Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to Nathaniel Whitaker, 1767 April 11

Author Wheelock, Eleazar

Date11 April, 1767

ms number767261.4

abstractWheelock writes of Kirkland’s visit and of his progress on his mission among the Oneidas. He also relates news of Whitaker's and Occom’s wives, as well as other business related to the Charity School.

handwritingInformal handwriting is small and crowded, yet mostly clear and legible. Letter case is frequently difficult to decipher.

paperTwo large sheets each folded in half to make four pages are in good-to-fair condition; moderate staining, creasing and wear — including old tape gum — has been much improved by recent preservation work.

noteworthyIt is uncertain to where Wheelock refers, in reference to Kirkland's mission, when he mentions "that Town," and so it has been left untagged. However, it is possibly Kanawalohale. An unknown hand has added a note in pencil after the trailer on four recto. This note has not been included in the transcription. This document is possibly a draft.

Modernized Version Deletions removed; additions added in; modern spelling and capitalization added; unfamiliar abbreviations expanded.

Persistent Identifier
Rev. and dear Sir.
Four Days ago Mr. Kirtland arrived [illegible] His State of Health is better than it was — he seems at last fully convinced that he must, for a while, abate of his Labours and Fatigues, or soon quit the whole Service.
The account he gives, is, in the main, very agreeable; that the Indians of that Town are almost universally attached to him — can't bear a word of his leaving them — they have made great Proficiency in the Schools in [illegible] Reading and Singing — of the latter he Says, I cant Speak too well — it is quite beyond what any will conceive, unless they could hear them — he Says, he hears no Such Singing in the Country. — they carry three parts with great exactness — And many of them yet eager to improve further in the Art — This is all New, and beyond what was ever yet known among Indians — many of them Say, they never knew Such pleasure before — that it is worthwhile to be Christians, if they had nothing more by it, than the pleasure of Singing praises to God — And to assist them further Mr. Kirtland has already begun, and designs to go on, to translate Psalms and Sacred Hymns into their Language, and fit them to Tunes — This is surprising and affecting to Some, that come among them, from foreign Tribes — At present there is a great Reformation among them as to their Morals#— there have been no more than two drunk belonging to that Town, Since December 15th and one of them was the only one of that Town, who opposed Mr. Kirtlands measures — on that Day Mr. Kirtlan[gap: worn_edge][guess: d] ( after
(after many unsuccessful attempts to put a Stop to that vice) called the Town together, and told them, if they would all of them, men and women, Old and Young, agree, and solemnly engage to leave of their drunkenness, and enable him, to put Such Determination in Execution, by appointing 6 or 8. of their chief men to be with, and assist him therein, with full power to Seize all intoxicating Liquor, and destroy it, or dispose of it as he should think proper, he would tarry with them; otherwise, he would leave them. Hereupon after 4 Days consideration, they unanimously appointed 8, whom Mr. Kirtland No‐minated, who have been very Officious, and faithful in the affair. And the success of this Step has been Such, that, notwithstanding about 80 kegs or casks of Rum have Since that Time been carried through that Town, and offered to Sale, and in a number of instances offered freely, as a present, and their Acceptance Strongly urged, yet they have Never in one instance been pre‐vailed upon to Accept it: Steadily replying, when urged to it, "It is contrary to the minister's word, and our agreement with him." A Number have publicly made confession of their past drunkenness, and other Vices. — And to two in particular, above the rest, Mr. Kirtland Hopes, God has granted Repentance unto Life.
This has had a very different Effect upon the Indians of Old Oneida, where Mr. Kinne was Sent last spring but left them for want of Health (as I informed you) Two of the principal men of that Town have removed to live under Mr. Kirtlands instruction. the rest of the Town are generally in opposition to the Reformation begun, and to
Mr. Kirtland as the instrument of it — The Enmity is So great, that near Relations as Brothers and sisters have not visited one another, since the aforesaid Agreement. — a Number of that Town have been trying every Artifice to overthrow, and prevent the progress of, the Reformation; on which account Mr. Kirtland designs, after a very Short visit to return himself, and not Trust the Affair to a Stranger/ I take this account from his own mouth.
The School there has been well conducted, under David Fowler — Mr. Kirtland Says that the Charge of transporting pro‐visions, besides his own Fatigues about it, has been fully equal to the first cost of them. I have used the utmost caution and Prudence as to expenses. and the Same Frugality in my own family as I used when you was acquainted with it. The missionaries and schoolmasters have also, So far as I can find, been prudent. dear Mr. Kirtland, I think, has, to a fault, been cautious of Expending Christ's money for his own comfort. he has also provided for David and his wife, and Joseph Johnson all this year in that Savage Country; and finds himself often obliged to do Something for the poor Starved wret‐ches, when they come to See him. And blessed be God, he is now animated with the Hopes of a glorious harvest among them by and by. may divine Grace and mercy to the poor Creatures, exceed his most Sanguine Expectations.
You know I had run Several hundred Pounds in the rear, before you went away, I used to take Goods for the School upon my own Credit, and charge them to the School as it wanted . by this means my public accounts appeared as they did. but this year I have taken Goods, in part of pay, for the Bills I have drawn, and have also paid those arrears with them, by which means my Debt is become due to the School, So that my next public accounts will appear in a view which I should not choose . viz. a consi‐derable balance due to the School, while I Shall have nothing in my Hands, I am not anxious in the Affair, I trust all will come right by, and by. — The conduct of Divine Providence
towards this whole affair, appears to be a continued Series of wisdom, and goodness. oh! how great the Depth! how large the Vol[illegible][guess: ume][illegible][guess: Is]! how Sweet! how Safe! how blessed to trust in him. April. 18. I herewith enclose Letters from Messrs. Smiths and Scott that Friends may know a little how Friends think and talk on this Side the water. and what they devise. those Gentlemen I understand have large Tracts of unsettled Land, near the Place they Speak of, and it is supposed they would make a large grant to the School, — I have Sent you a Copy of my answer to them, that you might be better able to form a Judgement on what they write. — April. 23rd Yours of January 20. came to hand 19th instant with a Bill of Exchange for £20 sterling from Robert Hodgson apothecary on John Prince of Salem and another of £5..5..0 from Samuel Parmiter in your favour endorsed to Henry Sherburn Esq.. yours of February 12. came to hand. 20th instant. — In which you have furnished me with many Arguments of praise to our great Benefactor. — I have heard nothing of any other orders you mention —
You and The Gentlemen concerned may depend upon my taking the most prudent and Effectual Care of any Such interests as come into my Hands. but perhaps you are not aware how great the necessary expenses of this Year have been, and I think when you come fully to understand what has been done you will have no cause to regret them. money is not squandered away for Nothing here I look upon my Obligations in the matter to be most Sacred and [illegible][guess: teach] all concerned to look upon and treat them as being Such — as Soon as the accounts can be Settled I Shall transmit them — This afternoon Mr. Kirtland set out on his Return to Oneida he appears to be much [illegible][guess: worn], to that degree that I thought it prudent he should preach but once in this visit
as I chose he should reserve his Strength for the Service of the Indians. however he finds he has recruited a little Since he left the Indians. He is comm‐issioned to open the Affair of a Settlement for this School and if he meets with anything worthy to be transmitted you will have it. }he designs if possible to Introduce Joseph Johnson into a School at old Oneida, and take Moses Mohawk who has been in a School at Canajoharie to be with him. as he is not yet fully perfect in the Oneida Language who [illegible][guess: may][illegible][guess: also] assist David in the School
As to your suspicion of Some unfriendly Treatment etc. the Gentleman you suspect never was So in thought word or Deed that I ever knew or had the least reason to suspect — If your suspicions arise from any hint in my Letter — you misunderstood it, for it respected no man on that Side the water — and the Tables are all Since turned and it is of no Importance now whether ever you think of the right man. however; I Supposed you would readily guess who he was. —
As to the affair of Mr Ledyard I Shall advise him etc. — the man was living Some months ago, but in a low State of health. I conclude he has no considerable interest of his own to leave with any.
I rejoice much to hear of Gen. Lymans Good prospects, his moral Character has been much Traduced of late in this Country He is represented as a Debaucher — that he is married in England and devoted to pleasure etc. It would be very friendly if you would wipe off that Reproach by a Line —
Your Letters and appendix to Your Narrative, excite in me the greatest Ardour of affection towards those great and worthy Gentlemen who compose the Trust, which you informed [illegible][guess: me] ha[illegible][guess: s] been lately formed — I bless the Lord that by his Love he has press them and their estates and all their Influence into his service — how precious will their Names be to ages yet unborn who may Eternally reap the Benefit of that which the world may [illegible] Term their great condescension —
I have never received but one letter from Mr. Keen. and nothing at all from Home. Since Mr. DeBerdts of October 10. before these from you. but you encourage one to Expect one from Mr. Whitefield and answer from Mr. Keen very soon
Mrs. Whitaker lodged here two nights this week, in as Good Health as usual, Your Little Son rode home with her — She informed me that Mrs. Occom was also well and Family — give my Love to Son Occom and tell him that Aaron behaves exceeding well — a Little Bundle of Something for his wife came to my Hand yesterday which I Shall carefully forward —
Salute all our Friends in my Name most heartily. and accept old fashioned Love in Abundance from, My Dear Sir
Your most cordial Brother etc. Eleazar Wheelock
Letter to Mr. Whitaker April 16. 1767.
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