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Allyn Mather, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1767 July 4

ms-number: 767404

[note (type: abstract): Mather requests to leave school and stay with his parents while he recovers his health.][note (type: handwriting): Handwriting is small and wanders somewhat, but it is largely clear and legible.][note (type: paper): Large sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good condition, with light staining, creasing and wear.][note (type: ink): Brown-black.]

[Rev.d | Rev.]Rev.dRev. [& | and]&and [Hono.ur | Honour]Hono.urHonour Sir/
The Paternal care [& | and]&and love you have
[exerciſed | exercised]exerciſedexercised [to wards | towards]to wardstowards me, incite me to [aſk | ask]aſkask your
advice in this affair (viz) whether or [no | not]nonot it
would not conduce much to my health, [& | and]&and the
advantage of [above] [ye | the]yethe [ye | the]yethe School[org0098.ocp], to go Home [& | and]&and live with
my Parents, [whil | while]whilwhile I have got a better state of health.
The advantages I give of my going home
are [theſe | these]theſethese. — If I tarry here, [& | and]&and continue to be—
weakly I [ſhall | shall]ſhallshall [above] notnot [anſwer | answer]anſweranswer [ye | the]yethe [deſign | design]deſigndesign I came upon,
[& | and]&and therefore you will be [diſappointed | disappointed]diſappointeddisappointed [& | and]&and the expence
you have been at [loſt | lost]loſtlost, but if I go Home, future ex‐
pence will be pr[above] eevented, [& | and]&and [Chriſt | Christ]ChriſtChrist money saved.—
if I tarry I can not [ſtudy | study]ſtudystudy for advantage, while
this [weakneſs | weakness]weakneſsweakness remains, for I find by applying [heard | hard]heardhard
it [increaſes | increases]increaſesincreases, — so upon that account it will be as
well for me to be at home a here.— Another
thing is, if I continue to be weakly, [& | and]&and tarry here
I [ſhall | shall]ſhallshall be a [diſturbance | disturbance]diſturbancedisturbance to [som | some]somsome of [above] thethe Scholars of
the School[org0098.ocp].— As often as they go out to work
if I am not with them, they are very snuffy
[& | and]&and speak out in [som | some]somsome such words as [theſe | these]theſethese

Mather[pers0361.ocp] is a good for nothing [above] lazylazy Fellow, [& | and]&and his
[sickneſs | sickness]sickneſssickness is sent upon him for a Judgment
[becaus | because]becausbecause he would not work, an Indian
makes no allowance for a sick man, if [above] hehe can't
do the work of a [ſtrong | strong]ſtrongstrong [illegible][harty | hearty]hartyhearty Man, he is [eſteemed | esteemed]eſteemedesteemed
good for nothing in [there | their]theretheir opinion — [Revd | Rev.]RevdRev. [ſir | sir]ſirsir
would it not be better then [above] for mefor me to go Home, [& | and]&and
live with my Parents [till | 'til]till'til I have got better
in health — with [submition | submission]submitionsubmission I [live | leave]liveleave it with[illegible]
you to do that which you think is [beſt | best]beſtbest
[ading | adding]adingadding no more then this, I am with dutiful
[reſpect | respect]reſpectrespect

Your Dutiful Pupil
[& | and]&and [Moſt | most]Moſtmost obedient [& | and]&and humble [Ser.v | servant]Ser.vservant

Allyn Mather[pers0361.ocp]
[note (type: editorial): Blank page.]
From Allyn [Marther | Mather]MartherMather[pers0361.ocp]
July [ | 4th]4.th4th 1767[1767-07-04]
The [Rev.d | Rev.]Rev.dRev. [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. Wheelock[pers0036.ocp]
[N. | New]N.New England[place0158.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.

New England
Mather, Allyn

Allyn Mather was an Anglo-American charity scholar at Moor’s Indian Charity School who had a brief career as a minister before succumbing to illness. Mather arrived at Moor’s in 1766 and entered Yale in 1767. He had a strong distaste for the college: hazing bothered him, and he found the atmosphere singularly unreligious (his dislike was not fleeting: in 1778, he wrote to the Connecticut Courant to criticize the college course of study). Mather volunteered for missions in 1768. He accompanied Ralph Wheelock on his ill-fated third trek to Oneida territory, where Ralph acted intemperately at the tribal council at Onaquaga. Mather then attended Fort Stanwix with Rev. Ebenezer Cleaveland to try to patch up the damage done to Eleazar Wheelock’s agenda by Jacob Johnson. After his adventures, Mather returned to Yale, where he obtained his degree in 1771. However, he did not return to the missionary business: instead, in 1772, he became the pastor of Fair Haven Church, or Fourth Presbyterian, in New Haven, CT. It was a conservative Old Light (or more properly, Old Side) church, largely populated by parishioners who had defected from Jonathan Edwards’ congregation. It is unclear how strongly Mather himself identified with Old Side beliefs; he seems to have described the church to Wheelock as “despised” (773208), but he may have used strong language because he was trying to get out of paying his debt as a defunct charity scholar. Wheelock never seems to have collected from him, nor did he pursue Mather as vigorously as he pursued some other students. In 1779, Mather began having serious health issues, which forced him to travel south regularly. He died in 1784 on one such trip, in Savannah, Georgia.

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
pers0361.ocp Mather writer Mather, Allyn
pers0361.ocp Allyn Mather writer Mather, Allyn
pers0361.ocp Allyn Marther Mather writer Mather, Allyn
pers0036.ocp Wheelock recipient Wheelock, Eleazar

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0122.ocp Lebanon Lebanon
place0158.ocp N. New England New England

Organizations identified in this document:

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

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1767-07-04 July 4th4th 1767
1767-07-04 July 4.th4th 1767

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
modernization 4th 4th
modernization Rev.d Rev.
modernization exerciſed exercised
variation to wards towards
modernization aſk ask
variation no not
modernization ye the
variation whil while
modernization theſe these
modernization ſhall shall
modernization anſwer answer
modernization deſign design
modernization diſappointed disappointed
modernization loſt lost
modernization Chriſt Christ
modernization ſtudy study
modernization weakneſs weakness
variation heard hard
modernization increaſes increases
modernization diſturbance disturbance
variation som some
modernization sickneſs sickness
variation becaus because
modernization ſtrong strong
variation harty hearty
modernization eſteemed esteemed
modernization Revd Rev.
modernization ſir sir
variation till 'til
variation submition submission
modernization beſt best
variation ading adding
modernization reſpect respect
modernization Moſt most
variation Marther Mather
modernization 4th
modernization Mr Mr.

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
& and
Hono.ur Honour
Ser.v servant
N. New

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 12)
Number of people/places/organizations with unknown keys: 0 (out of 8)
Number of "add" tags with unknown 'place' attributes: 0 (out of 7)
Mixed case attribute values in header (potential error): 0 (out of 89)
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