Skip to main content
 Previous Next
  • Zoom In (+)
  • Zoom Out (-)
  • Rotate CW (r)
  • Rotate CCW (R)
  • Overview (h)
Courtenay Connell, letter, to Henry Mayo, 1766 December 2

ms-number: 766652.4

abstract: Connell writes an indignant letter reproving Mayo for attacks on Whitaker and Occom.

handwriting: Hand is small and stylized, yet formal and clear. The trailer appears to be in Whitaker's hand.

paper: Large sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good condition, with light staining and wear, and light-to-moderate creasing.

ink: Black-brown ink is somewhat faded.

noteworthy: As is noted in the trailer, this document is a copy. Persons whose names are illegible have not been tagged.

events: Fundraising Tour of Great Britain

I am sorry tho' not surprized, to see & hear the rage
and ill-will wth which you persecute even to strange, or at least
distant places, those whom it is reasonable to think came on a
laudable desighn, even their enemies being judges: that it might
not be well applied, was a base insinuation; how much like a
stab in the Dark, I leave you to judge, as alas how near the term
"money hunters" suits M:r M. the heavy taxes do not I suppose
hurt you, neither are you among the starving ministers: how much
you contribute to the Support of the destitute, you best know,
but for my part, excuse freedom I beleive but little, tho' I hope none
will repent as you fear, of having given to this cause. Envy & Pride
seem to be the dictators, & that too plainly, I am Sorry to See it; &
now you complain of abuse pray who began? consider your letter
to M:r Peirce, which you desir'd might be shew'd; was it not with
an invidious intent? what ridicule did it contain! how was
it calculated to raise prejudices in sincere minds & degrade persons
may I not Say of better quallifications than M:r M? Remember He that
exalteth himself shall be abased, who think you has more reason
to fear it than M.r M, I Can't help thinking on the Illiterite &
unapproved brethren
pray who made you litterate? & wth what face
can you talk so? If Charity had been so cold you never woud have
talked so, to be mean or educated on charity is no disgrace; but for
but for such to be proud & overbearing to their betters wt is it,? or what
is it not? It is too common but not always the case of upstarts, a
Charecter which I never Remember to have heard M:r Whitaker give
M:r M. it was sent indeed in a letter from a Gentleman at London
but no news to people in plymoth, you have accused M:r [illegible: [guess: Me]]nds of
Slandering you, being a stranger; if a Stranger, pray why did Mr M
Slander him so many Years ago at Crumble paſsage & others; one
indeed who you Said was your Spiritual Father, I wish it may be so,
how did you endevour to blacken the Charecter of persons of Piety
& usefullneſs, & in every respect so much your Superiour to M.r M that
he is not worthy to be named with them, & that to me, who you might
Suppose might spread it abroad, & not be known from whence it came
how did you revile even to M.r Gibbs & me; how tauntingly did you
behave, have not even I heard obſcenity indeed & you meant no harm
did you? is this the Charecter of a Minister! let the Name be erased or
or better used, I wou'd desire the latter. Who pray when a friend was
willing to hear M.r Whitefeild banter'd & got him to an Inn on a Sunday over
to drink punch? who pray told a Young Gentlemen that a Minister shou'd
be conversant with Bad houses & experimentally know the smart of it
to be able to well to Preach against it! & there was no harm meant by it
May it be so: but how well those things become the Charecter of a
Minister let an impartial person Judge. I wish the bad may mend & the
Proud & over-bearing become humble; but if not they shall be humbled
you know I hate diſsimulation & flattery, I wou'd speak plainly & you
know, I 'Speak truely. Go no farther act not the part of Joab & Complain
of others smiting secretly & Malliciously, Justice at last found out even
the General of Israels Army; therefore be wise, lay your hand on your
mouth & charge not the innocent & worthy. I realy wish you well in every
right way & shou'd be glad of your mending what is wrong. what I have
omitted you may add, & not think me your enimy for telling you
the truth, which I hope always will be done by
Courtenay Connell
A Coppy of a
Letter from Courtney
Decr 2. 1766

The capital and largest city of the United Kingdom, London is located in the southeastern region of England along the Thames River. The outpost that would become London originated as a military storage post for the Romans when they invaded Britain in the year 43. It soon developed as a trading center and financial hub for Roman Britain. During a revolt against the Romans in 61, London was burned to the ground; the rebuilt town appeared in Tacitus’s Annals as Londinium. With the decline of the Roman Empire in the 4th century, Londinium became a Saxon trading town. Following the Norman Conquest, London retained its central political and commercial importance. In the 14th century, under Edward II, Westminster became an administrative center and London became the capital of England. In the early 18th century, London was an important hub for evangelical Christianity and home to many influential people, like the charismatic Anglican minister, George Whitefield, who were sympathetic to Wheelock’s missionary endeavors. Occom arrived in London in February 1766 on his fundraising tour for Wheelock’s school and preached his first sermon at Whitefield’s Tabernacle. London would be Occom’s home base for the next two years, as he and Whitaker travelled throughout England and Scotland. Occom made many friends in London who would continue to support him after his break with Wheelock and the School. By the late 18th century, London had replaced Amsterdam as the center of world commerce, a role it would maintain until 1914.

Crumble Passage
Connell, Courtenay
Mayo, Henry
Whitefield, George

George Whitefield, the English itinerant preacher who helped spark the Great Awakening, was an essential supporter of Eleazar Wheelock’s project. Whitefield studied at Pembroke College, Oxford, where he met the pioneers of Methodism, John and Charles Wesley. He was ordained in 1736, and he made the first of his seven trips to America two years later. While abroad in 1740, Whitefield founded an orphanage in Georgia, and went on a preaching tour during which he met Wheelock and spread ideals that prompted the Great Awakening. Although Whitefield was ordained in the Church of England, his enthusiastic preaching style and charismatic personality made him a controversial figure, and traditional clergyman on both sides of the Atlantic censured him. Nonetheless, he continued to be an important contact and friend of Wheelock’s, and his dedication to Wheelock’s vision was evident. He contributed money to the cause, secured various other funders, and donated an eighty-pound prayer bell to the school. More importantly, Whitefield not only suggested to Wheelock the idea of a fundraising tour in Great Britain, he hosted Occom and Whitaker shortly after they arrived in England, provided a house for them to reside in for the remainder of their tour, and introduced the pair to influential figures such as William Legge, the Earl of Dartmouth. Whitefield tabernacle’s was the setting of Occom’s first sermon in England on February 16, 1766, and many believe that Whitefield wrote the introduction to a pamphlet printed in London during the campaign (although he was not credited). Whitefield continued to be involved in Wheelock’s work until he died in Newburyport, MA in September of 1770.

Whitaker, Nathaniel

Nathaniel Whitaker was an outspoken Presbyterian minister with a long and wide-ranging career. Between his ordination in 1755 and his death in 1795, Whitaker ministered to five different congregations. His longest tenure was at Chelsea, CT (near Norwich), from 1761-1769, during which he joined Occom on his two-and-a-half-year fundraising tour of Britain. While in Chelsea, Whitaker was very involved in Wheelock's project. The two engaged in frequent correspondence, and Whitaker served on Eleazar Wheelock's Board of Correspondents in Connecticut, as well as on the Board of Trustees of Moor's Indian Charity School. At one time, he was Wheelock's presumed successor, but Dartmouth's Trustees demanded that Wheelock appoint another. Wheelock, in part due to his strongly-held belief that Native Americans were childlike and rash, was convinced that Occom needed an Anglo-American supervisor on his fundraising tour. After several candidates turned down the job, Wheelock selected Whitaker. He proved to be a poor choice; he was, by many accounts, a difficult man to get along with, and many of Wheelock’s British allies, including George Whitefield and the English Trust (the organization that took control of the money Occom raised in England) preferred to deal with Occom, although Whitaker insisted on handling the tour’s logistics. Furthermore, in Britain, Occom was the obvious star of the tour, and it was unclear to many why Whitaker asserted himself so prominently. Whitaker’s poor decisions seriously alienated the English Trust and increased their suspicion of Wheelock’s later dealings and treatment of Occom. He gave the English Trust the impression that they would have control over money raised in Scotland (which was in fact lodged with the parent organization of the SSPCK), and he was the executor of the “Eells Affair,” a plan initiated by the CT Board of the SSPCK to bring the money that Occom and Whitaker raised back to the colonies by investing it in trade goods and selling them at a profit (Eells was one of the merchants who was to help with the resale of goods). The English Trust learned about the plan by reading letters that Whitaker had given them permission to open in his absence, and were immediately shocked. The wording of certain letters made it appear that only a percentage of the profit from the resale of the goods would go towards Moor’s Indian Charity School, but beyond that detail, the English Trust was scandalized at the thought of money raised for charity being invested in trade. The English Trust blamed Whitaker entirely for these affairs, and issued specific instructions for Occom to notarize all documents requiring Whitaker’s signature. In short, they wanted Occom to supervise Whitaker, when Wheelock had envisioned the opposite relationship (both Occom and Whitaker seem to have ignored their instructions, preferring to have as little contact with one another as possible). In 1769, a year after his return to Connecticut in 1768, Whitaker found himself dismissed by his Chelsea congregation (likely because he had spent two and a half years away from them). He went on to serve several more congregations before his death in 1795. Whitaker was an outspoken Whig, and during the Revolution he published several pamphlets on his political opinions.

Fundraising Tour of Great Britain
After many months of planning and shifting personnel, Occom, accompanied by the minister Nathaniel Whitaker, sets sail in December 1765 for a two-and-a-half year tour of England and Scotland in order to solicit contributions to Wheelock’s Indian Charity School and missionary efforts. Introduced to aristocrats and prominent clergy by the minister George Whitefield, Occom preaches many sermons, travels widely, and collects a large sum of money.
HomeCourtenay Connell, letter, to Henry Mayo, 1766 December 2
 Text Only
 Text & Inline Image
 Text & Image Viewer
 Image Viewer Only