John Smith, letter, to his friend, 1764 May 18


abstractSmith gives an account of his visit to Wheelock’s school, and to the Mohegan country, where he saw Occom.

handwritingHandwriting is formal and clear.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to form four pages is followed by two single sheets. Paper is in good condition, although there appears to be some preservation work on heavier creases.

noteworthyThere are many variant spellings and abbreviations; colons are used for superscripts, not periods. The trailer appears to be in Wheelock's hand.

In rideing last week to new Lon= don I turned some miles out of my way to  see M:r Wheelocks Indian School; nor do I  repent my Trouble I had heard in general  that it consisted of Twenty or more Indian  Boys & Girls of the Mohawks & other Tribes  of Indians And that a number of the Mini= =sters of that Province had spoken well of  M:r Wheelock & of this undertaking of his,  But this I thought was seeing with the  Eyes of others & therefore Chose to use my  own. 
My first observation in travelling  through the Towns was the Diffrent accep= =tation of both M:r Wheelock & his Enter= =prize there, from what some in Boston had entertained. 
Here because of his live= =ly adhering to ^the^ Doctrines of Grace he was not  accepted by some; & when this is the Case  you are sensible both Enterprize & Execution 
of it are too apt to be viewed by an Eye of  Surmize & sometimes of Carping: But in  Connecticut I found Charity & Candor &  every where in paſsing M:r Wheelock had  the Reverence of a Man of God, & his School  was had in high Esteem.
I reached his House a little  before the Evening Sacrafice & was move= =ingly Touched on giveing out the Psalm  to hear an Indian Youth set the Time  & the others following him, & singing the  Tenor, & Base, with remarkable Gravity  & Seirousneſs, & tho' M:r Wheelock, The Sc= =hoolmaster & a minister from our Provin =ce (called as I was by Curiosity) joined in  Praise; yet they unmoved seemed to  have nothing to do but to sing to the  Glory of God.
I omit M:r Wheelocks Pra= =yer & paſs to the Indians in the morning  when on Ringing the School house Bell 
they Aſsemble at M:r Wheelocks House about  5 oClock with their Master; who named  the Chapter in Course for the Day & called  upon the near Indian who read 3 or 4  Verſes till the Master said Proximus, &  then the next Indian read some Verses  & ſo on till all the Indians had read the  whole Chapter. After this M:r Wheelock  Prayes And then they each Indian perse  a Verse or two of the Chapter they had  read. After this they entered Succeſsively  on Prosodia & then on Disputations on  some Questions propounded by themselves  in some of the Arts & Sciences. And it is  really charming to see Indian Youths of  Different Tribes & Languages in pure English  reading the Word of God & speaking with  Exactneſs & accuracy on points (either chosen  by themselves or given out to them) in the  Severall arts & Sciences, And especially to  see this done with at Least a seeming 
Mixture of Obedience to God; a fillial  Love & Reverence to M:r Wheelock, & yet  with great Ambittion to Excell each other  And indeed in this Morning Exercies I saw  a Youth Degraded one lower in the Claſs who  before the Exercises were finished not only  recovered his own place but was advanced  two Higher.
I learnt hear that my ſurprize  was common to ministers & other persons  of Littterature who before me had been  to visit this School or rather Colledge  for I doubt whither in Collegddges in Gene= =rall a better Education is to be expected  & in mentioning this to a Gentleman  in this Town who had visited this Semina= =ry. He acquainted me that he intended  at his own Charge to send his Son to obtain  his Education in Mixture with these Indians  There were 4 or 5 of these Indians from  21 to 24 years of age who did not mix with  the youth in these Exercies — These I learnt 
were Perfected in their Literature &  stand ready to be sent among the Indians  to keep Scools & occasionaly to preach as  doors open.
On my return M:r Wheelock  accompanied me a few miles & on paſsing  by one Houſe he said here lives one of my  Indian Girls who was I hope Converted  last week; & calling to the Farmer he un= =perceiv'd to her brought the Young Girl  into our Sight & the pleasure was exqui­ =site to see the Savageneſs of an Indian  moulded into the Sweetneſs of a follower  of the Lamb.
In paſsing some Days after  this through the Mohegan Country I  saw an Indian Man on Horseback whom  I challenged as M:r Occum & found it  so. There was something in his mein  & Deportment both amiable & venerable  & though I had never before seen him 
I must have been sure it was he. — He  certainly does Honour to M:r Wheelocks inde= =fatigable, judicious, pious Intentions to  send the Gospel among the Indians. I  heard M:r Ashpo was then among them  but at a Distance & I being hurried &  tired Lost the opportunity of seing Mr  Wheelock in him & more especially of  seeing Christs Image in this Tawney  Man but I wont tire you 
& am y:r most  Hum:e Serv:t  John Smith. 
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Mr John Smiths Letter  to his Friend  May 18. 1764