Gideon Hawley, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1763 January 27


abstractHawley writes to tell of Occom's lack of tact in dealing with the Oneidas.

handwritingHandwriting is small, but mostly clear and legible, with some additions and deletions.

paperSingle large sheet is in good condition, with moderate creasing and staining.


signatureSignature is abbreviated.

EventsOccom’s First Mission to the Oneidas

  Revd & Hond Sir,   
Your favours of 18th Octr & 21st Novr came safe & di­  rect, for which I humbly & heartily thank you. I should have  been glad enough to have heard from you before, but did not  take it illy that you did not write, suppoſing you had other  buſineſs, and other correspondents, that it was of more impor  tance for you to attend to: besides I live so much out  of the way, that it is very Difficult to get a paſssage for a  letter that is direct & safe. In regard to the viſit I sincerely  deſigned you before now, it has been unvoidably delayed by  such overtures in providence, which ^as^ at preſent it is needleſs  for me to relate — Altho all my relatives, and many of my  beſt friends are in Connecticut, I have not been able,  without neglect of more important duties, which could not be  dispenſed with, to viſit them since October 1758 
In regard to Mr Occom, it is with singular pleaſure that I  view him as an orniment to his nation and to chriſtianity,  and am very sorry I never had the happineſs of being  acquainted with him. We were in the country of the Six Na  tions the fall before laſt at the same time, but such were the  duties of our miſsion, being straitened for time & having a  great deal to do, that we were seperated by the distance of  an hundred miles or near it. However, tarrying in the Coun  try, as I went after he did, when he was come off & seing  many of the Onoydas in my peregrinations, it being the  seaſon of their going to their hunting places, I had an Opper  tunity of being adviſed of his preaching, conduct & ^the^ rec[illegible]eption  he met with, among them; which were quite equal to what  one could expect. and what I communicated, & deſired my friend  to write you, concern some what, in his preaching that was  exceptionable, I thought it was beſt he should hear of; and yt  you, being his preceptor, spiritual Father &c was the moſt  suitable perſon to adviſe him of it. and the vindication  of himself [illegible: for] the reaſons M.r Accom gives I doubt ^not are^ [illegible] just & true,  and I think are satisfactory. A poor man among such a  people without a faithful & skilful interpreter is to be  pitied. However I would uſe this opportunity to say,  that the iregularities in dreſs and some other things in the  customs of Indians as they ^not^ sinful in themselves, it will  rather be commendable in a miſsionary to conform to them  in some meaſure, than at his firſt going among them to ſay  much 
much very directly againſt them. The corruption of human Nature &  the sinfulneſs of it a miſsionary should expoſe in all it’s deformity  as much as poſsible which will prepare the way for ye Gospel.  St Pauls apistles, especially that to the Romans is the beſt  model and guide for a miſsionary. 
In regard to your School is gives me very great satisfaction  to hear of its proſperity and I wiſh that it may floriſh  and that it may anſwer even beyond your expecta -  tions the great & good ends of its foundation. your  second letter gives me great concern becauſe you appear  to be afraid of your schools being a party affair, which  I pray God to prevent — you and I shall find, Sir,  the more we have to do with the world, that by reaſon of the  jealouſy which is inseperable from corrupt nature it will  be impoſsible for any conſiderable number to hold an ad-  vantageous confederacy for any length of time in any  affair. And we muſt be content with dragging along the  moſt generous affairs not only without the aſsiſtance of many  of whom we might juſtly expect it, but againſt the oppo  ſition of some, who are real friends to ye true intireſt of  religion, becauſe they can’t agree with us as to the me-  thods of promoting it. Indeed, Sir, we need much of that  charity which believeth all things, Loveth all things & en-  dureth all things. 
In regard to my Indians my influence over them en-  creaſes and I see some little fruit, altho but little of my  labour; — they encreaſe in number since my settlement  — We have [illegible] one of our men, who has been as an  Agent to ye Court of Great Britain about our lands  and we hope to have our affairs upon a better foot-  ing. I have about Seventy Indian houſes & Wigwams  on this tract of Land beſides a dozen or more that be-  long to our meeting that live a little off from it —   
I am, in very great haſte  Revd Sir,  your very Dutiful Son &  Servant in Chriſt  Gidn Hawley