Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to William Johnson, 1767 August 19


abstractWheelock writes on behalf of the Narragansett Indians, who are losing their lands, and requests to know whether the reports of missionaries arriving from Europe are true.

handwritingFormal handwriting is not Wheelock's. It is clear and legible.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to make four pages is in fair condition, with light-to-moderate staining, creasing and wear. There is preservation work along the heavy vertical crease.

noteworthy"HAVEMEYER COLLECTION" is typewritten across the top of one recto. As is marked on two recto, this document is a copy. A note in pencil has been added to the top left of two recto; this note has not been included in the transcription. There is some scratch writing in an unknown hand on two verso beneath the address.

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

  Sir   May it please your Excellency.   
The enclosed came directed to my care  while I was on a journey; by which means it failed of an earlier convey‐ -ance. And with respect to the context of it, I would only beg leave, at the  desire of some concerned, to certify you, that the Rev. Mr. Fish is, so far as I  know, universally esteemed, a gentleman of Integrity and good Ability.  And accordingly the Representation he has made of the Case of the  poor suffering Indians at Narragansett, is to be relied upon, as being  faithfully and impartially done 
And I would also at their desire join my earnest Request in  Behalf of that poor people, that your Excellency would please take their  piteous Case into your Consideration, and if there be any way of relief  for them (which under God they expect chiefly, or only by your inter‐ position) that something effectual may be done to prevent that  total ruin which otherwise, according to all human probabilities,  is very speedily to be expected— They have bid the fairest to  be built up, and become a people, of any party of Indians  I know of in New England— and now just as they have got  well engaged in cultivating their Lands, and begin to know  the worth of them, by tasting the sweets of a civilized Life,  their best farms are slipping from under them, one after  another (as they express it) with much expense of Labour  and money also, which they have bestowed to subdue them.  And they have reason to expect in a very little Time, they  shall have none left, unless something effectual be speedily  done for their Help. The piteous complaints of this poor people  are truly such, as I make no doubt, sir, would greatly move  your Excellency's Compassions towards them, could you hear  them   
them, but your well known Care, Fidelity, and  Resolution, prevent all occasion to enlarge on this Head— 
May it please your Excellency. We had frequent Reports last  winter and spring, from your Quarter, as well as diverse Hints in  the public News, that a Number of Missionaries and schoolmasters were daily  expected from Europe to supply the Vacancies in your Vicinity:  on which I wrote your Excellency desiring to be certified of the   truth of the report, and to know your pleasure relating thereto:  But I have received no written answer— and as I have always esteemed  your Countenance and Patronage to be of such Importance, in this  Affair, that I would by no means take one step without your Appro‐ -bation; I have neglected to send either Missionary or schoolmaster,  this Year, to those places near you, 'til you should please to signify  your pleasure in that matter: and I have now sent my son to  wait upon you with this, desiring you would please to advise  me fully, whether you desire the board of Correspondents in this  Colony to provide supply of preaching for the parties of  Indians of the six Nations who are willing to hear, and school‐ masters for their Children; and whether your Excellency will  encourage those we shall send, in their respective services,  so long, and so far, as their conduct and Behaviour shall be agreeable to  to their [illegible][guess: "]respective Characters and professions? 
Your Excellency is not unsensible that the infant Institu‐ -tion under my care, is now, by the blessing of Heaven, much  increased, and become respectable at home and abroad; and is honoured   with the patronage of gentlemen of Character, and great worth  in England, who have accepted the Trust of, and become  Guarantees to the public, for the fund collected in Europe, for  the use and support of it; (of which Trust the Right honourable the Earl  of Dartmouth is appointed president) whose Characters, and  influence are such, that I would by no means, have a step  taken which may not have their Approbation. And I should  be very sorry, if, by any means, party names, and circum‐  -stantial differences in matters of Religion. should so operate,  as to retard or prevent the progress, and success of the general  Design in View—  please   
please, sir, to let me know your Mind, and advise me, as  fully as shall be needful to determine my conduct  in this matter. and please, sir, to be assured that you  shall always be served with humility, and the greatest  cheerfulness, in anything that comes within the  Power of   
May it please your Excellency  Your most obedient, humble Servant  Eleazar Wheelock 
sir William Johnson Baronet   A Copy   
To Sir William Johnson Baronet  August 19th 1767  Copy  [illegible][guess: PL]  Landaff  Landaff