Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to the Trust in England, 1767 October 8


abstractWheelock copies an extract from his son Ralph’s journal describing a trip to Oneida Country, and relates the progress of the mission work there.

handwritingInformal handwriting is small, crowded and frequently difficult to decipher. There are several deletions and additions, as well as uncrossed t’s and undotted i’s. Letter case frequently difficult to decipher

paperLarge sheet folded into four pages is in fair condition, with light-to-moderate staining, creasing and wear. There is evidence of old repair work on the central crease.

noteworthyPersons whose identites are uncertain have been left untagged. This document is likely a draft.

layoutAddendum in left margin of one recto spills over onto two verso, indicating that the addendum was written with the paper laid flat, after the text on two verso was written.

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

  To the Right Honourable the Earl of Dartmouth  and [illegible] Honourable and worthy Gentlemen who have  accepted the Trust of the [illegible][guess: Fund] for the Indian charity-  school etc.  .  My Noble Honourable and worthy Sirs 
In mine to Mr. Keen and Mr. Whitaker of 2nd and 3rd ultimo which I trust you have seen I informed   You that I had Sent my Son into the Wilderness. he returned from  his long and fatiguing Tour 25th ultimo the Copy of Sir William Johnson's  Letter enclosed Sufficiently expresses the Tenor of his discourse with my  Son — on which My Son thought proper not to attempt to collect  the Schools, or engage missionaries 'til Sir John Johnson's Return, or  'til we could hear further hear of the Affair of missionaries from Home.  The following is an abstract of my Son's Journal from thence to Oneida   viz;; September 9th reached Thompson's the last English Inhabitant on this Side  Mr. Kirtlands.  10th Thursday — here find Indians Settling the Bounds of Lands as I was informed which   Sir William had bought of them for Sir Henry Moore, and other Gentlemen  in New York — many of them were Drunk, but on hearing my Name  they treated me with distinguishing marks of respect. — I hired an  Indian lad to conduct me 36. miles through the Woods to Mr. Kirtlands  — a very wet Day and no House for refreshment — reach Mr. Kirtlands about 6 o'Clock  in the Evening — was agreeably surprised to find his Situation amidst Such a Number  of huts, and to See the Active Appearance of So many Souls — and though wet and much  tired, could Scarce find Time to Shift my clothes, or take refreshment, the Sound of  my arrival being Soon Spread through the Whole Castle. The Grey headed, middle  aged youth and Children flocked in Swarms to welcome me their Father, the  flesh of their Great Father . And give me Gods blessing  and pray for one to be given them by me, (for Such were the Terms they used) I was  complimented with friendly Salutations of all kinds, and Such as appeared hearty. —  this throng held 'til 9 O'Clock when Mr. Kirtland told them I was weary and wanted  rest — that they must come tomorrow morning for God's News etc. —   I found Mr. Kirtland in high Spirits, full of Zeal, his whole Heart and Soul engaged  in his work — He has made provision for a comfortable subsistence through the  winter, for which he is none in Debt. his prospects of success Among them  are great and increasing — many added to his Congregation — there are now  upwards of 80 families — there were five new huts then in building — and Mr. Kirtland told me he expected 10. or 12. more this fall —  11th friday — I was roused from my blanket this morning by the Indians who  wanted to know whether I was Sick or Well — and impatient to See me by the  daylight — after breakfast I walked with Mr. Kirtland through the Town, we called   at every House that we might not give offence, and had all the respect shown  me in their Power.— Mr. Kirtland had heard of my being on the Road  and lest I Should not extend my Journey further than the Mohawks, had Sent  3 of their Boys and one Girl forward the Day before to meet me at Buttlers‐ ‐burrough. (one of these Boys was the Son of Gawke their Chief who died the Spring  before last, and when he was dying left charge with his Queen to Send her Children  to be instructed at this School as Soon as they were old Enough) — the Queen  his mother set out with them under the Care of David Fowler (whom my father had  Sent for to take care of his Aged and Suffering Parents and teach a School at Montauk)  at fort Stanwix they lost one of their horses —#          #on which the Queen and two of the the Boys returned her Son and the Girl went  forward with David. before the Queen came to town she heard that I  was come, and though wet to the Skin and fatigued with her travel, She came  direct to Mr. Kirtlands with the Boys, to see me  and seemed vastly pleased that they were come. I asked  the Boys if they would go with me tomorrow   morning   
with me tomorrow morning, they consented to it with the greatest cheerfulness  and Seeming eagerness to be on the way —  12. Saturday —. this morning hired a Boy to carry a letter after David to Stop him at  the Mohawk Castle 'til I and the other Boys should come up with them— And another to [illegible][guess: look ] the horse that was lost — And another to carry  a Belt of Wampum to the Chief at Old Oneida (where they have never had an English  missionary or schoolmaster) desiring Him to come and hear my message — the 1st and 2nd   of these Boys effected their design — the 3rd returned with a Belt [illegible][guess: Same] Belt of friendship  with this message that he was then labouring under a fit of the fever and ague but would   wait on me the next Day at 12 o'Clock. — I have not yet Spoke with  Jacob who went Home on a visit last Spring, by my Fathers leave, but  through the Influence of his bad Aunts, has much outstayed his Time — I  have Seen him Several Times but have treated him and his Family with  Slight — Spent the Day with Mr. Kirtland in Settling the Affair of his  School — they engaged to Send 28 Children at least — many of whom have  made laudable Proficiency already under David Fowler.— at Evening I  attended their Singing Meeting and was surprised at the proficiency they  have made at which they Sang Several Sacred Hymns in their own Language  which Mr. Kirtland has made and Set to music — and as soon as he can have leisure for it  designs to translate a Number of Psalms and Sacred Hymns into Indian  metre (in addition to a few they already have, which was done many years  ago) and prepare them for the press — I found that I could easily have brought away  — with me 9/10ths of the Children of that Castle if I would.—  13th. Lords Day — at 10 o'Clock the Horn Sounded for meeting — on which I could  not refrain from weeping at the Sight of Such a Swarm of tawny immortals in  their beggarly Habit flocking with such appearance of Zeal and eagerness to  their longhouse for divine worship — a more solemn assembly I scarcely  ever Saw in my Life — Mr. Kirtland though I could not understand him, appeared   to act the Indian Orator to perfection — the assembly heard with great  Attention — the Queen Sat near me both parts of the Day, and wept at hearing  the word — all parts of the worship were performed with Great Decency—   This morning a Cherokee Indian, who was several years ago taken captive by  the Oneidas, and adopted into one of their families to Supply the Place of  one that was killed in the War, came from [illegible][guess: Oriskany] to visit me, and appeared indeed  like a babe in Christ, Mr. Kirtland Hopes he is really converted, he had  been Seeking a birth for himself, wife, and one Child, in this Town that  they might Enjoy Mr. Kirtlands ministry.   In the intermission, on my return from Meeting I met the Chief of old Oneida  according to his appointment accompanied by one of his Council— he Saluted me kindly.  thanked me for Coming and hoped it would be for good to them —  I delivered him the Belt with my Speech, by the Same Title of Brethren   which My Father had used in his Letter to them — and as it was the  3rd Time my Father had Sent to them (which according to indian custom is the last) I was full plain and  severe with them — I told them my Father had Sent once More, an offer  of the Gospel to them, and it was the last Time they were to expect it from  Him, And if they would not accept it, his hands were clear of their Blood,  they must take the consequences and go to Hell in their own way.—  I immediately rose up and went out as tho' I had done with them — They discoursed  together about a quarter of an Hour, and after I was returned to the Room they  spoke to me — thanked me for coming — hoped the Hearts of their Tribe would come  together — were very Sorry they had behaved So bad that I could not call them  Children — Said they had considered my speech — that they Should for themselves  be glad if their Indians would accept the offer. they could Speak only for themselves  and promised to Send his grandson which was the only one he could command —  Said they would call the Tribe together the Next Day to hear my message —  they thanked my Father that he had Sent to them twice before — and was very Sorry  they had behaved So Ill that their Great father could not give them the Title  of Children — I told them if they accepted of my Fathers Offer  — treated mr. Kirtland well — Sent their Children to School — and behaved well 'til   
Next Spring they Should have the Title of Children.  About 9 o'Clock this Evening one of the Council came in to ask forgiveness for  Jacobs Aunts for keeping him at Home — and to plead for him that he might   return to School — they were afraid to come — I told him I had nothing to do  in that Matter but with them — they were able to come and Speak for themselves  — And when they were Sorry enough they would do it — and So Sent him  off —  14 Monday — This morning gave advice to the Council of many things, viz  to remove their schoolhouse to a Dry Place — to be kind to their Father  — to keep their promise with Regard to drink — to Send their Children to  School — attend the worship of God — etc. etc. all which they promised  to mind — they brought 6 of their Boys to Me wh[illegible][guess: om] I understood to be of  the chief families in the place and urged me to take them — offered to  give them to me — two of the Boys cried to go with me, whom I paci‐ ‐fied with bits of Silver—   Jacobs two Aunts came and in a humble manner, and one of them with  Tears asked forgiveness for detaining Jacob. they confessed their Ingratitude  — prayed me to take him and do as I pleased with him — I appeared careless About  his coming told them I did not want him I could get boys enough. If he  had a mind to turn Indian again he might etc. — finally consented he should  come and accordingly brought him with me.   about 2 oClock took my leave of this Castle — and an Affecting parting it  was — set off with Mr. Kirtland, Jacob and my two little Boys —  reached Old Oneida a little before Night— the Town, what of them were at  Home had been together and had agreed to Supply a School with 14. Children  which they can command besides the Children of those that were abroad.— two  families yet remain inveterate [illegible][guess: haters] of Mr. Kirtland and his measures   this is a surprising change Since last Spring when there were but two or three of  their huts that Mr. Kirtland thought it Safe for him to go into. — they desired me as my  Father's representative to order Mr. Kirtland to preach to them half the time   I told them they been So ungrateful, and behaved themselves So basely while their  Brethren at Kanawalohale had received the Gospel, left off their old vices and behaved  So well, that they must now be content with Mr. Kirtland every 3rd Sabbath.—  they thanked me for that and promised they would attend upon his preaching.  they promised to keep their children at School, and I promised to Send  them a master in two months — The Enemies to this work on Every side  are very Numerous, their Friends very few, and their Temptations, and  the opposition to it every way greater than can be easily conceived.   I Sent a message to the Onondagas, and desired Mr. Kirtland to accom‐ ‐pany it with a Belt, in my Fathers Name, that I was there on Such an Errand  and expected to come into those parts again Next Spring, and if they desired it I would make them a visit and give them the [illegible][guess: offer]  to have a missionary and schoolmaster Sent Among them.—         I invited the Queen before mentioned to make a visit here next Spring — and see for herself and  desired Mr. Kirtland to choose a meet person to accompany her. She was pleased  with the proposal. Mr. Kirtland esteems her a virtuous woman, and hopes she is  become a real Christian. She is much respected and her influence is great among  the Nations." thus far my Sons account   By the account of my Son's and by the Copy of Mr. Kirtlands Letter of a few Days earlier  Date which I enclose, you see, Much-honoured Sirs, how gloriously the prospect  open   
opens in that Quarter and of what importance it is to lay  close siege to that part. that dear man of God Mr. Kirtland, and  the schoolmasters in those Towns must be Supported, so that they  may devote themselves wholly to their work let the cost be  what it will, and it must necessarily be great, and if it be £300  Sterling a year (and I don't expect it can be Done for much less 'til  he can raise his provisions there) there is no cause to regret it  he is doing more for Christ than perhaps Some Scores of Clergy  men who live at ease, and have their £100 sterling per annum —  I am now Sending Mr. Phineas Dodge a pious young man, and Joseph  Johnson a mohegan Indian who was an usher in that School last Year, and  who has in a good measure made himself master of that Language  to keep the School at Old Oneida according to my sons appointment— I have also advised  Mr. Kirtland to hire a faithful Labourer to get their Wood, take  care of their horses, fetch their provisions etc.etc. that their Time  might not be half, or more consumed in Such Service—   But I have not had a Line from London since yours of  March 23rd I have Sent many but know not whether they or my accounts   have ever arrived — I know not what acceptance My last measures have  found with you— but have this to comfort me under the most gloomy  Imaginations that I have earnestly desired and honestly Endeavoured to  Serve the Redeemers cause to the utmost of my Power. and am  not only approved by my own conscience but I have the universal approbation   of all the [illegible][guess: wise] and Good who are acquainted with my Plans and the measures  I have taken in Exerting them.   I enclose a Power of Attorney and Hope it will be acceptable to You.  and if You Repent Your generosity and condescension in accepting the Trust, on  account of any Real or Supposed Imprudence or misconduct on my part, I  determine, much honoured Sirs, when I meet You together in Yonder World  of Glory to open to you all the trying Scenes which have passed over me, in  this So Difficult and so arduous an undertaking, and though I Shall be ashamed that  I have done no more nor better than I have for the Glorious Immanuel yet I know you will not be  weary to hear how often the Lord has helped, and how much he has forgiven.  him who is with highest esteem, and all filial Duty. may it please your Lordships   
Your Obliged and  Most Obedient and  most Humble Servant   Eleazar Wheelock 
To the Trustees in England  October 8th 1767