Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to John Thornton, 1772 September 23


abstractWheelock writes to Thornton about his failures with the Six Nations. Six days later, he writes again about improving prospects, as several boys are coming to the School, and Occom’s former haughtiness is softening. He also writes that the charges against his son Ralph are false.

handwritingHandwriting is very formal and neat; it is not Wheelock’s hand.

paperExact condition of the large, separate sheets is difficult to determine due to heavy preservation work; however, the paper appears to sustain light-to-moderate staining and wear.


signatureThe signature is not in Wheelock's hand.

noteworthyThis document is likely a personal copy for Wheelock's records. A non-contemporary editor had made notes on two verso. The contents regarding Ralph are similar to those in 772323.

EventsFundraising Tour of Great Britain

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

Much honoured and very dear Sir. 
I endeavour to give you (though by small sketches as  I have opportunity) some view of the progress of my affairs here.  Mr. Avery returned from his eleven Months mission at  Oneida last month, and gives but a melancholy account of the  state of Indian Affairs there and among the six Nations — he says  the aspect has been growing more and more gloomy for eighteen  Months past, and is wholly disinclined to return to them again,  and thinks there is some probability that Mr. Kirtland will be  drove away from among them. on the whole it appears  to me not improbable that the Indians in that Quarter  are nigh unto cursing. They have of late openly in a large  meeting of several Tribes manifested their entire disincli  =nation to encourage or receive another missionary or Schoo[gap: tear][guess: l]  =master among them.   Two days ago Mr. Ripley returned from his Missio[gap: tear][guess: n]  to Canada with Lt. Taylor his Companion and Interpret[gap: tear][guess: er]  and brought with him ten Indian Boys from those Tribes  to receive an Education in this School — the hand of  God appears conspicuous in the Affair — There was the  greatest opposition made by their Priest to their coming  — the most of them are Children of their Chief Men, and  two of them Children of English Captives each about  8 year old — a Council of their head men (to which the  Father of one and grandfather of the other of these two  Boys belong) were called together upon this occasion, and  were to a Man fixed in their purpose to send them, and  so continued finally against the remonstrances of their  Priest who denied their Right to do it; and claimed a  right to dispose of them himself upon this Ground that  he baptized them. but I have yet by me a short narra  =tive of my Affairs I have just prepared for the press, to  which I shall add some short account of this mission, which  you and the Honourable Trust may expect as soon as it gets through  the press — Mr. Ripley found occasion to make use  of a bill of exchange which I gave him to be improved  in case any emergency should make it necessary [gap: worn_edge]  in favor of Mr. Mier which was endorsed by Capt. Depeyster  which I pray you to honor.  Please Sir in my name to make such expressions of Chri= =stian Affection, Duty and Respect to my honoured Patrons as shall be  acceptable to them. and accept the same Yourself, from 
 Your often and much obliged Brother   and very humble Servant   Eleazar Wheelock  John Thornton Esq.   
P. S. Now the scene that has been so long dark has entirely  changed its Aspect. I bless God that I am fairly broke off  from my Connections with the six Nations — they were  at war with these a few Years ago, and the break I find is  not yet wholly healed, and would have likely been an ob=  =jection against their coming hither if any of the six  Nations had been here — but you will hear more of this  as soon as I can. 
  Much honoured Sir. 
By being disappointed of the opportu= =nity of Conveyance of the foregoing, I have opportunity  on the same paper thankfully to acknowledge the receipt  of the favour of the Honourable Trust of May 1st 1772 and of yours  of May 15th etc. June 10th and with the enclosed.  I am much refreshed that my honoured Patrons are satisfied  with my doings  Mr. Occom since his recovery from his last Fall appears with  a much better Temper than he has ever done since he came  from London — the agreeable Letters you transmit for  my perusal speak the same  I am glad you have dealt so plainly with him, and wish  you had done it earlier — He has appeared exceeding proud  and haughty — his Sail was too high for him in London. I feared  he would be wholly useless, and nothing better than a Thorn to me  and this School — he has appeared rather as a Dictator and  Supervisor to me and my Affairs than a Brother, Companion,  and Helper in them — And I have thought him cruel, uncharitable  and something bitter in his Surmises, Censures and Threats in  Cases and about that which he knew nothing of, nor used any  proper means to be informed in. And has said (I have been  told) that he was desired to inspect my conduct before he  came from England — and this kind of treatment I have had  from him without the least expression of Brotherly  Sympathy Care pity and compassion towards me or my  Family, while I was struggling under Floods of Sorrow  and an insupportable weight of Labour Care and Fatigue  and all with a single view to save his poor perishing  Brethren — How wounding such things have been to me  you cant conceive unless you had experience of the like.  But I have lately had a Letter from him of another savor,  and accounts which have much refreshed me. I hope he will   be 
be my Helper in Christ Jesus. though God sees it best for me  that I should have nothing below himself to lean at all upon   blessed be his holy name. I shall rejoice to encourage Mr. Occom.   I perceive you have given Ear to Representations which  appear to me to be groundless cruel and vile Slanders, respect=  =ing my Government of my Son, and my having been in­  ­fluenced by him and his false Friends etc. — By the grace of  God I think I have known neither wife, nor Son, nor  Nephew in these Affairs for many Years, nor may I know them.  I never was quite blind to my Sons Imperfections, but on  the contrary my Government of him has been much too  severe, and I continued it 'til too late his Physicians advised  me that if I did not alter my hand it would kill him.  and yet he neither has, nor ever had that I knew or  heard of, any blot of moral Scandal upon him. He has  long been sorely broken under Gods holy hand. and his case is now  looked upon as incurable — he lives in Connecticut and I am  credibly told is exemplary for patience and a humble  submission to God under Trials — If he were as much  concerned to vindicate his Character (whatever may be  the slander you have received of him) as his Slanderer  has been to blacken it, I make no doubt it would stand in  another Light whatever the consequences would be to  others; but he seems fully content to refer these matters  to the decision of the great day. on the whole it gives  me much uneasiness that I know not what you mean,  nor what I have to amend or mourn for, more than I have done.   You are also my honoured Sir much mistaken as to my  being influenced by Dr. Whitaker. I have no connection with  him. it is above two years since I saw him, but I must  in Justice say that I suppose his Characters moral and  ministerial are good among good people in New England  and what his offence in England was I never knew — Mr.  Occom would have told me I suppose, but I perceived that his  mind was prejudiced and soured against him, and therefore dis= =qualified to give the Relation.  By accounts and hints from Mr. Avery of plotting and Machi= =nations in the Country where he has been against me  and this Cause, you may possibly (when all matters  are ripened) hear something as shocking as anything  you have yet heard — in which it is said there is a Combination.  but God is my Refuge — I ask your pardon for this  unprofitable Scrawl —  I take this opportunity to renew my thanks to you for the   repeated 
John Thorton Esq. 
repeated expressions of your kindness towards my support[gap: worn_edge]  I hope you have received my letter and the Bill which you was  so kind as to invite me to draw upon you —  I am with great duty affection and esteem   
Your much obliged and very humble Servant   Eleazar Wheelock 
To John Thornton Esq.  September 23. 1772.