Skip to main content
 Previous Next
  • Zoom In (+)
  • Zoom Out (-)
  • Rotate CW (r)
  • Rotate CCW (R)
  • Overview (h)

Quick Views

View Options



Color Key

block letters
gap/damage: +++++
unclear: #####
alternate readings
hidden markup
[note: ....]
added text
deleted text
[date 'when' attribute]
[person, place or org. id]
Thomas Ludlow, letter, to Nathaniel Whitaker, 1766 November 7

ms-number: 766607.2

[note (type: abstract): Ludlow writes that he is pleased with the collections taken on behalf of the great cause, but that Whitaker and Occom would do well to collect in person rather than leave it to local ministers. He hopes that Whitaker and Occom will visit Bristol before returning to London.][note (type: handwriting): Formal handwriting is small, but very clear and legible.][note (type: paper): Single sheet is in good-to-fair condition, with moderate creasing, staining and wear. Repair work has been done to heavier creases. A small tear results in a minor loss of text.][note (type: ink): Brown][note (type: signature): Signature is abbreviated.]

events: Fundraising Tour of Great Britain, Occom’s inoculation

My much [eſteemed | esteemed]eſteemedesteemed Friend [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. [Nath: | Nathaniel]Nath:Nathaniel Whitaker[pers0037.ocp]
Dear Sir
[ſince | Since]ſinceSince my [laſt | last]laſtlast to you at Bideford[place0011.ocp]
we have had the pleasure of receiving two Letters from you, one
from Barnstaple[place0007.ocp], the other from Crediton[place0053.ocp], both which gave us pleasing
accounts of your [ſucceſs | success]ſucceſssuccess in the important Cause, what you collected
at Exeter[place0071.ocp] and Topsham[place0233.ocp] I think is extraordinary. I am glad to hear
[ſome | some]ſomesome of the Clergy undertake for you, which no doubt is furtherance
to the Affair, I find you have left the Collection in [ſome | some]ſomesome places to the
management of them and other Ministers by which you will [ſee | see]ſeesee whether
that will answer your purpose, I am ready to think it will not and
that if you was to make personal application and preach to the People,
where they receive one Pound, you would two Pounds, but that I leave.
I observe your immediate going to London[place0128.ocp] on your return to Exon[place0072.ocp] is
not absolutely [fix'd | fixed]fix'dfixed but that a Letter you expect from your Friends in
London[place0128.ocp] is to determine it. If it is for the good of the great Cause we
[ſhould | should]ſhouldshould rejoice to [ſee | see]ſeesee you here first for do [aſsure | assure]aſsureassure you that [wou'd | would]wou'dwould be indeed
a great pleasure to us and to Friends in general. It gave us concern
to have [ſo | so]ſoso poor an account of dear [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Occom[pers0030.ocp], hope the Lord has [remov'd | removed]remov'dremoved
his complaint and that this will find him perfectly recovered. May
the Lord [ſtill | still]ſtillstill [ſtand | stand]ſtandstand by and [ſupport | support]ſupportsupport you under every trial that you may
meet with and keep you above all your fears and discouragements, He
is [ſtronger | stronger]ſtrongerstronger than all your adversaries and has the Hearts of all Men at
his command and can turn them as the Rivers are turned, Instances of
[ | which]w.chwhich

which you have met with [ſince | since]ſincesince you have been [embark'd | embarked]embark'dembarked in this
glorious undertaking, which are as [ſo | so]ſoso many encouragements for
you [ſtill | still]ſtillstill to go on trusting alone in the [ſtrength | strength]ſtrengthstrength of the Lord. [Thro | Through]ThroThrough
the great [goodneſs | goodness]goodneſsgoodness of God we and all your Friends that I now can
recollect here are well and many did they know I was writing
[wou'd | would]wou'dwould beg to be [remember'd | remembered]remember'dremembered [t'ye | to you]t'yeto you. [ | Mrs.]M.rsMrs. Ludlow[pers0340.ocp], my Daughter[pers1561.ocp] [& | and]&and [ſelf | self]ſelfself
do heartily join in tendering our cordial Love and respects to you
and [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Occom[pers0030.ocp] and that we may be [ſharers | sharers]ſharerssharers in both your Prayers
is the desire of

Your [ſincere | sincere]ſinceresincere [Freind | Friend]FreindFriend [& | and]&and [Servt | Servant]ServtServant
Tho.s Ludlow[pers0341.ocp]
Bristol[place0020.ocp] 7th [Nov.r | November]Nov.rNovember 1766[1766-11-07]
Pray present our best Respects to [Meſs. | Messrs.]Meſs.Messrs. Kinsman[pers0311.ocp] and Gibbs[pers0220.ocp]
and their [Familys | Families]FamilysFamilies.

[left] From [mr | Mr.]mrMr.
[Thos | Thomas]ThosThomas Ludlow[pers0341.ocp]
[Nov. | November]Nov.November 7 1766[1766-11-07]
From [mr | Mr.]mrMr.
[Thos | Thomas]ThosThomas Ludlow[pers0341.ocp]
[Nov. | November]Nov.November 7 1766[1766-11-07]


A small port and market town in north Devon, southwest England, on the estuary of the Torridge river.


A riverport and large town in North Devon, England.

Crediton, England

A town in the region of Devon at the southwest tip of England, Crediton was a stop on Occom's fundraising tour of this area in 1766.


The capital and largest city of the United Kingdom, London is located in the southeastern region of England along the Thames River. The outpost that would become London originated as a military storage post for the Romans when they invaded Britain in the year 43. It soon developed as a trading center and financial hub for Roman Britain. During a revolt against the Romans in 61, London was burned to the ground; the rebuilt town appeared in Tacitus’s Annals as Londinium. With the decline of the Roman Empire in the 4th century, Londinium became a Saxon trading town. Following the Norman Conquest, London retained its central political and commercial importance. In the 14th century, under Edward II, Westminster became an administrative center and London became the capital of England. In the early 18th century, London was an important hub for evangelical Christianity and home to many influential people, like the charismatic Anglican minister, George Whitefield, who were sympathetic to Wheelock’s missionary endeavors. Occom arrived in London in February 1766 on his fundraising tour for Wheelock’s school and preached his first sermon at Whitefield’s Tabernacle. London would be Occom’s home base for the next two years, as he and Whitaker travelled throughout England and Scotland. Occom made many friends in London who would continue to support him after his break with Wheelock and the School. By the late 18th century, London had replaced Amsterdam as the center of world commerce, a role it would maintain until 1914.


Exton, Somerset is a village located in the southwest region of England. Somerset borders Bristol, Gloucester, Wiltshire, Dorset, and Devon counties. In a letter to Whitaker, Thomas Ludlow refers to the town of Exon, which is most likely Exton, Somerset, given its proximity to Bristol (where the letter was written). Furthermore, there is speculation that the Somerset dialect favored the pronunciation Exon over Exton. Exton was one intended stop on Occom and Whitaker's fundraising tour of England.


A city in the southwest of England. In the mid-18th century, Bristol became England's second biggest city due to its thriving importation of sugar cane, tobacco, rum, and cocoa, all products of the slave trade. Its affluence made it an important and lucrative stop for Occom and Whitaker on the fundraising trip to the west of England.

Ludlow, Thomas
Whitaker, Nathaniel

Nathaniel Whitaker was an outspoken Presbyterian minister with a long and wide-ranging career. Between his ordination in 1755 and his death in 1795, Whitaker ministered to five different congregations. His longest tenure was at Chelsea, CT (near Norwich), from 1761-1769, during which he joined Occom on his two-and-a-half-year fundraising tour of Britain. While in Chelsea, Whitaker was very involved in Wheelock's project. The two engaged in frequent correspondence, and Whitaker served on Eleazar Wheelock's Board of Correspondents in Connecticut, as well as on the Board of Trustees of Moor's Indian Charity School. At one time, he was Wheelock's presumed successor, but Dartmouth's Trustees demanded that Wheelock appoint another. Wheelock, in part due to his strongly-held belief that Native Americans were childlike and rash, was convinced that Occom needed an Anglo-American supervisor on his fundraising tour. After several candidates turned down the job, Wheelock selected Whitaker. He proved to be a poor choice; he was, by many accounts, a difficult man to get along with, and many of Wheelock’s British allies, including George Whitefield and the English Trust (the organization that took control of the money Occom raised in England) preferred to deal with Occom, although Whitaker insisted on handling the tour’s logistics. Furthermore, in Britain, Occom was the obvious star of the tour, and it was unclear to many why Whitaker asserted himself so prominently. Whitaker’s poor decisions seriously alienated the English Trust and increased their suspicion of Wheelock’s later dealings and treatment of Occom. He gave the English Trust the impression that they would have control over money raised in Scotland (which was in fact lodged with the parent organization of the SSPCK), and he was the executor of the “Eells Affair,” a plan initiated by the CT Board of the SSPCK to bring the money that Occom and Whitaker raised back to the colonies by investing it in trade goods and selling them at a profit (Eells was one of the merchants who was to help with the resale of goods). The English Trust learned about the plan by reading letters that Whitaker had given them permission to open in his absence, and were immediately shocked. The wording of certain letters made it appear that only a percentage of the profit from the resale of the goods would go towards Moor’s Indian Charity School, but beyond that detail, the English Trust was scandalized at the thought of money raised for charity being invested in trade. The English Trust blamed Whitaker entirely for these affairs, and issued specific instructions for Occom to notarize all documents requiring Whitaker’s signature. In short, they wanted Occom to supervise Whitaker, when Wheelock had envisioned the opposite relationship (both Occom and Whitaker seem to have ignored their instructions, preferring to have as little contact with one another as possible). In 1769, a year after his return to Connecticut in 1768, Whitaker found himself dismissed by his Chelsea congregation (likely because he had spent two and a half years away from them). He went on to serve several more congregations before his death in 1795. Whitaker was an outspoken Whig, and during the Revolution he published several pamphlets on his political opinions.

Occom, Samson

Samson Occom was a Mohegan leader and ordained Presbyterian minister. Occom began his public career in 1742, when he was chosen as a tribal counselor to Ben Uncas II. The following year, he sought out Eleazar Wheelock, a young Anglo-American minister in Lebanon, CT, in hopes of obtaining some education and becoming a teacher at Mohegan. Wheelock agreed to take on Occom as a student, and though Occom had anticipated staying for a few weeks or months, he remained with Wheelock for four years. Occom’s academic success inspired Wheelock to open Moor’s Indian Charity School in 1754, a project which gave him the financial and political capital to establish Dartmouth College in 1769. After his time with Wheelock, Occom embarked on a 12-year mission to the Montauk of Long Island (1749-1761). He married a Montauk woman, Mary Fowler, and served as both teacher and missionary to the Montauk and nearby Shinnecock, although he was grievously underpaid for his services. Occom conducted two brief missions to the Oneida in 1761 and 1762 before embarking on one of the defining journeys of his career: a fundraising tour of Great Britain that lasted from 1765 to 1768. During this journey, undertaken on behalf of Moor’s Indian Charity School, Occom raised £12,000 (an enormous and unanticpated amount that translates roughly to more than two-million dollars), and won wide acclaim for his preaching and comportment. Upon his return to Mohegan in 1768, Occom discovered that Wheelock had failed to adequately care for his family while he was gone. Additionally, despite the vast sums of money that he had raised, Occom found himself unemployed. Wheelock tried to find Occom a missionary position, but Occom was in poor health and disinclined to leave his family again after seeing the treatment with which they had met while he was in Britain. Occom and Wheelock’s relationship continued to sour as it became apparent to Occom that the money he had labored to raise would be going towards infrastructure at Dartmouth College, Wheelock’s new project, rather than the education of Native Americans. After the dissolution of his relationship with Wheelock, Occom became increasingly focused on the needs of the Mohegan community and increasingly vocal in criticizing Anglo-Americans’ un-Christian treatment of Native Americans. In September of 1772, he delivered his famous “Sermon on the Execution of Moses Paul,” which took Anglo-American spiritual hypocrisy as one of its major themes, and which went into four printings before the end of the year. In 1773, Occom became further disillusioned when the Mason Land Case was decided in favor of the Colony of Connecticut. The details of the Mason Case are complicated, but to summarize: the Colony of Connecticut had gained control of Mohegan land early in the 18th century under very suspect circumstances, and successfully fended off the Mohegan’s 70-year-long legal challenge. The conclusion of the case came as a blow to the Mohegans, and further convinced Occom of Anglo-American corruption. Along with David Fowler (Montauk Tribe), Occom's brother-in-law, and Joseph Johnson (Mohegan), Occom's son-in-law, Occom helped found Brothertown, an Indian tribe formed from the Christian Mohegans, Pequots, Narragansetts, Montauks, Tunxis, and Niantics. They eventually settled in Oneida country in upstate New York. Occom moved there with his family in 1789, spending the remaining years of his life serving as a minster to the Brothertown, Stockbridge, and Mohegan Indians. Harried by corrupt land agents, the Brothertown and Stockbridge groups relocated to the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago, though Occom died in 1792 before he could remove himself and his family there. Occom's writings and legacy have made him one of the best known and most eminent Native Americans of the 18th century and beyond.

Fundraising Tour of Great Britain
After many months of planning and shifting personnel, Occom, accompanied by the minister Nathaniel Whitaker, sets sail in December 1765 for a two-and-a-half year tour of England and Scotland in order to solicit contributions to Wheelock’s Indian Charity School and missionary efforts. Introduced to aristocrats and prominent clergy by the minister George Whitefield, Occom preaches many sermons, travels widely, and collects a large sum of money.
Occom’s inoculation
On March 11, 1766, during their tour of London, Nathaniel Whitaker inoculates Occom against smallpox, a controversial practice that involves inserting scabs into an incision, causing a mild case of the disease, which produces immunity to it.
Document Summary

People identified in this document:

id Text in document Role in header Authorized Name
pers0037.ocp Nath: Nathaniel Whitaker recipient Whitaker, Nathaniel
pers0030.ocp M. r Mr. Occom mentioned Occom, Samson
pers0340.ocp M. rs Mrs. Ludlow mentioned Ludlow
pers1561.ocp my Daughter mentioned Ludlow
pers0341.ocp Tho. s Ludlow writer Ludlow, Thomas
pers0311.ocp Kinsman mentioned Kinsman
pers0220.ocp Gibbs mentioned Gibbs
pers0341.ocp Tho s Thomas Ludlow writer Ludlow, Thomas

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0011.ocp Bideford Bideford
place0007.ocp Barnstaple Barnstaple
place0053.ocp Crediton Crediton, England
place0071.ocp Exeter Exeter
place0233.ocp Topsham Topsham
place0128.ocp London London
place0072.ocp Exon Exton
place0020.ocp Bristol Bristol

This document does not contain any tagged organizations.

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1766-11-07 7th Nov.rNovember 1766
1766-11-07 Nov.November 7 1766

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
modernization eſteemed esteemed
modernization M.r Mr.
modernization ſince Since
modernization laſt last
modernization ſucceſs success
modernization ſome some
modernization ſee see
modernization ſhould should
modernization aſsure assure
modernization ſo so
modernization ſtill still
modernization ſtand stand
modernization ſupport support
modernization ſtronger stronger
modernization ſince since
modernization ſtrength strength
variation Thro Through
modernization goodneſs goodness
modernization Mrs.
modernization ſelf self
modernization ſharers sharers
modernization ſincere sincere
variation Freind Friend
modernization Meſs. Messrs.
variation Familys Families
modernization mr Mr.

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
Nath: Nathaniel
fix'd fixed
wou'd would
remov'd removed which
embark'd embarked
remember'd remembered
t'ye to you
& and
Servt Servant
Nov.r November
Thos Thomas
Nov. November

This document's header does not contain any mixed case attribute values.

Summary of errors found in this document:

Number of dates with invalid 'when' attributes: 0
Number of nested "hi" tags: (consider merging the @rend attributes, or using other tags) 0
Number of tags with invalid 'rend' attributes: 0 (out of 13)
Number of people/places/organizations with unknown keys: 0 (out of 18)
Number of "add" tags with unknown 'place' attributes: 0 (out of 1)
Mixed case attribute values in header (potential error): 0 (out of 111)
HomeThomas Ludlow, letter, to Nathaniel Whitaker, 1766 November 7
 Text Only
 Text & Inline Image
 Text & Image Viewer
 Image Viewer Only