John Brainerd, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1766 September 16


abstractBrainerd writes about the apprehension of the murderers of two Indian women, includes letters from Francis Alison and John Ewing recommending John G. Kals as a teacher and missionary, and gives his own recommendation of Kals, with reservations.

handwritingHandwriting is bold, stylized and occasionally difficult to decipher.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good-to-fair condition, with some yellowing and moderate-to-heavy creasing that leads to a minor loss of text. There is older preservation work on one verso and two recto. The outer edges appear to have been trimmed.

inkDark brown.

noteworthyThe text is dimmed somewhat by preservation work. An editor, likely 19th-century, had added the note "Ind Mis" to two verso; this note has not been included in the transcription.

EventsFundraising Tour of Great Britain

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

Rev. and Dear Sir, 
I wrote you Some Time ago, and left it  at Egg harbour to go by the first Connecticut Vessel;  what its fate will be I know not. I now write  again, not knowing of any direct Opportunity,  but determining to embrace the first and best that offers.  I informed you of the Murder of two Indian Women  in this Pr[gap: tear][guess: o]vince, by a Couple of straggling Stran=  gers, — of their Apprehension, and Execution at Bur=  lington, the first of Aug. ultimo This I did that  it might communicated to the remote Indi=  ans, who will doubtless hear of the Murder, and  ought to be informed of the Murderers being  brought to Justice. You will doubtless, through  Sir William Johnson, or otherwise have Oppor=  tunity to do it.
Since my last I received a Letter from the  Rev. Dr. Alison, the Contents of which I shall  give you, and they are as follows.
"Rev. and Dr. Sir 
"I take this Opportunity to introduce to your  "Acquaintance the Rev. Mr John G. Kals, a Minis= "ter of the Dutch reformed Churches. He is a Gentle= "man of Piety and Learning, and zealous to promote the  "Kingdom of Christ, and well qualified many Ways to   Serve  Letter from Mr. John Brainerd  September 16. 1766,—about  Mr. Kalls   
"Serve God, and to do Service in the Church if a Door  "of usefulness were opened. He understands Hebrew,  "Chaldaic etc. beyond any that I know on the Continent,  "and might be of great Service to teach Candi= "dates for the Ministry to read the Bible in Hebrew.  "I lament that we are so careless how we teach Divi= "nity, and particularly to make our Students migh= "ty in the Scriptures, and I am amazed that in the  "Colleges of Princeton and Philadelphia this is neglected or ra= "ther despised for this Gentleman c[gap: tear][guess: an] teach it to  "great Perfection, and is willing to teach it on any  "terms, so as he can have but food and Raiment and  "our neglect of what is in our Power will be charged  "to our Account. He has heard of Mr. Wheelock's  "unwearied Endeavours to convert the Indians, and  "would think himself greatly honoured could he  "be any Way useful in this great Work. I ad vised him first to visit and converse with you, and to  "Stay Some Days and visit the Indians in their Houses,  "to See them attend Worship, and how the Children  "learn: and possibly from thence he might form a bet= "ter Judgement how he is qualified to do anything  "in this great Work. he is poor, but very frugal;  "what regard you show to him I shall account as  "a favour done to   Rev. Sir,   your etc." — —
At the Same Time I received the following from  the Rev. Mr. Ewing.
"As Mr. Kalls Showed me the en‐ closed 
" Letter from Dr. Alison before the Sealing of it,  "I can say from my own Knowledge that what he relates  "of that Gentleman I can heartily Subscribe. I would only  "add that Such was his Zeal to Spread the Gospel a= "mong the benighted Heathen that he voluntarily under= "took a Voyage to Surinam with proper testimontials  "from the Synod of Holland and Classis of Amsterdam. But left  "it, when he found that there was no effectual Door opened for  "him in that Place. His heart is [illegible][guess: So much] Set upon this  "Work that he has wrote a large Quarto Volume upon the Sub= "ject in Low Dutch as a Testimony to the World of his  "Desire to contribute to So good a Cause, in hopes that Some  "might be excited thereby to engage in the arduous and self-de nying Work. If you have need of Such assistance as he can  "give, I doubt not but he would be very glad of an  "Opportunity of being employed in any Way that you may  "think will have the best tendency to promote your truly  "benevolent designs both to the Indians and white People  "in your wide, extended diocese.   Rev. Sir,   your etc." —
Mr. Kals accordingly tarried here near a Week,  preachd twice attended the School some and visited at  some of the Indian Houses.. He is a Man of about  65 Years of Age, a great Linguist [gap: worn_edge][guess: and] a [gap: worn_edge][guess: c]lose Student.  He tells me he can make use of 16 Languages viz  Latin, Greek Hebrew, Chaldea, Syriac, Arabic Ethiopi[gap: worn_edge]  Parsi, German, Low Dutch, French, Spanish, Italian  Turkish, Russian and English. The last of these he Seems  to be well acquainted with, but does not Speak  plain, which renders it somewhat laborious to con verse with him. This I apprehend to be the great=   est 
est Difficulty in his Way of Instructing, espe cially in such a School as yours. I have  a good deal of Reason to think him well  capable of Instructing in other Branches of  Learning besides the Languages, especially Di=  vinity, and that he would be very accurate there=  in, but his want of Speaking the English  well is a great Difficulty. I thought it my  Duty to write, as I know him to be in many re spect[gap: worn_edge][guess: s] Qualified to do Service in the teaching  Way; yet I am not without Some Secret Fears  he won't Suit you, as it is somewhat Difficult  to understand him, and must be much more  So for those that have not the English Tongue  perfectly. But that his Talents might not  be buried, and that your School (if it may be)  may receive Help and Benefit I have written:  And now commit the Matter to the Disposal of Pro=  vidence. This Gentleman at present resides in  Philadelphia.
I See by the last Paper that our Friends Mr.  Whitaker and Mr. Occom collected upward of 133 £ at  the Rev. Mr. Brewers Church in Stepney. May Heaven  send them Prosperity everywhere, and make your  School a blessing to the [illegible] Posterity. I long  to hear from you.
My best Regards to Mrs. Wheelock (in which my  Wife very heartily Joins though unknown).  and accept the Same from,   
Rev. Honoured Sir; your most affectionate John Brainerd 
P'S If you Should entertain any thoughts of employing this Gentleman it might be well to inquire further  I had no Acquaintance with him 'til the other Day. Mr. William Tennent might be a proper person. — —