Samuel Kirkland, letter, to Peter Thacher, 1794 March 13



abstractKirkland writes to Thacher about his return from Boston to the mission at Oneida, his plans for building the Hamilton Oneida Academy, the formation of an Association of clergymen in the vicinity, and a letter of complaint against him sent to the Board by a group of Indians.

handwritingHandwriting is not overly formal, yet it is clear and legible.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to make four pages is in fair condition, with moderate-to-heavy creasing and wear that interferes somewhat with the legibility of the text. Older preservation work also results in a slight dimming of the text.


noteworthyA small fragment of paper bearing the letters “me” was torn from the left edge of two recto and is affixed to the center of two verso. It forms the word “some” on two recto, line 13.

Revd Sir,
After a fatiguing Journey, in my return from Boston, thro' divine goodneſs, I arrived here in safety the first instant; and found my family in health.. kept Sabbath at the settlement of Chirten, & aſsisted in celebrating the sacrament of the Lords supper. It being too late when I arrived on Saturday evening, to send to Kanon­ walohale, to notify the Christian Indians, who are in good standing, very few Indians were preſent.  Attended two days the last week, with the Trustees of H. O. Academy. they have unanimously agreed to erect their building the enſuing seaſon [illegible][guess: :] a con­ siderable part of the materials are already collected.  It has been for some time proposed, & in contem­ plation, for the young Clergymen settled in this vicinity to form into an aſsociation, or Presbitery, for the purposes of promoting Evangelical principles ministerial fellowship, & fraternal affection; and ^unitedly^ to guard, as much as poſsible against the baneful Influence of wild, deſigning zealots, with which th [illegible][guess: e] young, but flourishing settlements in this frontier are much threatened. — Particularly the methodists — & Baptists, (& such as appear to be of the lowest claſs), are travelling thro' almost every part of this extenſive frontier. . It will not be uncharitable to say, they bear the signature of  erroneous
erroneous teachers & blind guides. — It will undoubtedly give you pleaſure to be informed that this Aſsociation is nearly completed: altho' but four in number to make the begining; Viz. Revd Meſsrs Dan Bradly, Joel Bradly, Aſahel Norton. & myself. . all settled our Congregation, in what was formerly called Whitestown — & vicinity of Oneida.  This Aſsociation will afford an oppurtunity for the numerous settlements in this quarter, who are destitute of a preached Gospel, to apply for aid & council, without ^the trouble of^ sending several hundred miles, & sometimes wait[illegible]ing half a year before they can receive an anſwer. —  Our Aſsociation, will tend to give the Indians a favourable idea of the gospel ministry & its impor­ tance; Their attendance only upon two ordinations, in the neighbourhood, & particularly thoſe who came as delegates, or meſsengers, from Oneida & Brothertown, produced the kindest Effects. —  Last week had several Conferences with Indians who came to viſit me. Friday went to oneida— preached on Lords day — an in the evening rode 20 miles to meet the superintendant of Indian affairs, lately from the westward, & very deſirous of an interview with me, & some Indians from Grand River— . —  Several Indians ha[illegible]ve told me, that a private letter has been wrote from oneida To the Board, with complaints against me,— and that Mr Sergeant conniv'd at their conduct — while aided by one of Mr Occums partiſans; — Ex-parte. Complaints,
and Ex-parte evidence dont wear the aspect of candour, nor the complexion of integrity. — As it was formerly said, our "law does not condemn a perſon unheard, I trust the Hon.le Board will favour me with a Copy of their letter, before they act upon it.  My informants, deſired me, to say nothing upon the subject, but to wait & see if they would be honeſt eno' to acknowledge it. They [illegible]receved me with their uſual warmth of affection — and as yet have not discloſed a single word of their private letter. — There are several of the french party — & so [gap: tear][guess: me] that are fallen under cenſure, who are ve[gap: tear][guess: ry] bitter against me; — & particularly one of Mr Occums partiſans whose iniquity I was obliged to reprove, & expose. — But amidst all their diviſions & animoſities — I have the affection & confidence of the better part, as much as ever I had, & in some inſtances much more. —  I shall write you again e'er long upon the Subject.— I cannot add to the respect with which I am, Revd S.r
Your obedt hum Servt S. Kirkland
Revd D.r Thacher  Secrty
Mr S kirkland March 13 1794