Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to the Trust in England, 20 June 1771



abstractWheelock writes to enumerate his reasons for obtaining an incorporation for his seminary. He also writes that the Society in Scotland will not reply to his letters regarding the funds in their hands; and that Occom, about whom Wheelock has heard rumours of drunkenness, has not replied to recent offers of missionary work.

handwritingFormal handwriting is clear and legible; it is not Wheelock’s. The signature, however, appears to be in Wheelock’s hand.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good condition, with light staining, creasing and wear.

noteworthyAn editor, likely 19th-century, has added the note "censure of Boston Board occum" to two verso. This note has not been included in the transcription.

EventsFundraising Tour of Great Britain

Much honourd Sirs — —
The last I have receiv’d from the honourable Truſt was of July 30th in answer to which I have wrote two Letters, the laſt was of Nov.r 27th and am aſsurd by one from M.r Savage that one (and I hope both) arriv’d safe —
I send this to the Care of M.r Patton inof Hartford in Connecticut, with orders to incloſe a short Narrative which I latly sent to (and hear has got thro’) the Preſs there; by which I flatter myself if my hon’d Pa‐ trons will give thimselves the Trouble to compare my Plan propoſ’d in my former Letters with my Procedure since, you will find I have inva‐ riably kept the Same object in view, and that there has been as cloſe & exact Conformity to it as could be expected amidst Scenes so various shifting and difficult as I have been called to paſs through, and I am confident had you been upon the Spot you would have approvd every Step I have taken unleſs it was my attempt to effect so great an affair, as settling here in this Willderneſs in so short a time, which the Event has Justified tho’) my Trials have been ^were^ very great —
As to an Incorporation every Body here knows the Neceſsity of it unleſs the Grants and Donations ^to this School^ had been made to me perſonally; and even then I and my Succeſsors should have been expoſ’d to a Thouſand Slan‐ ders and evil surmiſings: Witneſs the Loads of Reproach which dear Mr Whitefield sufferd in all theſe Collonies not withstanding his great Popularity extenſive acquaintance, and his having collected the moſt that was given by a personal application, and that only or chiefly in Money commited to his Truſt, and his Character at the same time supported by so many Persons of Repu‐ tation and Distinction throughout the Kingdom. Had there been 40000 Acres of Land given for that Purpoſe instead of Money and that, by Gentlemen sc^a^ttle^r^d thro’ the Country, none can reaſonably think that his Deſign could have surviv’d the Standers and Reproaches of his Enemies, or that any thing short of an In‐ corporation could have inspird sufficient Confidence, that the pious De‐ sign should never be perverted ^either^ by him or his Succeſsors — some ^[left]The Honourabe Trust^
Some of you my hon’d Sirs, have had a small specimen of the fruit of this Temper towards this Deſign, and that too from a reputable Board in Scotland Boston — and what abuſive Slanders and falſhoods they pri‐ vatly and with solemn Profeſsion of Conſcience towards God, transmited to their Constituents and this profeſsedly with a view to prevent the Succeſs of Doctor Whitakers Miſsion to England; Theſe Men are not alter’d beſure not for the better; I have repeatedly heard of the Boaſts of one of the chief of the[illegible]m “That they have now done the Buſineſs for Doctor Wheelock, in England, and that he knew it was done —
I have repeatedly wrote to Scotland respecting the Collection in the the Hands of the Society there, but have receivd no Anſwer — by the Favour, of a Friend I latly obtaind an Abſtract of a Letter from the Clerk of that Society, to one of their Board of Corrispondents in Boſton, wherein he writes them in the Name of the Society, in theſ[illegible]e words, “I am authorizd to in form you that they at present give M.r Kirtland [illegible]£50 [illegible]Sterling, and Mr Occum the other Miſsionary £20 Sterling — This the Society continue to allow and deſire it may [illegible][guess: continue to] be under the Management of your Board.” signed James Forrest Clerk of Soc.” — —
If they deſign this to be the Improvment of that Money agreeable to the Deſign of the Donors, you may judge as well as I whether it be under‐ standingly and wiſly bestow’d.— And to be quite plain I know of no other Reaſon; and in my heart believe there is no other Reaſon of their Enmity, and oppoſition to me and this Cauſe, than their Apprehenſion (and that not without some Reaſons) [illegible]that our Colleges are generally reputed to be corr‐ upt, and on that Account are fallen into general Disasteem, by the more religious Part of our Land, and that therefore the[illegible]ir [illegible] Eyes are (or like to be) generally turnd upon this Seminary for the Supply of the Ministry am‐ ong Engliſh as well as Indians — It is not my hon’d Sirs a Mote in the Eye that (Matt, 7.3) which they are offended at, but at the Eye itſelf, and nothing will content them ‘till that be put out as well as the mote, — Before I got a Charter the grand Objection was “He is alone and tis too much to trust any one man so far: if he should be honest his Succeſsors will not &c &c this Objection was too plauſible to be well refuted; but now that is removd by a Charter, yet their Enmity and Oppoſition still continues the same though that Weapon be taken away, and continue it will till God
give them an other view of things — nor have I any hope of Reconciliation with them till then — And if the Servants of the Lord should imbibe the Prejudice and turn against me, what a Caſe should I be in? But my Hope is in God alone. and I cannot be afraid,— I have seen a great sight the Buſh burning but not conſumed, the leaves all green and flou‐ riſhing while incir[illegible]cled with fire; and I dont believe their fire ever will or can conſume it — I have greatly rejoiceed in the Goodneſs of God, in honouring you to be emminently Instruments^al^, to honour Encourage & further this deſign, — and I would not be instrumental to dishonour you by for any worldly Conſideration what^so^ever, — and I pray God you may yet have the Satisfaction of and honour of seeing this Cauſe of the Re‐ deemer prosper in your Hands —
I have about 30 Labourers some finishing theſe Buildings in the plainest and cheapeſt Manner, — others clearing and seeding these Lands — others building a Saw mill, and grist Mill — my Expenſe is neceſsarily very great at preſent,— I have made it my Rule not to exceed what my little personal Estate will pay, in Caſe all my Friends should forsake me — that I may not have the Uneaſineſs and Reproach of wrong‐ ing my Labourers —
It is a time of great Scarcity of Proviſions in this new Country, occaſioned by the Worms and Drouth the last Summer,— all or the cheapeſt of my Bread and Meat for my numerous Family, is transported above an hundred Miles The preſent Crop looks very promiſing. I hope for plenty when that is ripe; I shall accompliſh the whole in the cheapeſt Manner I can —
M.r Occum was left last Summer to fall a second time into the Sin of Drunkenneſs in a public and very agravated Manner — In his Drunken fit he got into an affray, and fought with a Man of the Company, and got much bruiſed and wounded, in so much that he was confin’d & conceald in his Houſe for some time — The Report of this spread far and wide, the wound given to the Cauſe iswas great and it is yet bleeding — It is said that he humbles himself and walks softly — He sent to me laſt Winter deſiring I would put him into Buſineſs — I return’d him anſwer that if his moral Character was such that it might be done without Dishonour to the Cauſe, I would indeavour to introduce and support him on a Miſsion among the Onondagugas, which I had before repeatedly deſird him to accept, as the London Board in Boſton have the Care
Care of his Tribe, and all others on the Sea shore[illegible][guess: s], and had done what they suppoſ’d to be a supply for them,— He has yet made no Return, perhaps he may think that the Proviſion made for his Support by the Scotiſh Society, may suffice for his Support without the Fatigues of a Miſsion abroad —
I am impatient to hear from you and know whether my Doings are approv’d or not— as I am with greateſt Duty & Esteem Right Honourable, honorable, & worthy Sir’s
your moſt obedient & moſt humble Servt Eleazar Wheelock
To The Honorable Trust in England June 20th 1771