Gideon Hawley, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1763 January 27


abstractHawley writes to tell of Occom's lack of tact in dealing with the Oneidas.

handwritingHandwriting is small, but mostly clear and legible, with some additions and deletions.

paperSingle large sheet is in good condition, with moderate creasing and staining.


signatureSignature is 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 Honoured Sir,   
Your favours of 18th October and 21st November came safe and di­  rect, for which I humbly and heartily thank you. I should have  been glad enough to have heard from you before, but did not  take it illy that you did not write, supposing you had other  business, and other correspondents, that it was of more impor  tance for you to attend to: besides I live so much out  of the way, that it is very Difficult to get a passage for a  letter that is direct and safe. In regard to the visit I sincerely  designed you before now, it has been unvoidably delayed by  such overtures in providence, as at present it is needless  for me to relate — although all my relatives, and many of my  best friends are in Connecticut, I have not been able,  without neglect of more important duties, which could not be  dispensed with, to visit them since October 1758 
In regard to Mr. Occom, it is with singular pleasure that I  view him as an ornament to his nation and to christianity,  and am very sorry I never had the happiness of being  acquainted with him. We were in the country of the Six Na  tions the fall before last at the same time, but such were the  duties of our mission, being straitened for time and having a  great deal to do, that we were separated by the distance of  an hundred miles or near it. However, tarrying in the Coun  try, as I went after he did, when he was come off and seeing  many of the Oneidas in my peregrinations, it being the  season of their going to their hunting places, I had an oppor tunity of being advised of his preaching, conduct and the reception  he met with, among them; which were quite equal to what  one could expect. and what I communicated, and desired my friend  to write you, concern some what, in his preaching that was  exceptionable, I thought it was best he should hear of; and that  you, being his preceptor, spiritual Father etc. was the most  suitable person to advise him of it. and the vindication  of himself [illegible: for] the reasons Mr. Occom gives I doubt not are just and true,  and I think are satisfactory. A poor man among such a  people without a faithful and skillful interpreter is to be  pitied. However I would use this opportunity to say,  that the irregularities in dress and some other things in the  customs of Indians as they not sinful in themselves, it will  rather be commendable in a missionary to conform to them  in some measure, than at his first going among them to say  much 
much very directly against them. The corruption of human Nature and  the sinfulness of it a missionary should expose in all its deformity  as much as possible which will prepare the way for the Gospel.  St. Paul's epistles, especially that to the Romans is the best  model and guide for a missionary. 
In regard to your School is gives me very great satisfaction  to hear of its prosperity and I wish that it may flourish  and that it may answer even beyond your expecta -  tions the great and good ends of its foundation. your  second letter gives me great concern because you appear  to be afraid of your schools being a party affair, which  I pray God to prevent — you and I shall find, Sir,  the more we have to do with the world, that by reason of the  jealousy which is inseparable from corrupt nature it will  be impossible for any considerable number to hold an ad-  vantageous confederacy for any length of time in any  affair. And we must be content with dragging along the  most generous affairs not only without the assistance of many  of whom we might justly expect it, but against the oppo sition of some, who are real friends to the true interest of  religion, because they can’t agree with us as to the me-  thods of promoting it. Indeed, Sir, we need much of that  charity which believeth all things, Loveth all things and en-  dureth all things. 
In regard to my Indians my influence over them in- creases and I see some little fruit, although but little of my  labour; — they increase in number since my settlement  — We have one of our men, who has been as an  Agent to the Court of Great Britain about our lands  and we hope to have our affairs upon a better foot-  ing. I have about Seventy Indian houses and Wigwams  on this tract of Land besides a dozen or more that be-  long to our meeting that live a little off from it —   
I am, in very great haste  Rev. Sir,  your very Dutiful Son and  Servant in Christ  Gideon Hawley