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


abstractWheelock writes of his difficulty in securing pupils, and relays news from Occom about the bad conditions among the Oneidas. Ashpo is being trained for mission work. The future of a grant from the Massachusetts assembly and other monies are in question.

handwritingInformal handwriting is small and crowded, with several additions and deletions, which affects legibility.

paperLarge single sheet is in good condition, with light staining and wear, and moderate creasing.


noteworthyThis document is likely a draft. Manuscript 762516.1 is a copy of this letter.

signatureThe signature is abbreviated.

EventsOccom’s Second Mission to the Oneidas

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

  My very dear and honoured Sir  
David, my Indian scholar returned July 18  from the Mohawk Country, where I informed you in my  last, I Sent him, and brought with him 4 Indian Boys three Mohawks  and one of the Farmington Tribe the Boys and Girls which I expected from Oneida  were detained by their Parents on account of a Rumour, and suspicion, of a war just commencing  between them and the Nations back of them     and in such a case they said 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 those Nations against the  English. The English youth of which I informed you,  who has been a Captive with the Senecas 'til he is master  of their Language, and which I sent for with a view to  fit him for Interpreter to that Nation, was under such  engagements to a Trader at Black Fort as that he could  not get released for the present, I have again wrote to  Gen. Johnson who was not at Home when David was there  'til the Night before David came away         and desired him to   to procure, and send the youth if he esteem[illegible]  him likely to answer the design. 
Mr. Occom writes me a very melancholy 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  then just come in from their Pigeon Hunt — 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 (though they were as kind as they could be) and  especially lying upon 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 though the Indians had  promised him in case a war should break out, they would send him  under a Sufficient Guard, down as far as the English Settlements 
But there was Something good in his Letter viz that there  were visible 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 appear quite likely and hope  I Shall have Several well fitted for Interpreters and missionaries in due Time  I have been favoured with the best of masters successively for  Some years. 
I have received the Bell which you Sent and and it is  decently    Letter to Mr. Whitefield September 16. 1762.
decently hung on the House which I have devoted to  the Service. and we now feel the Benefit of it. we  can now keep hours with but little Trouble. I hope  in Gods Time it will be used to call together a little  black assembly to hear you preach Christ. — 
A Small Council 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 the School this  week . Several others I expect here soon.  and my Hope for their Support is only in him whose  the Earth is and the fullness thereof, and who has the  hearts of all in his Hands. 
The general assembly of the Province of the Massachussetts 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 understand by Dr. Chauncy that the new formed Society in, and about Bos‐  -ton design if they can to get it into their Hands as soon  as my year’s improvement of it is Expired.  also His Majesties 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  Governour to consider of the act before he prorogued  the assembly and So it is not yet Signed. 
and who known to what a height this may arise from low  and despicable Begin[illegible][guess: in]gs, and what Glory may redown to  the great Redeemer thereby. to God alone be all the Glory. 
Mr. Smith informed me that there was Some talk in England of collect‐  -ing 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 of it. and  if you think fit introduced to a correspondence with some mem‐  -ber of it. Miss. Williams before She left Wethersfield Sent me  a Number of valuable and useful Books to be dispersed as I  judged best 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 pure mercy of God am now able to do some  business. pray for your unworthy brother etc.    
Eleazar Wheelock