Hezekiah Calvin, letter to Eleazar Wheelock, 1766 August 11


abstractCalvin writes about his frustrations with trying to keep a school at Fort Hunter.

handwritingHandwriting is neat, formal and legible.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good condition. There is a tear near the remnants of the seal which results in no loss of text.

signatureSignatures on both the body of the letter and the postscript are abbreviated.

layoutLetter begins on one verso, not one recto; one recto is the address page. The first page of the letter (one verso) is in portrait orientation; all other pages are in landscape orientation.

noteworthyOn one recto, in the address to the letter, "V.D.M" after Wheelock's name is an abbreviation for "Verbi dei minister" an informal designation for a Christian minister. The "A.B" after "Sir Wheelock" is an abbreviation for "artium baccalaureus," Latin for bachelor of arts.

  Much Hon,d Sir, 
With great Pleasure and satisfaction I take my Pen in  Hand to try to write You a Letter, & thereby to inform you that we arrived at But­ lers berry the 11th of July Well & safe, & Mr Pomroy & Sir Wheelock arrived the 17th   Sir Wheelock went in the Castle to settle a school there, & the Indians were very  much Pleaſed with his Discourſe, & liked very well to have a school there & they  made fair Promiſes that they would send their Children every Day Steady; &  so I entered the Cast[illegible]le 22d of July in order to open the School, & I told the In­ dians ^yt ^ I should have been glad to open’d the school on the 23,d but the Indians  were very loth to send their Children, for what reaſon I know not, I went to  the Indians day after Day to get some of their Children to School, but all this  signified nothing, the Indians would make excuſes that they had work for  them to do, so that they could not send them yet, but they would send them  Tomorrow, & so on till the 30th I told them I would leave ‘em, that I could  not stay with them Doing Nothing & on the Morrow they sent Five  Children, & so on till Mr Wheelock came from the Upper Castle;  And then I related him all what was done, He told the Indians yt  Mr Kinney would Preach to them on Sunday following Two of the Clock  in the afternoon, so the Indians gathered but they could not get no In­ terpreter, for the Preacher, wthey got an Interpreter for Sir Wheelock  to interpret what he had to say, & so he told them that it was God’s  Day that he would have it kept for him &c. at last he told them  that he had let them have the Benifit of a Schoolmaster to teac^h^  their Children & when he came in the Castle [illegible]that he ex­ pected to find a Doz– or Forteen Children in the School all  buſy with their Books, but at his expectation, he found but  Five Children which made his heart ake & the Indians so 
unwilling to send their Children “it seems that they wanted no Schooling &  then he asked th[illegible]em what should he do, must he take away so great a Bleſsing yt  was given them or no, but he would fain try them a little longer he would let me  stay with them till the’ fall & so he ended. The Indians replyed ^yt^ they would give  an Answer Wednesday following, and on Wednesday the Indians met they said they  thanked him for his good will in trying to do them a little good but what can we  do their are some that do not want schooling & we are mixt some good & some bad  they said they had been & sought out as many as wanted to have a school & they  said they could send 15 Children to school the greatest part of the time & if  Sir Wheelock thought fit to take me away why they could not help it there was  as many as were at home, by and by ^the rest of the Indians^ they would come home & likely they would  have a mind to send their Children at School too, they say alſo that they are  going out to hunt & that they must needs take their Children with them  that they cant leave their Children alone &c &c — — — —
Sir if I have mist any thing or said any thing Wrong I hope your Son  will bring it write I cant tell it no Straiter. I have now Eighteen Schollars which  come very Steady, but it his very hard to bring them too I do my best that I can &  yet the Indians will complain that I am not severe enough will it do for me to  be a thrashing them continually, how oft have I corrected them within a Week  sometimes twice or thrice a Day I hate forever to be a whipping, whipping too  much wont do, I told them if I was not severe enough they must in consequence
get a Severer one but I hope Sir in time to bring them too by the help of God  which I cannot do without, all theſe means wont do, they are stubburn People  sometimes I am ready to give out With theſe Indians & with the Pains I have, I have  a hard head acke certain time in the afternoon which sometimes is so hard that I  hardly know that I am about &cc The Indians say that I shall not come home theſe  three years they think that I am their Serwant & are obliged to keep school for Yem ^& yet they wont send their Children^  It is true I should be glad to keep School here all my Days but all theyſe things makes me  faint hearted together my wanting to see my father Mother & relations —
Oh! how glad should I be if I could do but a Little good among theſe savages, but yet  I think Indians will be Indians they will still follow their evill Practices. &c  But Sir I hope you will overlook the many Blunders I have made in my haste & so re­ membering my Love to your Family & School   
I remain Your Dutiful  Tho unworthy Servant   Hez- Calvin 
P.S. Pleaſe Sir to send me up some Stokins   by David Fowler if it pleaſes the & a pair  of shoes &c Yours Hez- Calvin 
August 11th   For the Reverend Eleazer Wheelock 
Calvin’s Letter  Aug.t 11.th 1766 
For the Reverend  M.r Eleazer Wheelock V.D.M.  at Lebanon  Connecticut  Per favour  Sir Wheelock  A.B.