Samson Occom, letter, to John Thornton, 1777 January 1


abstractOccom writes to thank Thornton for his generosity. He also bemoans the hardships brought on by the war, discusses the importance of keeping the Indians neutral, and asks for Thornton's assistance in getting money from the Society in Scotland for Progating Christian Knowledge.

handwritingOccom's hand is small and somewhat crowded, yet formal, clear and legible. There are some crossed l's and uncrossed t's that have been corrected by the transcriber.

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

inkBrown ink is somewhat faded.

noteworthyOn two verso, an editor, likely 19th-century, has added notes that read: “(By Occom Jan. 1. 1777.),” and “S. Occom to Thornton Jan. 1. 1777.”

  Most Kind Sir /
Your most unexpected and most accept able, Refreſhing Animating, and most Encouraging Favour  of 8 may last, Came Safely to Hand a few Days ago, Surely  the great Lord of Heaven and Earth, has deeply Engraven  in Your Tender and Benevolent Heart, Pety and Compaſsiona^te^  to poor me, and to my Neceſsitous Family; How diſtret have  I been lately, not knowing how to get out of my Involvements, and  to Supply the Pinching Neceſsities of my large Family, beſides my  numerous Visiters; But Bleſsed be god, I find now, he has heard my  grownings and Saw my Diſtreſs, and he has moved your Kind Heart  once more, to Stretch out your Bmost Bountiful Hand over the great  Atlantic in Time of great Diſtreſs to help me out of Troubles. — The  Lord be Praiſed, and I return you unutterable and most Humbe  Thanks. The Lord Your god Reward^&^ yours Bountifully —
I have Drawn a Bill of Exchange upon you for the whole  of your most kind and generous Donation. Neceſsity urges me,  and I am very Confident, it will not be diſagreable to your Mind;  I have alſo Drown on you as a Truſtee two Bills, for two half years  paſt, according to your kind Direction and permiſsion heretofore  for I have heard nothing Contrary from You till now, and Docr  Wheelock has never told me, that the money was Exhuſted, tho’  I did hear Such a thing Some how; but I Saw a gentleman  about a Year ago, who came directly from London, and he  told me, he had Intervew with Some of the Honl Truſt and he  underſtood them, the money was not Expended, but they wou’d  not let Docr Wheelock have anymore, You may ^have^ Seen the gentn  that inform’d me, it was [illegible]The Revd Docr Ewing of Philadelphia  he had been traveling thro great Britain Soliciting the Charities  of the People for a certain College. — The Times are Extreamly  Diſtreſing in this part of the World, theſe unnatural Wars have  effected and Diſtreſt every one, eſpecially the Poor, I never  have had Such a Burden; I have had much Sickneſs in my  Famil lately, and every thing extreamly Dear, eſpecially  Cloathing, O that I had [illegible] old Cloaths from London, if London was  not more than half So far as it is, I woud Come over to beg old  Cloaths — Three pounds will not purchace So much of the Ne ceſsaries of Life now, as tweenty Shillings wou’d before theſe  ungodly Wars took place. — And the worſt of all is, theſe Wars  have Eat out the vitals of Religion, eſpecially among the white  People, Some white People Say themſelves, that the poor Indians  have more Religion than they have, the poor Indians indeed  that make a Profeſsion of Religion, maintain thei^r^ Religin in 
Some meaſure, I preach amongſt them as often I as I uſed to do  and they are much engagd in attending upon the word of god, —  And there is one Good Circumſtance among the Indians in genral  every where, they dont Chuſe to Join in either Side in this Con tention, but Chuſe Strict N^e^utra[illegible]lity, and the white Americans dont  want to have them Join in either, The Congreſs have Sent out Com miſsioners among the Indians, Several Times and different ways  to adviſe them to be Eaſy and Quiet, not to entermeddle in the Engliſh  Family Quarril — [illegible]/ My Wife’s Brother went about 600 miles weſtward  from this Place last Septr with a number upon this Buſineſs and  is juſt returnd, he tells me, he Saw Six Sachems altogether of differen^t^  Tribes, and that was the advice to them from the Commiſsioners and  the Sachems promiſed Strictly to obſerve the advice, and Indians them­ ſelves are agreeing among themſelves in there different Tribes not  ^to^[illegible] entermeddle with the Engliſh Contentions, — When the white People  began to Inliſt Soldiers about here, Some of our Lazy Indians were  very ready to Inliſt, but the white People woud not accept of them(;  Be it Spoken to the praiſe of the white People,) but Some few woud  and did liſt after all their rejection, — Laſt Summer there were  Some white people wanted to hire others to go in their Room, and  two Indians offerd themſelves; but when the Colol, who had care  of ‘em, Saw them, he turn’d them back again. — But the Kings  offircers, Some of them, I hear, have been uſing their Influence  to engage the poor Indians on their Side; — I wiſh the King of  great Britain, woud Command all his officers in North A­ merica to let the poor miſerable Indians alone; What have we  to do with your Contentions? — As for mr Kirkland; I heard he was  among the Indians Some part of last Summer, but where he is  now, I can not Say. — Theſe Sad Contentions have brock up all Miſ­ ſionaries and School masters among the poor Indians, — I heard  there was Money [illegible]Enough in the Hands of the Honl Scotch Society  and they did ^not^ know how to lay it out, I wiſh they woud Conſider my  Caſe; Pray most Compaſsionate Sir, Interceed with them for me —  I wrote them last winter, but I have had no Anſwere, if I Shoud write  again perhaps my Letters will never reach them in theſe Times.
I beg the Continuence of your fervent Prayers for me and mine  and for all the poor Indians; — This, with most grateful Reſpects, to  you and to your Dear Family is from
your most unworthy & most  obli[illegible]ged and very huml Servt   Samſon Occom
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To  John Thornton Esqr  at Clapham near  London