Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to George Whitefield, 1761 November 25


abstractWheelock writes on the progress of the school and various missions, describes some of his Indian students, notes the support of William Johnson, and touches on Occom’s recent mission to the Oneidas.

handwritingInformal handwriting is small and crowded, with several deletions and additions that interfere with legibility. There are some uncrossed t’s that have been corrected by the transcriber.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good-to-fair condition, with moderate creasing, staining and wear. The worn outside edge of one recto results in a minor loss of text.

inkDark-brown ink varies in intensity.

noteworthyThis document is likely a draft. The contents of this document are very similar to those of manuscript 761616. The identity of the "Farmington Boy" is uncertain, and so he had been left untagged. Wheelock makes reference to Occom’s journal from his mission to the Oneidas. Two journals in Rauner Special Collections at Dartmouth, and included in the Occom Circle, chronicle this mission: 761330.1, and 761515.1. An edtior, likely 19th-century, has added the note “Nov.r 1761," after the trailer on two verso. This note has not been included in the transcription.

signatureThe letter is signed twice; both signatures are abbreviated.

EventsOccom’s First Mission to the Oneidas

Modernized Version Deletions removed; additions added in; modern spelling and capitalization added; unfamiliar abbreviations expanded.

  Rev. and dear Sir 
Last week, I was informed by a Letter  from Miss. Smith of Boston that You have  received of Mr. Hardy, a Donation to this Indian School of £25. Sterling  The Lord return a thousand  fold into his generous bosom, And reward this Liberality with his everlasting kindness. It comes  at a time when it is much wanted, and I trust in ans-  -wer to Prayer. I believe there is Much Peace, and  quietness, in trusting in, and living upon God. but I  am so dull a scholar, so heedless, forgetful and So open to a  thousand Allurements, that I   keep the Road but a little [illegible][guess: while] together  and make but poor Proficiency in the Art of living by faith.  It is good for me to be often tried crossed and disappointed, and there by taug[gap: worn_edge][guess: ht]  to make but little account of my own Plans, and Devices. and know that The Council of  the Lord that Shall stand. 'Tis enough that I see my way Step by Step,  and know that Providence will Steers a better course than I can devise, though  often quite out of My Sight 'til the End be accomplished. And when I  see the course of Divine Providence from time to time in Many instances   In favour of the great design I am pursuing and [illegible] notwithstanding  all the opposition of My unbelief, distrust and carnal self, I am   sensibly encouraged to think that it is really of God, and that he designs to  own and bless it.
when I came home from Boston this Fall, I found one of my Mo- hawk Boys in a low State of Health, which I supposed was occasioned  by his eating three Times a Day and too much at a Time, together  with his Inactivity. The common Road in which, I suppose, Num  -bers have lost their Lives soon after they have been devoted to  Learning. And   by reason of his Jealous [illegible][guess: Make], his Ignorance of our Language and our not being able to   find  anybody who could discourse him so freely Enough to make him under  stand the reasons of any Conduct towards him which should be at all out of the usual course it was peculiarly Difficult  to restrain him. Dr. Huntington advised me to send him  Home soon, while he was able to ride. and Accordingly I sent  him away October 13. with another of My Mohawk Boys to ac-  -company him. And on the 3rd Instant I sent Young Kirt-  -land an English Charity scholar, of whom I wrote you in my last acco-  -mpanied by the other Mohawk Youth, with design that when  these two have made their visit to their Friends he Shall accompany them back to this School with four  more if Gen. Johnson, according to his  hope and Expectation had found Such as are likely and willing  to come. And I expect them very soon   I have also  ordered Kirtland to bring the Farmington Boy with him, when  he returns.
My black Son Mr. Occom, has lately returned from his mission to  the Oneidas    
And the last week I had the pleasure to see him with one of  that Nation (who designs to winter with him and learn  the English Language and teach Mr. Occom Mohawk) and I  was agreeably entertained with Mr. Occom's Journal.   I can only suggest to you a few things  most material in it. And to begin where I left off.
when we first came among them they seemed shy of him through  a jealousy that something was designed by the English against  them. but when Gen. Johnson had read his Letters Recomenda-  -tory, they appeared well satisfied and much pleased. and as a  testimony of it the Kings of the Oneidas, and Tuscaroras, and  many others of their chiefs came a shook hands with him  and bid him welcome among them. their chiefs then held a  council to fix upon the best methods to accommodate him with  that which was necessary for his comfortable subsistence among  them. and You would not wonder that their chiefs held a council  upon this Head if You knew how extremely poor they are, having  scarce anything that may be called Bread or any thing else except-  what they get by Hunting to subsist upon, they proposed  to Mr. Occom to choose where to Live, and whether to live in a  house already Built. he chose the Place and let them know that  he chose to live with David (my Indian scholar) and to live  by themselves. they immediately built him a house the Structure  of which could the Form, and workmanship thereof be truly  represented, might gratify not a little the curiosity of a [illegible][guess: Britons],   though there was nothing in it that resembled the Temple  of old save that there was not the noise of Axes or Hammers  in the Building of it. The Materials were the simple Product  of Nature. the Remains of The oaks and chestnuts, fell many Years  ago by the violence of wind, — many of them attended his ministry  — and appeared attentive Numbers from distant Nations came to hear him. And some  seemed really desirous to understand and know the truths which  most nearly concerned them. And when he was about to leave  them their chiefs held another Council. The consequence of which  was, that Old Connoquies (who had been King among the  Oneidas but had now resigned by reason of Age) The King of the Tuscar oras and other chiefs, presented him a Belt of wampum to  be delivered to those Gentlemen who sent him with  these instructions which he received from Old Connoquies. viz.  1. we are glad from the inside of our Hearts that You are come  here to teach us the right way of God. we are also thankful to  those who sent you. and above all to God.  2. We intend by the help of God to repent of all our sins and all  our heathenish ways and customs. we will put them all behind  our Backs, and will never look on them again but will look  straight forward, and run after Christianity.  3. if we shall try to set up a School we beg the assistance of  the English, if they see fit.  4. we desire that strong Drink may be prohibited, that it may  not be brought Among us, for we find it kills our Bodies  and souls; and we will try to hinder it here.  5. we desire to be protected on our Lands, that none may molest, or molest upon, us.  6 This Belt of Wampum shall bind us fast together in perpetual  Love, and friendship.  Mr. Occom delivered it to those Gentlemen to whom it  was directed, but obtained their Leave to bring it hither.  to gratify my curiosity, and a Curious Girdle it is Mr.  occom says it could not be made for less than £15. sterling   
David has made good Proficiency in their Language which  is some compensation for riding a thousand miles, and  more among them. it is thought that under such advan-  -tages he might become a master of their Language in  one year more and I am more and more satisfied of  the Expediency of fitting their youth, who live among  the English both for Interpreters and missionaries.  Mr. Occom is now [illegible][guess: envied] at home but not among  them  one of the Girls which Mr. Brainerd sent was taken  sick at E[illegible] Harbour, before she went on board the  vessel and returned. the other is come and is a pretty  little black christian I think she walks in the fear of  God and in the Comfort of the Holy Ghost. the Fruit  of dear Mr. Brainerds Labour among them.
There is most certainly a very general and un- -usual concern among the Indians. and a great  desire to be fully informed of that which by the  Report of one and another they understand  concerns their future and Eternal state. I long to  have my Boys fit for their mission among them.  who knows my dear Sir, but God designs to honour  you to be a principal instrument of Supporting and  carrying on this great design. blessed be his  Name for the success of your Endeavours already  used.
The Rev. Mr. Graves Episcopal missionary at New  London has Sent me word that if I will procure  him a likely Indian Boy he will Educate him at  his own Expence. and I have by Kirtland informed  Gen. Johnson of the generous proposal, and desired  him to find and send such a Boy to him.
A thousand things more I would communicate  and you would Love to hear which must be omitted  my dear Sir,  pray for   
  Yours in the dearest Bonds   Eleazar Wheelock    The Rev. Mr. Whitefield   
P.S. November 26. last Evening My Kirtland Returned and informs me that  he left the Mohawk Youth who went up with with two  more Boys of the Six Nations at albany on their way  hither and that he left the other who accompanied him  that was Sick, at Mount Johnson in order to accompany  four more as Soon as they return from their Hunting perhaps  within four or 5 weeks he Says that Gen. Johnson is greatly pleased with the  design and promises to use his Influence with a  Number of Gentlemen of his Acquaintance (I suppose  In Ireland) in favour of it and the Gen. writes me very friendly indeed to the  Same purpose The Indians also seem well pleased and willing to let their Children come  November 27. The Three Boys are now come, and  you would laugh to see how pleased the poor little  Naked Creatures look they cant speak a word of English  nor any way to communicate but by Joseph the  Youth before mentioned.   the Farmington Boy will be here within a few Days.  by all accounts he is a real Christian, and a very promising  Youth indeed.  Gen. Johnson designs to Send an Indian Boy to Mr. Graves
I have wrote Mr. DeBerdt that we much want a Bell that  may be well heard a Mile (not for Ornament for we are all  in the [illegible][guess: R]ough but for the Benefit of the School. and it would  indeed be very useful, the masters complain that It is often difficult  to get the Boys together at their Proper Hours. And 'tis likely  it would make us more regular in all our exercises.   please to let our Good Mr. Smith have the Sight of this if he  be yet in England. I am My honoured and Dear Sir,  yours most heartily  Eleazar Wheelock   
Letter to Mr. Whitefield.  1761. Mr. Hardy's Donation  Bell. =