Theophilus Chamberlain, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1766 October 3


abstractChamberlain relates the progress, or lack thereof, of his mission among the Mohawks.

handwritingHandwriting is small and somewhat crowded, yet mostly formal and clear. Letter case, especially with regard to the letters S and D, is frequently difficult to discern.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good condition, with light staining and wear, and light-to-moderate creasing. The central vertical crease has been reinforced.


noteworthyThere is a red-pencil mark on two recto.

  Rvd and worthy Sir 
It cant be more diſagreable to you to read than it is to  me to see, that the preſent state of our affairs among this  Tribe of Indians is what it truly is. Chriſtanity, the grand  Cauſe which we all hope to be found advancing, is, as far  as I can Judge Disſpiſd and Contemnd by theſe Mohawks.  meetings upon the sabbath are so neglected, as that we  can frequently get togeather at this Caſtle not above two  or three men and half a dozzen Women, and thoſe not  till one or two o clock in the after Noon, and at fort Hunter   tis but little better. and the Schools are so litely eſteemd as  that not a Dozen Children in the whole ever attend school  at this Caſtle, and at fort Hunter tis much worſe. I have  uſd my utmoſt Indeavour to remidy theſe Defects; but all  with the united indeavours of the School-Maſters, both  Engliſh and Indians ([illegible]all of which; all of which, I realy  think exert their whole skill and Prudence), proves quite  inaffectual. I have on several occaſions latley, when  speaking of the neceſaty and importance of being Chriſtains  said the moſt moving things I was capable of saying.  have indeavourd to excite in them a Senſe of the Wrath of  God, from the Terrors of the Law, and of his goodneſs from  the goſple of the Glorious Emanuel; but God is not pleaſd  effectualy to touch their hearts. The Sabbath before laſt,  preachd at fort Hunter, to belween thirty and forty Perſons  in the moſt plain and pethatic manner I could indeavour  ing to let their danger before them in some faint  Reſemblance of its Terror; and their Remidy in some of
its saving glory. The[illegible][guess: re] truly appeard more seriouſneſs  in attending to preaching than uſual. After worſhip concluded  Spoke to the men Reſpecting the Schools as I understood  theirs was sunk low. told them the conditions upon which  the Schoolmasters was left, the ingratitude of their ne‐ glecting under their circumstances to fulfill their Conditions;  and that the Schoolmasters was forfited by that neglect, and must  be despised, and left to themselves unleſs they speedily  reformed. I then desired them to get all together their  whole Castle & discourſe on theſe things, open their minds  to one another, and conclude with themselfs wether they  would finally reject, Christanity, or would receive instruc‐ tions themselfs & have their children Learnt. with this  request they promiſed to comply, & to inform me of the re‐ sult the next time they held an oppertunity. after we left  the meeting Houſe, several of the men came to me. told  me they never heard such preaching as they had that day.  it gave them pleaſure ^they said^ to hear the gospel preached so plain,  and they thought all but Fools must take pleaſure in hear‐ ing Gods news. In all this they appeared Serious and seem’d  to speak the Sentiments of their hearts. It at once revived  my drooping ^heart^. & at once I began to feed on thoughts that the  long wished for Day was approaching when we might see  the Glorious Gosple of the son of God propagated by  Divine Energy among the Indians in thoſe parts. I  had before this determined to return to new england  this fall; and ^as^ I thought my health would not allow of my  going on a miſion to some remote Tribes, I had deter‐ mined to have asked a Dismision. but I now came to
a concluſion to stay at all adventures thro the Winter,  if ^thoſe ^ [illegible][guess: theſe] favourable simptoms should continue to give hopes  of Succeſs. I thot I well know that my constitution was  week enough to endure the fatigue of riding backwards  & forwards between 30 & 40 Miles to Preach & take care  of Schools, yet the thoughts of what I should be obliged  to suffer by this reſolution vanised into nothing, when I  thought of succeeding in my miſion to the happineſs  of theſe benighted heathen, & the satisfaction of Christian  Freinds. But I cant expreſs how mortifying it was to  me, when, in leſs than a fortnite after this hopful Prospect  I heard ^that^ the school was intirely thrown up and at fort ^Hunter^  ^[left]&, ^ Calvin wholly out of employment. and now the dis agreeable reflection of standing by a uſeleſs spectator of  that unlimited wickedneſs, which I am no way Ins‐ trumental of restra^in^ing, & of People going unpreven ‐ted from before my Eyes to certain destruction returns  full upon me; I am fully convinced it is not my  Duty to tarry long in this Situation. theſe People  have two Ministers who come once or twice a Year  gives them the sacrament of the Lords supper; aſsures  them their sins are pardoned, and leave ^them^ to practice wick‐ ‐edneſs in Perfect Security. And so long as this Dia‐ bolical Practice (forgive the Boldneſs) is continued it  will doubtleſs be the Judgment that will harden  theſe People for Destruction. should their be no farthe[gap: worn_edge][guess: r]  good appearance among the Indians, nor any directi^on^  from you (which I beg of you to send if Possible), I shall  set out on my return the begining of november
I heard by a Letter from Rd Mr Kirtland that he was well that  all things went on well, & he hoped some succeſs. But that  Johnſon is not yet settled in his school at Old Onoida  where John Mohawk Kept last Summer. Mr Johnſons horſ[gap: worn_edge][guess: e]  was stole from a Pasture last Saturday evening. he sat  out in quest of her on sunday & is not yet returned.  I have spent part of 3 Days in a Journey after her but to no  Purpoſe unleſs she is found by the advertizements I ordered  up. You deſire sir my account, I can only say it will by  the Last of this ^month^ be more than 20£. I should not have been  so much in Debt, had not I had an interpreter to hire ^at^ 20/  per week; and Jacob left unexpectedly on my hands, which,  together with my Debts being somthing greater in the  Spring than I expected, was like to run myself in Debt  in spite of all what I could do my Prudence & makinng  myself a perfect Begg^er^ most of the summer. and to ad to my  miſfortune I S[illegible][guess: w]oped my mare becauſe she pestured me a little  with running off; for a Horſe, which soon got so lame, that I cant  ride him & shall near looſe him. I cant procure a pacing Jade  here which will anſwer my turn under 10£. or 11£. Lawful Money  to pay which, & my Interpreter, & settle my other accompts for  myself & Jacob Fowler, & bringing me home I think I shall  want about 20 Pounds. Give my Duty to Madam and proper  Reſpects to all the family and School, and know
Rvd Sir I Remain  your unworthy yet obediant  Servant. T. Chamberlain
To Rvd Mr Wheelock