Joseph Johnson, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1768, May 2


abstractJohnson writes of his progress among the Oneidas, and that the more distant tribes visited by Ralph Wheelock do not seem anxious for missionaries. He also mentions various Moor's students.

handwritingHandwriting is small, though mostly clear and legible.

paperOne large sheet folded in half to make four pages is in fair condition, with moderate creasing, staining and wear. A large tear on two recto/verso appears to result in no loss of text.


noteworthyThe identity of Hannah's brother, mentioned on one recto, is uncertain, and so he has been left untagged. However, he is possibly William. On two verso, an editor, likely 19th-century, has written "IndMis, +" below the trailer. This note has not been included in the transcription.

signatureThe signature is abbreviated after the body of the letter, yet complete after postscript.

   Revd and Hond Doct.r  
I take this Opportunity to Enform you  that by the ^kind and^ Indulge^n^t providence of God I am well and would  hope that by the ſame goodneſs you ſtill Enjoy your Valuble   Health. — I have, not as yet heard any News from Onondage  about what they have determined in Embracing the Goſpel  but the Other day Couple of young Women came from there and  Enformed us that no man-kind was at home, not So much as the  great man; but were all gone a hunting. it looks very diſcourage‐ ‐ing at preſent amongſt the Back‐nations I fear that they are  too much overcome by french principles:([illegible][guess: or] reather fast in the divils   cluches) yet I wonder not, that they dont Embrace the Goſpel — they  have ſuch good Examples from the Germans or Dutch and Chuſe  to go to heaven in that way in which they can gratify their vicious  and deviliſh Inclinations. They hear that they muſt not get drunk  if they Embrace the Goſple which your ſon offered to them; which gos  goes hard againſt their deep Rooted Appetites but if they continue  as they are, they can get drunk and practiſe all manner of Evil  and at laſt Expe^c^t to Enter the long houſe which the call heaven  Some where towards the ſouth, where the will be free f[illegible]rom all pain  and have nothing to Exerciſe their minds — this is the Heaven  which the french friers have promiſed them. the Indians in  general ſay that it is vain and talk very discourageing and ſay  that you need not look for them no more; their be haviour Shews Enough  that they have Refuſed.  I have Begun my ſchool the laſt week, and the Onidasſ [illegible: [guess: ſeem]]  Seem very much to have their minds ſhuttered and in a Ruffel.  the great men who are hounoured with the care over the Indians  I fear have greatly Erred in ſome things and let too much of their  Cloven foot appear.  I had propoſed coming down next week (but nNathan comes in  my Room) and bring down Hannah & Catarine to your ſchool  and are Obliged to come before [illegible]the time your ſon appointd  and for theſe Reaſons. 1.t that they are quite Uneaſy to come  down to your ſchool aſ ſoon as poſsible and could by no  means wait till Thomas and the reſt of the Indians came down  2.d is that they have ſuſpected ſome Danger that they cant wait  and that is, they are affraid of being Bewitched if the ſtay —  and they ſay if they dont come down to your ſchool they  muſt go ſome where Elſe. hannah, brother and ſeveral others are  thretned, like w[illegible]iſe the queen, and I was adviſed to go of with them  S[illegible]oon as could be, but the state of things at preſent I thought I  Would not ^Suffer^ for which Reaſon Nathan comes down. and other reaſons  his defect & Uncapableneſs of carriing on the buſsineſs which he  is intruſted with. and many other which he can better acquaint than  I can.   
We Expect one of the French Miniſters here this ſeaſon —  for which Reaſon I dont love to leave the Indians — —  I have nothing ſtrange to Acquaint you at preſent I ſhall  go with the Indians next week to their [illegible][guess: hunt] (as all My ſcholars  will go) I have only five Scholars at priſent and the Oldeſt is 10  years of age hardly worth ſtaying for. but according to your Sons  orders I Stay with them; I dont know when I ſhall come down  to make a ſhort vizit; I Seem to be Intirely Content to be —  diſpoſed of as Seems beſt in your ſight. & to be wholly at your —  diſpoſal. I fare very well at preſent plenty of pideons in our woods.  I want to hear from you My Kind Benefactor (I have^have^ been  much troubled in dreams concerning you of late. I fear you are  not well. but this is too much of my Indian principles.) I feel  Sorry about ſomethings that I did neglect when I was down  and have laid with great wait upon my mind Ever ſince;  I fear I did not do my duty in not hearing your kind advice  of binding my ſelf to be the LLords however by Gods Grace  Aſsisting me I Endeavour to keep my ſelf Uproted from the  world and make his word my Rule of Life. ——  no more at preſent, but I would deſire humbly to recommend  my ſelf to your day ly prayers that he would never ſuffer me to  Act or do any thing that will at all diſgrace the Cauſe or the  Religion of Chriſt. & to keep me humble, keep me from pride  and all high thoughts of my ſelf.   
is the day ly prayer of your  poor pupil and Humble ſervant.    Joſph Johnſon.   Kanoarohare May 2.d    AD 1768. — 
PS. pleaſe ſir to over look my haſt,  and the many Blunders which I Soppoſe  are in this paper. I have no time to write  it over or correct it. dont Expoſe it. ſo  I remain your Humble ſervant   Joſeph Johnſon.  ^[below]To —^   ^[below]Mr Eleazar Wheelock D.D.^   
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From Jos: Johnson   May 2.d 1768   
To. —   The Revd Doctr Wheelock.   In.   New-Eng-land  
[left]Pr favour of}  Nathan Clap}