John Brainerd, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1766 September 16


abstractBrainerd writes about the apprehension of the murderers of two Indian women, includes letters from Francis Alison and John Ewing recommending John G. Kals as a teacher and missionary, and gives his own recommendation of Kals, with reservations.

handwritingHandwriting is bold, stylized and occasionally difficult to decipher.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good-to-fair condition, with some yellowing and moderate-to-heavy creasing that leads to a minor loss of text. There is older preservation work on one verso and two recto. The outer edges appear to have been trimmed.

inkDark brown.

noteworthyThe text is dimmed somewhat by preservation work. An editor, likely 19th-century, had added the note "Ind Mis" to two verso; this note has not been included in the transcription.

EventsFundraising Tour of Great Britain

Revd & Dear Sir, 
I wrote you Some Time ago, and left it  at Egg harbour to go by the firſt Connecticut Veſsel;  what its fate will be I know not. I now write  again, not knowing of any direct Opportunity,  but determining ^to imbrace^ the firſt & beſt that offers.  I inform'd you of the Murder of two Indian Women  in this Pr[gap: tear][guess: o]vince, by a Couple of Stragling Stran=  gers, — of ^thier^ Apprehenſion, and Exeution at Bur=  lington, the firſt of Aug. ult. This I did that  it might communicated to the remote Indi=  ans, who will doubtleſs hear of the Murder, and  ought to be enformd of the Murderers being  brought to Justice. You will doubtleſs, thro'  S.r William Johnſon, or otherwiſe have Oppor=  tunity to do it.
Since my laſt I receiv'd a Letter from the  Revd D.r Aliſon, the Contents of which I ſhall  give you, and they are as follows.
"Revd & Dr S.r 
"I take this Opportunity to introduce to your  "Acquaintance the Rev.d Mr John G. Kals, a Minis= "ter of the Dutch reform'd Churches. He is a Gentle= "man of Piety & Learning, & zealous to promote the  "Kingdom of Chriſt, & well qualified many Ways to   Serve  ^[bottom]Letter from M.r Jn.o Brainerd^  ^[bottom]Sep.t 16. 1766,—abo.t^  ^[bottom]M.r Kalls^   
"Serve God, & to do Service in the Church if a Door  "of uſefulneſs were opened. He underſtands Hebrew,  "Chaldaic &c beyond any that I know on the Continent,  "and might be of great Service to teach Candi= "dates for the Ministry to read the Bible in Hebrew.  "I lament that we are ſo careleſs how we teach Divi= "nity, and particularly to make our Students migh= "ty in the Scriptures, & I am amazed that in the  "Coleges of Princeton ^&^ Philad.a this is neglected or ra= "ther deſpiſed for this Gentleman c[gap: tear][guess: an] teach it to  "great Perfection, and is willing to teach it on any  "terms, ſo as he can have but food & Raiment &  "our neglect of what is in our Power will be chargd  "to our Account. He has heard of Mr Wheelock's  "unwearied Endeavours to convert the Indians, &  "would think himſelf greatly honour'd could he  "be any Way uſeful in this great Work. I ad= "viſed him firſt to viſit & converſe with you, & to  "Stay Some Days & viſit the Indians in their Houſes,  "to See them attend Worſhip, and how the Children  "learn: & poſsibly from thence he might form a bet= "ter Judgement how he is qualified to do any thing  "in this great Work. he is poor, but very frugal;  "what regard you ſhow to him I ſhall account as  "a favour done to   Revd Sir,   your &c" — —
At the Same Time I receiv'd the following from  the Revd M.r Ewing.
"As Mr Kalls Showed me the in= cloſd 
" Letter from Dr Aliſon before the Sealing of it,  "I can say from my own Knowledge that what he relates  "of that Gentleman I can heartily Subſcribe. I would only  "add that Such was his Zeal to Spread the Gospel a= "mong the benighted Heathen that he voluntarily under= "took a Voyage to Surinam with proper Teſtimontials  "from the Synod of Holland & Claſsis of Amſterdam. But left  "it, when he found that there was no effectual Door open'd for  "him in that Place. His heart is [illegible][guess: So much] Set upon this  "Work that he has wrote a large Quarto Vol. upon the Sub= "ject in Low Dutch as a Teſtimony to the World of his  "Deſire to contribute to So good a Cauſe, in hopes that Some  "might be excited thereby to engage in the arduous & Selfde= "nying Work. If you have need of Such Aſsiſtance as he can  "give, I doubt not but he would be very glad of an  "Opportunity of being employd in any Way that you may  "think will have the beſt Tendancy to promote your truly  "benevolent Deſigns both to the Indians & white People  "in your wide, extended Dioſecſe.   Revd Sir,   your &c" —
M.r Kals accordingly tarrid here near a Week,  preachd twice attended the School ſome & viſitd at  ſome of the Indian Houſes.. He is a Man of about  65 Years of Age, a great Linguiſt [gap: worn_edge][guess: and] a [gap: worn_edge][guess: c]lose Student.  He tells me he can make uſe of 16 Languages viz  Latin, Greek Hebrew, Chaldea, Syriac, Arabic Ethiopi[gap: worn_edge]  Parſie, German, Low Dutch, French, Spaniſh, Italian  Turkiſh, Ruſsian & Engliſh. The laſt of theſe he Seems  to be well acquainted with, but does not Speak  plain, which renders it Somwhat laborious to con= verſe with him. This I apperehend to be the great=   eſt 
eſt Difficulty in his Way of Inſtructing, eſpe= cially in ſuch a School as yours. I have  a good deal of Reaſon to think him well  capable of Inſtructing in other Branches of  Learning beſides the Languages, [illegible]eſpecially Di=  vinity, & that he would be very acurate there=  in, but his want of Speaking the Engliſh  well is a great Difficulty. I thought it my  Duty to write, as I know him to be in many Re= ſpect[gap: worn_edge][guess: s] Qualified to do Service in the teaching  Way; yet I am not without Some Secret Fears  he wont Suit you, as it is ſomewhat Difficult  to underſtand him, and muſt be much more  So for thoſe that have not [illegible]the Engliſh Tongue  perfectly. But that his Talents might not  be buried, and that your School (if it may be)  may receive Help & Benefit I have written:  And now commit the Matter to the Diſpoſal of Pro=  vidence. This Gentleman at preſent reſides in  Philadelphia.
I See by the laſt Paper that our Friends M.r  Whitaker & M[gap: worn_edge][guess: r] Occum collected upward of 133 £ at  the Rev.d Mr Brewers Chh in Stepney. May Heaven  ſend them Prosperity every where, and make your  School a Bleſsing to the [illegible] Posterty. I long  to hear from you.
My beſt Regards to Wheelock (in which my  Wife very heartily Joins tho' unknown).  and accept the Same from,   
Rev.d Hon.d Sir; your most affectionate John Brainerd 
[left]P'S If you Should entertain any thoughts of employing this Gentleman it might be well to enquire further  I had no Acquaitance with him till t'other Day. Mr William Tennent might be a proper Perſon. — —