Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to John Erskine, 1763 September 21


abstractWheelock writes to update Erskine on the the missions of Occom and Ashpo, and relates the dangers of an impending war with the Indians.

handwritingHandwriting is informal and frequently difficult to decipher. There are many deletions and additions.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good condition, with light creasing, staining and wear.


noteworthyGiven the informal handwriting and the abundance of additions and deletions, this document is likely a draft.

EventsOccom’s Third Mission to the Oneidas

Rev.d and Hond Sir 
Yours of 8th April laſt came to hand July 17th  and the next Day I had unexpectedly an opportunity to make  an Anſwer ^it^ by Mr Blake which I hope you have or will ſoon  Receive — and I also ^incloſed^ a Narrative of the Riſe ^Progreſs^ &c of this School  with a proposal of a Plan ^proposed^ for the more Succeſsfully Proſecuting of the  I was glad grand Deſign. — I also inform'd you of ye  ordination & Miſsion of M.r Charles Jeffery Smith, who has in ­liſted in this the Warfare at his own Charges, deſigning by divine Leave  to devote himſelf and ^a^ plentiful Fortune to the Service of  the Redeemers Kingdom in that Capacity ^of a Miſsionary^ — and I am now  able to Inform you that he went near to the Oniyada  Lake and preached in Several Places to the Indians who  appeared ^much^ affected; and well diſposed towards him, and ^Sincerely^ very  deſirous of his continu[illegible]ing Among them But the ^a^ Reports of  the Approach of the Enemy viz. an Army of the Nations who  are combining againſt the Engliſh, ^approaching near^ The apprehension of Danger,  and the great Ruffle & fright the Indians were put into de­  termined him it was his duty to return ^nor could they^ and they could not  adviſe him that it was Safe ^for him^ to continue with them, he left them  many ^Some^ of them in Tears, earneſtly deſiring his Return to them again  as ſoon as the war is ^ſhould be^ over — M.r Occom also, returned [illegible]  [illegible] ^apprehending^ it was by in no meaſure Safe for him to continue with them  also M.r Aſhpo ^from this School^ whom I informed You had been Examined & Approved  by a Comtee of Miniſters appointed ^by y.e Convention^ at our Gen.l Election in this  Government, went out on his proposed Miſsion to Jeningo  and Seſquaana River and continued ^with them^ 10 Dayswith them, and preachd  every Day they appeared much affected came with Eagerneſs to  hear him and appeared much affected and the Proſpect appear ­ed very Encouraging — but Such was the Ruffle, and fear they  were in, apprehending their ſelves ^Lives^ in Danger both from the Nations  back of them, and also from the Engliſh who would be put to it ^not be able^  to Diſtinguiſh their Enemies from their Friends — and the more  afraid as the Engliſh had then lately kill'd three of their people  who were and have been ^(as they ſaid)^ all along faſt in the Engliſh Interest as they  were abroad on their [illegible] Deſign ^ſome of their Ramble^Aſhpo apprehending the Danger  great Left them. (as had done ^also^ the Miſs^rs^ among them from your Corriſpondts  at in Boſton near two months before) — he returned about a fortni[illegible][guess: gh]t ago,  and Deſigns to go again next Spring. — The Proſpect of Succeſs is at  preſent ^is^ as incouraging ^in those parts as perhaps any where^ and in any part at all. — but by means of this  Rupture every thing [illegible] attempt both by Engliſh & Indian Miſsionaries  muſt be Suſpended for the Preſent — I hope it may be tho't ſafe  for the Indian Miſsionaries to go again next Spring. — eſpecially  if the Engliſh in the Several Governments ſhall be forehand Sutably notified of it  ^beforehand^ ſo as not to Eſteem them Enemies and Traytors if they Should be found among  thoſe who are our Enemies. I dont pretend ^attempt^ to give you acco.t of the  Hoſtilites and Butcheries they have committed of Late Supposing you ^to^ have  had public & authentic accots of it be thereof before now.  This Rupture has occaſioned ^raiſed^ Such a Spirit ^Temper^ in great numbers of our people  that they Seem Diſposed to contribute nothing but Powder & Ball to them  and there for it is tho't prudent that the Brief I Obtained of this Gov.t  in Fav.r of this School Should be ſuſpended for the present till the  minds of people ſhall ^be^ more Calm and better Diſposed towards them.   Fearing my Letter reffer'd to will fail I ſhall also ^here^ add the Nomina  ­tion ^of Gentlemen recommended^ I ſend You to be Commiſsioned for Indian Affairs if the Honle   
Society which you inform me the Honle Society were ſo Good  as to grant, but the Completion of it prevented by M.r Roſs's  Death and the Loſs of the Papers &c which Nomination was  as I here give it only with this [illegible] addition of the Revd  David Jewett of New London in the Room of Comfort Starr Eſqr  Deceaſed, I Should be glad of a Return as ſoon as may be, and  cant but think the cause may be really Served by it  viz. Jonathan Huntington Esq.r of Windham  Eliſha Sheldon Esq.r of Litchfield  Sam.l Huntington Attorney at Law of Norwich 
[left]The  Revd  Meſsrs
  Solomon Williams of Lebanon  Joseph Fiſh of Stonington  William Gaylord of Norwalk  Sam.l Mosely of Windham  Eleazar wheelock of Lebanon  Benjamin Pomeroy of Hebron  David Jewett of New London  Richard Saltar of Manſfield  Nathl Whitaker of Norwich  all within the Coloney of Connecticut  I Should be glad of a Return as Soon as may be  and can't but think the general Deſign in view may  be much promoted by ſuch a Commiſsion.  ^Those Good Gentlemen you mention^ M.r Preſidt Clap and M.r Bellamy are ſo remote  that they cant with any convenience be Joyned attend  if they Should Be Joyned. M.r Bellamy lives in a remote  Corner of the Government towards 100 miles from hence  upon no direct Road from hence, and where I have very  Seldom an opportunity to ſee either of them  Since I wrote you ^or^ to know their minds but presume they  would not freely consent ^think proper to be joyned as their Diſtance woud forbid a freq.t attendance^ as their being Joyned would not  likely be of much Service. and ^and their being Joyned^ would make the Body more  unweildy . † Pleaſe to Direct Yours to me to M.r John Smith  Merchant or M.r Moses Peck watchmaker in Boſton and  they will likely be well taken Care of.  beſides the Donations ^to this School^ mentioned in my laſt, M.r James Leſley a Scot  Gentleman graduated at New Jerſie College has made a Donation to  this School of all his indefatigable Labours for theſe Indian Youth  in the capacity of a School maſter the Laſt year. So that the  Inſtruction of this School has been given by M.r Smith & M.r Leſley  for near 14 months laſt paſt. but the preſent Rupture will likely  ^at preſent^ prevent Such an Increaſe of My Number ^this Fall^ from Remote Tribes as I  deſigned ^& hoped for^ by the aſsiſtance of the Miſsionaries before mentioned. but  the whole of which you will likely have opportunity to ſee before  long publiſhed as a continuation of my Narrative. pleaſe to direct (vid. ſupra)   The Preſent Rupture looks so much like a Deſperate Effort &  dying Struggle of the Grand adversary, that I am not at all diſ­ ­couraged on acco.t of it, tho' the Progreſs of the Deſign may be for a while  retarded by it. I doubt not ^but^ God has great and glorious things yet to  ^[below]accompliſh in This Land & the preſent [illegible] #^ 
[left]# of his work in this amg many other places at preſent dos not a little incourage  Hope † pleaſe to Direct &c
I have acknowledged ^as I did in my laſt Good^ M.r Dickſon's Liberality to this School  and pray God to requite it. and propose a Remittance of it to  M.r Dennys DeBerdt of London, which you will likely hear of  from him.   
pleaſe, Sir, to remember in your neareſt approaches  to God yours with the moſt ſincere Duty & Affection  Eleazar Wheelock 
Rev. Jn.o Erskine     
  Lettr to Rev.d John  Erskine 21. Sept.r 1763.