Samson Occom, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1771 July 24

Author Occom, Samson

Date24 July, 1771

ms number771424

abstractOccom notes his disinclination to go into the wilderness, and complains bitterly of having been used as an agent and a curiosity in England to collect money for the college. He points out that there are no Indians at the school at present (except "two or three Mollatoes") and that this confirms his suspicion that Wheelock was scheming all along to use the charity for whites.

paperLarge sheet is folded into four pages. There is repair tape along all the outside edges of paper; otherwise the paper is in good condition.

inkInk is very light, yet bleeds heavily through the paper.

noteworthyThe trailer and text added to the left margin of one verso are in Wheelock’s hand.

signatureLetter is signed twice, once in full, once with initials.

EventsFundraising Tour of Great Britain

Persistent Identifier
Revd Sir
Yours of Janr 22: I receivd but a few Days ago, wherein You Speak of mu^c^h Sorrow on my account, I am obliged to you So far as it is agreable to god, You Seem to think that it is a sort of Reproof from God, that I was Left to Stray, for my Staying at Home so much, But I don’t think with You, — God woud Certainly gave me Strenght Sufficient to go Such Long Journeis, but I han’t been able to Ride far Now two whole Years, and I have been Con‐fin’d to my Houſe good Deal this Spring, I am greatly Exerciſ’d with my old Pains — As to my Pre‐ſent Standing with the Indians, I need not Say more than this, I am as well, if not better recei^vd^ by them than ever, if I woud only Comply with their Deſire, the Indians ^at^ Mohegan, groton, Nahanteck, Stonington, and even at Charlestown in general woud put themſelves un‐der my Inſtructions — as to my [illegible] being under a Miſtake about my and Davids going into the wilderneſs I am not, I woud have gone up and David too, the Spring after I got Home from England, but you Said, you had no money to AſSiſt me with, and You yourſelf Diſ‐couragd David from going, — Indeed I have always Declin’d to remove my Family into the wilderneſs, but David woud have gone up to Settle there — had he a proper Encourage‐ment he woud go now — but he will not go for what you offer — he has Some thoughts of offering his Service to the Comiſsrs of Boſton to go into the wilderneſs, if they woud give him £30 Lawf
per Am he woud go into the wilderneſs with his Family to Settle — I am very Jealous that inſtead of Your Seme‐nary Becoming alma Mater, She will be too alba mater to Suckle the Tawnees, for She is already aDorn’d up too much like the Popiſh Virgin Mary She’ll be Naturally aſham’d to Suckle the Tawnees for She is already equal in Power Honor and Authority to and any College in Europe, I think your College has too much wordly Grandure for the Poor Indians they’ll never have much benefet of it, — In So Saying I Speak the general Sentiment of Indians and Engliſh too in theſe parts; ^a.^ so many of your Miſsionaries and School maſters and Indian Scholars Leaving You and Your Service Confirms me in this opinion, — ^b^ Your having So many white Scholars and So few or no Indian Scholars, gives me great Diſcouragement — I verily thought once that your Inſtitution was Indtended Purely for the poor Indians with this thought I Chearfully Ventur’d my Body & Soul, left my Country my poor Young Family all my Friends and Relations, to Sail over the Boiſterous Seas to England, to help forward your School, Hoping, that it may be a laſting Bene‐fet to my poor Tawnee Brethren, with this View I went a Volunteer — I was quite willing to become a Gazing stock, Yea Even a Laughing Stock, in Strange Countries to Promote your Cauſe — we Loudly Proclaimd before Multitudes of People from Place to Place, that there was a moſt glorious Proſpect of Spreading the goſpel of the Lord Jeſus to the furthereſt Savage Nations in the wilderneſs, thro’ your Inſtitution, we told them that there were So many Miſsionaries & So many Schoolmaſters already Sent out, and a greater Number woud Soon follow
^[left]a: N.B. none have left me ſince I got a Charter. b. I ha’ no white Charity Scholars but such as ^are^ [illegible]fittg for a miſsion^
But when we got Home behold all the glory had decayd and now I am afr’aid, we Shall ^be^ Deem’d as Liars and Deceivers in Europe, unleſs you gather Indians quickly to your College, in great Numbers and not to have So many Whites in the Charity, — I underſtand you have no Indians at Preſent except two or three Mollatoes — — this I think is quite Contrary to the Minds of the Donors, we told them, that we were Beging for poor Miſerable Indians, — as for my part I went, purely for the poor Indians, and I Should be as ready as ever to promote your School according to my poor Abilities ^if^ I coud be Convinc’d by ocular Demon‐ſtration, that your pure Intention is to help, the poor help^leſs^ Indians, but as long as you have no Indians, I am full of Doubts, — Your writing to Esqr Thornton to my Diſadvantage and not ^one^ word in my favour, gave me to think, that your Indian Scholars had reaſon to with Draw from You, and Your Miſsionaries and Schol, Maſters too, the opinion of many white People about here is that You have been Scheeming altogather, and that it was a Po[illegible]llicy to Send me over to England, for (Say they) now they don’t Care any^thing^ ab^o^ut you, You have anſwerd their Ends, now you may Sink or Swim it is all one to them, this makes me think of what that great man of god Said to me, Mr Whitefield, juſt before I left England in the ^hearing of^ Some gentlemen — ah, Says he, [illegible]You have been a fine Tool to get Money for them, but when you get home, they won’t Regard you the’ll S[illegible][guess: e]t you a Drift, — I am ready to believe it Now — I am going to Say Some thing further, which is very Diſagreeable Modiſty woud forbid me, but I am Conſtraind So to write, — Many Gentlemen in England
and in this Country too, Say, if ^you^ had not this Indian Bait, you woud not Collected a quarter of the Money you did, one gentleman in Particular in England Said to me, if ^he^ hadn’t Seen my face he woudn’t have given [illegible][guess: ye] happence but now I have £50 freely — This one Conſideration gives me great Quietneſs, I think I went to En‐ gland with Honeſt Heart, I think I have dont that which I think was my Duty to Do — I mig^ht^ write more but I have no time, — I wiſh I coud give you one viſit, to have a ful talk but you got so ^far^ up, I Shall never be able — if I am under any Miſtake, Pleaſe to enlighten me, — I am better in Health than I’ve been and my Family is well thro’ Divine Favour Pleaſe to ^give^ my Compts to all under your Care and Accept Duty from
Your moſt unworthy Servt Samſon Occom
PS I have not wrote this Sort to any one in England, I Chuſe to let you know my mind firſt SO
From M.r Occom July 23. 1771