Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to John Thornton, 1772 May 23


abstractWheelock writes to Thornton regarding several matters, including Thornton's warnings about Wheelock’s son Ralph, and Thornton's offer to pay Wheelock’s debt. He gives news of Occom and other potential missionaries.

handwritingSmall, formal handwriting is not Wheelock's; it is clear and legible.

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

inkBlack-brown. On two verso, the ink has burned away the first word of the second line of the third paragraph.

noteworthyThis letter is marked “Copy.” Comments about Ralph Wheelock are very similar to those written to Thornton in manuscript 772523.

signatureThe signature is not Wheelock's.

  My dear & Hon:d ſir// 
Your very kind and refreshing favor of  Feb.y 28 came safe to hand the 16 Inst:t a few days after my  return from Connecticut. You write, dear ſir, like one who  really understands the things whereof you write: And I  verily believe you have learnt what in some measure what  walking with God & living upon God mean, & to know  many of the devices of our subtle enemy& ^and^ watchful adv= [illegible]versary, & the many ways we do or may give him ad= vantage against us, in these things I heartily join with  you & I long to come up sides with you in the experi= ence of them. But in nothing do you more testify  the sincerity & strength of brotherly Love & christain friend= ship than in that unresevedneſs with which you tell me  "you think my parental regard for my son Ralph, has  blinded my eyes to some misconduct of his;" but I  think dearſir, you ought to have gone further & hinted  (at least) some instance or instances, & not suffer me to be  an Eli. I cant so much as gueſs at an instance you  can mean. perhaps you was afraid it might fret a wound  that is just healed, but I aſsure you, you have no need to  be upon the reserve on that Acco:t I have been often tried  with suggestions and charges of this kind which have ori= ginated only from one who never could be perswaded to  refer the matter to any impartial decision. And I verily  believe, were you examine into that matter you would find  the matter ^Charge^ as groundleſs, as was the report that M.r K–d  was starving thro' my defect, while your hands & mine  were constantly open for his supply & nothing was wanting  but his accepting it at any time.
I have by no means been blind to his im= perfections, nor wanting in sorrow on that Acco:t & I hope I have  not failed of using utmost endeavours to cure them; but  ^[left]To Esq.r Thornton^  ^[left]May 23. 1772.^ 
I think I must in justice say, I know of no blot upon his  moral ^or religious^ Character. The most religious sort of people are his  closest and most intimate friends. But it is likely he  will not stand in the way of any long, he has been almost  two years on the verge of Eternity, and is now given over, & his  case pronounced incurable by Physicians. He has looked upon  such treatment to be hard & unchristain and has greatly longed &  earnestly plead & intreated to be informed what he has done to de= serve it from man, but never has obtained it to this day. I ask  your prayers for him that the severe dis[illegible]ciplin he has been so  long held under from the hand of God, may become effectual to  purge away his Droſs &c.
I am much obliged to you for your Extract  from D.r Erskine's Letter — M.r K.d is doubtleſs much im= posed upon. He told me on his return from Boston last  Octb.r that he knew nothing of his having received part of his  support from the Scotish Society nor did he understand him= self to be in any Connection with them. to the same purpose  he told others.
There has been I hear a Clamor in Boston  that this school is or will soon be in episcopal hands, &  the principal reason I have heard aſsign'd as the ground of  their confidence that it will be so, has been because a num= ber of the honble Trust in England are of the denomination;  But these I imagine are only conjectures of men of a party  spirit, who measure all others by thems^e^llves. I trust the  providence of God will refute all such Calumnies in due  time.
Meſs.rs Maccluer & Frisbie were seperated to the  sacred ministry by solemn fasting & prayer, with laying on  hands of the Presbytery, in this place, last Wednesday. I  am now waiting for advice from the board of Correspondents  in New Jersie, that they have provided a Misionary & Inter preters to accompany them, which I expect by a special  post on which advice these young men expect to set out on  a Journey of about 800 miles.
I wrote you la Hasty line from Hartford some  weeks ago, in which I informed you of a great & glorious work 
of God's grace at New Jersie College, a Seminary which  God has honor'd with such seasons from time to time, above  any on the Continent.
Your kind offer, good ſir, to discharge  my personal debts for me, has reached my very  heart, how great is that goodneſs that has honor'd  you with ability & a will to do it. I pray the Lord  to reward you, & he will not be forgetful to do it. I thank­ fully accept it, & will draw on you for it, as soon as  I can know what my Acco.ts are.
M.r Occom is near 200 Miles from me, Mohe= gan (in which he lives) is under the care of the London Board in Bos­ ton who imploy the neighbouring ministers as their miſsionaries  to preach Lectures to them & other parties of Indians on the  Sea Shore. If I should encourage M.r Occom to do any  thing, as a Minister in pay, it would not fail to give  great offence.
By the favor of a friend I was favor'd  served with a Copy of a vote of the Society in Scotland, dated  Edenb.r Jan.y 28. 1771 wherein they continue £50 to M.r  Kirkland & grant £20 to M.r Occom thro' the hands of their  board in Boston; which I hear they neglect to pay & I  don't think they ever will.
When I was in Connecticut I had a good Acco:t  of his Character, & Conduct of late, I shall be glad to serve  him in any thing ^with^in my power. I wish with all  my heart he was disposed to take a long tour to a  remote tribe near Muskingum to which these young  men are appointed, and a Tribe which speaks his  Language.  I will write him & inform him of your Concern  for him, & friendly thoughts towards him, & will propose to  him his accepting such a miſsion.
Governor Wentworth wrote me some months ago  that he had sent by a veſsel for 12 Indian Boys for this  School from S.t John's &c. & that he thought probable he  should obtain them. I have yet heard nothing of the  succeſs of this attempt.
M.r Ripley a young preacher,  one of my Pupils, designs by divine leave to set out on his  miſsion to Canada in Ju[illegible]ne or July, with mr Taylor who was  for some years a Captive there, & on that as well as many   
other Acco:ts suitable to be imployed in that service, by these  with the aſsistance of Governor Wentworth (who has earnestly re= commended the design to the Commander in cheif there) & also  of m.r Austin a pious young minister at Mont Real & other  friends to the cause in those parts. I hope in God a way  may be op'ned, to obtain Children from those Tribes: perhaps  the greatest difficulty will be from the opposition of their  preists.
The Narrative herwith enclosed is an un= questionable truth extensively known & universally beleived  in that part of the Country. I was personally acquainted  with the subject of it in her low estate; & since her re= moval to Lebanon have been intimately acquainted with  her, & my heart often refreshed by her discourse for a  number of years before I left Connecticut.
It is not poſsable you should have the Acco:t with  [gap: tear][guess: all] that life & spirit, thus at 2.d hand, as you might have it  from the original with the many Circumstances & natu­ ral remarks, which a present sence & impreſsion of the things  themselves enable her to make which can never be fully  described by pen.
And with this I present my Duty to  you & the Rest of the honble Trust. And am with  high esteem & much Affection 
  Your much obliged, &  most obedient  Humble Servant   [illegible]Eleazar Wheelock 
Copy  To John Thornton Esq.r