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


abstractWheelock writes to Thornton about his failures with the Six Nations. Six days later, he writes again about improving prospects, as several boys are coming to the School, and Occom’s former haughtiness is softening. He also writes that the charges against his son Ralph are false.

handwritingHandwriting is very formal and neat; it is not Wheelock’s hand.

paperExact condition of the large, separate sheets is difficult to determine due to heavy preservation work; however, the paper appears to sustain light-to-moderate staining and wear.


signatureThe signature is not in Wheelock's hand.

noteworthyThis document is likely a personal copy for Wheelock's records. A non-contemporary editor had made notes on two verso. The contents regarding Ralph are similar to those in 772323.

EventsFundraising Tour of Great Britain

Much hon.d & very dear Sir. 
I endeavour to give you (tho' by small Sctetches as  I have opportunity) some view of the progreſs of my affairs here.  M.r Avery returned from his eleven Months Miſsion at  Onoida last month, & gives but a malancholy acco.t of the  state of [illegible]Indians Affairs there & among the six Nations — he says  the Aſpect has been growing more & more gloomy for eighteen  Months past, and is wholly disinclined to return to them again,  and thinks there is some probability that M.r Kirtland will be  drove away from among them. on the whole it appears  to me not improbable that the Indians in that Quarter  are nigh unto cursing. They have of late openly in a large  meeting of several Tribes manifested their entire disincli  =nation to encourage or recieve [illegible] ^ano^either mMiſsionary or Schoo[gap: tear][guess: l]  =master among them.   Two days ago M.r Ripley returned from his Miſsio[gap: tear][guess: n]  to Canada with Lieu.t Taylor his Companion & Interpret[gap: tear][guess: er]  & brought with him ten Indian Boys from those Tribes  to recieve an Education in this School — the hand of  God appears conspicuous in the Affair — The[illegible]^re^ was the  greatest opposition made by their Priest to their coming  — the most of them are Children of their Chief Men, and  two of them Children of English Captives each about  8 year old — a Council of their head men (to which the  Father of one and Grand Father of the other of these two  Boys belong) were called together upon this occasion, and  were to a Man fixed in their purpose to send them, and  so continued finally against the remonstrances of their  Priest who denied their Right to do it; and [illegible]claimed a  right to dispose of them himself upon this Ground that  he baptized them. but I have yet by me a short narra  =tive of my Affairs I have just prepared for the preſs, to  which I shall add some short Acco.t of this Miſsion, which  you & the honble Trust may expect as soon as it gits thro'  the preſs — M.r Ripley found occasion to make uſe  of a bill of exchange which I gave him to be improved  in case any emergency should make it neceſsary [gap: worn_edge]  in favor of M.r Mier which was endorsed by Cap.t Depoyster  which I pray you to honor.  Please Sir in my name to make such expreſsions of Chri= =stian Affection, Duty & Respect to my hond Patrons as shall be  acceptable to them. and accept the same Yourself, from 
 Your often & [illegible]much obliged Brother   and very humble Servant   Eleazar Wheelock  John Thornton Esq.r   
P. S. Now the scene that has been so long dark has entirely  changed its Aspect. I bleſs God that I am fairly broke off  from my Connections with the six Nations — they were  at war with these a few Years ago, and the break I find is  not yet wholly healed, and would have likely been an ob=  =jection against their coming hither if any of the six  Nations had been here — but you will hear more of this  as soon as I can. 
  Much hond Sir. 
By being disappointed of the opportu= =nity of Conveyance of the foregoing, I have opportunity  on the same paper thankfully to acknowledge the receipt  of the favour of the honble Trust of May 1st 1772 & of yours  of May 15th &c June 10th & with the enclosed.  I am much refreshed that my hon.d Patrons are satisfied  with my doings  M.r Occom since his recovery from his last Fall appears with  a much better Temper than he has ever done since he came  from Londonyour ^the^ agreeable Letters you transmit for  my perusal speak the same  I am glad you have dealt so plainly with him, & wish  you had done it earlier — He has appeared exceeding proud  & haughty — his Sail was too high for him in London. I feard  he would be wholly useleſs, & nothing better than a Thorn to me  & this School — he has appeared rather as a Dictator and  Supervisor to me & my Affairs than a Brother, Companion,  & Helper in them — And I have tho't him cruel, uncharitable  & something bitter in his Surmises, Censures & Threats in  Cases & about that[illegible] which he knew nothing of, nor used any  proper means to be informed in. And has said (I have been  told) that he was desired to inspect my conduct before he  came from England — and this kind of treatment I have had  from him without the least expreſsion of Brotherly  Sympathy Care pity & Compaſsion towards me or my  Family, while I was struggling under Floods of Sorrow  & an insupportable weight of Labour Care & Fatigue  and all with a single view to save his poor perishing  Brethren — How wounding such things have been to me  you cant concieve unleſs you had experience of the like.  But I have lately had a Letter from him of another savor,  and accots which have much refreshed me. I hope he will   be 
be my Helper in Christ Jesus. tho' God sees it best for me  that I should have nothing below himself to lean at all upon   Bleſsed be his holy name. I shall rejoice to encourage M.r Occom.   I percieve you have given Ear to Representations which  appear to me to be groundleſs cruel & vile Slanders, respect=  =ing my Government of my Son, & my having been in­  ­fluenced by him & his false Friends &c — By the grace of  God I think I have known neither wife, nor Son, nor  Nephew in these Affairs for many Years, nor may I know ym.  I never was quite blind to my Sons Imperfections, but on  the contrary my Government of him has been much too  severe, & I continued it till too late his Physicians advised  me that if I did not alter my hand it would kill him.  and yet he neither has, nor ever had that I knew or  heard of, any blot of moral Scandal upon him. He has  long been sorely broken under Gods holy hand. & his case is now  looked upon as incurable — he lives in Connecticut & I am  credibly informed ^told^ is exemplary for patience & a humble  Submiſsion to God under Trials — If he were as much  concerned to vindicate his Character (whatever may be  the slander you have received of him) as his Slanderers  has been to blacken it, I make no doubt it would stand in  another Light whatever the consequences may ^would^ be to  others; but he seems fully content to refer these matters  to the decision of the great day. on the whole it gives  me much uneasineſs that I know not what you mean,  nor what I have to amend or mo^u^rn for, more than I have done.   You are also my hond Sir much mistaken as to my  being influenced by D.r Whitaker. I have no connection with  him. it is above two years since I saw him, but I must  in Justice say that I suppose his Characters moral and  ministerial are good among good people in New England  and what his offence in England was I never knew — M.r  Occom would have told me I suppose, but I percieved that his  mind was prejudiced & sowered against him, & therefore dis= =qualified to give the Relation.  By Acco.ts & hints from M.r Avery of plotting & Machi= =nations in the Country where he has been against me  and this Cause, you may possibly (when all matters  are ripened) hear something as sho[illegible]cking as any [gap: tear][guess: thing]  you have yet heard — in which it is said there is a Combination.  but God is my Refuge — I ask your pardon for this  unproffitable Scrawl —  I take this opportunity to renew my thanks to you for the   repeated 
John Thorton Esqr 
repeated Expreſsions of your kindneſs towards my support[gap: worn_edge]  I hope you have received my letter & the Bill which you was  so kind as to invite me to draw upon you —  I am with great duty & affection & esteem   
Your much obliged & very humble Servant   Eleazar Wheelock 
To John Thornton Eſqr  Septr 23. 1772.