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Joseph Johnson, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1769 March

ms-number: 769240.2

[note (type: abstract): Johnson asks to be discharged.][note (type: handwriting): Handwriting is small and somewhat meandering, yet it is mostly clear and legible.][note (type: paper): Small single sheet appears to be torn from a larger sheet. It is in good condition, with light staining, creasing and wear.][note (type: ink): Black.][note (type: noteworthy): Johnson appears to have written a random note on one verso. This document is possibly a draft or Johnson's copy.]
Much [Reſpected | Respected]ReſpectedRespected, and Ever Hondoured, Doctor,
I have made this attempt once more to Approach thy
Dwellings, and now [deſire | desire]deſiredesire with all [humbleneſs | humbleness]humbleneſshumbleness of mind
that [illegible][guess (h-dawnd): thy]thy not [Diſpleaſure | displeasure]Diſpleaſuredispleasure may not be [Riſen | risen]Riſenrisen [againſt | against]againſtagainst
me, [altho | although]althoalthough I have So much [Deſerved | deserved]Deſerveddeserved it. most [Hond | Honoured]HondHonoured Sir,
I came up to petition to you my Ever [Hond | Honoured]HondHonoured Benefactor,
that as my mind is wholly Bent from here, that thou would
So much [Condeſcend | condescend]Condeſcendcondescend as to [diſcharge | discharge]diſchargedischarge me from Under you
If you [pleaſe | please]pleaſeplease, which being my great Concern that I might
[firſt | first]firſtfirst [git | get]gitget you leave to [illegible]tarry at my own home and get [my ſelf | myself]my ſelfmyself
in steady way of living. which without your leave I must
be always [roaving | roving]roavingroving about, most [hond | honoured]hondhonoured Sir, [pleaſe | please]pleaſeplease to grant
this my humble [pitition | petition]pititionpetition, and I do now humbly [deſire | desire]deſiredesire to
Return you most hearty thanks for your many labours
of Love [Shewn | shown]Shewnshown to me Since my Infancy and under your
most kind protection. I Acknowledge that they have been
many [& | and]&and great favours Indeed. and I [alſo | also]alſoalso Acknowledge that
my Ingratitude and [Unthankfullneſs | unthankfulness]Unthankfullneſsunthankfulness have Exceeded them.
and now Be [pleaſed | pleased]pleaſedpleased to forgive what I have done and bury
me in deep [forgetfullneſs | forgetfulness]forgetfullneſsforgetfulness and Remember me no more,
[Seing | seeing]Seingseeing, I have done so much [wickedneſs | wickedness]wickedneſswickedness that I dare not
approach thy [preſence | presence]preſencepresence, O, be not angry with me for that,
But forgive what you have [ſeen | seen]ſeenseen [arriſe | arise]arriſearise in you

Humble petitioner, and wicked [ſervant | Servant]ſervantServant.

[Joſeph | Joseph]JoſephJoseph [Johnſon | Johnson]JohnſonJohnson[pers0288.ocp]
The Ever [Hond | Honoured]HondHonoured [Doct.r | Dr.]Doct.rDr. Wheelock[pers0036.ocp].

the book
the book of the generation of [Jeſuſ | Jesus]JeſuſJesus
[chriſt | Christ]chriſtChrist the [ſon | son]ſonson of david the

[Jos: | Joseph]Jos:Joseph Johnson[pers0288.ocp]
March. 1769[1769-03] —­

Johnson, Joseph

Joseph Johnson was a Mohegan who studied at Moor’s Indian Charity School and became one of the most important organizers of the Brothertown Movement (a composite tribe composed of Christian members of seven Southern New England Algonquian settlements). He was a prolific writer and his papers are relatively well-preserved. Johnson’s writing is especially noteworthy for his skillful use of Biblical allusion and his awareness of the contradiction that he, as an educated Native American, presented to white colonists. Johnson arrived at Moor’s in 1758, when he was seven years old, and studied there until 1766, when he became David Fowler’s usher at Kanawalohale. He continued teaching in Oneida territory until the end of 1768, when Samuel Kirkland sent him home in disgrace for drunkeness and bad behavior. After a stint teaching at Providence, Rhode Island, and working on a whaling ship, Johnson returned to Mohegan in 1771 and became a zealous Christian. He opened a school at Farmington, CT, in 1772, for which he seems to have received some minimal support from the New England Company. From his base at Farmington, he began organizing Southern New England Algonquians for the Brothertown project. The goal was to purchase land from the Oneidas, the most Christianized of the Six Nations, and form a Christian Indian town incorporating Algonquian and Anglo-American elements. Johnson spent the rest of his short life garnering necessary support and legal clearance for the Brothertown project. Johnson died sometime between June 10, 1776 and May 1777, at 25 or 26 years old, six or seven years before Brothertown was definitively established in 1783. He was married to Tabitha Occom, one of Samson Occom’s daughters. She lived at Mohegan with their children even after Brothertown’s founding, and none of their children settled at Brothertown permanently. Like most of Wheelock’s successful Native American students, Johnson found that he could not satisfy his teacher's contradictory standards for Native Americans. Although Johnson's 1768 dismissal created a hiatus in their relationship, Johnson reopened contact with Wheelock after his re-conversion to a degree that other former students, such as Samson Occom, David Fowler, and Hezekiah Calvin, never did.

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
pers0288.ocp Joſeph Joseph Johnſon Johnson writer Johnson, Joseph
pers0036.ocp Doct. r Dr. Wheelock recipient Wheelock, Eleazar
pers0288.ocp Jos: Joseph Johnson writer Johnson, Joseph

This document does not contain any tagged places.

This document does not contain any tagged organizations.

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1769-03 March. 1769

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
modernization Reſpected Respected
modernization deſire desire
modernization humbleneſs humbleness
modernization Diſpleaſure displeasure
modernization Riſen risen
modernization againſt against
variation altho although
modernization Deſerved deserved
modernization Condeſcend condescend
modernization diſcharge discharge
modernization pleaſe please
modernization firſt first
variation git get
variation my ſelf myself
variation roaving roving
variation pitition petition
variation Shewn shown
modernization alſo also
variation Unthankfullneſs unthankfulness
modernization pleaſed pleased
variation forgetfullneſs forgetfulness
variation Seing seeing
modernization wickedneſs wickedness
modernization preſence presence
modernization ſeen seen
variation arriſe arise
modernization ſervant Servant
modernization Joſeph Joseph
modernization Johnſon Johnson
modernization Doct.r Dr.
modernization Jeſuſ Jesus
modernization chriſt Christ
modernization ſon son

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
Hond Honoured
hond honoured
& and
Jos: Joseph

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 0)
Mixed case attribute values in header (potential error): 0 (out of 81)
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