Joseph Johnson, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1773 August 30


abstractJoseph Johnson writes to ask for help funding a trip into the wilderness for the purpose of Brothertown business. There is also a brief narrative of Johnson’s life.

handwritingHandwriting is small and cramped. Letters case is difficult to decipher, as is the difference between commas and periods.

paperSmall half sheet is in fair condition, with moderate-to-heavy wear, especially along central vertical crease; that, and some repair work results in a minor loss of text.

inkDark brown.

layoutThe narrative of Joseph Johnson's life is upside-down at the bottom of one verso.

noteworthyOn the top of one verso, another hand, likely 19th-century, has written "Joseph Johnson" in a different ink. This has not been transcribed.

  Revd. & much Reſpected Sir. 
With much humility, I undertake to Write to your  worthy Person. and I would Enform you that I ever have a gratefull Sense of your favours in time  past. for which I deſire at this time renewedly to expreſs my thanks. if I was an Englishman, &  was thus Reſpected by you. I should be very thankfull. but much more doth it now, become me  being an Indian, to be humble. & very thankfull in very [illegible][guess: deed] Me thinks the more I am Reſp  ected the more humble it makes me. but to conclude this my Indian introduction let me  aſsure you. that a law of gratitude is wrote as it were upon the table of my Once savage  heart. for all your Remarkable favours in times Past. & I [illegible][guess: ever] think of your worthy  perſon with love, ^& Reverence^ in my heart. But whot I would more perticularly enform ^you^ of this time  is what may follow. Revd Sir. by leave of kind Providence. I purpoſe to [illegible]leave  this Place next monday being the time appointed that I .& the reſt of the Choſen  men. should go into the Wilderneſs. to vizit our savage Brethren. and to Con­ ­verſe with them Concerning our Propoſals. &c: and as the time is drawing nigh.  I find I am Obliged to solicit your favour this once more. for which I am very sorry.  I am Sorry to try your good Nature so soon. But still I would humbly. & Earneſtly solicit  your favour at this time. I was Conſiderably disoppointed down Country, not seing Mr.  Occom whose note I have with me still. [illegible][guess: alſo] 2 English friends added Diſoppo­ intments to me. not leting me have my Reaſonable due their Plea was this  that they Did not expect I ſhould return till next Winter or in spring. so  they thought it best to lay out the money. intending to allow for uſe.  but not to be further tedious. my Earneſt deſir is that you would help  me to some Money. I know not who elſe Can. I am a stranger. but as for  my Indian friends. if I lean upon them at preſent they are like a broken [illegible]staff.  but I have nothing again my Brethren. they have a will. had they but ability  and if you pleaſe to pity. & to help me at this time you have no reaſon to fear but that  you shall have your own. again in due time. if I return well. perhaps. I shall  [illegible][guess: rcieve], money from down Country by last of October. then I will pay you your  reaſonable due. but if any Accident happen. to me so as that I ſhall never return. still  you need not fear. as doubt leſs you know. that my reward from Boſton will  Come into your hands. so you then can take your Money again. Pleaſe 
[gap: tear] to help me if Poſsible. I know not [gap: tear][guess: ex]actly how much I stand in need of.  but I should be glad to have little to [illegible][guess: spar[gap: tear][guess: e]] not knowing what may befall me by the  way. I [illegible][illegible][guess: ſhall] in d some meaſure be expoſ[gap: tear][guess: ed] to smallpox. by the way, & how many  more accident. I know not. I view my [gap: tear][guess: ſelf] to be feble Creature. if I should have the sm  all-Pox. I should at least want 8 or 5 Pounds of money. but hoping I shall Eſcape that danger  ous Diſtemper. I Should be glad to have Six Pounds if Poſsible. doubtleſs we shall be obliged  to lay out some money. beſides our bare expences, by the way. 
[bottom] To [illegible] Enquiring friends, or to Strangers.  would you know kind Sir, who the compoſer of this Discourse is.  Be pleaſed to read the following. I am an Indian of the mohegan Tribe,  known by the Name of Joſeph Johnſon. Educated by the Revd Eleazer Wheel  ­ock D. D. whose School I left when I was 14 years of age. and in the  3d. month of my 15th. year, I was sent amongſt the Six nations, and I ſpent  about 2 years in thoſe Parts. keeping school. afterwards I left the school in- -tirely Revd Eleazer Wheelock D. D. intirely. and from that time, I have been  wandering up, and down, in this Deluſive World. some of my time I  spent at Providence Town. keeping a school. some of my time, I have  spent upon the Ocean wide. I have been down Eaſtward, as far as to the  Weſtern Iſlands ^twice^. [illegible][guess: Curvo], & [illegible][guess: florus], I have seen. and to the southward I  have been as far, as to granades ^to the weſt Indies^. Seen aſlo the Iſlands between An[illegible]tigua  and granades. and again from antigua [illegible]I have [illegible]sailed down leward sailed by  the virgin Iſlands, alſo by sandy cruize, Portireco. ^down^ as far ias to mo[illegible][guess: ria].  and after so long time Even in my 21st. year I safely arrived to my Native  place. their I spent one year in working upon my farm.