Gideon Hawley, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1763 January 27

Author Hawley, Gideon

Date27 January, 1763

ms number763127

abstractHawley writes to tell of Occom's lack of tact in dealing with the Oneidas.

handwritingHandwriting is small, but mostly clear and legible, with some additions and deletions.

paperSingle large sheet is in good condition, with moderate creasing and staining.


signatureSignature is abbreviated.

EventsOccom’s First Mission to the Oneidas

Persistent Identifier
Revd & Hond Sir,
Your favours of 18th Octr & 21st Novr came safe & di­ rect, for which I humbly & heartily thank you. I should have been glad enough to have heard from you before, but did not take it illy that you did not write, suppoſing you had other buſineſs, and other correspondents, that it was of more impor tance for you to attend to: besides I live so much out of the way, that it is very Difficult to get a paſssage for a letter that is direct & safe. In regard to the viſit I sincerely deſigned you before now, it has been unvoidably delayed by such overtures in providence, which ^as^ at preſent it is needleſs for me to relate — Altho all my relatives, and many of my beſt friends are in Connecticut, I have not been able, without neglect of more important duties, which could not be dispenſed with, to viſit them since October 1758
In regard to Mr Occom, it is with singular pleaſure that I view him as an orniment to his nation and to chriſtianity, and am very sorry I never had the happineſs of being acquainted with him. We were in the country of the Six Na tions the fall before laſt at the same time, but such were the duties of our miſsion, being straitened for time & having a great deal to do, that we were seperated by the distance of an hundred miles or near it. However, tarrying in the Coun try, as I went after he did, when he was come off & seing many of the Onoydas in my peregrinations, it being the seaſon of their going to their hunting places, I had an Opper tunity of being adviſed of his preaching, conduct & ^the^ rec[illegible]eption he met with, among them; which were quite equal to what one could expect. and what I communicated, & deſired my friend to write you, concern some what, in his preaching that was exceptionable, I thought it was beſt he should hear of; and yt you, being his preceptor, spiritual Father &c was the moſt suitable perſon to adviſe him of it. and the vindication of himself [illegible: for] the reaſons M.r Accom gives I doubt ^not are^ [illegible] just & true, and I think are satisfactory. A poor man among such a people without a faithful & skilful interpreter is to be pitied. However I would uſe this opportunity to say, that the iregularities in dreſs and some other things in the customs of Indians as they ^not^ sinful in themselves, it will rather be commendable in a miſsionary to conform to them in some meaſure, than at his firſt going among them to ſay much
much very directly againſt them. The corruption of human Nature & the sinfulneſs of it a miſsionary should expoſe in all it’s deformity as much as poſsible which will prepare the way for ye Gospel. St Pauls apistles, especially that to the Romans is the beſt model and guide for a miſsionary.
In regard to your School is gives me very great satisfaction to hear of its proſperity and I wiſh that it may floriſh and that it may anſwer even beyond your expecta - tions the great & good ends of its foundation. your second letter gives me great concern becauſe you appear to be afraid of your schools being a party affair, which I pray God to prevent — you and I shall find, Sir, the more we have to do with the world, that by reaſon of the jealouſy which is inseperable from corrupt nature it will be impoſsible for any conſiderable number to hold an ad- vantageous confederacy for any length of time in any affair. And we muſt be content with dragging along the moſt generous affairs not only without the aſsiſtance of many of whom we might juſtly expect it, but againſt the oppo ſition of some, who are real friends to ye true intireſt of religion, becauſe they can’t agree with us as to the me- thods of promoting it. Indeed, Sir, we need much of that charity which believeth all things, Loveth all things & en- dureth all things.
In regard to my Indians my influence over them en- creaſes and I see some little fruit, altho but little of my labour; — they encreaſe in number since my settlement — We have [illegible] one of our men, who has been as an Agent to ye Court of Great Britain about our lands and we hope to have our affairs upon a better foot- ing. I have about Seventy Indian houſes & Wigwams on this tract of Land beſides a dozen or more that be- long to our meeting that live a little off from it —
I am, in very great haſte Revd Sir, your very Dutiful Son & Servant in Chriſt Gidn Hawley