Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to George Whitefield, 1764 September 26

Author Wheelock, Eleazar

Date24 September, 1764

ms number764526.2

abstractWheelock addresses the various conflicts regarding Occom and his employers, would-be and otherwise.

handwritingThe majority of the document appears to be in a hand other than Wheelock's. It is relatively clear, with few additions and deletions. The postcript added to the bottom of two recto is clearly in Wheelock's hand.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to form four pages is in fair condition, with moderate staining and wear. There is a significant separation caused by wear on the lower crease.

inkInk on most of the document is medium brown; the postscript is in black ink.

noteworthyThe letter is likely in response to Whitefield's letter of September 5, 1764; this document is likely a draft or copy.

signatureThe full signature is possibly not that of Wheelock; the postscript is signed with initials, and those are Wheelock's.

EventsJewett Controversy, Building of Occom’s house, Occom returns to Mohegan, Fundraising Tour of Great Britain, Occom’s inoculation

Persistent Identifier
My dear and Hond Sir
Yours by M.r Occom came while I was on a Journey. And I now take the earlieſt Opportunity to acknowledge the Favour, and inform you that when I heard that Genl Johnson was returned, I was ſorry that M.r Occom & David were ſet out on their Journey, as the principal Ends of their Journey could not likely be accompliſhed, vizt their ſeeing Parties from remote Tribes together, in Order to recommend the Deſign, & prepare the Way for ſchool Maſters & Miſsiona­ries among them, and alſo procure a Number of likely youth from diſtant Parts for this ſchool, which the Commiſsioners appre- hended he might have a more favorable Opportunity for by such a Meeting with the General than we have Reaſon otherwiſe to expect ſoon. Nor can I in Conſcience ſay it was an imprudent ſcheme till I have ſome other Reaſon than I have heard or thought of to convince me of it. It is true we were misinformed of the Time of Genl Johnson’s Return from Niagara, but I don’t know that we were to blame for that Misinformation.
The Commiſsioners in Boſton had a principal View to Nehantic (tho’ Mohegan waſ mentioned) in Mr Occom’s Appointment, but as he was not a Proprietor at Nehantic, he was obliged to build & ſettle at Mohegan, which interferes with M.r Jewett’s appoint- ment; and a Controverſy was commenced and began to riſe high & threatned much Miſchief. M.r Oliver (tho’ he did not fully know how bad the Caſe was) expreſsed his Concern about it to me at Concord, which tho' not agreeable to write was a Conſideration of Weight in my Mind in taking him out of the Hands of thoſe Commiſsioners & employing him in the Miſsion he was deſigned for. I mentioned to the Commiſsioners when they were together their writing to you on the Affair of ſupporting Mr Occom’s Miſsion; but a Lecture appointed by our Praeſes obliged uſ to diſpatch the Buſineſs with ſuch Precipitancy that it was not conſidered as it should have been. But there was nothing ſaid, nor do I ſuſpect there was a Thought among them, of your having taken M.r Occom under your Patronage, or that you looked upon him under more Obligations to you as his Patron than ^any^ other Man for whom you have done a Kindneſs, or that you had any more Reaſon to expect to be conſulted in that Affair than in any other Affair of equal Importance, ^[below]in^
in which you have ſhewn your Friendſhip & Concern. Nor did I ever underſtand the Caſe till this very Day, or what you meant by ill Treatment by our taking M.r Occom into our Hands with- out conſulting you therein. Had I underſtood the Caſe as I now do I ſhould by no Means have moved or conſented therein —
The Commiſsioners (as I underſtand them) were of Opinion that his Circumſtances which were publickly known, viz, his being ſo much in Debt, & nothing like to be done, (that they knew of) to free him, His Expence in moving, & Loſs of Goods & Proviſions in his Paſsage, and nothing done to repair his Loſs, or to aſsiſt him in ſupporting his Family, or provide a Houſe for them, he not having received a Farthing from the Commiſsioners ^ at Boſton^ and they at ſuch a Diſtance from him, and ſo out of the Way of Accquaintance with his Circumſtances &c, were ſufficient to juſtify his Deſire to be under our Care, & us in receiving him. Had the Commiſsioners viewed the Caſe in the Light which you did, or had they only had the leaſt Intimations, which they could rely upon, that you deſigned to help him under his Neceſsities, tho’ they might likely have repreſented to you the Greatneſs of them, it would have been the fartheſt from their thoughts to take him out of your Hands.
Mr Occom tells me, “He told me ſomething of it before.” But I never underſtood it. It was my Compaſsion to him, not knowing what ^else^ to do with him that moved me to act at all in the Affair.
I intirely agree with you, that we muſt be agreed in the Plan, & that it is reaſonable & neceſsary, that you ſhould approve of it, as we expect the Benefit of your Friendship & Influence.
And what we have propoſed is, to ſend among godly well accomplished youth, in the Capacity of Miniſters & School Maſters to the ſeveral Tribes as we can obtain & find means to ſupport. I have now 10 Indians in this ſchool well accompliſhed for ſchool Maſters, excepting that ſome of them want Age. I have alſo 4 English youth who are very promiſing & would do well to go with the Miſsionaries to learn the Indian Languages, and while they are doing that, may, under the Conduct of the Miſsionaries, be uſeful as ſchool Maſters, and after that return with ſuch likely Boys as they can find to finiſh their Learning here.
Pleaſe ſir to write me on what I have written, & make what Propoſals you pleaſe, and I will endeavour to have a Meeting of the Commiſsioners, & lay what you ſhall write before them as ſoon as may be. The Conſequence of which you ſhall hear by the Poſt. I hope you will have Goodneſs enough to overlook
a thouſand Blunders, & Patience enough to correct ſuch as you ſhall think material.
I am now ſick with a Dyſsentery, have wrote in great Pain & Confuſion interrupted often by my Diſtemper Things are in great Confuſion at Mohegan. I wiſh M.r Occom could be quite unconcerned in them, The Caſe is too long to write. They have had ſeveral Meetings to give in their Reaſons why they reject Mr Clelland as their ſchool Maſter, and are this Day to meet to give their Reaſons why they will not hear M.r Jewett preach &c
Pleaſe to direct yours to the Care of Mr Graves of N London. I have put Money in his Hands to pay the poſtage of my Letters — My dear Brother, pray for a poor Creature, who is with much Affection,
yours in the dear Jeſus Eleazar Wheelock
Ps. The Com̅iſsrs in Boſton will allow M.r Occom y.e £30 w.c they voted for y.e Curr[illegible]ent Year. but ſeem not Senſible yt his Neceſsities are in any meaſure ſo great as they are.
I went to Norwich myſelf and with M.r Whitakers aſsiſtance procured 40 Days Labour gratis towards his House. but expence for materials and for what he has, and will have, occaſion to Hire I underſtand will be conſiderable and much beyond what I expec­­ted.
pleaſe to write whether it will, or not, be expedient that M.r Occom ſh[stain: oul]d be Enoculated, in order to his going with you to England and whether you would take either of the Boys of this ſchool with you — If you ſhould think of taking one of the Mohocks, it may be beſt he ſhould make a visit to his Friends this fall. — Salutation: I am  yours &c EW