Joseph Johnson, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1768 December 28


[note (type: abstract): Johnson writes a long and melancholy letter confessing his sins and failures, and asking forgiveness.][note (type: handwriting): Handwriting is small and somewhat uneven, but mostly clear and legible. The trailer is in an unknown hand.][note (type: paper): There are two separate sheets of paper: a large sheet folded in half to make four pages, and a large single sheet. The former is in good condition, with light staining, creasing and wear. The latter is also in good condition, but with more wear along the creases and some preservation work.][note (type: ink): Black-brown ink is slightly faded in spots.]
[Revd | Rev.]RevdRev. and Ever honoured [Doct.r | Dr.]Doct.rDr.  
forgive me for my Repeated [preſumti ‐on | presumpti‐ ‐on]preſumti ‐onpresumpti‐ ‐on in Writing to you; But this once more give me leave to  acquaint you my Once kind Benefactor, the [Caſe | Case]CaſeCase I at [pre‐ ‐ſent | pres‐ ent]pre‐ ‐ſentpres‐ ent am in; But as I have So often been found [deceitfull | deceitful]deceitfulldeceitful,  I know not as you will have [patiance | patience]patiancepatience to Read over this  my pretended [Confeſsion | Confession]ConfeſsionConfession, as I [ſaid | said]ſaidsaid, Seeing I have [ſhewed | showed]ſhewedshowed  So much [Deciitfullneſs | Deceitfulness]DeciitfullneſsDeceitfulness in my [pretentions | pretensions]pretentionspretensions, [& | and]&and Undertak  ings, Since I have been Capable of being Improved  in [ſome | some]ſomesome good way; But for Grant,— Which way, to Betake  [myſelf | myself]myſelfmyself — I know not, I am at a [ſtand | stand]ſtandstand. [hond | honoured]hondhonoured Sir; to retu‐ ‐rn to you whom I have [ſo | so]ſoso greatly grieved, I dare not;  I am [aſhamed | ashamed]aſhamedashamed, [& | and]&and [Concience | Conscience]ConcienceConscience [ſtings | stings]ſtingsstings me to the very heart;  I am Sorry; my [ſperits | spirits]ſperitsspirits cast down, Methinks, I feel in  Some [meaſure | measure]meaſuremeasure the down Cast [ſpirits | spirits]ſpiritsspirits of Cain when  he received his curse; but no Equal to his; [tho | though]thothough my —  Crimes are more than Equal, the thoughts of your  School[org0098.ocp] haunts my mind [day-ly | daily]day-lydaily, and to turn my face  that way I dare not, I [ſee | see]ſeesee nothing but my Actions  in the deepest dye of Ingratitude [ſtare | stare]ſtarestare me in the face  which [Cauſes | Causes]CauſesCauses my heart to faint Under the thoughts  of Returning; but what [Courſe | Course]CourſeCourse to take, I know that  god is [Every whire | everywhere]Every whireeverywhere, and is Acquainted with Actions  past. and will punish without Mercy [thoſe | those]thoſethose that  Be [Dis Obedient | disobedient]Dis Obedientdisobedient to his Laws, and Commandment  [Er | ere]Erere long. — — — 
But how, it [ſeems | seems]ſeemsseems as if there was [ſome | some]ſomesome probability, [ſome | some]ſomesome  glimpse of hope yet, Some way of Being Recovered from this  Unhappy State. [Tho | though]Thothough at other times all hopes Vanish  and [lave | leave]laveleave me Under the Unfortunate [Circumſtances | Circumstances]CircumſtancesCircumstances of a  [Disſolate | Dissolute]DisſolateDissolute mind, which Roams at large with an [Unſteady | Unsteady]UnſteadyUnsteady  temper. Once this [Courſe | Course]CourſeCourse of Life, at another that, but all  [ſeem | seem]ſeemseem to yield no Comfort nor Satisfaction to My [distitute | destitute]distitutedestitute   Condition. But this [Encourges | encourages]Encourgesencourages me at this time to make  this feeble Attempt, that you are ready to forgive when you  [ſee | see]ſeesee a true Real and hearty [ſorrow | sorrow]ſorrowsorrow for [there | their]theretheir Misconduct.  But how can I make my [ſorrow | sorrow]ſorrowsorrow Credible — which  none can Believe, but [thoſe | those]thoſethose that take Notice of me [& | and]&and  [ſee | see]ſeesee it in my [Countinence | countenance]Countinencecountenance which is Sad [day ly | daily]day lydaily — upon  the thoughts of my past Behaviour. with how little  Consideration have I [ſpent | spent]ſpentspent my past time little car‐ ‐ing whether I did any good or no Either to [myſelf | myself]myſelfmyself or  [any One | anyone]any Oneanyone [Elſe | Else]ElſeElse. this I am [ſensable | sensible]ſensablesensible that your kind dispositi ‐on towards the Indians is very Great. neither am  I [leſs | less]leſsless [Sinsable | sensible]Sinsablesensible that my [Ungratfull | ungrateful]Ungratfullungrateful, [& | and]&and [Vitious | vicious]Vitiousvicious Actions  [deſerve | deserve]deſervedeserve Gods, and your highest [Displeaſure | Displeasure]DispleaſureDispleasure: —  it [ſeems | seems]ſeemsseems that I am forced to try [illegible]the best Endeavours  in order to get [my ſelf | myself]my ſelfmyself once more under your kind directi‐ ‐on [tho | though]thothough I Undergo Ever [ſo | so]ſoso much that I Might at last at‐ ‐tain my End; [tho | though]thothough you [ſentance | sentence]ſentancesentence me to Ever [ſo | so]ſoso [ſevere | severe]ſeveresevere pu ‐nishment, or Even Banish me to the Unknown corner of [ye | the]yethe   world. yet I Believe I will wholly Leave [my ſelf | myself]my ſelfmyself to your  [Intire | entire]Intire entire [dispoſal | disposal]dispoſaldisposal. had you punished me Ever [ſo | so]ſoso [ſevere | severe]ſeveresevere and after ‐wards, [ſent | sent]ſentsent or Bound me to an [auſtere | austere]auſtereaustere man. I [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould not  have been [ſo | so]ſoso Uncomfortable — for then I [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould have been  in my duty but now [ſeeme | seem]ſeemeseem to be lost no one to Order or di‐ ‐rect me, but wholly trust to giddy chance of fate. 
It is neither for want of Improvement, nor for want of good‐ living (for [booth | both]boothboth of [theſe | these]theſethese I have) or of [Induring | enduring]Induringenduring [hard ſhips | hardships]hard ſhipshardships (for I do  live well and [Eaſy | Easy]EaſyEasy as Ever I did during my whole Life) that I  want to Return to you, but [Intirely | entirely]Intirelyentirely [Becauſe | Because]BecauſeBecause I am not in  my duty or in the way that God [ Requ^[above] i^ires. | requires] Requ^[above] i^ires.requires   Good God [ſeems | seems]ſeemsseems to be yet [lenghtening | lengthening]lenghteninglengthening out his mercy to  me, [tho | though]thothough I have [ſo | so]ſoso openly [Rebeled | Rebelled]RebeledRebelled against Him, and has  [gracious ly | graciously]gracious lygraciously guided my [Doubtfull | doubtful]Doubtfulldoubtful [ſteps | steps]ſtepssteps and has kept me  In good health, and not only that but has this once more  put me under an advantage of gaining [Inſtruction | Instruction]InſtructionInstruction.  Here I am Under the Roof of the [ſarvant | servant]ſarvantservant of God, by [whoſe | whose]whoſewhose  kind advice, admonition, and precaution, [Reſtrained | Restrained]ReſtrainedRestrained me  from [ſeafaring | seafaring]ſeafaringseafaring way which if I [perſued | pursued]perſuedpursued would [Beyound | beyond]Beyoundbeyond   all doubt been the Ruin of me [booth | both]boothboth for time [& | and]&and Eternity.  here he has [perſuaded | persuaded]perſuadedpersuaded me to [ſtay | stay]ſtaystay and given me the [Previledg | privilege]Previledgprivilege   of his Library out of which this winter I hope to gain  [Inſtruction | Instruction]InſtructionInstruction. here I am Under great Advantage of [geting | getting]getinggetting   knowledge, [tho | though]thothough far Short of what I could get at your  [houſe | house]houſehouse. where I was as it were [day ly | daily]day lydaily Under the droopings  of the Sanctuary. what would I give Even all that I have  or all that my care or Industry [woud | would]woudwould ^[above] would^would gain dCould I Recall  [theſe | these]theſethese fatal hours which which I [conſumed | consumed]conſumedconsumed in [ſenſleſs | senseless]ſenſleſssenseless  vanities for now they [Increaſe | Increase]IncreaſeIncrease and Urge my pain and  trouble my Rest, Rest I have none in my Mind. I  am [day ly | daily]day lydaily [Vext | vexed]Vextvexed with [my ſelf | myself]my ſelfmyself for my [wickedneſs | wickedness]wickedneſswickedness I am  [Sensable | sensible]Sensablesensible that I have been guilty of the most heinous  Sins which has hurt and wounded the Redeemers [Cauſe | Cause]CauſeCause  and been of great disadvantage to your [ſchool | school]ſchoolschool[org0098.ocp] and dis‐ grace to the Religion of Christ. [altho | although]althoalthough great part has  been by [thoſe | those]thoſethose who wished me well and had tender  Regards for me, Upon my promising a [thurrow | thorough]thurrowthorough   Reformation, has been Concealed. to my [ſorrow | sorrow]ſorrowsorrow and  [ſhame | shame]ſhameshame do I now [Confeſs | Confess]ConfeſsConfess them, once, twice, yea three times  have I indulged [my ſelf | myself]my ſelfmyself in Brutish [Eaſe | Ease]EaſeEase whilst in the — 
[wilderneſ | wilderness]wilderneſwilderness, first [Accidently | Accidentally]AccidentlyAccidentally and can well [anſwer | answer]anſweranswer for it.  [ſecond | second]ſecondsecond on [purpoſe | purpose]purpoſepurpose perhaps can as well [anſwer | answer]anſweranswer for that,  the Third and the Only one ([Beſides | Besides]BeſidesBesides that of the last fall  which you have already had an Account of.) was taken [illegible]  Notice of By the Indians which was [Occaſioned | Occasioned]OccaſionedOccasioned by the  temptation of the Devil and together with the [Diſtreſses | Distresses]DiſtreſsesDistresses of my  mind and [Uneaſsineſs | Uneasiness]UneaſsineſsUneasiness which perhaps you are altogether Ign ‐norant of or [any one | anyone]any oneanyone [Elſe | Else]ElſeElse [beſides | besides]beſidesbesides the Indians. which by [ye | the]yethe  advice of Thomas[pers0643.ocp] I [publickly | publicly]publicklypublicly made [Confeſsion | Confession]ConfeſsionConfession as is their  Custom. where they promised as it were to Bury in Oblivion  and let things be as if it never happened [ſo | so]ſoso. That of the last  fall I can [ſay | say]ſaysay no more than has already been [ſaid | said]ſaidsaid of it.  [Theſe | These]TheſeThese taken in Rank has been my misconduct [& | and]&and Ruin.  as well as in many other which are well known to you.  I am [ſensable | sensible]ſensablesensible but too late [tis | it is]tisit is no advantage to Cover things, under  deceit, as to any more of my Crimes they have perhaps already  [shewn | shown]shewnshown [themſelves | themselves]themſelvesthemselves or will [E'er | ever]E'erever long. — Thus have I in  few faint words [tryed | tried]tryedtried to Communicate my Thoughts to  you, with hopes and [raiſed | raised]raiſedraised Expectations of being [favourd | favoured]favourdfavoured   with an [Anſwer | Answer]AnſwerAnswer. [Tho | though]Thothough I [dont | do not]dontdo not [deſirve | deserve]deſirvedeserve the least Notice or  Regards taken of what I write or [ſay | say]ſaysay. yet this Once  grant that my mind may be at [Eaſe | Ease]EaſeEase in [ſome | some]ſomesome [meaſure | measure]meaſuremeasure  Either [ſo | so]ſoso much [Condeſend | Condescend]CondeſendCondescend as to give me a word of [Incourage ‐ment | encourage‐ ment]Incourage ‐mentencourage‐ ment. which will [afreſh | afresh]afreſhafresh Revive my Drooping [ſpirits | spirits]ſpiritsspirits  and kindle a ^[above] new^new flame of Gratitude in me, in which way  might kind heaven grant I might End my days.  But if on the other hand which I most justly [deſerve | deserve]deſervedeserve, that  you would turn a deaf Ear to my humble petition as I did  to your most kind Advices warnings, and Labours of love  for my own good and none [Elſe | Else]ElſeElse the Returns of the [ſame | same]ſamesame  is what I fear and justly Expect   if this— 
if this would Be the Event, I must in [ſilence | silence]ſilencesilence depart, and weep with  a Bitter cry as [Eſau | Esau]EſauEsau when he lost his [Bleſsing | Blessing]BleſsingBlessing. Then [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould I  in [ſadneſs | sadness]ſadneſssadness [ſpend | spend]ſpendspend the Remainder of my days, and would kind  Heaven grant, that I might be prepared to die; and then kind ‐ly put an End to my [Miſerys | Miseries]MiſerysMiseries. [Hond | honoured]Hondhonoured Sir; Should I [ſay | say]ſaysay that  this was from the [Boottom | bottom]Boottombottom of my Heart, perhaps like the [Reſt | Rest]ReſtRest  would be full of Deceit, but I [ſhall | shall]ſhallshall no longer trouble you with [th^[above] is^is | this]th^[above] is^isthis   Unhappy Subject. I would just [Enform | inform]Enforminform you that through the [Bound ‐leſs | bound‐ ‐less]Bound ‐leſsbound‐ ‐less [goodneſs | goodness]goodneſsgoodness of god I have Enjoyed my Unprofitable health, and  I hope that God has Indulged you with your health as [Uſual | Usual]UſualUsual.  I am so guilty that I have no heart to write any more only  this whether I [ſhall | shall]ſhallshall be [ſo | so]ſoso happy as to be Indulged with a word  of [Incouragement | encouragement]Incouragementencouragement, or [ſo | so]ſoso Unhappy as to [Intirely | entirely]Intirelyentirely be Excluded I humbly  Beg that you would [Beſo | Be so]BeſoBe so kind as to [ſend | send]ſendsend me a word of [Anſwer | Answer]AnſwerAnswer  Between this and the [ſpring | spring]ſpringspring if you [pleaſe | please]pleaſeplease So as I might be [aſsured | assured]aſsuredassured  one way or the other. pardon me if I have wrote [any thing | anything]any thinganything that [ſeem | seem]ſeemseem to  have an air of pride for I feel much [otherwiſe | otherwise]otherwiſeotherwise [diſpoſed | disposed]diſpoſeddisposed. [Theſe | These]TheſeThese few  Lines with my best [wiſhes | wishes]wiſheswishes for the [proſperity | prosperity]proſperityprosperity of all your Vast Un  [gap: stain][guess (h-dawnd): der]dertakings I humbly Recommend to your [wiſe | wise]wiſewise [Conſideration | Consideration]ConſiderationConsideration  and now [ſuffer | suffer]ſuffersuffer me the honour of [ſubſcribing | subscribing]ſubſcribingsubscribing [myſelf | myself]myſelfmyself   
your  once humble [ſervant | servant]ſervantservant [tho | though]thothough more the devils.   [Joſeph | Joseph]JoſephJoseph [Johnſon | Johnson]JohnſonJohnson[pers0288.ocp].  now living at providence[place0292.ocp]  at [Dr | Dr.]DrDr. [ſamuel | Samuel]ſamuelSamuel Carrews[pers0674.ocp] an  [Inholder | Inn holder]InholderInn holder [westſide | west side]westſidewest side of the  Great Bridge. — 
To —  the [Revd | Rev.]RevdRev. [Doctr | Dr.]DoctrDr.   Eleazar Wheelock[pers0036.ocp]. 
[Jos: | Joseph]Jos:Joseph Johnson[pers0288.ocp]'s  [Dec.r | December]Dec.rDecember 28. 1768[1768-12-28]   
To —  The Reverend,  [Eleazer | Eleazar]EleazerEleazar Wheelock[pers0036.ocp]  D. D.  Lebanon[place0122.ocp].    Connecticut[place0048.ocp]   
[left] [pr | per]prper favour of  [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. [illegible][guess (h-dawnd): ] [ſalster | salster]ſalstersalster]] [ſalster | salster]ſalstersalster
[pr | per]prper favour of  [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. [illegible][guess (h-dawnd): ] [ſalster | salster]ſalstersalster]] [ſalster | salster]ſalstersalster
Document Summary

People identified in this document:

id Text in document Role in header Authorized Name
pers0643.ocp Thomas mentioned Thomas
pers0288.ocp Joſeph Joseph Johnſon Johnson writer Johnson, Joseph
pers0674.ocp ſamuel Samuel Carrews mentioned Carrews, Samuel
pers0036.ocp Eleazar Wheelock recipient Wheelock, Eleazar
pers0288.ocp Jos: Joseph Johnson writer Johnson, Joseph
pers0036.ocp Eleazer Eleazar Wheelock recipient Wheelock, Eleazar

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0292.ocp Providence Providence
place0292.ocp providence Providence
place0122.ocp Lebanon Lebanon
place0048.ocp Connecticut Connecticut

Organizations identified in this document:

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

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1768-12-28 DecembrDecember 28th28th 1768-9
1768-12-28 Dec.rDecember 28. 1768

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
modernization 28th 28th
modernization Revd Rev.
modernization Doct.r Dr.
variation preſumti ‐on presumpti‐ ‐on
modernization Caſe Case
modernization pre‐ ‐ſent pres‐ ent
variation deceitfull deceitful
variation patiance patience
modernization Confeſsion Confession
modernization ſaid said
variation ſhewed showed
variation Deciitfullneſs Deceitfulness
variation pretentions pretensions
modernization ſome some
modernization myſelf myself
modernization ſtand stand
modernization ſo so
modernization aſhamed ashamed
variation Concience Conscience
modernization ſtings stings
variation ſperits spirits
modernization meaſure measure
modernization ſpirits spirits
variation tho though
variation day-ly daily
modernization ſee see
modernization ſtare stare
modernization Cauſes Causes
modernization Courſe Course
variation Every whire everywhere
modernization thoſe those
variation Dis Obedient disobedient
variation Er ere
modernization ſeems seems
variation Tho though
variation lave leave
modernization Circumſtances Circumstances
variation Disſolate Dissolute
modernization Unſteady Unsteady
modernization ſeem seem
variation distitute destitute
variation Encourges encourages
modernization ſorrow sorrow
variation there their
variation Countinence countenance
variation day ly daily
modernization ſpent spent
variation any One anyone
modernization Elſe Else
variation ſensable sensible
modernization leſs less
variation Sinsable sensible
variation Ungratfull ungrateful
variation Vitious vicious
modernization deſerve deserve
modernization Displeaſure Displeasure
modernization my ſelf myself
variation ſentance sentence
modernization ſevere severe
modernization ye the
variation Intire entire
modernization dispoſal disposal
modernization ſent sent
modernization auſtere austere
modernization ſhould should
variation ſeeme seem
variation booth both
modernization theſe these
variation Induring enduring
variation hard ſhips hardships
modernization Eaſy Easy
variation Intirely entirely
modernization Becauſe Because
variation lenghtening lengthening
variation Rebeled Rebelled
variation gracious ly graciously
variation Doubtfull doubtful
modernization ſteps steps
modernization Inſtruction Instruction
variation ſarvant servant
modernization whoſe whose
modernization Reſtrained Restrained
modernization ſeafaring seafaring
variation perſued pursued
variation Beyound beyond
modernization perſuaded persuaded
modernization ſtay stay
variation Previledg privilege
variation geting getting
modernization houſe house
variation woud would
modernization conſumed consumed
variation ſenſleſs senseless
modernization Increaſe Increase
variation Vext vexed
modernization wickedneſs wickedness
variation Sensable sensible
modernization Cauſe Cause
modernization ſchool school
variation altho although
variation thurrow thorough
modernization ſhame shame
modernization Confeſs Confess
modernization Eaſe Ease
variation wilderneſ wilderness
variation Accidently Accidentally
modernization anſwer answer
modernization ſecond second
modernization purpoſe purpose
modernization Beſides Besides
modernization Occaſioned Occasioned
modernization Diſtreſses Distresses
modernization Uneaſsineſs Uneasiness
variation any one anyone
modernization beſides besides
variation publickly publicly
modernization ſay say
modernization Theſe These
variation shewn shown
modernization themſelves themselves
variation tryed tried
modernization raiſed raised
modernization Anſwer Answer
variation deſirve deserve
variation Condeſend Condescend
variation Incourage ‐ment encourage‐ ment
modernization afreſh afresh
modernization ſame same
modernization ſilence silence
modernization Eſau Esau
modernization Bleſsing Blessing
modernization ſadneſs sadness
modernization ſpend spend
variation Miſerys Miseries
variation Boottom bottom
modernization Reſt Rest
modernization ſhall shall
variation Enform inform
modernization Bound ‐leſs bound‐ ‐less
modernization goodneſs goodness
modernization Uſual Usual
variation Incouragement encouragement
variation Beſo Be so
modernization ſend send
modernization ſpring spring
modernization pleaſe please
modernization aſsured assured
variation any thing anything
modernization otherwiſe otherwise
modernization diſpoſed disposed
modernization wiſhes wishes
modernization proſperity prosperity
modernization wiſe wise
modernization Conſideration Consideration
modernization ſuffer suffer
modernization ſubſcribing subscribing
modernization ſervant servant
modernization Joſeph Joseph
modernization Johnſon Johnson
modernization Dr Dr.
modernization ſamuel Samuel
variation Inholder Inn holder
variation westſide west side
modernization Doctr Dr.
variation Eleazer Eleazar
modernization Mr Mr.
modernization ſalster salster

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
Decembr December
& and
hond honoured
Requ^[above] i^ires. requires
tis it is
E'er ever
favourd favoured
dont do not
Hond honoured
th^[above] is^is this
Jos: Joseph
Dec.r December
pr per

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Summary of errors found in this document:

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Number of nested "hi" tags: (consider merging the @rend attributes, or using other tags) 1
Number of tags with invalid 'rend' attributes: 0 (out of 22)
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