Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to George Whitefield, 1762 September 16


abstractCopy of a letter in which Wheelock discusses Occom's mission, those affected by Indian wars, the growth of the School, grants of money, and the donation of books.

handwritingInformal handwriting is small and occasionally difficult to decipher; it is not Wheelock’s.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to make four pages is heavily reinforced, which makes it difficult to gauge the condition of the paper.

inkBlack-brown ink is somewhat dimmed by reinforcement.

noteworthyThis letter is a copy of manuscript 762516. It is uncertain to whom Wheelock refers when he mentions the "English Youth" in the second paragraph of one recto, and so he has been left untagged. The number 814 is circled in blue pencil at the top of one recto; it is likely a cataloguing number, possibly of a private collector. An editor, likely 19th-century, has added the note "To Whitefield" after the trailer on two verso. This note has not been included in the transcription.

signatureThe signature is not in Wheelock’s hand.

EventsOccom’s Second Mission to the Oneidas

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

  My dear and honoured Sir
David my indian Scholar, returned july 18th from  the Mohawk country, where I informed you in my last  I sent him, and brought with him four indian boys. 3  Mohawks and one of the Farmington tribe, the boys and girls  I expected from Oneida, were detained by their Parents, on  account of a Rumour and suspicion of a war full com‐ mencing between them and the Nation on the Back of them and in  Such a case they did not choose to have their Children  at such a distance from them, But perhaps they were  suspicious that they should be obliged to join these Nations  against the English — 
The English Youth of which I have informed you  who has been a Captive with the Senecas until he is master of  their Language. and which I sent for with a view to fit him  for an Interpreter to that Nation. was under such engagements  to a Trader at Black Fort, as that he could not get [illegible]cleared  for the present, I have again wrote to General Johnson, who was  not at Home when David was there 'til the night before he came  away, and desired him to procure and send the youth, if he esteems him  likely to answer the design — Mr. Occom writes me a very Me‐ ‐lancholy Letter. viz that, by an Untimely frost last fall,  their Indian Corn was all Cut off, that the Oneidas are almost  starved having nothing to live upon but what they get by  Hunting that they had just come in from their pigeon  — and were going a fishing, as soon as they return  from that they will go after Deer, That he followed them  but found it very difficult to get a number of them together  to preach to them, that by hard living (although they were as kind   to 
to him as they Could be) and especially by lying on the wet  Ground his old disorders (viz rheumatic) returned and he was  apprehensive he must return before the time appointed, That he  lived in fear of being killed. Although the Indians had promised  him in case a war should break out, they would send  him under sufficient guard down as far as the English  Settlements 
But there was something very good in his Letter viz that there were visibly good Effects of his Labours  among them last Year, and especially a Reformation among  them as to their Drinking 
My School is in a flourishing State through the  Great Mercy of God, I have 19. in Number. viz 15 Males and   4. females, and the most of them appearing quite likely, I hope  I shall have several well fitted for Interpreters and missionaries  in due time. I have been favoured with the best of  of masters successfully for some Years — I have received  the Bell you sent and it is decently hung on the house Which  is devoted to the service. and we now feel the Benefit of it  we can keep Hours with little Trouble and I hope in Gods  Time it will be used to call together a little black assemby  to hear you Preach Christ.
A small Counsel of Ministers has been lately called to  examine Samuel Ashpo. an Indian of whom I once wrote you  and they were so far satisfied and pleased with him as that  they advised to his being fitted as fast as may be for a  mission. and accordingly I Expect Him to this School this  week. several others I expect here soon and my hope for  their support is only in Him what the Earth is, and the fullness thereof 
The general assembly of the province of the Massachusetts Bay,  last fall, voted me the use of a Legacy of Sir Peter  Warren. of about £750 sterling which he left in their hands  for the Education of the Youth of the Six Nations, but I Understood  by Dr. Chauncy that the new formed Society in and about Boston  design if they can to get it into their hands, as soon as my  years improvement of it is Expired — Also his Majesty Counsel  and house of Representatives in the province of New Hampshire  have voted to the use of this School £50 sterling per annum  for five years successively, but there was not time for the  Governor to Consider of the Act before he prorogued the  assembly and so it is not yet signed — and who knows to what  a Height this School may arise from low and despicable Beginnings  and what Glory may redound to the great Redeemer thereby  to God alone be all the Glory!
Mr. Smith informed me that there was some talk in England  of collecting a Library for the use of this School, may God  incline the Hearts of his people to promote that design  is there not a society in England lately formed with a special  view to the printing and dispersing useful Books? I wish I  could be informed particularly about it and if you think fit  introduced to a correspondence with some members of it. Miss  Williams before she left Wethersfield, sent me a Number of  valuable and useful to be dispersed as I judged but among  Children etc. which I now suppose might likely come to her from  that Society. I have lately been sick and brought low with  a dysentery but through the mercy of God am now able to do some  business
pray for Your Unworthy brother etc.   Eleazar Wheelock
Rev. Mr. Wheelock   September 1762.   America