Robert Clelland, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1762 March 12


abstractClelland writes that Ben Uncas is given over to drunkeness and wants undesirables to settle on Mohegan land. He suggests that Wheelock should encourage Occom to use his influence with the Sachem.

handwritingFormal handwriting is small and stylized, yet mostly clear and legible.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to make four pages is in fair condition, with light-to-moderate staining, creasing and wear that results in a minor loss of text.


noteworthyThere are several underlinings that appear to have been added at a later, likely 19th-century, date; these underlinings have not been included in the transcription. Clelland's intention with regard to the word "Guardines" is uncertain, and so it has been left unmodified in the modernized transcription.

Revd Sir 
Having opertunety of my good friendd Aſpow, I  could not be restrain’d from troubling you with a few lines, as to our present  Circumstances in Mohegan, Our truly good and worthy Gentln Guardines to  this trible is about Leaſing some of Lands, all of them is determined that none  shall be tennants here, but thoſe that are men freindly to our ministry & willing  to Support the Gospell amongst us, men that will both by example and Councill  promote religion, virtue, Sobriety, & industry amongst our natives; —   Our Sechem and 2 more of his Councill are for men that are enemies to our  worthy minister and would (in their power) strarve all the Godly ministers in the  Land, men that Deny our Christian Sabbath; A standing Gospell ministry  and the Christian Sabbath, seems to be the mark & Butt many of our Neighbours  shoot at, I trust the Great King of ^his^ Church, will protect & Defend and Constent =ly provide this Land with a Learned Converted & Converting ministry
I am Sorrie to Say our Sechem grows worſe & worſe, [illegible] Drinking very  much increaſes upon him, & therby has got himself much out of Creditt, He  is told he is a free people, & none can restrain him from Drink &c and  indeed he goes on contrary to the repeated reproofs of Mr Jewett’ & others  and against warm & affecting Letters from 2 of his overſeers, But Despiſes  all admonition & regards neither the Laws of God or man. He is a Dead  weight against every thing that is good amongst us
King Ben is g about Sending over for mr Occum to aſsist in geting  Quakers &c on the Land, I perswade my Self mr Occum is a man of better  sence then to join in such an affair, so says mr Jewett, so says our good  overſeers, if he interpoſes it will be very affecting to many of mr Jewetts Godly  parishoners who has given in a Memorial against such men to our guar= :dines, as to further particulars, the Bearer can fully inform you —
It is the expectation of Esqr Adam’s (and mr Jewett who has wrote you)  and who both desired me to write alſo, and had not the Bearer been going  Directly to you should waited on you my Self, I say it is their expectation  that you should write mr Occum to uſe his intrest with Ben &c not to  contradict the overſeers, for their Heart is sett for the Good of the tribe, Theſe  men the Sechem is for, has sett him against mr Jewett & I and his over‐ ſeers alſo, I trust you will see it proper to write a Letter for mr Occum  & the [illegible: [guess: >reathar]] that mr Jewett will be at Boston, when mr Occum comes to  Mohegan — as to our freind Aſpow tho he Differd as ^to^ church Government for= =merly, yet I lov’d him, as a man of solid sence, and often converſed with him  and uſed to say he had so much reason & sound Judgement, that he would see  his mistake, & I believe he no sooner seed it but he acknowledged, in opp[gap: tear][guess: oſi] :tion to all the clamour & reflections that has been unjuſtly cast on him, He —  with the greatest Sedateneſs Answered all the calumny & accusations, his —  people or accuſers laid against him, He with an undanted, Christian, meek,  spirit, not only bears patiently, But even liek a Hero Despiſed & Despiſes  their bitter and severe & unchristian reflections — turn over
Aſpow is a man the most examplary of any in the feilds [illegible]none in it such a  head of a family for reading Gods word before them His Knowledge in Scripture is  Conciderable and I trust he will be of great Service amongst his Brethren Acc= =ording to ^the^ flesh, may God be pleaſed to open a Door for his uſefullneſs, He as  well as mr Jewett & I suffers the displeaſure of the Sechem, But he is impoſed upon
I could be of great Service here if duely encouraged by the Children’s regular atten dance, I am a poor imperfected Creature, But I can truely say to the utmost of my  abilitys skill and prudence have I exerted my Self amongst them, as doth the Revd  mr Jewett, they are a people exalted to Heaven in point of priveledges, but most  of them tredd them under foot, They many of them Isay after the example of their  poor Sechem think them=^=selves^ Free to Serve their appitite & wont be controll’d  I have only one word further to trouble you with leaving you to further Particu =lars to the Bearer, and that is that our Gentlm Guardines are determined to sett  apart a Small Lott for the School:master. which Ben & the forementioned 2 Counſe =lors oppoſes, But I suppoſe they will doe it as they are all spiritted for the thing  I you think it proper to mention it to mr Occum (if you write) I shall be thank= =full. It is melancholy to see the Life King Ben lives, God Change him
May God be pleaſed to Lengthen out your valuable & precious Life to see  further of the good fruits of your indefatigable & unweared Labours for  christianizing the Saveges in the Land, I Believe you will have a high Seat  in the Houſe not made with hands, a great Degree of Glory, you are now acting  your part so well that at your exit & leaving this Stage of action the Spectator’s  will clap their hands, you will have a generall, applauſe, amaſsy weight of  Glory is reserved for you, I Beg an intrest in your prayers that I may be  faithfull, and my desire is to be uſefull,
I am Revd & Dr Sir  yr most oblidged Humle ſervt  Robert Clelland 
PS prudence will say tho  the Sechem ſhould know nothing  as to this Letter
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M.r S. Clelland’s  B. Uncas’ poor drunken  Creature, wod hda me  write m.r Occim not to  Suffer bad folks to ſettle  Mohegan March 1762
To  The Revd  Mr Eliazar Wheelock  Lebanon