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Allyn Mather, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1768 January 18

ms-number: 768118.1

[note (type: abstract): Mather writes to Wheelock that he is doing well in his studies and is ready to take a tour among the Indians if Wheelock wishes.][note (type: handwriting): Handwriting is small, yet very clear and legible.][note (type: paper): Small square sheet is in good condition, with moderate staining and creasing, and large tears near the site of the seal.][note (type: ink): Black][note (type: noteworthy): The trailer is in a different hand and spells the last name as “Marther”.]
[Reverad | Reverend]ReveradReverend [& | and]&and Honoured Sir/
Since my [laſt | last]laſtlast to the Doctor, through
a kind [& | and]&and Indulgent providence, I have [enjoied | enjoyed]enjoiedenjoyed a
good state of health, better than I have for this
long time, I am [intirely | entirely]intirelyentirely free from [thoſe | those]thoſethose [diſcou­
ragements | discou
which I have laboured under in that
[reſpect | respect]reſpectrespect. I am able to follow my studies the little
time that is [alloted | allotted]allotedallotted me with a great deal of
[eaſe | ease]eaſeease [& | and]&and delight, and find it no [heard | hard]heardhard thing
to keep way with my [Claſs | class]Claſsclass. If the Doctor
thinks [beſt | best]beſtbest in the Spring, I [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould take a tour
among [above] thethe Indians in [ordor | order]ordororder to [git | get]gitget [there | their]theretheir [languge | language]langugelanguage, [& | and]&and
[acqaintance | acquaintance]acqaintanceacquaintance with [there | their]theretheir [cuſtoms | customs]cuſtomscustoms, it would be a­
[peaſure | pleasure]peaſurepleasure to me embrace the same. which [know­
ledg | know
or [acqaintance | acquaintance]acqaintanceacquaintance [parhaps | perhaps]parhapsperhaps the Doctor may
Judge will be more for my advantage [& | and]&and the [Deſign | design]Deſigndesign
than what I am able to [git | get]gitget while a [Freſhman | freshman]Freſhmanfreshman at
College. I [C[above] lloſe | close]C[above] lloſeclose by [aſking | asking]aſkingasking of the Doctor continuation of
the Doctors p[above] rrayers for me at the Throne of
grace, that I might be fi[above] llled with the love
of God, and love to the Souls of Men––
and so be made [Servaſable | serviceable]Servaſableserviceable in my Day [& | and]&and
Generation in [above] aa way which will [moſt | most]moſtmost redound
to Gods glory. And with humble Duty
I [subſcribe | subscribe]subſcribesubscribe [my self | myself]my selfmyself.
Your Dutiful Pupil
[& | and]&and [moſt | most]moſtmost obedient humble [Servent | servant]Serventservant
Allyn Mather[pers0361.ocp]
[bottom] From Allyn Marther[pers0361.ocp]
[Jany | January]JanyJanuary 18th 1768[1768-01-18]
From Allyn Marther[pers0361.ocp]
[Jany | January]JanyJanuary 18th 1768[1768-01-18]

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 Allyn Mather writer Mather, Allyn
pers0361.ocp Allyn Marther writer Mather, Allyn

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0049.ocp Conneticut Connecticut Hall Connecticut-Hall

This document does not contain any tagged organizations.

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Standard Form Text
1768-01-18 Ja.nJanuary 18. 1768
1768-01-18 JanyJanuary 18th 1768

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
variation Conneticut Connecticut
variation Reverad Reverend
modernization laſt last
variation enjoied enjoyed
variation intirely entirely
modernization thoſe those
modernization diſcou­
modernization reſpect respect
variation alloted allotted
modernization eaſe ease
variation heard hard
modernization Claſs class
modernization beſt best
modernization ſhould should
variation ordor order
variation git get
variation there their
variation languge language
variation acqaintance acquaintance
modernization cuſtoms customs
variation peaſure pleasure
variation know­
variation parhaps perhaps
modernization Deſign design
modernization Freſhman freshman
modernization C[above] lloſe close
modernization aſking asking
variation Servaſable serviceable
modernization moſt most
modernization subſcribe subscribe
variation my self myself
variation Servent servant

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
Ja.n January
& and
Jany January

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 7)
Number of people/places/organizations with unknown keys: 0 (out of 3)
Number of "add" tags with unknown 'place' attributes: 0 (out of 6)
Mixed case attribute values in header (potential error): 0 (out of 81)
HomeAllyn Mather, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1768 January 18
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