Theophilus Chamberlain, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1765 July 29

Author Chamberlain, Theophilus

Date29 July, 1765

ms number765429.1

abstractChamberlain writes from his mission with an account of work among the Indians, occurrences of problem drinking, a funeral, and weddings.

handwritingHandwriting is formal and clear, yet letter case is often difficult to discern. There is some variation in size and uniformity as the letter progresses. The trailers are in an unknown hand.

paperThree large, separate sheets are in good-to-fair condition, with light-to-heavy staining, creasing and wear. There is some reinforcement along particularly heavy creases. The pages may have been, at one time, larger sheets folded into pages that were later separated.

inkBlack-brown ink varies in intensity.

noteworthyThe letter appears to be written over the course of more than one day. In spots, it is written almost entirely in the present tense.

Persistent Identifier
Revd Sir
I wrote my laſt from Capt Butlers being then down to Speak with Sir William Johnston about Setting up A School at ye Lower Mohawk Caſtle. In ye afternoon of ye day I wrote you, with mr Kirtland, I waited on his honour; but had no Oppertunity so much as to propoſe my Buiſeneſs to him; and hav‐ing promiſed the Indians of Kanajohara to be there on Sunday, I returnd ye next day without ever viſiting ye lower Caſtle. the ne next Tuſday, I returnd went to Sir Willims again for his Advice. found him Sick. could not speak with him. The next day mr Kirt‐land and I set out for fort hunter. (ye Caſtle) met mr Occum, he went over with us. a few Indians came together. it was pro‐poſd to them leaving Calvin who was with us a School‐Maſter amongſt them if they would maintain him, &, Send there Children to School. they ansſwer they cant determine till they love a meeting. at length they conclude to keep Calvin till they meet; so I muſt go down again to hear their Reſult and intend to carry Paper for the School Mr Kirtland says the Indians think ^it^ very hard that they muſt maintain their Schoolmaſters; but the Indians here say not a word againſt it; which (I think) is a Sufficent Motive to us, not to comply with the unreaſonable Ingratitude of the other.— The same Day I rode up the River about a Dozen Miles. Mr Occom comes up. Great Abraham comes crying to me, says, "Peter says, I git drink. I too "much mad. I muſt go home. I perſwade him to stay. he appears averſe to it. I tell mr Occom wat ails Abraham Mr Occom Joins me. at length in some Meaſure over‐come he concluds to stay for the Preſent.
I go to Peter. talk with him on ye affair. he says, People tell him so. "what he School‐Maſter, he git drunk too. I aſk Peter when he got drunk. he says he went to Mowing to day and came out of the field drunk. Mr Occom and I both saw him coming out of the field, we nither of us preceivd it. I am much perplext about the affair. fear what the Event will be; but Abraham behaves him so well in other Reſpects, I hope it ^is^ all a [illegible] flam. we ride to the german flats to viſit the Onoydas there, intending if poſible to set up a School at thear hunting houſes. find them so scattered we think it imprac‐ticable. Saturday I return home, Mr Occom stays to preach, if he can get the Indians together. Lords Day we have a Funeral this morning. Three men wading the River the Night before laſt, one of them is taken with the Cramp, and drownds. I attend the funeral. his Wife, Children and friends howl like — — — — — I dont know what. I make a Prayer at the houſe. go to the grave intending there to make an addreſs to the Indians on the Occation. An old man makes a short speach in Indian. throws a handfull of dirt into the Coffin; the young men fill up the grave.
Before this is half done the People scatter, every one his  way, home as I thought. I stay with an old man till the grayve is finiſhed, then return. aſk the old man, why the People go off so soon. he tells me they are gon to the houſe of morning. It is I conclud to drink away their Sorrow, for they they come back merry, and some of them come to meeting half drunk. In speaking to them from theſe Words except you repent you Shall all likewiſe periſh, I indevourd to shew them, that all of them who had not repented of their Sins were in great danger of being taken out of the world. ^by some suden judgment of God^ and sent to hell. And if God lets them live and they dont repent, they grow worſe and worſe and will be more miſerable at laſt, becauſe God has waited on them so long. But what signifies preaching to People drunk. I would have intirly omited it today, ^except to a few^ were it not for giving offence.
This Practice of Drinking away Sorrow, as far as I can learn, is very frequent amongſt the Indians this way; and I don't know but every where; and it being one of thoſe heatheniſh Practices[illegible], which Chriſtianity alone can put an End to, it is so far from being a diſcouradgment to thoſe who would spread the goſple amongſt them; that I hope it will make me more erneſt and induſterous in Spreding it.— Monday, a great wedding here to day; Joſeph Brant, marries Nieggen Aoghyatonghſera,— Pegge daughter of Isaac, from Onohoquage. She is handſome, Sober, diſcreet & a religious young woman. Kyaka, Brother [illegible][guess: / per] Patrem/ to your Willm major, mar^r^ies a handſome Engliſh girl.
said to be daughter to a Gentleman in Virginia. she was taken some years ago by the back Nations, and brought in, to Sir Willam laſt fall. She Speaks a Number of Indian languages and the Engliſh very well. [illegible] a third cupple I have this day to marry are common Indians. a great feaſt is now making. an Ox is kild, all to be dreſsd. seven or eight Cags ^holding two or three gallons each^ of Rum and Wine broght in; Corn boiling Pies making. Indian flocking together.— but mr Occom is come I relieve your Patience
The mariage was attended without a great deal of Indecency / I mean amongſt the Indians/ of any Kind. how i conducted, upon this unuſual occaſion you muſt g^u^eſs. the firſt of my marriing. Mr Occom and I saw the new‐ married Pares at ye Table with their Parents, aſked a Bleſs‐ing for them, and having ourſelves before dind, we set off for Cherry Vallye hoping to find mr Smith and Mr Gun there. Tuſday we arived at Cherry Valle. Mr Smith and Mr Gun left this laſt friday for the Lake. Wenſday: we return to Kanojohare without seeing them. we find there was a great drunken frolic after we left this. two Indians were Stabd, one of them very dangeroſly, in his Back and Breaſt ^if he dies a Relation kills his murder, it is said^. Another accident wh happened I leave Mr Occom to tell you. Thurſday Mr Occom stayed with me expecting Mr Kirtland. He dont come. to day we examine a certain affair, find it not so bad as we feard. Friday Mr Occom leaves me for Sir Willms & fort Hunter. — — I viſit the Schools; find nither Maſter nor Scholars at l Abrahams, at Night call the Boys together, find yt the Neglect of little Abrahams School was thru a miſtake between him and . J[illegible]ohn. examine the Boys about family Worſhip find they hear nothing of it in the Place. I pray with them, order them to come together every Night for Prayers. which they have since done and I intend they shall conſtantly. they read a Chapter in the Bible and sing a Pſalm. Joſ. Brant Joiyns with us. — — — Sunday I preach to ye Indians; but moſt of them pay but little reguard to Preaching. Monday I muſt set off to day for fort Hunter where I left Calvin the Week before laſt, to see him and to receive the Anſwer of the Indians about a School there; thō I hope there has been one ever Since I was there. In the mean Time: I shall Starve for Money in about a Month. Six or eight Pound I shally really want, and dont see how I can do without it. — — — — Revd Sir, if I write too much, tell me so, and I will curtaile my Accounts. — — I have had no oppertu‐nity to mention Capt Ledles Affair, or even our own to Sir Willm, my duty to Maddam, love to the family, Mr Lathrop and School I remain in due Reſpect to you and yours
To The Rvd Eleazer Wheelock In Connecticute Newengland ^[right]from Mr Chamberlain July 29th^
from Mr Chamberlain To The Revd Eleazer Wheelock In Connecticute NewEngland ^[left]Pr Favour^ ^[left]Rvd Mr Occom^
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