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]
Robert Cottle, letter, to Nathaniel Whitaker, 1766 December 9

ms-number: 766659

[note (type: abstract): Cottle informs Whitaker of potential donors. There is also the text of a notice that Occom will preach the next Sabbath in Frog Lane.][note (type: handwriting): Cottle's hand is formal, stylized and largely clear and legible. The text of the notice is in Whitaker's hand, which is also mostly clear and legible.][note (type: paper): Large sheet folded in half to make four pages is in poor condition, with heavy staining, creasing and wear.][note (type: ink): The letter is written in brown ink that has faded significantly. The notice is in strong brown-black ink.][note (type: signature): The signature is abbreviated.][note (type: layout): The first page of the letter is on one recto, but the second page is on two verso, not one verso. Whitaker has written the notice in different orientations.]

events: Fundraising Tour of Great Britain


Most [Rev..d | Rev.]Rev..dRev. [& | and]&and [Dr | Dear]DrDear [ſir | Dir]ſirDir
[Thr'o | through]Thr'othrough mercy I [gote | got]gotegot [ſafe | safe]ſafesafe home and found my dearest
and family all well [ſince | since]ſincesince I left you I have [recolected | recollected]recolectedrecollected
a family Near Salisbury[place0257.ocp] one [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Walters[pers1754.ocp] [ſon | son]ſonson [& | and]&and
Daughter and I [beleve | believe]belevebelieve if you wait upon them they
will give you [ſomthing | something]ſomthingsomething [handsom | handsome]handsomhandsome towards [ye | the]yethe Charity
they are near relations of of [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. Steel[pers0517.ocp] of Broughton[place0249.ocp]
In [Hamſhire | Hampshire]HamſhireHampshire[place0253.ocp] which I beg you will by no means
neglect calling upon the old Gentleman [ſon | son]ſonson [& | and]&and Daughter
Query if it would not be worth your while to call at —
Andover[place0624.ocp] [were | where]werewhere a part of the family do live he having
a Daughter married there in considerable Circumstances
I am [perswaded | persuaded]perswadedpersuaded [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Steel[pers0517.ocp] and family will [illegible]do all they
can to promote this great Charity please to [preſent | present]preſentpresent
my best respects to the whole family —
I do most [Sincearely | sincerely]Sincearelysincerely wish you [ſuc[above] cceſs | success]ſuc[above] cceſssuccess in this so great
an Undertaking my heart is with you and was I a
person of fortune great part [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould be devoted to
the [Converſion | conversation]Converſionconversation [Christanising | christianizing]Christanisingchristianizing and Instructing the poor
Indians May the Lord be with you
And his presence go before you and [bleſs | bless]bleſsbless you and this
your great and laudable Undertaking but I cannot take
my leave of you as I hope you will [& | and]&and [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Occom[pers0030.ocp] be with us
on Lords Day but this I must leave to your generosity
and as you [ſhall | shall]ſhallshall [ſee | see]ſeesee the path of duty with only [ſaying | saying]ſayingsaying
it would give your friends in general great pleasure and one in
particular but for fear of being tedious must conclude
with my respects to [D.r | Dr.]D.rDr. [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Occom[pers0030.ocp] and Accept the [ſame | same]ſamesame
from [D.r | Dr.]D.rDr. [ſir | Sir]ſirSir
Your [Sincear | sincere]Sincearsincere friend [& | and]&and I Somtimes humbly
hope [Bro | brother]Brobrother in our Common Lord
[Robt | Robert]RobtRobert Cottle[pers0141.ocp]
please to give me a line
by the first [oppertunity | opportunity]oppertunityopportunity after you have
been at Broughton[place0249.ocp] [& | and]&and [wt | with]wtwith [ſucceſs | success]ſucceſssuccess also please
to [rembmbr | remember]rembmbrremember me in your prayers — My wife[pers1773.ocp] gives her love to you both
[adiew | adieu]adiewadieu
The [Revd | Rev.]RevdRev. [m.r | Mr.]m.rMr. Occom[pers0030.ocp]
will preach next Sabbath
morning at half after
ten o'Clock at the [Revd | Rev.]RevdRev.
[mr | Mr.]mrMr. Frank[pers1772.ocp]
s in Frog Lane[place0258.ocp]
And as it is imagined
by Some that this is a party
[deſign | design]deſigndesign Set on foot by the
[Methodiſts | Methodists]MethodiſtsMethodists[org0111.ocp] [&c | etc.]&cetc. This is there‐
fore to [aſſure | assure]aſſureassure the [publick | public]publickpublic
that this noble [deſign | design]deſigndesign was
Set on foot [above] [illegible][guess (h-dawnd): [inſtitute | institute]inſtituteinstitute][inſtitute | institute]inſtituteinstitute[illegible][guess (h-dawnd): [inſtitute | institute]inſtituteinstitute][inſtitute | institute]inſtituteinstitute [& | and]&and carried on by
Gentlemen who are of no
Such party, as is evident by
the Reccommenders of all deno‐
minations above —
The [Revd | Rev.]RevdRev. [mr | Mr.]mrMr. Occom[pers0030.ocp], an Indian
of North America[place0170.ocp], who is come
to England[place0068.ocp] in order to promote the
Charity reccommended above will
preach at the [Rev.d | Rev.]Rev.dRev. [mr | Mr.]mrMr. Frank[pers1772.ocp]'s in
Frog Lane[place0258.ocp] next [Sab: | Sabbath]Sab:Sabbath at half
after 10.' O'Clock in the morning
for the benefit of Said Charity.
And as Some have imagined that this
Charity is a party [deſign, | design]deſign,design [& | and]&and Set on foot
by the [Methodiſts | Methodists]MethodiſtsMethodists[org0111.ocp]: This is to [aſſure | assure]aſſureassure all
[perſons | persons]perſonspersons that this noble [inſtitution | institution]inſtitutioninstitution was
begun [& | and]&and is carried on without any [illegible] [illegible][guess (h-dawnd): view]view
to any party; but with the Sole [above] aa view
only to [Chriſtianize | Christianize]ChriſtianizeChristianize [& | and]&and Civilize the
[miſerable | miserable]miſerablemiserable Indians, [& | and]&and without any
[deſign | design]deſigndesign to promote any party what‐
ever; as is evident from the above
recommendations in which [Chriſ‐
tians | Chris‐
of all denominations have
united, And we Shall be heartily
Sorry if any party Should [ariſe | arise]ariſearise to
[obſtruct | obstruct]obſtructobstruct the [progreſs | progress]progreſsprogress of So pious
[& | and]&and Catholic a [deſign | design]deſigndesign.
[Rev.d | Rev.]Rev.dRev. [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Whittaker[pers0037.ocp]
at Bath[place0006.ocp]
[⅌ | per]per the favour of [m.r | Mr.]m.rMr. Ludlow[pers0341.ocp]
From [mr | Mr.]mrMr.
[illegible][guess (h-dawnd): [Cotle | Cottle]CotleCottle][Cotle | Cottle]CotleCottle[pers0141.ocp]
[illegible] [reſpecting | respecting]reſpectingrespecting
[mr | Mr.]mrMr. Steel[pers0517.ocp] of [Broton | Broughton]BrotonBroughton[place0249.ocp]
Methodism is an 18th-century revivalist movement founded by John Wesley that sought to reform the Church of England from within, but separated in 1795 to form a vigorous and influential Protestant sect. The movement was led by Wesley and his brother Charles, who were joined for a time by the English evangelist George Whitefield, all of whom had connections to the North American colony of Georgia. Their open air, extemporaneous preaching of personal, experiential redemption and the necessity of a new birth attracted many people who felt neglected by the Anglican Church in England and by the Congregational and Presbyterian churches in New England. As a New Light minister, Wheelock supported the revivalist movement, but many in the upper eschelons of society, whom Wheelock wanted to interest in his "great design" of Indian conversion, regarded it and Methodism in particular as partisan and overly radical. Some Native evangelists were drawn to Methodism in the 18th-century, though Occom remained a staunch Presbyterian all his life. In particular, William Apess (1798-?), a mixed blood Pequot, turned to Methodism during the Second Great Awakening (1800-1830s), and became an ordained Methodism minister and preacher, a prolific writer, and the leader of the Mashpee Indian revolt of 1833, which represented a noteworthy push for Indian self-governance.

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.


Hampshire is a county located on the southern coast of England and is one of the larger counties in the country. The name Hampshire evolved from Hamtunscir—the combination of Hantum, which refers to Southampton, and scir, meaning district or zone. The name is often abbreviated to Hants. Throughout Hampshire’s history, agriculture has been a major component of its economy. In a 1766 letter, Robert Cottle informs Nathaniel Whitaker that the Steel family, which resides in Hampshire, and their relations would most likely give a good deal of money to Whitaker and Occom for the Indian Charity School. Cottle suggests that Whitaker and Occom make a point of calling on these families.


Andover is a town on the River Anton in Hampshire County on England’s southern coast. Its name comes from the Celtic “on dubr,” meaning ash tree water. The town grew in the 1400s as it developed wool, iron, and leather industries and benefited from its position on a main road that connected eastern and western England. In a 1766 letter, Robert Cottle advises Nathaniel Whitaker to take Occom to visit the Steele family of Andover, at that time a small market town, as he thinks they would likely donate a large sum of money to the Indian Charity School. Immigrants from England who settled Andover, MA, named their new home for the Hampshire town they left behind.

Frog Lane

Frog Lane is a street located in the city of Bristol, England. Like other neighborhoods in this area, it was the site of surface coal workings, bell pits and adits, as early as the 13th century, and throughout the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. Then, in 1853, a deep coal mine was sunk there called the Frog Lane Colliery that operated productively for a century; it was the last of the deep South Gloucestershire pits to be closed. Many miners lived in cottages in the area, who, in early generations, were uneducated and disenfranchised. During the revivals in the early to mid-18th century, their plight attracted the attention of John and Charles Wesley and George Whitefield, who preached to huge crowds nearby on Coalpit Heath in the open air. Given the revivalists’ influence in the area, it is not surprising that in 1766, on his fundraising tour, Occom was scheduled to preach at a church on Frog Lane to raise money for the Indian Charity School.

North America

A fashionable city in Somerset County in southwest England, 97 miles west of London.

Cottle, Robert
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.

Cottle, Sarah (née Simon)
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.

Ludlow, Thomas
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.
Document Summary

People identified in this document:

id Text in document Role in header Authorized Name
pers1754.ocp M. r Mr. Walters mentioned Walters
pers0517.ocp M r Mr. Steel mentioned Steele
pers0517.ocp M. r Mr. Steel mentioned Steele
pers0030.ocp M. r Mr. Occom mentioned Occom, Samson
pers0030.ocp D. r Dr. M. r Mr. Occom mentioned Occom, Samson
pers0141.ocp Rob t Robert Cottle writer Cottle, Robert
pers1773.ocp My wife mentioned Cottle, Sarah (née Simon)
pers0030.ocp The Rev d Rev. m. r Mr. Occom mentioned Occom, Samson
pers1772.ocp Rev d Rev. m r Mr. Frank mentioned Frank
pers0030.ocp The Rev d Rev. m r Mr. Occom mentioned Occom, Samson
pers1772.ocp Rev. d Rev. m r Mr. Frank mentioned Frank
pers0037.ocp Rev. d Rev. M. r Mr. Whittaker recipient Whitaker, Nathaniel
pers0341.ocp m. r Mr. Ludlow mentioned Ludlow, Thomas
pers0141.ocp m r Mr. Cotle Cottle writer Cottle, Robert
pers0517.ocp m r Mr. Steel mentioned Steele

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0020.ocp Bristol Bristol
place0257.ocp Salisbury Salisbury
place0249.ocp Broughton Broughten
place0253.ocp Hamſhire Hampshire Hampshire
place0624.ocp Andover Andover
place0258.ocp Frog Lane Frog Lane
place0170.ocp North America North America
place0068.ocp England England
place0006.ocp Bath Bath
place0249.ocp Broton Broughton Broughten

Organizations identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
org0111.ocp MethodiſtsMethodists Methodism

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1766-12-09 9 DecembrDecember 1766

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
modernization Rev..d Rev.
modernization ſir Dir
variation gote got
modernization ſafe safe
modernization ſince since
variation recolected recollected
modernization M.r Mr.
modernization ſon son
variation beleve believe
variation ſomthing something
variation handsom handsome
modernization ye the
modernization Mr Mr.
variation Hamſhire Hampshire
variation were where
variation perswaded persuaded
modernization preſent present
variation Sincearely sincerely
modernization ſuc[above] cceſs success
modernization ſhould should
modernization Converſion conversation
variation Christanising christianizing
modernization bleſs bless
modernization ſhall shall
modernization ſee see
modernization ſaying saying
modernization D.r Dr.
modernization ſame same
modernization ſir Sir
variation Sincear sincere
variation oppertunity opportunity
variation adiew adieu
modernization Revd Rev.
modernization m.r Mr.
modernization mr Mr.
modernization deſign design
modernization Methodiſts Methodists
modernization &c etc.
modernization aſſure assure
variation publick public
modernization inſtitute institute
modernization Rev.d Rev.
modernization deſign, design
modernization perſons persons
modernization inſtitution institution
modernization Chriſtianize Christianize
modernization miſerable miserable
modernization Chriſ‐
modernization ariſe arise
modernization obſtruct obstruct
modernization progreſs progress
variation Cotle Cottle
modernization reſpecting respecting
variation Broton Broughton

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
Decembr December
& and
Dr Dear
Thr'o through
Bro brother
Robt Robert
wt with
rembmbr remember
Sab: Sabbath

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 29)
Number of people/places/organizations with unknown keys: 0 (out of 29)
Number of "add" tags with unknown 'place' attributes: 0 (out of 3)
Mixed case attribute values in header (potential error): 0 (out of 117)
HomeRobert Cottle, letter, to Nathaniel Whitaker, 1766 December 9
 Text Only
 Text & Inline Image
 Text & Image Viewer
 Image Viewer Only