Samson Occom, letter, to John Thornton, 1777 January 1

ms-number777101

abstractOccom writes to thank Thornton for his generosity. He also bemoans the hardships brought on by the war, discusses the importance of keeping the Indians neutral, and asks for Thornton's assistance in getting money from the Society in Scotland for Progating Christian Knowledge.

handwritingOccom's hand is small and somewhat crowded, yet formal, clear and legible. There are some crossed l's and uncrossed t's that have been corrected by the transcriber.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to make four pages is in fair condition, with moderate-to-heavy staining, creasing and wear.

inkBrown ink is somewhat faded.

noteworthyOn two verso, an editor, likely 19th-century, has added notes that read: “(By Occom Jan. 1. 1777.),” and “S. Occom to Thornton Jan. 1. 1777.”

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

  Most Kind Sir /
Your most unexpected and most accept able, refreshing Animating, and most Encouraging Favour  of 8 may last, Came Safely to Hand a few Days ago, Surely  the great Lord of Heaven and Earth, has deeply Engraven  in Your Tender and Benevolent Heart, pity and compassionate  to poor me, and to my necessitous Family; How distressed have  I been lately, not knowing how to get out of my Involvements, and  to Supply the Pinching necessities of my large Family, besides my  numerous visitors; But blessed be god, I find now, he has heard my  groanings and Saw my distress, and he has moved your Kind Heart  once more, to Stretch out your most Bountiful Hand over the great  Atlantic in Time of great distress to help me out of Troubles. — The  Lord be praised, and I return you unutterable and most humble  Thanks. The Lord Your god Reward you Bountifully —
I have Drawn a Bill of Exchange upon you for the whole  of your most kind and generous Donation. Necessity urges me,  and I am very Confident, it will not be disagreeable to your Mind;  I have also drawn on you as a Trustee two Bills, for two half years  past, according to your kind Direction and permission heretofore  for I have heard nothing Contrary from You 'til now, and Dr.  Wheelock has never told me, that the money was exhausted, though  I did hear Such a thing somehow; but I Saw a gentleman  about a Year ago, who came directly from London, and he  told me, he had interview with Some of the Honourable Trust and he  understood them, the money was not Expended, but they would  not let Dr. Wheelock have anymore, You may have Seen the gentleman  that informed me, it was The Rev. Dr. Ewing of Philadelphia  he had been traveling through great Britain Soliciting the Charities  of the People for a certain College. — The Times are extremely  distressing in this part of the World, these unnatural Wars have  effected and distressed everyone, especially the Poor, I never  have had Such a Burden; I have had much sickness in my  family lately, and everything extremely Dear, especially  clothing, O that I had old clothes from London, if London was  not more than half So far as it is, I would Come over to beg old  clothes — Three pounds will not purchase So much of the ne cessaries of Life now, as twenty Shillings would before these  ungodly Wars took place. — And the worst of all is, these Wars  have Eat out the vitals of Religion, especially among the white  People, Some white People Say themselves, that the poor Indians  have more Religion than they have, the poor Indians indeed  that make a profession of Religion, maintain their religion in 
Some measure, I preach amongst them as often I as I used to do  and they are much engaged in attending upon the word of god, —  And there is one Good circumstance among the Indians in general  everywhere, they dont choose to Join in either Side in this Con tention, but choose Strict Neutrality, and the white Americans dont  want to have them Join in either, The Congress have Sent out Com missioners among the Indians, Several Times and different ways  to advise them to be easy and Quiet, not to intermeddle in the English  Family quarrel — / My Wife’s Brother went about 600 miles westward  from this Place last September with a number upon this business and  is just returned, he tells me, he Saw Six Sachems altogether of different  Tribes, and that was the advice to them from the Commissioners and  the Sachems promised Strictly to observe the advice, and Indians them selves are agreeing among themselves in their different Tribes not  to intermeddle with the English Contentions, — When the white People  began to enlist Soldiers about here, Some of our Lazy Indians were  very ready to enlist, but the white People would not accept of them(;  Be it Spoken to the praise of the white People,) but Some few would  and did list after all their rejection, — last Summer there were  Some white people wanted to hire others to go in their Room, and  two Indians offered themselves; but when the Col., who had care  of them, Saw them, he turned them back again. — But the Kings  officers, Some of them, I hear, have been using their Influence  to engage the poor Indians on their Side; — I wish the King of  great Britain, would Command all his officers in North A­ merica to let the poor miserable Indians alone; What have we  to do with your Contentions? — As for Mr. Kirkland; I heard he was  among the Indians Some part of last Summer, but where he is  now, I can not Say. — These Sad Contentions have brock up all mis sionaries and schoolmasters among the poor Indians, — I heard  there was Money Enough in the Hands of the Honourable Scotch Society  and they did not know how to lay it out, I wish they would consider my  case; Pray most Compassionate Sir, intercede with them for me —  I wrote them last winter, but I have had no answer, if I should write  again perhaps my Letters will never reach them in these Times.
I beg the continuance of your fervent Prayers for me and mine  and for all the poor Indians; — This, with most grateful respects, to  you and to your Dear Family is from
your most unworthy and most  obliged and very humble servant   Samson Occom
Blank page.
To  John Thornton Esq.  at Clapham near  London
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