Theophilus Chamberlain, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1765 December 23

Author Chamberlain, Theophilus

Date23 December, 1765

ms number765673

abstractChamberlain writes from his mission about the bad state of affairs among the Canajoharie Mohawks, and about how the Indian teachers sent out by Wheelock refuse to obey him.

handwritingEven, clear, yet letter case — particularly on "s" and "d" — is often difficult to discern.

paperLight wear and creasing; watermark and remnants of seal visible.

noteworthyMentions “the Gravil” as a disorder -- possibly a reference to an older name for kidney stones or “urinary gravel;” a note is added in Wheelock’s hand; meaning of “crop” as in “crop the woods” unclear.


Persistent Identifier
Rvd and honourd Sir
After a long and tedious Journey on Account of the repeated Snows and Rains which have fell Since I left your Houſe, I arived here laſt friday not in a good state of health; yet thrō divine goodneſs am now comforta ble. I find almoſt every Circumſtance this way diſcouraging
The Indians at fort Hunter have got strongly diſaffected towards Engliſh Inſtructors suppoſing the Deſign of the Engliſh is to Inſtruct them and take away their Lands as a Recompence. They have uſd Calvin with such Language, or rather he has heard such Language amongſt them againſt the Engliſh that he cant be willing to stay amongſt them this winter. In this Caſtle I am chargd with not keeping my word to return within eight Weeks. My Blankets have are taken by ye Chief Sachem and sold for Liquor; and all the Recompence I can have is "you did not come back within eight weeks the Time you talkd of. The Boys here are so much offof[illegible] the Notion of being Subject to your Orders that I can do nothing with them. Abraham major, indeed I have not seen he is gone to Schoharry; little Abraham cant come down before Spring on account of the Cold; Moſes cant come till then becauſe he intends to bring down his Coſen who cant come before Spring; John has got two horſses to feed. & both[illegible] his Brothers being lateley gone to War, he muſt do it himſelf and therefore cant go with me to Onoida. This however unexpected is in fact the Caſe. It suprized me to find them so re solvd. I ^had^ tried the force of every [illegible][guess: thing] Motive I could think of to alter their Minds but as yet can prevail Nothing. I have mentioned your Expectations and their obligations in gratitude to anſwer them. I have urgd your Deſigns of making them men in the World & their neceſaty of your Aſsiſtance to live like men; I have told them the Consequences of their Staying here, their growing raged, living like Indians, danger of being undone &c. I have tried my own Influence which once was conſiderable, but nothing prevails they will not stir.
David Fowler has been down from Onoida about a fortnite ago and run in Debt above five Pounds [illegible][guess: york] Money which I have paid for him. from Onoida I hear that they almoſt deſpair of my coming there this winter.
There is no such thing as gitting to Onoida with a horſe at preſent; I intend to settle things in the beſt Manner I can here as faſt as poſsible and crop ye Woods on foot to Onoida. Cpt Butler to whom I am greatly obliged for repeated favours, has taken care (tho he did not go as he proposd to Onoida) to send me up several sorts of Proviſion to fort Stanwicks; which I here has got wet and am much afraid it will be [illegible][guess: all] be Spoild.
Mr Smith was taken sick at Southhadley, has the Gravil, I have but little hope of his ever viſiting theſe Parts again as his Diſorder wont admit of much Rideing. I carleſsly came from your houſe without general Gages Commiſion, Should Cpt Buttler viſit you this Winter as he intends if the Winter favours with Sleighing pray send it by him, he thinks twill be of great Service to us. The Money I brought will not be Sufficient to carry us thro the Winter. if you think proper we Should have more pray send it by Cpt Buttler. Tommorrow I intend for fort hunter to give them some further Acquaintance with your school and Deſign, to set their minds a little at Liberty from their Prejudices if poſsible.— Sir if I underſtood you I had Liberty to send down some of thoſe Mohawk Lads which were so fond of coming laſt fall; but none of y[illegible] them Deſire to come before Spring, adviſe me what you Deſire about them, before then if poſsible; nomore at preſent.
I remain yours to ſerve Theoph Chamberlain To Rvd E. Wheelock
To Rvd Mr Eleazer Wheelock In Lebanon
From Rev.d Chamberlain Dec.r 23. 1765
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