Samuel Kirkland, letter, to Peter Thacher, 1794 March 13



abstractKirkland writes to Thacher about his return from Boston to the mission at Oneida, his plans for building the Hamilton Oneida Academy, the formation of an Association of clergymen in the vicinity, and a letter of complaint against him sent to the Board by a group of Indians.

handwritingHandwriting is not overly formal, yet it is clear and legible.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to make four pages is in fair condition, with moderate-to-heavy creasing and wear that interferes somewhat with the legibility of the text. Older preservation work also results in a slight dimming of the text.


noteworthyA small fragment of paper bearing the letters “me” was torn from the left edge of two recto and is affixed to the center of two verso. It forms the word “some” on two recto, line 13.

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

Rev. Sir,
After a fatiguing Journey, in my return from Boston, through divine goodness, I arrived here in safety the first instant; and found my family in health.. kept Sabbath at the settlement of Chirten, and assisted in celebrating the sacrament of the Lords supper. It being too late when I arrived on Saturday evening, to send to Kana­walohale, to notify the Christian Indians, who are in good standing, very few Indians were present.  Attended two days the last week, with the Trustees of Hamilton Oneida Academy. they have unanimously agreed to erect their building the ensuing season [illegible][guess: :] a con­ siderable part of the materials are already collected.  It has been for some time proposed, and in contem­ plation, for the young Clergymen settled in this vicinity to form into an association, or Presbytery, for the purposes of promoting Evangelical principles ministerial fellowship, and fraternal affection; and unitedly to guard, as much as possible against the baneful Influence of wild, designing zealots, with which th [illegible][guess: e] young, but flourishing settlements in this frontier are much threatened. — Particularly the methodists — and Baptists, (and such as appear to be of the lowest class), are travelling through almost every part of this extensive frontier. . It will not be uncharitable to say, they bear the signature of  erroneous
erroneous teachers and blind guides. — It will undoubtedly give you pleasure to be informed that this association is nearly completed: although but four in number to make the beginning; Viz. Rev. Messrs. Dan Bradly, Joel Bradly, Asahel Norton. and myself. . all settled our Congregation, in what was formerly called Whitestown — and vicinity of Oneida.  This association will afford an opportunity for the numerous settlements in this quarter, who are destitute of a preached Gospel, to apply for aid and council, without the trouble of sending several hundred miles, and sometimes waiting half a year before they can receive an answer. —  Our association, will tend to give the Indians a favourable idea of the gospel ministry and its impor­ tance; Their attendance only upon two ordinations, in the neighbourhood, and particularly those who came as delegates, or messengers, from Oneida and Brothertown, produced the kindest Effects. —  Last week had several Conferences with Indians who came to visit me. Friday went to oneida— preached on Lords day — an in the evening rode 20 miles to meet the superintendent of Indian affairs, lately from the westward, and very desirous of an interview with me, and some Indians from Grand River— . —  Several Indians have told me, that a private letter has been wrote from oneida To the Board, with complaints against me,— and that Mr. Sergeant connived at their conduct — while aided by one of Mr. Occoms partisans; — Ex-parte. Complaints,
and Ex-parte evidence dont wear the aspect of candour, nor the complexion of integrity. — As it was formerly said, our "law does not condemn a person unheard, I trust the Honourable Board will favour me with a Copy of their letter, before they act upon it.  My informants, desired me, to say nothing upon the subject, but to wait and see if they would be honest enough to acknowledge it. They received me with their usual warmth of affection — and as yet have not disclosed a single word of their private letter. — There are several of the french party — and so [gap: tear][guess: me] that are fallen under censure, who are ve[gap: tear][guess: ry] bitter against me; — and particularly one of Mr. Occoms partisans whose iniquity I was obliged to reprove, and expose. — But amidst all their divisions and animosities — I have the affection and confidence of the better part, as much as ever I had, and in some instances much more. —  I shall write you again ever long upon the Subject.— I cannot add to the respect with which I am, Rev. Sir
Your obedient humble Servant Samuel Kirkland
Rev.Dr. Thacher  Secretary —
Mr. Samuel kirkland March 13 1794