Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to George Whitefield, 1765 May 4 and 24

Author Wheelock, Eleazar

Date4 May, 1765

ms number765304

abstractWheelock writes a long letter to Whitefield, detailing the events and outcome of the Occom-Jewett controversy, news about activities related to the School, and the plan to send Occom to fundraise in England.

handwritingThe section of the letter dated May 4, and the trailer, are not in Wheelock's hand. It is formal and clear. The section of the letter dated May 24 is in Wheelock's hand; it is less formal and clear, with some deletions and additions, and several abbreviations.

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


noteworthyAn editor, likely 19th-century, has added a note under the trailer; this note has not been transcribed.

signatureThe section of the letter dated May 4 is not signed.

EventsMason Land Case, Jewett Controversy

Persistent Identifier
Dear & Revd Sir
I have been liſtning to hear of you for ſome Time. Have a Hint from the public prints of late that you are moving towards Philadelphia, and from thence to embark for England — I have ſo many things to write that I ſcarcely know what to write or what to omit. A full account of our Indian Affairs I cannot give you till Providence allows an Interview — I ſhould eſteem it a great Favour to act in concert with you if we could underſtand one another. Some things you dropped at New York have made me a little fearful that you had too readily admitted ſome Objections of illegibleOppoſers without knowing fully what might be replied.
Mr Occom returned from New York laſt Fall into a Fire which had been for ſome Time enkindling. The Conſequence of which was that the prejudices preconceived in the Mind of Brother J____t aroſe to an amazing Height — Clamours ſpread through the Government, and almoſt every one cryed out againſt Mr Occom as a very bad, miſcheivous, and deſigning Man. Mr Jewet wrote the Commiſsioners at Boſton, on which they withdrew the Penſion you procured for him. Our General Aſsembly was very warm, and on his Account refuſed to conſider my Memorial for an Incorporation — and Dr Mr W---ms my Neighbour ſeemed to imbibe the ſame Opinion of him. Mr Occom very needy (and myſelf by him involved in Debt) and he and the Cauſe ſo diſcredited, that none dare mention his Name in theſe parts in order to obtain Relief for him. The Indians at Oneida who expected a Viſit from him, grieved, diſcouraged, and expoſed to unhappy prejudices through his not coming to them. And the moſt favourable Opportunity we ever had or are ever like to have, to recommend the Deſign to the ſachems abroad (which was the principal Deſign of his Miſsion) was loſt. And Nothing appeared but that Mr Occom muſt inevitably been rendered uſeleſs in futuro if he had not been under this Board. In theſe Circumſtances, I thought that the Glory of God, the Reputation of our Indian Deſign and eſpecially Mr Occom’s Good and Uſeful­neſs, required that there ſhould be a public proceſs againſt him before our Board in order that his Guilt or Innocence reſpecting Matters charged againſt him by public Fame might publickly appear; Accordingly I moved for it, and Br J---t ſent him his Alle­gations which were deliberately heard & conſidered on the 12th of March, in which Mr Occom made a bold and truly manly and Chriſtian Defence in a ſpirit of Meekneſs, and vindicated his
his Conduct to have been judicious, prudent, and becoming a Miniſter of the Goſpel and was blamed by the Commiſsioners in Nothing but his having a Hand in the Maſon Caſe, as it is called, in which he acted Nothing till the Matter was near ripe to go Home and then ſigned with his Tribe, for which he had this to ſay viz that his Nation are a poor blind Company and had long ſince choſe him for their Counſellor, & depended upon him to ſee for them in all their civil Affairs — that he had done nothing to revive encourage or move forward that ſuit Notwithſtanding he ſuppoſes the Indians have been much wronged in the Affair in which they are ſeeking Redreſs. And in this Affair we blamed him only in Conſideration of the Danger to which he expoſed his Miniſterial Character and Uſeful­neſs thereby — which Judgment he readily ſubmitted to — and now ſtands I apprehend in a better ^Light^ than ever before all who are acquainted with the Caſe.
Br J---t ſhook hands with, profeſsed himſelf ſatisfied, ſubmitted to the Judgment of the Commiſsioners in blaming & reproving his Treatment of Mr Occom, promiſed to unwrite what he had wrote the Gentlemen at Boſton to Mr Occom’s Diſadvantage, though I fear the Injury done to Mr Occoms Character will not ſoon nor eaſily be wholly undone.
Yet this Scene ſhocking as it has been, God has made to appear to be in Favour of this Deſign. Mr Occom’s coming back gave Occaſion for ſending Mr Kirtland & Woolley into the Mohawk and Seneca Country, who have wintered there in order to learn the Mohawk & Seneca Languages, and to be preſent at the Congreſs at Mount Johnſon this Spring, by whom, through the Kindneſs of Heaven, the Cauſe has likely been much better ſerved than it would have been by Mr Occom if he had gone forward And I hope Mr Occom has reaped much real Advan- tage by the humbling Things with which God has been trying him.
I truſt you have ſeen in the public prints the Reſolution of our Board of Corresſpondents to ſend two Miſsionaries, three School­Maſters, and ſix Boys (who by Reaſon of their Want of Age we have ordered to act under the Conduct of the Miſsionaries) into the Indian Country this Spring — The Miſsionaries are ordained, and David Fowler, one of the ſchool Maſters ſat out to go to the Oneidas laſt Week. The Miſsionaries & reſt of the ſchool Maſters will follow as ſoon as they can be made ready, & ſupplies provided for their ſupport. Mr Gunn has conſented to go as their Interpreter. The Reaſons moving us to ſend theſe Boys who are to return to this ſchool in the Fall, are, their parents Deſire to ſee them — they are well qualified for School Maſters, and hope they may be very uſeful in that Capacity under the Conduct of the Miſsionaries — that they may preſerve and perfect themſelves in their own Tongue — Recommend the Deſign to their own Nations, and to Nations beyond — and ſerve their Health
which as to ſome of them ſeems evidently to require it.
I have wrote for 8 or 10 likely Boys, ſome of them ſons of their Chiefs to be ſent me by Joſeph Woolley which I expect in a few Days.
And what kind Angel think you dear Sir preſides and conducts every Step that Nothing has been hitherto attempted but what has proſpered?
Dear Mr Smith of Boſton adviſed me a few days ago that your kind Lady informed him of £100 — by a Lady unknown for the Support of this School and Miſsions, waits my Orders. Before which we knew not that there was a penny in ſtock for the Support of it — and ſome ſmaller Donations ſince. We wait in Hope that ſufficient at leaſt for the perſent will be ready for them as ſoon as they are ready to go.
I deſign to attend our general Aſsembly this Week, and hope ſomething may be had from that Quarter — After that I deſign if my Health will allow a Journey to Boſton and Portsmouth. It looks probable that our Way will be ſoon em­barraſsed by bad Men, and therefore now if ever is the Time to beſtir ourſelves in earneſt.
I want an intimate Interview with you. When or where can I have it conſiſtent with the continual Croud of my Affairs? And I think it very neceſsary, as you ſo fully & repeatedly teſtify your good will to this Deſign, in order that we fully underſtand one another, and make one another more fully acquainted with Men & things whereby we are other­wiſe in Danger of being impoſed upon —
Boſton May 24 Yesterday I came here, and found by the public Prints that you are at Philadelphia. — I hope to convey this to you by Water. I hope the Miſsrs and School Maſters will be ready to ſet out on their Tour into the Indian co^u^ntry next Week. they will go forward if only Supplies for the preſent may be had .—
Our Board of Corriſpondts [illegible] applied to M.r Brainerd to go to England in favour of the Deſign. but he cannot be Obtained. they have ſince voted to apply for that purpose to M.r C J. Smith. We have yet had no return from him. this We have done in conſequence of our hearing that M.r Rogers cannot be obtained. They have also voted that if M.r Occom Shall not go with You or M.r CJ. Smith, Some other appointed by us to Europe, that he ſhall be imployed as a Miſsry to the ſix Nations the enſuing ſumme^r^ by which hints you ſee the importance of our knowing your mind in
and deſign Relative to theſe Affairs. If you write me by the Poſt direct it hither to the Care of Cap.t Danl Bull of Hartford or Mr Ichabod Robinſon at Lebanon.
I am in a poor State of Health, am conſiderably worried with my Journey notwithſtanding I was almoſt four Days in coming from Home hither  M.r Whitaker & M.r Occom are with me. —
my dear Sir, let all the Evidences you have of My Weakneſs[illegible][guess: es] and Inequality for the Affair I am in, excite you to ^pity&^ pray much for Yours in the deareſt Bonds Eleazar Wheelock
^[right]To Mr Whitefield^ May 4th & 24th 1765.