Samson Occom, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1771 July 24

ms-number771424

abstractOccom notes his disinclination to go into the wilderness, and complains bitterly of having been used as an agent and a curiosity in England to collect money for the college. He points out that there are no Indians at the school at present (except "two or three Mollatoes") and that this confirms his suspicion that Wheelock was scheming all along to use the charity for whites.

paperLarge sheet is folded into four pages. There is repair tape along all the outside edges of paper; otherwise the paper is in good condition.

inkInk is very light, yet bleeds heavily through the paper.

noteworthyThe trailer and text added to the left margin of one verso are in Wheelock’s hand.

signatureLetter is signed twice, once in full, once with initials.

EventsFundraising Tour of Great Britain

  Revd Sir 
Yours of Janr 22: I receivd but  a few Days ago, wherein You Speak of mu^c^h  Sorrow on my account, I am obliged to you  So far as it is agreable to god, You Seem to think  that it is a sort of Reproof from God, that I was  Left to Stray, for my Staying at Home so much,  But I don’t think with You, — God woud Certain ly gave me Strenght Sufficient to go Such Long  Journeis, but I han’t been able to Ride far  Now two whole Years, and I have been Con‐ fin’d to my Houſe good Deal this Spring, I am  greatly Exerciſ’d with my old Pains — As to my Pre‐ ſent Standing with the Indians, I need not Say  more than this, I am as well, if not better recei^vd^  by them than ever, if I woud only Comply with  their Deſire, the Indians ^at^ Mohegan, groton,  Nahanteck, Stonington, and even at Charles town in general woud put themſelves un‐ der my Inſtructions — as to my [illegible] being  under a Miſtake about my and Davids going  into the wilderneſs I am not, I woud have gone  up and David too, the Spring after I got Home  from England, but you Said, you had no  money to AſSiſt me with, and You yourſelf Diſ‐ couragd David from going, — Indeed I have  always Declin’d to remove my Family into  the wilderneſs, but David woud have gone up  to Settle there — had he a proper Encourage‐ ment he woud go now — but he will not go  for what you offer — he has Some thoughts of  offering his Service to the Comiſsrs of Boſton to go  into the wilderneſs, if they woud give him £30 Lawf
per Am he woud go into the wilderneſs with his Family  to Settle — I am very Jealous that inſtead of Your Seme‐ nary Becoming alma Mater, She will be too alba  mater to Suckle the Tawnees, for She is already a Dorn’d up too much like the Popiſh Virgin Mary  She’ll be Naturally aſham’d to Suckle the Tawnees  for She is already equal in Power Honor and Autho rity to and any College in Europe, I think your  College has too much wordly Grandure for the Poor  Indians they’ll never have much benefet of it, — In  So Saying I Speak the general Sentiment of Indians  and Engliſh too in theſe parts; ^a.^ so many of your Miſsi onaries and School maſters and Indian Scholars  Leaving You and Your Service Confirms me in this  opinion, — ^b^ Your having So many white Scholars  and So few or no Indian Scholars, gives me great  Diſcouragement — I verily thought once that your  Inſtitution was Indtended Purely for the poor Indians  with this thought I Chearfully Ventur’d my Body &  Soul, left my Country my poor Young Family  all my Friends and Relations, to Sail over the  Boiſterous Seas to England, to help forward your  School, Hoping, that it may be a laſting Bene‐ fet to my poor Tawnee Brethren, with this View  I went a Volunteer — I was quite willing to  become a Gazing stock, Yea Even a Laughing  Stock, in Strange Countries to Promote your  Cauſe — we Loudly Proclaimd before Multitudes  of People from Place to Place, that there was a  moſt glorious Proſpect of Spreading the goſpel  of the Lord Jeſus to the furthereſt Savage Nations  in the wilderneſs, thro’ your Inſtitution, we told  them that there were So many Miſsionaries &  So many Schoolmaſters already Sent out, and  a greater Number woud Soon follow
^[left]a: N.B. none have left me ſince I got a Charter. b. I ha’ no white Charity Scholars but such as ^are^ [illegible]fittg for a miſsion^
But when we got Home behold all the glory had decayd  and now I am afr’aid, we Shall ^be^ Deem’d as Liars and  Deceivers in Europe, unleſs you gather Indians  quickly to your College, in great Numbers and  not to have So many Whites in the Charity, — I under ſtand you have no Indians at Preſent except two or  three Mollatoes — — this I think is quite Contrary to  the Minds of the Donors, we told them, that we were  Beging for poor Miſerable Indians, — as for my part  I went, purely for the poor Indians, and I Should be as  ready as ever to promote your School according to my  poor Abilities ^if^ I coud be Convinc’d by ocular Demon‐ ſtration, that your pure Intention is to help, the poor  help^leſs^ Indians, but as long as you have no Indians,  I am full of Doubts, — Your writing to Esqr Thornton  to my Diſadvantage and not ^one^ word in my favour,  gave me to think, that your Indian Scholars had  reaſon to with Draw from You, and Your Miſsio naries and Schol, Maſters too, the opinion of many  white People about here is that You have been  Scheeming altogather, and that it was a Po[illegible]llicy to  Send me over to England, for (Say they) now  they don’t Care any^thing^ ab^o^ut you, You have anſwerd  their Ends, now you may Sink or Swim it is all  one to them, this makes me think of what that  great man of god Said to me, Mr Whitefield, juſt  before I left England in the ^hearing of^ Some gentlemen —  ah, Says he, [illegible]You have been a fine Tool to get  Money for them, but when you get home, they  won’t Regard you the’ll S[illegible][guess: e]t you a Drift, —  I am ready to believe it Now — I am going to Say  Some thing further, which is very Diſagreeable  Modiſty woud forbid me, but I am Conſtraind  So to write, — Many Gentlemen in England
and in this Country too, Say, if ^you^ had not this  Indian Bait, you woud not Collected a quarter  of the Money you did, one gentleman in Parti cular in England Said to me, if ^he^ hadn’t Seen  my face he woudn’t have given [illegible][guess: ye] happence  but now I have £50 freely — This one Conſideration  gives me great Quietneſs, I think I went to En‐  gland with Honeſt Heart, I think I have dont  that which I think was my Duty to Do — I mig^ht^  write more but I have no time, — I wiſh I  coud give you one viſit, to have a ful talk  but you got so ^far^ up, I Shall never be able —  if I am under any Miſtake, Pleaſe to enlight en me, — I am better in Health than I’ve been  and my Family is well thro’ Divine Favour  Pleaſe to ^give^ my Compts to all under your Care  and Accept Duty from
Your moſt unworthy  Servt   Samſon Occom 
PS I have not wrote this Sort to any one  in England, I Chuſe to let you know my  mind firſt  SO
From M.r Occom  July 23. 1771 
Loading...