Joseph Fish, letter, to Nathaniel Whitaker, 1766 July 30


abstractFish writes to Whitaker about his mission to the Narragansetts, and about the visit he and his wife made to Mrs. Whitaker.

handwritingHandwriting is formal and clear, yet it has been dimmed by preservation work. The trailer appears to be in Whitaker's hand.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to make four pages has been heavily reinforced, which makes it difficult to gauge the condition of the paper. It appears to be in poor condition, with heavy staining, creasing and wear that results in some loss of text.

inkBrown ink is faded, and dimmed by the reinforcement.

noteworthyAn unknown editor has written the letter X in spots on the document. These edits have not been included in the transcription.

signatureFish signs the document three times: once in full, twice with initials.

EventsFundraising Tour of Great Britain

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

Rev. and Dear   Sir, 
It was my unhappiness that I could not find a  leisure hour or two, for free conversation [gap: hole][guess: with] you, before you Em ‐barked for England. your Departure and important design, lay wi[gap: tear][guess: th]  Weight upon my Mind, as it has done ever Since. And it was m[gap: tear][guess: y]  fixed purpose to let you know my special Regard and Concern  for you and cause, by earlier writing: but have been so p[gap: worn_edge][guess: er] ‐petually crowded with business, chiefly of a public nature;  that I cant say I have been at Liberty to write you,  when opportunity presented, 'til now I snatch a few minutes  for that purpose.   The Situation of the Indian Charity School, Doings of the  Board, missions etc.: I leave to the hands that are employed  in those public affairs; which, conclude, you will here‐ with, have full account of.— Only observe, That the day of  the Dear and excellent Mr. Kirtlands Ordination, appeared  to me very glorious, promising great and good events. — Can[gap: tear][guess: t]  but hope the issue will be, The Advancement of the Re‐ deemers Kingdom. —   While Such important Steps are taken, to carry the  Gospel among the Savages, of far distant Tribes, it may,  perhaps afford you and Friends; some additional pleasure,  to hear that Learning and Religion are hopefully, reviving, a‐ mong some of the Indians near at hand   besides the Indian School and Lectures, among the Indians  of my own parish, which I've had the Care of for Many years,  At the earnest Request of the Honourable Commissioners Boston,  I have for nine months Past, been much engaged for the  Indians of King Ninigrets Tribe, in Charlestown Rhode‐  ‐Island; where there are above Seventy Indian Families and  more than Three hundred Souls, pretty much in a Body  together.— Authorized as above, I appointed them an  English Schoolmaster, of good Capacity and well disposed, for 
the business, (to be Supported by the Commissioners,)— Set them  up a commodious schoolhouse, in which, (though unfinished,)  the Master lives and the School is Steadily kept. He had, last  winter, (in a private house,) above fourscore Indian scholars  in a day, and about 120 that came to School, at times,  and their Proficiency at Reading and Writing was very consi‐ derable. That last being chiefly called off to business, this  Summer, he has, of a smaller class, about Thirty that  generally attend his School and the number is increasing.   I visit and Preach to them about once a month —  Have a considerable assembly of Serious, Attentive In‐ dian Hearers, who profess Satisfaction, beyond my Thought.  For they have had Religion Among them these Twenty  years, and an Indian ordained Minister, for a number of years:  but they are all of the separate Stamp,— Very Ignorant:  scarce any of them able to read a word,— unhappily leavened with,  yea full of false Religion, — tenacious of their wild Imaginations  and visionary things, (which they cannot bear to hear touched,  though they'll readily hear the opposite Truths,) And, 'til now,  Set against, at least, mortally afraid of the Standing Ministers.—  So that I must think my self highly favoured, by the Respect  they show to my person and Regard for my Labours among them.  Am in hopes they will, by little and little, come off from their  wild notions, and have a relish for nothing but Truth.   Oh that I may have no other View but their best good,  and the Redeemers Intrest. —   I have been much in Journeying, Since you left us.  Last Week, returning, with my Wife, from visiting our children  New Haven, we Spent an hour at your house, Chelsea. And  had the pleasure of Dining and conversing with your Dear  Wife: It afforded us real Satisfaction, to See Mrs. Whitaker,  with her Little ones all about her, [illegible] not only in perfect  Health, but more especially, to find her cheerful, Sociable  and entertaining, (as usual,) — Evidence that She has happily 
overcome the late Severe Trials of parting with her best Friend.  She Seems really to enjoy herself as well as your absence can  admit, — your very desirable Children appear with that  Decorum that be[illegible][guess: comes] a well ordered Family. It is rare to See So  fine, So lovely a Child, as that of yours, which you never Saw.  Mr. Woodward, ('til now unknown to me,) appears to be Sui‐ tably attentive to the good of the Family. — I thought him  quite an agreeable, Obliging young gentleman. — On the Whole,  was well pleased with the economy of your house.—  May you, in due season, return successful, and happ[gap: tear][guess: ily]  find your Tabernacle in peace. —   My Time is Out— Have only to wish you much [gap: tear][guess: of]  the Divine presence, The smiles of Heaven on your Im‐ portant undertaking,— The Hearts and Hands of all   Britain for new full supplies.— That you may, in all res‐ pects, conduct with the utmost prudence and Fidelity, — Be  kept unspotted from the Vanities of the World, And return  to us richly laden with the virtues, the Rarities of our  mother Country, And am, Dear Sir, with high Esteem,   
your very Sincere Friend and unworthy Brother,  Joseph Fish 
P.S. My hearty Regards to the Rev.  Mr. Occom — am really glad  to hear that he Stands firm, — be‐ haves so well, and meets with so  much Respect. — The Lord keep  him from Pride, Self-Exaltation,  and the Vices of the Place and Times.—  Yours and his J. F. 
I know not of any Other Man, that I am acquainted with in London  or Europe, except the Rev. Mr. Whitefield: Am very glad and thank‐ ful that he takes proper Notice of you, and So much befriends the  cause. Let my k[gap: tear] Love and Service be acceptable to him. J. F. 
Rev. N[gap: tear][guess: athaniel Whitaker] 
From Rev. Mr. Joseph  Fish Stonington  July 30 1766   
Fish  To  The Rev. Mr. Nathaniel Whitaker  In  London  To be left at the New England Coffee House