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