David Avery, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1771 June 6

Author Avery, David

Date6 June, 1771

ms number771356

abstractAvery writes about his upcoming ordination and possible mission. He relates news of Occom and David Fowler, with brief excerpts of a letter from Fowler.

handwritingHandwriting is formal, clear and legible.

paperFour large sheets of paper have each been folded in half to make four pages. The address is on a separate, single sheet. The paper is in good condition, with mostly light creasing, staining and wear.


Persistent Identifier
Rev,d & hon,d Sir,
About three weeks past I received Doctor Wheelock's letter, dated 22 of april; for which I return a ^gratful^ tribute of Thanks. — This was very timely, and gave me to understand a little, tho' not fully, the Doctr[illegible][guess: ^[inline]e^]'rs's mind & pleasure respecting my Des‐tiny. His other Letter, refered to in this which I have, is yet on the way. — It gave me the most sensible sorrow to hear that all of my letters to Dartm.o have fell short. — What is the mean‐‐ing
‐ing of Providence in this I can't tell. — Have wrote again and again, representing the State of affairs in these parts, giving an account of God's ^work^ in a particular Parish, and expreſsing the earnest desire of that poor, needy, desti‐‐tute People that I tarry longer with them a little while longer, that I may know what my Rev,d Patron would advise and direct to. — I have been, and am still, exceeding loath to do any the least thing contrary to his Pleasure to whom am under the most inviolable obligations, next to Almighty God. — The Rev,d M,r Buell being in New England I could not consult him 'till this week. Now
I have laid before him my affairs and taken his Advice in this case, which is, That I tarry about two months on the Island and then return to N..w Hampshire. This advice I have concluded to follow. M.r Buell informs me he saw Rev,d M,r Patten and M,r Woodward, whom he discourſed on the point, and they were of opinion that it would not, likely, be displeasing to the Rev,d Doctor if I should tarry for such reasons as he gave them — (viz) My not being ^in^ a con‐firmed state of health sufficient to go upon an Indian Miſsion in the
heat of summer. — And the late happy revival of Religion in Ketehebonack, which appears to be a particular Call to labor with them a little longer. —
(Bleſsed be God the Work still goes on and there is a prospect of ingathering of souls.) If I should go ^to^ Dartmouth now, by what I can learn, my ordination could not conveni‐‐ently be attended before Commencement, and without that I should not be prevailed upon to take a miſsion.— Perhaps it may be thought best this ordinance should be so‐lemnized at that time when the Corporati‐on shall be together; which I most earnestly request 1
1 request may be done; for I am much ex‐‐ercised about preaching barely by virtue of a Licence.
With respect to my going under Boston Board, I know not what to say— I should, by all means, chuse to con‐‐sult the Corporation on the head.— As it is a very delicate point, so I shall indeavour to manage it.— That Letter not having come to hand in which the Proposal was made, Rev,d M.r Buell did not know what advice to give. If by going under that Board I must in the least break connexions with him, whom it is my honor to call my Rev,d & Worthy Patron
I could not indure the thought of it— but if it shall be thought best, on the whole, to an‐swer the general Design in view — it is likely I shall be willing to comply with the propo‐‐ſal.— It has given me much of the Heart‐‐ach that somethings are as they are,— but God's Government is over all, according to In‐finite Wisdom — the iſsue therefore must, and can't but, be for his Glory; yea, for a greater Display of Divine Glory than other‐wise there would be if it were not for some dark Scenes.. This consideration bears my Spirits up, or it seems, I could not, at times, sub‐‐sist — Let ^Zion^ and her Sons, rejoice in their King/ — The Rev,d Doctor mentioned a pro‐‐posal
‐posal lately made to him of my taking a tour to S.t John's River this summer,— and asked me what I think of it? — If I knew what prospects there are ^[inline]o^for doing good there were, — the situation of the Indians — the air — accomoda‐‐tions, &c I should be better able to form a judgment.— But as my health is but tlow, being attended with a constant Fever, much exposed to take Cold, and unable to undergo much hard ser‐‐vice by reason of a weakening Disorder which has long afficted me— And also as I have no companion to go as a preacher with me, as I know of, or
could likely be obtained this season, it does not appear Duty for me to undertake the journey at present.— My heart says 'Lord, what wilt thou have me to do'?— Wherever Providence gives the Lead, I am willing to follow — but, alas! I know so little, or no‐thing, how to read divine Providences or get an answer to prayer that am afraid, many times, I am not in the way of Duty — It appears to me I should be the happiest of ^many^ mortals if I only knew what God's Plea‐‐sure is respecting my situation & Destiny in the world.— At present He is laying out a great variety of work for me, the least of all his servants, is it not Duty to perform it? 2
2 Thro' Divine Favor, my health is in some measure recovered — am able to preach every sabbath and several Lectures.— The awakenings in Ketehebonack still continue in several instances, tho' perhaps not so great as some time past.... As I presume the Doctor has before this time received my Letters I need give no farther account of God's Work in these parts, save that there is, of late, a very great revival in Southold‐Town, under Rev,d M.r Storrs' ministry.— I expect to go there next week, God willing— I find it a very great
advantage to me to live here in this Day of the Outpouring of God's bleſsed Spirit. — When People's Ears are open it is easy Preaching to them. — It has rejoiced the hearts of many that God has revived his work in the College last Winter— O, what an happy omen for good! —
After I received the Doctor's Letter, I sent a line to David Fowler with a Desire that he would give me an honest, faithful acco.t of the late State & Character of M.r Occom and he wrote me the following — —"I can't tell you any bad thing of him. — He is, as it were, crying out to Sinners in a
private manner — he don't preach as yet, but I hope he will. He seems to injoy a newneſs of life again.— He goes from ^one^ Place to another ex‐‐horting the People, that is, among the Indians. — He has entirely aban‐‐doned spirituous liquors — he uſes none, nor keeps any in the house.= I shall likely give you a better Nar‐‐rative of his Character at my return from the main shore."
I know nothing, Sir, but what this account is entirely just — But nothing has been done to wash
away his Stain in these parts, or in any other that we have hear'd of.— Rev,d M,r Buell heard little if anything about him when on the main. — Perhaps M:r Woodward is able to give a more particular account of M.r Occom than I can, and better able to judge whether it will be for the Good and honor of the Cause to improve him as a miſsionary — it seems to be a very great frown of heaven that his usefulneſs has been prevented.—
David Fowler appears much as uſual— with respect to his being deeply humbled &c I am not able to say — he manifests a very great regard for the Indian Cause — and has some bitter reflexions on his rash conduct in 3
3 in the Wilderneſs.— I have not said much to him about his conduct, because am very ignorant of what the Foundation or pretentded foundation of it was. If he was to see and converse the Re[illegible][guess: vr]'end Doctor, am quite inclined to think he would make gospel satisfaction.— His natural Temper is well known to be violent and sometimes his Paſsion blinds his reason. — respecting him‐self he writes me,
"If I can pay off my Creditors this year I deſign to go off this Island next year, either to Mohegan or the Wil‐‐derneſs: I don't think of going any where this year."
East-Hampton judge he is very un‐steady and fickle, roving and wandering
But by converse with David, am of opinion his unsteadyneſs was much owing to his too small salary and the Indians living a good deal upon him. — He does not keep the School at Montauk; he thinks,"if he did, it would be to none effect — The Indians seem to be curſt — they don't ad‐‐mire any thing that would be beneficial to them, either temporal or temporal^spiritual^."—
Imagine ^if^ he should visit the Doctor it might answer some valuable Purpose — accordingly shall recommend it to him.— I can't but think he means to act honestly — He is now somewhat involved in Debt; but he follows Fishery & hopes to raise something on the land to defray his charges this sea‐‐son.— Thus, Sir, I have given the best account respecting him am able to do.—
If it shall be judged best to ordain me at Commencement, would not the Doctor think proper to appoint some of the Rev,d Corporation the ordination ser‐‐mon? — Would it please him to pitch upon the Rev,d M,r Pomroy? But I mean not to dictate — shall be perfectly well suited with Doctor Whee‐lock's appointments.— If this Plan should be agreable to him, it would lay me under farther obligations of Gratitude, if by any means, I might have intelligence of it — but am afraid these Letters will suffer the same misfortune as the other.— It gives me unspeakable Joy to hear M.r Ripley is hopefully religious! If this is the case, What extensive service may ^the^ Man of his rare abilities do for God, if God goes with him!
We hear the work of God is powerful in several Places upon the Continent...
People are liberal and very kind to me in theſe parts — O, how good is the Lord to the evil and unthankful! — Oh! for an humble heart! a meek and lowly spirit!— the Benevolence, ^[inline]ye^ Love, ^[inline]ye^ Pity and Compaſsion of Jesus Christ to‐‐wards dying men! — my Soul burns with ardor to do something for my Maker and Redeemer.—
The Reverend M,r Brown gives very kind and affectionate Salutations to the Reverend Doctor Wheelock — He is a Father to me — Please, Sir, present Duty to Honored Madam, and continue daily to pray for, Rev,d & hon,d Sir,
Your very dutiful and most obedient humble servant David Avery
Rev,d D,,r Wheelock
From M.r David Avery June 6. 1771.
To The Revd Eleazer Wheelock D:D. Preſident of Dartmouth Colledge In Hanover
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