Solomon Williams, letter, to Rev. Samuel Wood, 1761 November 12



abstractWilliams writes a lengthy letter regarding news of his sister-in-law, events in Great Britain and in the colonies, and the desire of various tribes to receive missionaries. Mention is made of Samson Occom.

handwritingHandwriting is very informal and extremely difficult to decipher. There is shorthand sprinkled throughout.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to make four pages is heavily reinforced, which renders it difficult to discern the condition of the paper. It appears to be in good condition, however, with light creasing, staining and wear. The preservation work is beginning to wear around the edges.

inkDark-brown ink is somewhat dimmed by reinforcement.

noteworthyAs noted in the trailer, this document is a copy. Due to the extreme difficulty of discerning Williams’ hand, the transcribers have used their discretion with regard to letter case, shorthand, and abbreviations.

signatureThe signature is abbreviated.

EventsOccom’s First Mission to the Oneidas

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

Honoured and very dear Sir
your favour of 16 February last I received with Great pleasure and thankfulness in September I am the more obliged for your goodness in it as It came [illegible] from your friendship without any Motive of My repeated letters to you which as you dont mention I conclude you have not received. I Return My warmest thanks for your kind and most desirable friendship and but blush to See what Great Notice you take of My respect and affection for my Dear sister; the best and one of the most deserving of women for whom If I had any Senti ments of Piety virtue, or Even humanity, I could Not but have the most tender respect for the Sincerity, Integrity, tenderness of her heart, the distinguishing accomplishments of mind God has blessed her with, her undissembled piety, constant, friendship and undeserved affection and also knowing that Tender Love she expressed for my dear brother (Now no More) which induced her leave her Native Land her Dear and most deserving Friends and come into a far distant Country among persons Unknown to her. Alas what have I done for her? how little could I do but wish It had been in My Power to Render her as happy as she could wish to be. long before this Reaches you you will know that she has changed her condition and Situation and Married Mr. William Smith of New York a very worthy Gentleman and of high Character Among all virtues People there and In this Colony to whom he is known; a Gentleman of ample Fortune and one of his Majesty's Council there. there are some circumstances connected I was afraid would not be agreeable to her his Large Family, and the Place. however I confess upon the whole I thought it advisable for her to comply with the proposal, as Providence seemed Evidently to Point out and lead the way and to open a prospect for her more extensive usefulness, and hoping also it would be a means to dissipate the Gloom and melancholy which is too apt to Cloud her mind. that the Troubles [illegible][guess: must attend] her Situation had not [illegible] the the uncomfortable solitude of her widowhood. Yet I own in giving advising her to a compliance with the [illegible][guess: proposal] I was obliged to go Counter to My own most Strong desires [illegible][guess: knowing that [illegible][guess: by] [illegible][guess: Remove] I must be] Deprived My of some of the dearest Comfort and society of my life. Parting with her was a Painful and bitter thing one of the hardest Partings of my Friends I have Ever Experienced. for though there is no Sea between us yet I have Never had the Small Pox and the fear of [illegible]g the Infection at New York which is Seldom Clear of it bars me from the hope of Seeing her. but the prospect of her Comfort and usefulness teaches Me that tis my duty to bear Patiently the loss or want of that pleasure I should [illegible] have enjoyed [illegible] life been spending in seeing her frequently at her own house and sometimes at Mine. May Every blessing of Life and godliness Attend her. It is a sensible Grief Dear Sir that your bodily Infirmities should Prevent the execution of any of the wise and Pious Plans for usefulness to mankind you are [illegible][guess: framing] from time to time and among the rest hinder me from receiving your Kind and Edifying Letters I doubt Not Sir but a wise and Good God Makes this one Means of [illegible][guess: rendering] you more Active and serviceable to the Kingdom of the Great Redeemer. to this End you ask My Poor Prayers and [illegible] a most forcible and delightful argument the interest I have in yours. I most heartily thank you Sir for kind and daily Remembrance of Unworthy Me I beg Your Continuance of that most desirable favour for her
I can with Equal Sincerity, and honesty assure you that no day breaks in which I do Not Remember my dear and Good Friend Dr. wood and Recommend him, and his deepest interests his Precious Life and usefulness to the Father of Mercies — Dear sir may our Holy Father help us to Continue this Friendly Christian intercourse and correspondence by the way of Heaven daily meeting there so long as we are on this Side of it. this favour this blessing of your Kind, and [illegible] [illegible] Remembrance of Me I Rank Among many others owing to that wise and Good Providence which brought my dear sister from her Native Land to this Country. and while She thinks her Life is almost useless and Spent in vain I [illegible][guess: Such] Great May [illegible][guess: bring] kind and merciful [illegible][guess: Events] of Providence issuing from it in a very Extensive Manner, and may God Ren der her More and More useful in proportion to the [illegible][guess: truest] and [illegible][guess: enlarged] desires of his heart. I was sensibly touched with the Intima tion you gave of an uneasiness and Clamour existing in the Nation by the Tax or Additional Duty on beer or ale, I have not heard how the issue of it was or what Influence it had on the Election of Members of Parliament but hope the best and that the Kind Pro vidence which has for Such a time past overruled the public Affairs in such a wise, Steady, and kind manner has Given you a wise and Good Parliament. we In these distant Regions of the British Empire Share the general [illegible] in the Happy occasion of So Good a King so excellent and amiable a Man to the [illegible] of his [illegible] we feel the pleasure of the Delight ful prospect of his Long and happy Reign and daily Send up our ardent vows to heaven for the best blessings upon him the Queen [gap: tear][guess: his Amiable] Consort and that the Nation and all its [illegible][guess: dependences] may in him and his Royal house Enjoy the most distinguishing prosperity and future [illegible][guess: Ages] Call him blessed. God has Truly done Great Things for the Nation and for us in America, things which though we long and ardently wished yet Scarce dare we hope to see. The [illegible][guess: redemption] of Canada deliverance from the most false Cruel Perfidious Enemies that Ever were let loose upon Mankind. how wonderful a mercy if God Please to Incline the heart of the King and his ministers to keep North America and never let His acquisitions here Return to such bloody and deceitful Men as have been the Scourge of this Country in all past times and [illegible][guess: as soon] as it is in their Power will Extirpate and Ruin the English here. The Lord has done Great Things for us whereof we are Glad. I wish I could say for which we are thankful; and that the goodness of God had led us to Repentance. what can I Say here? but take up your Lamentation [illegible][guess: our] [illegible][guess: Brittons] Still we are a very wicked People vice abounds the Power of Godliness is much lost from Among us. we Sadly feel one of the dismal consequences of war the Corruption of our Morals. increasing of Extravagance, Luxury, and love of Show, vanity and sensual pleasure and much profaneness. [illegible][guess: Sad] Returns these to the divine and Glori‐ ous [illegible][guess: Author] of the distinguishing favours poured upon us. I must entreat your Fervent Prayers for us and those of All your Praying Friends. there Seem to appear Some hopeful glimmerings among the Indians in several distant Parts. The Commissioners at New York last [illegible][guess: Summer] upon a motion made to y[illegible] sent up one Mr. Samson Occom a Mohegan Indian Educated [illegible][guess: here] chiefly under the instruction
of the Rev. Mr. Wheelock one of the ministers in this Town) and was ordained by a Presbytery on Long Island. a Pious Man and zealous to serve his Country men and promote the knowledge of Christianity among them. he has been here since his Return; and Informs me that he has been among the Oneida Indians and Tuscaroras who border upon them and are much intermixed with them. was very kindly received by them and he thinks first and last he had above 500 [illegible][guess: hearers] and there are Many who appear very desirous to be Acquainted with the Christian religion and have Sent by him to desire the Commissioners to Send Among them a missionary who can Inform them what the [illegible][guess: bible] [illegible][guess: is] and the [illegible] [illegible][guess: the Great Saviour] . they desire him to tell the Commissioners that they have turned their backs upon their former Idolatry and and Never Intend to look that way again but their Faces are now turned towards Christ the Saviour and they are looking for him and Greatly desire to find him . we are also informed that there are some of the Susquehannock Indians who are disposed to [illegible][guess: live] [illegible] to the Gospel. May God open a Great door and Effectual to let in the knowledge of his son Jesus Christ into the hearts of the Poor [illegible][guess: bereft] [illegible][guess: Savages]. and oh that our abuse of the Gospel May not pro‐ voke him to lure us to a Dull formality nor to a depar ture from the doctrines of Grace or the Main Principals of Calvinism for [illegible] [illegible] that in Proportion to such a departure we sink, and are gone. I [illegible][guess: join] My earnest prayers that God May Return to you [illegible] [illegible][guess: deepening] Religion in the Congregations of the [illegible][guess: Dissenters] Multiply the [illegible][guess: Seed Sown] and increase all [illegible][guess: hints] of righteousness among you. our hearts Since I began the [illegible][guess: writing of yours] have Made [illegible][guess: Sad] by the News brought by the Packet boat last week to New York that the Great Mr. Pitt has resigned his offices New England, and America will be filled with Trembling on this Important Event fearing the French will again Gain the possession of that Country and be in A Capacity to be the Scourge and Plague of the British settlements here. May that divinely wise and all Powerful being who Rules the world Guide, and direct the King, and Government and preserve the Nation from being again the dupes of French Craft, and Perfidy, and [illegible][guess: losing] the blood, and treasure Spent to humble that [illegible][guess: Haughty] and Ambitious Nation o you Cant Conceive the distress that Such [illegible] would bring upon Poor New England. but if God So order we must Say the Lord is Right[gap: tear][guess: e] ous our Sins and Ingratitude deserve it. ‡ ‡ if after all our raised hopes God pleases to [illegible][guess: let us] sink again under the dark prospects of [illegible] of trouble like the former [illegible] [illegible][guess: dismal] I beg your Prayers that God would to [illegible] our posterity with him and be content that he should [illegible] as he [gap: hole] and [illegible][guess: taken in] to himself [illegible][guess: from] the [illegible] to Come Never the Dark [illegible][guess: former] and the divine Spirit [illegible] [illegible][guess: me to] [illegible] together with you in My Prayers that we may be daily [illegible] to Go to Jesus and the Spirit of the flesh made perfect and meet together in the Joy and Peace of heaven. My wife and children join in Most Respectful Salutations to you and dear Mrs. wood, and your dear dr and her Rev. Consort whose Name you dont mention.
Rev. Honoured dear Sir I am Your Most Affectionate Friend Brother and humble Servant Solomon Williams.
December 12 1761 Copy of My letter to Dr. Wood of Norwich in answer to his of February 16 last.