Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to George Whitefield, 1762 September 16


abstractWheelock writes of his difficulty in securing pupils, and relays news from Occom about the bad conditions among the Oneidas. Ashpo is being trained for mission work. The future of a grant from the Massachusetts assembly and other monies are in question.

handwritingInformal handwriting is small and crowded, with several additions and deletions, which affects legibility.

paperLarge single sheet is in good condition, with light staining and wear, and moderate creasing.


noteworthyThis document is likely a draft. Manuscript 762516.1 is a copy of this letter.

signatureThe signature is abbreviated.

EventsOccom’s Second Mission to the Oneidas

  My very dear and Hond ^Sir^ Friend  
David, my Indian Schollar returned ^July^ 18  from the Mohawk Country, where I informed you in my  laſt, I had Sent him, and bro.t with him ^4 Indian Boys^ three Mohawks  Boys ^and one of the Farmington Tribe^ the Boys and Girls which I expected from Onoyada  ^wre detained by their Parents^ on acco.t of a Rumour, & Suſpicion, of a war just com̅encing  between them and the Nations back of them occaſioned  as they Said by the Attachment of the Onoyadas to the Engliſh,  in which ^and in ſuch a^ caſe they sd they did not ^chuſe^ conſent to have their  Children ^at ſuch a Diſtance^ from them, but perhaps they were Suſpicious yt  they ſhould be obliged to Joyn those Nations againſt the  Engliſh. The engliſh youth of which I informed you,  who has been a Captive with the Senecas till he is Maſter  of their Language, and which I ſent for with a view to  fit him for Interpreter to that Nation, was under ſuch  ingagements to a Trader at Black Fort as that he could  not get releaſed for the Preſent, I have again wrote to  Genl Johnſon who was not at Home when David was there  till the Night before David came away when he returned  from a long Journey which he had taken in order for a  Treaty with Several Diſtant Tribes of Indians, and then  was So full of Buſineſs y.t he could scarſely attend to any  thing but his own Affairs. I have again ^and^ deſired him to be  inſtrumental to procure, and ſend ye youth to me if he eſteem^[illegible]^  him likely for ^to anſwer^ the Deſign. 
M.r Occom writes me a very meloncholly Letter. viz  that by an untimely Froſt laſt fall their Indian Corn was all  cut off – y.t the Onoyadas are almoſt Starved havg nothing  to live upon but what they get by Hunting — that they had  then just come in from their Pigeon Hunt — and were going a  fiſhing — as Soon as they returnd from that they will go  after Deer. that he followed them, but found it very Difficult  to get a Number of them together to preach to them — that  by hard living (tho.’ they were as kind as they could be) and  ^eſpecially^ lying upon the wet ground his old Diſorders (viz Rhumatic)  returnd, and he was apprehenſive he muſt return befor the  Time appointed [illegible]— that he lived in fear, ^of being killd^ tho’ the Indians had  promiſed him if ^in caſe^ a war ſhould break out, they would ſend him  under a Sufficient Guard, down as far as the Engliſh Settlemen^ts^ 
But there was Something good in his Letter viz that theree  were ſome viſible good Effects of his Labours among them laſt  year, & eſpecially a Reformation ^among them^ as to their Drinking. 
My School is in a flouriſhing State thro’ the great Mercy  of God, I have 19. in Number ^viz^ 15 males and 4 females. ^and ye moſt of ym appr quite likely^ & hope  I Shall have Several well fitted for Interpreters ^and Miſsionaries^ in due Time  I have been favoured with the beſt of Maſters ſucceſsively for  Some years. 
I have received the Bell which you Sent and and it is  decenlly   
[left]Letter to Mr Whitefield Sept.r 16. 1762.
decently hung on the House which I have devoted to  the Service. and we now feal the Benefit of it. we  can now keep hours with but little Trouble. I hope  in Gods Time it will be used to call together a little  black Aſsembly to hear you preach Chriſt. — 
A Small Council of Miniſters has been lalely calld  to examine Saml Aſhpo. an Indian of whom I once  wrote you, and they were So far Satiſfied & pleaſed with  him as that they adviſed to his being fitted as fast as  may be for a Miſsion. and accordingly I expect him ^to ye School^ this  week at this School. Several others I expect here ſoon.  and my Hope for their Support is only in him whoſe  the Earth is and the fullneſs thereof, and who has the  hearts of all in his Hands. 
The ^general Aſsembly of the^ Province of the Maſsachuſetts Bay, laſt ^Fall^ year  voted me the use of a Legacy of ſir Peter Warren  of about £750. Sterling, ^w.c he^ left in their Hands for the  Education of the Youth of the Six Nations. but  I underſtand ^by Doct.r Chauncy that^ the new form’d Society in, & about Bos‐  -ton deſign if they can to get it into their Hands as ſoon  as my year’s improvement of it is Expired.  ^[inline]also^ His Majesties Councel and House of Repreſentatives  in the Province of New Hamſheir. have voted to  the use of this School £50. Sterling pr annum for  five years Succeſsively. but there was not Time for the  Governour to Conſider of the act before he prorogued  the aſsembly and So it is not yet Signed. 
and who known to what a heighlh this may ariſe from low  and deſpicable Begin[illegible][guess: in]gs, and what Glory may redown to  the great Redeemer thereby. to God alone be all the Glory. 
M.r Smith inform’d me that there was Some talk ^in England^ of collect‐  -ing a Library for y.e use of ^this ſchool^ may God incline the Hearts of  his people to promote that Deſign. Is there not a Society in  England lately formed with a Special view to the Printing and  diſperſing useful Books? I wiſh I could be informed ^perticularly^ of it. and  if you think fit introduced to a Corriſpondance with ſome mem‐  -ber of it. Miſs. Williams before She left Wethersfield Sent me  a Number of valuable and useful Books to be diſperſed as I  judged beſt among Children ^&c^, which I now suppoſe might likely  come to her from that Society. 
I have two Engliſh youth in my School, Charity Schollars, fitting  for a Miſsion as fast as poſsible and I yesterday concluded  to take a Lad, Eleazar Swetland of a neighbouring Pariſh  who was hopefully converted laſt Spring by the Bleſsing of  God on the preaching of M.r Huntington y.e School Maſter laſt  year, his experiences are clear his affections appear genuine  and he ſeems to be Truly filled with the Holy Ghost ^his Heart is much ſet upon being fitted for Miſsny amng [illegible]^ I hope his  warmth and Zeal may by the Bleſsing of God be of Special  Service to the School. 
I have lately been ſick and bro.t low with a Dyſsentary  but through the pure mercy of God am now able to do ſome  Buſineſs. pray for your unworthy B.r &c    
Eleazr Wheelock