long & happy Reign & dayly Send up our ardent vows to heaven for the beſt bleſsings upon him the Queen [gap: tear][guess: his Amiable] Conſort & that the Nation & all its [illegible][guess: dependences] may in him & his Royal houſe Enjoy the moſt diſtinguiſhing Proſ perity & future [illegible][guess: Ages] Call him bleſsd. God has Truly done Great Things for the Nation & for us in America, things which tho we long & ardently wiſhed yet Scarce dare we hope to ſee. The [illegible][guess: Redemtion] of Canada deliverence from ye moſt falſe Cruel Perfidious Enemies that Ever were let looſe upon Mankind. how wonderful a mercy if God Pleaſe to Incline ye ht of the King & his Miniſters to keep North America & never let His Aquiſns [illegible][guess: made by ye Kings own] here Return to ſuch bloody & deceitful Men as have been ye Scourge of this Country in all Paſt times & [illegible][guess: Aſ soon] as tis in y[illegible][guess: [r] Power will Extirpate & Ruin the Engliſh here. The Lord has done Great Things for us whereof we are Glad. I wiſh I could ſay for which we are thankful; & that the Goodneſs of G had led us to Repentance. what can I Say here? but take up your Lamentation [illegible][guess: our] [illegible][guess: Brittains] Still we are a very wickd People vice abounds ye Power of Godlineſs is much loſt from Among us. we Sadly feel one of ye Diſmal Con ſequences of war the Corruption of our Morals. the unhappy Ex ample Exhibited to us [illegible][guess: ſoon] to be ye [illegible][guess: Means of] Increaſg [illegible]of Extravagance, Luxury, & love of Show, vanity & Senſual Pleaſure & much Profaneſs. [illegible][guess: Sad] Returns are theſe to the divine & Glori‐ ous [illegible][guess: Author] of ye diſtinguiſhg Favrs Pourd upon us. I Muſt Intreat your Fervent Prayers for us & thoſe of All your Praying Friends. there Seem to appear Some hopeful Glimmergſ among ye Indians in Sevl diſtant Parts. The Comiſssioners at N York last [illegible][guess: Supmmer] upon a motion made to y[illegible] sent up one Mr Samſon Occum a Mohegan Indian Educated [illegible][guess: here] Chiefy udr ye Inſtructi^[below]on^
of ye Revd Mr Wheelock one of the miniſters in this Town) & was ordaind by a Preſbitery on Long Iſland. a Pious Man & Zelous to ſerve his Country men & promote the knowledge of Xy amng them. he has been here ſince his Return; & Informs me that he has been Amng the Oneida Indians & Tuſcarora[illegible][guess: es] who border upon them & are much Intermxd with them. was very kindly Recd by them & he thinks firſt & laſt he had above 500 [illegible][guess: hearers] & there are Many who appear very deſi rous to be Acquainted with ye Chriſtian Relign & have Sendt by him to deſire the Commiſsidoners to Send Among them Some ^a^ Miſsionary who can Inform them the [illegible] ^what^ the [illegible][guess: bible] [illegible][guess: iſ] & [illegible][guess: lead] them to ye ^[illegible]^ [illegible][guess: ye Great ſav.r] knowledg of ye Great Saviour. they deſire him to tell the Commſsrs yt they have turnd their backs upon their former Idolatry & devil worſship & Never Intend to look that way Agn but their Faces are now turnd towards Chriſt the Savr & they are [illegible][guess: very Deſirous] ^lookg for him & Greatly deſire^ to find him & his Religion. we are Alſo Informd that there are ſome of ye Suſquehanna Indians who are diſpoſd to [illegible][illegible][guess: live] ^[illegible] to^ the Goſpel. May God open a Great door & Effectual to let in the knowledge of his ſon Jeſus Chriſt into ye hearts of the Poor [illegible][guess: bereft] [illegible][guess: Savages]. & oh that our abuſe of the Goſpel May not pro‐ voke him to lure us to a Dull formality nor to a depar ture from [illegible] the doctrines of Grace or the Main Principals of Calviniſm for [illegible] ^[illegible]^ [illegible] [illegible] that in Proportion to ſuch a departure we ſink, & are gone. I [illegible][guess: Joyn] My Earneſt prayers that God May Return to you [illegible] [illegible][guess: deepg] Religion in the Congregations of the [illegible][guess: Deſenters] Multiply the [illegible][guess: Seed Sown] & Increaſe all [illegible][guess: hints] of Righteouſneſs among you. our hearts [illegible] ^Since I began ye [illegible][guess: writg of yſ]^ have Made [illegible][guess: Sad] by ye News brot by the Packet boat laſt week to N York that ^ye Great^ Mr Pitt has Reſignd his offices New England, & America will be filld with Trembling on this Important Event fearg the French will Agn Gain the Poſseſsn of yt Country & be in A Capacity to be the Scourge & Plague of the Brittiſh Settle ments here. May that divinely wiſe & all Powerful being who Rules the world Guide, & direct the King, & Govt & Preſerve the Nation from Agn beg ^agn^ the dupes of French Craft, & Perfidy, & [illegible][guess: looſing] the blood, & Treaſure Spent to humble yt [illegible]^[illegible][guess: Haughty]^ & Ambitious Nation o May we not Throw away what God has given us you Cant Conceive the diſtreſs yt Such [illegible] would bring upon Poor N England. but if God ſhd So order it we muſt Say the Lord is Right[gap: tear][guess: e] ous our Sins & Ingratitude deſerve it. ‡
[left]‡ if after all our Raiſd hopes G pleaſes to [illegible][guess: let us] ſink agn under ye dark Proſpects of [illegible] of trouble like ye former [illegible] [illegible][guess: diſmal] I beg yr Prayers yt G[illegible] wd to [illegible] our Poſterity wth him & be content yt he ſhd [illegible] as he [gap: hole] & [illegible][guess: taken in] to him [illegible][guess: ſelf] [illegible][guess: from] ye [illegible] to Come
you will Never Ceaſe yr Prayers to the God of our Saln [illegible] to be with & with [illegible][guess: yours] if after all our Raiſd hopes God lets us Sink Agn under ye Dark Proſpects of [illegible]g [illegible] ye [illegible][guess: former] may God help us to [illegible][guess: Leave] our [illegible] with him & take us to himſelf [illegible][guess: before] [illegible] [illegible] ^the divine Spt [illegible] [illegible][guess: me to] [illegible] together with you in My Prayers^ ^yt we may be^ Dayly [illegible] [illegible][guess: more & more] to Go to Jeſus & ye Spirit of ye Fleſh made ⅌fect & meet together in the Joy & Peace of heaven. My wife & childn Joyn in Moſt Reſpectful Salutations to you & dear Mrſ wood, & your dear dr & her Revd Conſort whoſe Name you dont mention.
Revd Hond dear Sr I am Your Moſt Affecte Friend Br & humble Servt Solon W.ms.
der 12 1761 Copy of My Lr to Dr Wood of Norwich in Anſwer to his of Feb: 16 laſt.
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