Joseph Johnson, letter, to John Rodgers, 1775 February 15


abstractJohnson writes of his intention to move with several tribes to lands granted by the Oneidas, and that he has been in touch with Wheelock regarding a recommendation.

handwritingHandwriting is small, crowded and frequently difficult to decipher, with many deletions and additions.

paperSingle large sheet is in fair condition, with moderate-to-heavy staining, creasing and wear. Wear at especially heavy creasing leads to some loss of text.


noteworthyThis document appears to be a draft. Some of the contents of this letter are similar to those of manuscript 775164. Sums appear upside-down at the bottom of one verso; the letter is written around these sums. The identity of “Avery” on one verso is uncertain, although it is likely David Avery. The identity of "Fitch" on one verso is uncertain, and so he has been left untagged.

  To Doctrthe Revd Doctr Rodgers at New York 
Revd and kind Sir; with [illegible] humility, Gratitude and Love, I sit my  self down to write to your worthy Perſon. through the goodneſs  of the great God of mercy I, and my little family are in health; and I hum  bly hope that by the same goodneſs you and yours have been, and Still are  in health, and proſperity. — kind Sir, I have ever retained your worthy Perſon  in my mind with pleaſure, since, I have had the honour of being aquainted with  you. and I bleſs the Lord in whom I humbly hope, I have been enabled by his own  divine grace, to put my ^whole^ Trust, that he hath ^graciously^ given me such a Good ^& real^ Earthly friend  ^in time of need^ as your worthy Perſon hath been, and I hope still will be. — if I was not Satisfy  [gap: tear][guess: d] in my Mind, of your good will ^to me ward and to my poor deſpiſed Brethren^ I should not trouble you with my Scribles  but now with pleaſure I write to you as unto the beſt friend or Benefactor that I  have in this world of ^trial,^ Sorrow ^and [illegible][guess: wants]^ trialand various viciſitudes. I heartily thank you  for all your Tokens of Love, pity, and reſpects that you shewed to me ^ward,^ and to  ^ward^ my poor brethren, when I was in ^the city of^ New York [illegible] and I daily bleſs the Lord  that he gave me favour in the Eyes and hearts of his People there, God full  well knew my neceſsituous Circumſtances, and there he mercifully  relieved me, and greatly encouraged me to go on still, in his Service,  wherever he in his Providence should call me. and not to ſtagger. —  verily, verily, I have abundant reaſon to rejoice in the goodneſs of the  Lord, who regardeth ^the cauſe of^ thoſe that trust in his holy Name. — O that I might  be enabled to live to his praiſe all my Days, and afterward, be graciously  recieved up into Glory, where I [illegible]shall praiſe him throughout the  endleſs [illegible]Ages of Eternity without inturruption, and without ceaſing  Amen. — Revd Sir, I got safely home by the 5th of January [illegible]and found  [gap: worn_edge][guess: al]l well. I preached four times by the way. 3 times at New haven, [gap: worn_edge]  once at Eaſt haven, but It is not the Cuſtom I percieve in these parts [gap: worn_edge]  conſider of a traveling labourer, however, ^I am thankfull that^ my mind is not chiefly set upon  the things of time and Sense. ^and so am not disappointed, nor in the leaſt disquieted.^ I have been to several Towns of my Indian  Brethren since I have been ^at^ home, and have consulted with them, about  worldly affairs, and I have ^also^ preached to them alſo the Goſpel of our Lord  Jeſus the Christ. — my Indian brethren seems to be really engaged to go  [illegible]On in proſecution of the Deſign which I made known to you when I  was at your Reſidence — and we do fully purpoſe ^if god willing^ to set of from hence  or from these Parts by the 13th of March next [illegible].  ^I take it for granted and^ I believe that there will be [illegible] ^upwards of^ [illegible][guess: 5]60 young men from the several Tribes  who will go with Reſolution into the weſtern Country, as first Set  ­tlers of the Land granted to us by the Onoidas. — however there  is [illegible]58 able working men that purpoſes to go from the following Tribes.  [gap: worn_edge][guess: i]n whoſe ^words^ I believe we may rely. from Mohegan 10. from Naraganſet  20. from Montauk on Long Iſland 13, from Nihantuck 5. from farm  ington 10. and there is two other Tribes who confeſs that they are So  deeply involved in debt that they cannot go this Seaſon, but fully  purpoſes to go soon as poſsible. that is grotton and Stonington. [illegible]  — I was there last thurſday and had conference with them ^about the affair^ and I ſhall  go their again next Saturday, and tarry over the Sabbath with them.  and I shall propoſe conditions and I believe that there will be a  small number from thoſe two Tribes. the Revd M.r Occom will  Preach t[illegible]here next Sabbath. and he will propoſe condition to them  [illegible] and their Creditors so as they may go and take Poſseſs  [gap: worn_edge][guess: i]on with the Reſt of us. I hope that their will be nigh seventy in  the whole ^tho it is little uncertain Poverty hinders many^ it is thought the beſt way in the first Place for[illegible][guess: Young]   
men that are able to endure hardſhips to go and work or br[gap: worn_edge]  the way through, or prepear a Sort of Shelter for themſelves and the[gap: worn_edge]  to live in, and to raiſe little Some wh[illegible][guess: at] to eat for them and [gap: worn_edge]  ^and^ after w[illegible]foundation is laid [illegible] the aged men and women^then we can with leſs difficulty^  and children [illegible] move up ^with^ our families, and the[illegible] may the  aged Men, and women go leaning upon their Sons as An[illegible][guess: cors]  I feel really engaged on my Part, and greatly encouraged. The pro­  ­ſpects of great future good to my poor brethren in these parts,  and alſo thoſe that inhabit the weſtern wilderneſs animates  my Soul to preſs forward. I greatly deſire the Proſperity of my  sinking Nation. — O that I might by the Grace of God, be beneficia[gap: worn_edge][guess: l]  [gap: stain] to the bodies, but to the precious, exceeding precious Sou[gap: worn_edge][guess: ls]  of my [gap: stain][guess: p]oor indian Brethren. —  Revd and kind Sir. — I would further enform you that I recieved a  Letter from my Hond Patron the Revd Eleazer Wheelock D. D and  Preſident of Dartmouth College the 13th of this Instant. the Extract  of which I send you with even every word. — Dartmouth College Jany  23. 1775. My dear Joſeph Johnſon &c: &c: — — — I had a favoura  ble oppertunity to return an Anſwer, the next Day. — I [illegible]acquainted him  how the Lord had proſpered me [illegible] New York and had given me friends  there. and [illegible] made Mention of your worthy Perſon ^good will towards me, and alſo to [illegible][guess: wards]^ and what you  towards my Poor Brethren. — I enformed him that you deſigned to try  to get [illegible] ſome^Thing^ for meMy [illegible]Support And for my Encouragements from the  Honorable Board at Philadelphia, or New York, I was not certain, —  [gap: worn_edge]ever I deſired him to write soon as poſsible to your worthy Perſon  on my behalf, and recommend me to notice, and regard if I was  deſerving. [illegible] I [illegible][guess: wrote to] enformed him, ^that^ the BHonorable Board would  meet by the first of April. — and I doubt not, but that he will  write to you[illegible] ^[below]But let [illegible]^ The Lords will be done concerning that Matter. ^I doubt not but that you will do your uttermoſt to get me a Support. ^[below]while I shall be in the service of our Lord.^^  If I have encouragement from that Honorable Board I will bleſs the  Lord, and rejoice in his goodneſs, if not I will still love, and  trust in his holy Name, and service him with all my might. and not  be discouraged, nor repine. for he will do the thing, that is [illegible]right  with me and for me. — my ^Purpoſes and^ neceſsituous Circumſtances I'll write  on other Paper by itself. — O kind Sir, ever Pray for me, that the God  of Love, would give me Grace Sufficient for me. give my Thanks, and becoming  Reſpects to your honoured, Beloved, and kind Conſort and great regards to all  your family. and love to all enquiring friends   
I am, kind Sir  your well wiſher, and humble Servant and humble Pupil  as it were. Joſeph Johnſon an Indian of the  Mohegan Tribe.    ^[bottom]36/0 7/6^  ^[bottom]17.6 5/ 24/10^  ^[bottom]18:6 5^  ^[bottom] 17:6 3/0^  ^[bottom]48/0 2/6^  ^[bottom]37/9 1/3 27.10^  ^[bottom]10:3 2/6 12/5^  ^[bottom]48:0 6:3^  ^[bottom]18:6 Averys debt^  ^[bottom]10:38:Fitches D.t 19:6 30/4^  ^[bottom]£1:8:9 6/ 12^  ^[bottom] £1:11:9 1.6^  ^[bottom] 6 13.6^  ^[bottom] £1 17:9^   
P.S. there was some Gentlemen that gave encourage  ment, that they would try to get Bibles and Pſalm books  if any was want- -ing by thoſe that go Next march. and  I have acquainted my Indian friends of the good will of Gentlemen  at New York. — and They ^Indians^ rejoice at such glad [illegible]tidings.  if there is any so well diſpoſed as to give us [illegible][guess: shuch] beſt  of gifts we will greatly rejoice, and try to make good uſe  of them. moſt of us are so poor that we cant purchaſe Bibles and [illegible] [illegible]  [illegible]  [illegible] to come  60 [illegible][guess: of Each I] believe will be [illegible][guess: wanting] Send them to [illegible] I and [illegible]   
^[left]to Dr. Rogers.^   
To the Revd Mr Rodgers D.D.  in the City of New York.—