Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to John Thornton, 1772 May 23

Author Wheelock, Eleazar

Date23 May, 1772

ms number772323

abstractWheelock writes to Thornton regarding several matters, including Thornton's warnings about Wheelock’s son Ralph, and Thornton's offer to pay Wheelock’s debt. He gives news of Occom and other potential missionaries.

handwritingSmall, formal handwriting is not Wheelock's; it is clear and legible.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good-to-fair condition, with light-to moderate staining, creasing and wear.

inkBlack-brown. On two verso, the ink has burned away the first word of the second line of the third paragraph.

noteworthyThis letter is marked “Copy.” Comments about Ralph Wheelock are very similar to those written to Thornton in manuscript 772523.

signatureThe signature is not Wheelock's.

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

Persistent Identifier
My dear and Honoured Sir//
Your very kind and refreshing favor of February 28 came safe to hand the 16 instant a few days after my return from Connecticut. You write, dear sir, like one who really understands the things whereof you write: And I verily believe you have learned in some measure what walking with God and living upon God mean, and know many of the devices of our subtle and and watchful ad=versary, and the many ways we do or may give him ad=vantage against us, in these things I heartily join with you and I long to come up sides with you in the experi=ence of them. But in nothing do you more testify the sincerity and strength of brotherly Love and Christian friend=ship than in that unresevedness with which you tell me "you think my parental regard for my son Ralph, has blinded my eyes to some misconduct of his;" but I think dear sir, you ought to have gone further and hinted (at least) some instance or instances, and not suffer me to be an Eli. I cant so much as guess at an instance you can mean. perhaps you was afraid it might fret a wound that is just healed, but I assure you, you have no need to be upon the reserve on that account I have been often tried with suggestions and charges of this kind which have ori=ginated only from one who never could be persuaded to refer the matter to any impartial decision. And I verily believe, were you examine into that matter you would find the Charge as groundless, as was the report that Mr. Kirkland was starving through my defect, while your hands and mine were constantly open for his supply and nothing was wanting but his accepting it at any time.
I have by no means been blind to his im=perfections, nor wanting in sorrow on that account and I hope I have not failed of using utmost endeavours to cure them; but To Esq. Thornton May 23. 1772.
I think I must in justice say, I know of no blot upon his moral or religious Character. The most religious sort of people are his closest and most intimate friends. But it is likely he will not stand in the way of any long, he has been almost two years on the verge of Eternity, and is now given over, and his case pronounced incurable by Physicians. He has looked upon such treatment to be hard and unchristian and has greatly longed and earnestly plead and entreated to be informed what he has done to de=serve it from man, but never has obtained it to this day. I ask your prayers for him that the severe discipline he has been so long held under from the hand of God, may become effectual to purge away his dross etc.
I am much obliged to you for your Extract from Dr. Erskine's Letter — Mr. Kirkland is doubtless much im=posed upon. He told me on his return from Boston last October that he knew nothing of his having received part of his support from the Scottish Society nor did he understand him=self to be in any Connection with them. to the same purpose he told others.
There has been I hear a Clamor in Boston that this school is or will soon be in episcopal hands, and the principal reason I have heard assigned as the ground of their confidence that it will be so, has been because a num=ber of the honourable Trust in England are of the denomination; But these I imagine are only conjectures of men of a party spirit, who measure all others by themsellves. I trust the providence of God will refute all such Calumnies in due time.
Messrs. McClure and Frisbie were seperated to the sacred ministry by solemn fasting and prayer, with laying on hands of the Presbytery, in this place, last Wednesday. I am now waiting for advice from the board of Correspondents in New Jersey, that they have provided a Missionary and Interpreters to accompany them, which I expect by a special post on which advice these young men expect to set out on a Journey of about 800 miles.
I wrote you a Hasty line from Hartford some weeks ago, in which I informed you of a great and glorious work
of God's grace at New Jersey College, a Seminary which God has honored with such seasons from time to time, above any on the Continent.
Your kind offer, good sir, to discharge my personal debts for me, has reached my very heart, how great is that goodness that has honored you with ability and a will to do it. I pray the Lord to reward you, and he will not be forgetful to do it. I thank­fully accept it, and will draw on you for it, as soon as I can know what my accounts are.
Mr. Occom is near 200 Miles from me, Mohe=gan (in which he lives) is under the care of the London Board in Bos­ton who employ the neighbouring ministers as their missionaries to preach Lectures to them and other parties of Indians on the Sea Shore. If I should encourage Mr. Occom to do any thing, as a Minister in pay, it would not fail to give great offence.
By the favor of a friend I was served with a Copy of a vote of the Society in Scotland, dated Edinburgh January 28. 1771 wherein they continue £50 to Mr. Kirkland and grant £20 to Mr. Occom through the hands of their board in Boston; which I hear they neglect to pay and I don't think they ever will.
When I was in Connecticut I had a good account of his Character, and Conduct of late, I shall be glad to serve him in any thing within my power. I wish with all my heart he was disposed to take a long tour to a remote tribe near Muskingum to which these young men are appointed, and a Tribe which speaks his Language. I will write him and inform him of your Concern for him, and friendly thoughts towards him, and will propose to him his accepting such a mission.
Governor Wentworth wrote me some months ago that he had sent by a vessel for 12 Indian Boys for this School from St. John's etc. and that he thought probable he should obtain them. I have yet heard nothing of the success of this attempt.
Mr. Ripley a young preacher, one of my Pupils, designs by divine leave to set out on his mission to Canada in June or July, with mr Taylor who was for some years a Captive there, and on that as well as many
other accounts suitable to be employed in that service, by these with the assistance of Governor Wentworth (who has earnestly re=commended the design to the Commander-in-chief there) and also of Mr. Austin a pious young minister at Montreal and other friends to the cause in those parts. I hope in God a way may be opened, to obtain Children from those Tribes: perhaps the greatest difficulty will be from the opposition of their priests.
The Narrative herewith enclosed is an un=questionable truth extensively known and universally believed in that part of the Country. I was personally acquainted with the subject of it in her low estate; and since her re=moval to Lebanon have been intimately acquainted with her, and my heart often refreshed by her discourse for a number of years before I left Connecticut.
It is not possible you should have the account with [gap: tear][guess: all] that life and spirit, thus at second hand, as you might have it from the original with the many Circumstances and natu­ral remarks, which a present sense and impression of the things themselves enable her to make which can never be fully described by pen.
And with this I present my Duty to you and the Rest of the honourable Trust. And am with high esteem and much Affection
Your much obliged, and most obedient Humble Servant Eleazar Wheelock
Copy To John Thornton Esq. —