Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1767 September 3

ms-number767503.3

abstractThe commissioners of the Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America refuse to send Wheelock a copy of the letter he requested because they do not credit his account of Occom’s education. They also admonish Wheelock for luring away one of the Company's interpreters.

handwritingFormal handwriting is bold, clear and legible.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to make four pages is in fair condition, with moderate staining, creasing and wear that results in a minor loss of text.

inkBlack.

signatureThe signature is abbreviated.

noteworthyThe letter is signed by Andrew Oliver on behalf of the Company.

EventsOccom’s Ordination, Occom leaves his studies

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

Rev. Sir   
Mr. Oliver communicated to the Board  of Commissioners your letter of the 10 August desiring a  Copy of ours to Mr. Mauduit, Governor of the Company  in England of 2nd October 1765. We have no Objection to your  having a Copy, but as the Letter was wrote to our consti‐ tuents and is now in their hands, we think there is an  impropriety in our delivering out a Copy of it. Mr. Oliver  informs us that he read it to you, and both he and  Mr. Pemberton (with whom you conversed on the Subject)  inform Us, that your exceptions to it all relate to mere  circumstances; For we apprehend it to be quite immaterial  whether Mr. Occom was put under your Care at first,  by some well disposed persons, or by his Mother only.  Whether he was ordained on Long Island, or on this side  the Sound in Connecticut: Or Whether the weakness of  his Eyes came upon him while actually under your  education, or after he came out from it? The main thing,  and the only thing of any importance in the Letter is —  Whether "he was a Mohawk Indian lately converted from  Heathenism, and in a short space of time fitted for the  Ministry by Mr. Wheelock"? We did undertake to inform  our Constituents that he was not a Mohawk, but "that  he was born at Mohegan an Indian Settlement lying be=  =tween New London and Norwich, two of the principal Towns  in the Colony of Connecticut"; and in this We think we 
are not mistaken. We are also persuaded that his early  youth was spent there (though we said nothing of this in  the Letter) and if so, We think it highly improbable that  he should have lived in a state of heathenism, while  Lecturers and Schoolmasters were then supported among  them. And as you say his Mother brought him to you for  Education, this renders it highly probable that she knew  something of Christianity herself, and was so far "well dis=  =posed" as in some poor manner to have informed her son  of the Saviours name at least; and that he must therefore  be mistaken in giving out, as you say he did, that he  had never so much as heard it till he was 17 years of Age.  But we shall add no more on this head— We cannot  however help taking notice to you of a Fact which has  but this day come to our knowledge — which is this — that  after we have been at the expense of fitting James  Dean for an Interpreter to the Western Indians,  and have now actually employed him as Such in our  Service, You should attempt to take him away from us,  by promising to take him into your School, and to give  him a liberal Education. We thought We had before  given him an ample allowance; but we cannot now  retain him in our Service without greatly augment=  ­ing it: So that instead of drawing together with Us in our  Schemes for propagating the Gospel, you seem to be  rendering it more difficult, at least more expensive 
to Us. .. [gap: tear][guess: we wou]ld have been glad to have gone hand  in hand with you in this great and important Cause, had  you ever shown the least inclination to have allowed Us  a share in the conduct of it: We shall however rejoice  in your success, without envying you the honour or  the Satisfaction of advancing the interests of Christianity  more effectually, than they ever have been advanced  under our Management.
I write this in the name and by order of the Board  of Commissioners and am   
Rev. Sir   Your most humble Servant  Andrew Oliver 
Rev. Mr. Whe[gap: tear][guess: elock] 
Andrew Oliver, Esq.  in the Name of the Board.   September 3. 1767      To  The Rev.  Mr. Eleazar Wheelock  at  Lebanon
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