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Levi Frisbie, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1767 May 3

ms-number: 767303

[note (type: abstract): Frisbie writes to express gratitude for Wheelock's favors, his wish to do honor to the school, and his hopes to become useful as a missionary despite lacking "the grace of God" in his heart.][note (type: handwriting): Handwriting is largely clear and legible. The trailer is in an unknown hand.][note (type: paper): Large sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good condition, with light-to-moderate creasing and wear.][note (type: ink): Brown-black.]

[Rev.d | Rev.]Rev.dRev. Sir
Agreeable to your Advice, and
Desire, I attempt to [addreſs | address]addreſsaddress you with a few broken Li­
=nes. I am [sensable | sensible]sensablesensible I am unable to render that Respect
(either with my Tongue or Pen) which is justly due to you;
but yet I look upon myself bound in point of Gratitude
as well as on other Accounts to testify my [Senſe | sense]Senſesense of your
[Kindneſs | kindness]Kindneſskindness to me by every token of Respect, and act of
Obedience that I am capable of. and as I trust you
will put me to nothing but what is just so I
[illegible]shall endeavour to perform your Will with the ut­
most Freedom and Dexterity. and since you have
been [pleas:d | pleased]pleas:dpleased to [illegible][guess (emmav): Re]Re receive me into the School[org0098.ocp],
notwithstanding I am utterly [underserving | undeserving]underservingundeserving of
such a Favour, I desire to return you the most
grateful Thanks, as all the [Acknoledgment | acknowledgement]Acknoledgmentacknowledgement I
am capable of making you at present for such a
[Kindneſs | kindness]Kindneſskindness. and God grant I may so conduct my­
self at all times and under all Circumstances
that I may be an Honour to the School[org0098.ocp], to Religion
and to you my e great Benefactor. [Concious | Conscious]Concious Conscious of my
own Impotency I desire you would be mindful
of me in your ardent Requests to Heaven, that
God would [Aboundantly | abundantly]Aboundantlyabundantly replenish me with his
grace, that I may be made the Instrument in his
Hand, of converting Multitudes of the Poor benighted
Savages to Himself; that I may be [endowd | endowed]endowdendowed with

[note (type: editorial): Blank page.] all that Courage, Fortitude, and Love, to God and the
Souls of the poor Savages as may be [neceſsary | necessary]neceſsarynecessary
in order to my being [Servisable | serviceable]Servisableserviceable in [carring | carrying]carringcarrying on
such and Important Work. One great [Barr | bar]Barrbar in the
way to my b[above] eecoming [Servisable | serviceable]Servisableserviceable in this Affair (and
perhaps this is enough without any other) is that
I have the greatest Reason to fear that I have not
the Grace of God in my Heart; without which I Shall
not only be miserable to all Eternity, but also be
unable to do any thing in this grand and interesting
Affair; but it appears to me if I can have the
[Aſsistance | assistance]Aſsistanceassistance of God if I may have his [Preſense | presence]Preſensepresence,
if I may be [enable.d | enabled]enable.d enabled to trust in him in every
[Streight | strait]Streightstrait and under every Difficulty, I can travel
from one End of the [Wilderneſs | wilderness]Wilderneſswilderness to the Other spend my
Life my Strength and my All in his Service, can
encounter the greatest Difficulties, and undergo the
greatest Hardships, that may attend me in
the Savage Land: but notwithstanding I am
in Some measure Sensible that without the
Assistance of God I Shall be wholly unequal
to the task; yet O! how [unconcernd | unconcerned]unconcerndunconcerned am I about
it, how hard is my Heart how Stubborn my
Will!— — but le[above] aast I be tedious [above] eveneven to a Crime
I [illegible] conclude with Subscribing myself Sir
[Honourd | Honoured]HonourdHonoured Sir

your most unworthy yet most
[oblig.d | obliged]oblig.dobliged [Serv.t | servant]Serv.tservant
Levi Frisbie[pers0209.ocp]
[illegible][guess (emmav): I]I
[illegible][guess (emmav): I]I [Rev,d | Rev.]Rev,dRev. [M:r | Mr.]M:rMr. [Whelock | Wheelock]WhelockWheelock [pers0036.ocp]

From Levi Frisbie[pers0209.ocp]
May [3.d | 3rd.]3.d3rd. 1767[1767-05-03]

To the [Rev:d | Rev.]Rev:dRev.
[M:r | Mr.]M:rMr. Eleazer Wheelock[pers0036.ocp]
Moor’s Indian Charity School
Moor’s Indian Charity School was a grammar school for Native Americans that Eleazar Wheelock opened in North Lebanon, Connecticut in 1754. The school was named for Colonel Joshua Moor, also spelled More, who donated the land and school building. Moor’s was essentially an expansion of the grammar school that Wheelock opened in 1743 to support himself during the fallout from the First Great Awakening, when Wheelock, who'd participated in itinerant ministry during the Awakening, had his salary confiscated by the colony of Connecticut. In December of that year, Samson Occom asked Wheelock to teach him as well. Wheelock's work with Occom was so successful that Wheelock decided to replicate the experiment with other Native American boys. He accepted his first Indian students in 1754, and in 1761 began taking female students as well. Wheelock believed that in time, his school would become just one part of a larger missionary enterprise. He planned to send his Anglo American and Native American students to various tribes as missionaries and schoolmasters, with explicit instructions to pick out the best students and send them back to Moor’s to continue the cycle. His ultimate goal was to turn his school into a model Christian Indian town that would include farms, a college, and vocational training. However, Wheelock’s grand design did not survive the decade. Wheelock lost the vast majority of his Native American students; he fought with many of the best, including Samson Occom, Joseph Johnson, David Fowler, and Hezekiah Calvin, and other former and current students accused him of subjecting Native Americans to disproportionate amounts of manual labor. In 1769, perhaps due to concerns about corporal punishment, the Oneida withdrew all their children from Moor’s. When Wheelock relocated to Hanover in 1769, only two Native American students came with him, and it became clear that Wheelock’s focus was on Dartmouth and that Dartmouth was for white students. After Wheelock’s death in 1779, Moor’s Indian Charity School receded further into the background as John Wheelock, his father’s reluctant successor, stopped taking Indian students. Some Native American students were enrolled in Moor’s until 1850, when the school unofficially closed.

Lebanon is a town located in the state of Connecticut southwest of the town of Hartford. The land that became Lebanon was inhabited at least 10,000 years ago based on the archeological record. By the 1600s, the land was permanently inhabited by the Mohegan Indians, who used the area primarily for hunting. Lebanon was officially formed in 1700 when English settlers consolidated a number of land tracts, including several land grants by the Connecticut General Assembly and lands purchased from the Mohegans. However, these purchases were controversial. In 1659, the Mohegans entrusted their reserve land to Major John Mason, and in the following year, Mason transferred this land to the Connecticut colonial government with the understanding that there would be enough land left for the Mohegans to farm. The Mohegans claimed that they never authorized a transfer to the colonial government and only Mason’s heirs were entrusted with their land. In 1662, Connecticut, which included the Mohegan land that had been entrusted to the Masons, was incorporated by a royal charter. Based on this charter, the colony argued that the land was now the property of the government. In 1687, the colony began granting the Mohegan land to townships, and in 1704 the Masons petitioned the Crown on behalf of the Mohegans, claiming that such transfers of land to townships were illegal. Between the years of 1705 and 1773 legal disputes and controversies persisted, finally ending in a verdict by the Crown against the Mohegans. In 1755, Wheelock received property and housing in Lebanon that he would use as his house and school. While Lebanon was originally incorporated as a part of New London County in 1700, in 1724 it became a part of New Windham, before once again becoming a part of New London County in 1826. Lebanon was central to the American Revolution with half of its adult population fighting for the colonists and hundreds of meetings convened in the town for the revolutionary cause.

Frisbie, Levi

Levi Frisbie was a very intelligent and unreligious charity scholar. He came to Wheelock with substantial schooling already, and after a few months at Moor's, Wheelock sent him on to Yale. There, Frisbie excelled academically. However, he never wanted to be a missionary. He arrived at Moor's sometime during April of 1767, and by May 5, he was already writing Wheelock asking to be released from missionary obligations. While at Yale, this trend continued: Levi went so far as to confess to Wheelock that he was not even a church member. Although he was not passionate about Scripture, he was quite the classicist. Under the name Philo Musae, he would write Wheelock long chains of heroic couplets styled on epic about the Indian mission. In 1769, Levi went on his first mission (a short stint to the Oneidas). Shortly thereafter, Wheelock pulled Levi out of Yale to help make up Dartmouth's first class. Levi graduated in 1771, and was ordained with David McClure in May 1772. He and McClure set out on a mission on June 19, 1772, but Levi fell ill immediately and stayed at Fort Pitt. It is unclear whether he rejoined McClure on the mission. The two men returned to Hanover on October 2, 1773. Levi stayed involved with Wheelock and the Indian mission for a few years, but by 1776, he had assumed the pulpit at Ipswich, where he remained for the rest of his life. Levi's poetry appears at the end of Wheelock's 1771 Narrative, as well as in McClure and Parish's biography of Wheelock.

Wheelock, Eleazar

Eleazar Wheelock was a New Light Congregationalist minister who founded Dartmouth College. He was born into a very typical Congregationalist family, and began studying at Yale in 1729, where he fell in with the emerging New Light clique. The evangelical network that he built in college propelled him to fame as an itinerant minister during the First Great Awakening and gave him many of the contacts that he later drew on to support his charity school for Native Americans. Wheelock’s time as an itinerant minister indirectly brought about his charity school. When the Colony of Connecticut retroactively punished itinerant preaching in 1743, Wheelock was among those who lost his salary. Thus, in 1743, he began operating a grammar school to support himself. He was joined that December by Samson Occom, a Mohegan Indian, who sought out an education in hopes of becoming a teacher among his people. Occom’s academic success inspired Wheelock to train Native Americans as missionaries. To that end, he opened Moor’s Indian Charity School in 1754 (where he continued to train Anglo-American students who paid their own way as well as students who functionally indentured themselves to Wheelock as missionaries in exchange for an education). Between 1754 and 1769, when he relocated to New Hampshire, Wheelock trained approximately 60 male and female Native American students from nearby Algonquian tribes and from the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) of central New York. At the same time, he navigated the complicated politics of missionary societies by setting up his own board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, although he continued to feud with the Boston Board of the SSPCK and the London Commissioners in Boston (more colloquially called the New England Company). By the late 1760s, Wheelock had become disillusioned with the idea of Native American education. He was increasingly convinced that educating Native Americans was futile (several of his students had failed to conform to his confusing and contradictory standards), and, in late 1768, he lost his connection to the Haudenosaunee. With his inclination and ability to sponsor Native American missionaries largely depleted, Wheelock sought instead to fulfill his ultimate ambition of obtaining a charter and opening a college, which he did in 1769. To fund this new enterprise, Wheelock drew on the £12,000 that Samson Occom had raised for Moor’s Indian Charity School during a two-and-a-half year tour of Great Britain (1765 to 1768). Much of this money went towards clearing land and erecting buildings in New Hampshire for the Charity School’s relocation — infrastructure that also happened to benefit Dartmouth. Many of Wheelock’s contemporaries were outraged by what they saw as misuse of the money, as it was clear that Dartmouth College was not intended for Indians and that Moor’s had become a side project. Although Wheelock tried to maintain at least some commitment to Native American education by recruiting students from Canadian communities, the move did a great deal of damage to his public image. The last decade of Wheelock’s life was not easy. In addition to the problems of trying to set up a college far away from any Anglo-American urban center, Wheelock experienced the loss of relationships with two of his most famous and successful students, Samson Occom and Samuel Kirkland (an Anglo-American protégé). He also went into debt for Dartmouth College, especially after the fund raised in Britain was exhausted.

Document Summary

People identified in this document:

id Text in document Role in header Authorized Name
pers0209.ocp Levi Frisbie writer Frisbie, Levi
pers0036.ocp M: r Mr. Whelock Wheelock recipient Wheelock, Eleazar
pers0036.ocp Eleazer Wheelock recipient Wheelock, Eleazar

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0122.ocp Lebanon Lebanon

Organizations identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
org0098.ocp the School Moor’s Indian Charity School
org0098.ocp the School Moor’s Indian Charity School

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1767-05-03 May 3d3d AD 1767
1767-05-03 May 3.d3rd. 1767

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
modernization 3d 3d
modernization Rev.d Rev.
modernization addreſs address
variation sensable sensible
modernization Senſe sense
modernization Kindneſs kindness
variation underserving undeserving
variation Acknoledgment acknowledgement
variation Concious Conscious
variation Aboundantly abundantly
modernization neceſsary necessary
variation Servisable serviceable
variation carring carrying
variation Barr bar
modernization Aſsistance assistance
modernization Preſense presence
variation Streight strait
modernization Wilderneſs wilderness
variation unconcernd unconcerned
modernization Rev,d Rev.
modernization M:r Mr.
variation Whelock Wheelock
modernization 3.d 3rd.
modernization Rev:d Rev.

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
pleas:d pleased
endowd endowed
enable.d enabled
Honourd Honoured
oblig.d obliged
Serv.t servant

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 15)
Number of people/places/organizations with unknown keys: 0 (out of 8)
Number of "add" tags with unknown 'place' attributes: 0 (out of 4)
Mixed case attribute values in header (potential error): 0 (out of 94)
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