John Thornton, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1772 February 28


[note (type: abstract): Thornton writes a lengthy letter mentioning the conflict with Kirkland, doubt that the Trust in England will confirm Wheelock's charter, and rumors that the college is to come under Episcopal management. He believes that Wheelock is too trusting of Ralph Wheelock, and that Occom has been unfairly treated.][note (type: handwriting): Formal handwriting is stylized, yet clear and legible. The address is written in a different, unknown hand.][note (type: paper): The address is on a single large sheet; otherwise, the letter is comprised of two large sheets folded in half to make four pages. The paper is in good-to-fair condition, with light-to-moderate staining and wear. Repair work has been done on holes and heavy creases.][note (type: noteworthy): In the list of dates that begins the letter, the abbreviation “do” is likely an abbreviation for “ditto,” meaning, in this context, “in or of the month already named. “Ap” is likely an abbreviation for “anno praeterito,” meaning “the year that has just passed” (O.E.D.). An “x” written above the trailer on five recto appears to be a library mark. Also on five recto, an editor, likely 19th-century, has added the note “school & College distinct” below the trailer. This note has not been included in the transcription.]

EventsFundraising Tour of Great Britain

  Dear [ſir | Sir]ſirSir 
Since my last I duly [recd | received]recdreceived your several favors of the [11th | 11th]11th11th  [Jany | January]JanyJanuary[1771-01-11] [20th | 20th]20th20th June[1771-06-20] [1st | 1st]1st1st August[1771-08-01] [29th | 29th]29th29th do[1771-08-29] [9th | 9th]9th9th [Septr | September]SeptrSeptember[1771-09-09] [& | and]&and [31st | 31st]31st31st October[1771-10-31] Ap [& | and]&and I  should have wrote you long since had I known what to  say, but I was much comforted by the last with the glad  tidings that you [& | and]&and [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. Kirkland[pers0315.ocp] had met I come to the  Agreement to put it out of the power of evil minded Peo  ple to break into that harmony that ought ever to sub  sist [betwixt | between]betwixtbetween those of the same Views; by disbelieving all  false insinuations relative to each other [& | and]&and ever coming  to an explanation [betwixt | between]betwixtbetween yourselves, I hope this will  be steadfastly adhered to in future [& | and]&and that you will be  enabled to see the Cloven foot, whenever any Person  [shews | shows]shewsshows a tendency to prejudice you against that valuable  Minister, who indeed in this unhappy difference has  acted as few besides himself Would have done [& | and]&and I shall  ever highly value [& | and]&and esteem it for it [& | and]&and all considered  he has made as few mistakes as could be expected, as  indeed my Dear [ſir | sir]ſirsir he harboured not the evil reports  that were falsely suggested against you, but ever  spoke with becoming regard [& | and]&and respect of your Character  it is for best to bury all that is past [& | and]&and not so much  as to think of it, but I must with my usual unreserve 
^[left] Received May. [16th | 16th]16th16th 1772[1772-05-16]^Received May. [16th | 16th]16th16th 1772[1772-05-16]   
  tell you that I think your Parental regard to your Son  Ralph[pers0578.ocp], has blinded your Eyes to some misconduct of his  [& | and]&and that [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. Woodward[pers0610.ocp] has not been so single Eyed as I  would wish all to be in so glorious a Cause, I don’t mean  to enter on any discussions, but rather what I say is by  way of caution that neither of them may have it in their  power to injure the Redeemers Cause [thro | through]throthrough the sides of  [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. Kirkland[pers0315.ocp] if they should be so unwise as to attempt it  but be you [forewarn’d | forewarned]forewarn’dforewarned [& | and]&and thereby forearmed, ^[above] so as^so as not to listen  to the Subtle Adversarys poison, should he be prevalent  [eno | enough]enoenough to obtain an Eve to administer it, I know how  hard it is to know no one after the flesh [& | and]&and to look th[gap: tear]  all to him with whom we have to d[illegible]o, but that Lord  who [strengtheneth | strengthens]strengthenethstrengthens is Almighty, [& | and]&and he requires not  more then he will enable us to perform, when we are  armed from his heavenly Storehouse, all things are  [poſsible | possible]poſsiblepossible, not only so but they are made easy [thro | through]throthrough the  divine influence, may the Lord ever guide you by his  Counsel till he receives you to glory, [& | and]&and keep you watchful  [& | and]&and mindful that those who have not the Spirit of Christ  are none of his.  Your Drafts are duly taken Care of [& | and]&and whenever your  occasions further require [aſsistance | assistance]aſsistanceassistance I have ([thro | through]throthrough mercy 
wherewithal to [aſsist | assist]aſsistassist you [& | and]&and at any time you may draw for  One or Two Hundred pounds on your private account or  more if you find it needful to set you quite clear as  it must relieve your mind [& | and]&and be in every view desirable  to stand quite clear of debt, I assure you the Gentlemen  of the Trust[org0103.ocp] are disposed to do all they consistently can  to strengthen your hands that you need be under no  apprehensions of failure therein I was glad to find  you had guarded against blending the [accots | accounts]accotsaccounts of the  School[org0098.ocp] [& | and]&and the College[org0037.ocp], in which you have acted wisely  I feared much your being involved thereby that it was  an ease to my mind to see my fears were [groundleſs | groundless]groundleſsgroundless  [& | and]&and that consequently my Credit given on that score  was [unneceſsary | unnecessary]unneceſsaryunnecessary, I own I doubt much [whither | whether]whitherwhether your  Charter will be confirmed on this side, as we don’t see  it in the light you do; the Trustees[org0103.ocp] will soon have  a Meeting [& | and]&and then you will hear from them about th[illegible][guess (h-dawnd): at]at  as well as other matters, but I don’t think an Interview  would tend to clear things as you imagine; many  Men will be of many minds [& | and]&and opinions, upon the whole  you have ^[above] an^an admirable good set of Trustees[org0103.ocp] [& | and]&and I believe  they are as disposed to favor you as you could wish  [& | and]&and you need fear nothing harsh from them, but go  on with confidence, keep always in mind Jesus reigns 
who has all hearts at Command, he makes our enemies to be  at peace with us [& | and]&and brings good out of evil, continue simple [& | and]&and  keep in mind that as his ways are in the Sea [& | and]&and we can not  trace them, we must not pretend to make our Mountain  strong, but our strength consists in the acknowledgement of  our [weakneſs | weakness]weakneſsweakness [& | and]&and looking to him continually step by step to  direct us in all our ways, let us never go forth but with  his presence [& | and]&and when we feel a void let us humbly wait  [& | and]&and be still [& | and]&and he will shine upon us, surely it is his Work  [& | and]&and not ours [& | and]&and he knows best how to carry it on, [& | and]&and [unleſs | unless]unleſsunless  when we have done our duty to the utmost we rest it as  wholly as if we had done nothing we shall find a Canker  in our Gourd [& | and]&and experience a blight instead of a [bleſsing | blessing]bleſsingblessing  you will know my dear Friend that nothing is simpler  nor plainer then the path of duty [& | and]&and it seems easy  but is unaccountably difficult, [& | and]&and we are often called  on to groan being burdened by indwelling Sin, that  even when we would do good evil is present with us  [& | and]&and we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves  but [bleſsed | blessed]bleſsedblessed be God our Souls being restored, we can  triumph in Christ [& | and]&and be more then Conquerors over all  [& | and]&and draw from his [fulneſs | fullness]fulneſsfullness grace to help in our every hour  of need, for with him is [plentious | plenteous]plentiousplenteous redemption [& | and]&and we  are strengthened with might by his spirit in the inner Man 
That the Adversary [& | and]&and many of his Party will oppose you  is undoubtedly true [& | and]&and it is not [leſs | less]leſsless so that if you look  on them you will [imbitter | embitter]imbitterembitter your own Spirit, therefore  let us go on unweariedly in the fear of the Lord disregard  ing those on the right [& | and]&and on the left [& | and]&and we shall be safe  the danger is abundantly more from false Friends [then | than]thenthan  from open Enemies, but [bleſsed | blessed]bleſsedblessed be God they are all  Tethered [& | and]&and can’t [paſs | pass]paſspass the bounds prescribed them  whereas we know all things are ours both present [& | and]&and  to come for we are Christs [& | and]&and Christ is Gods.   [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. Occom[pers0030.ocp] seems to me to have been hardly treated  [& | and]&and that I fear has been one means of driving him to  his unjustifiable Character ^[above] Conduct^Conduct, I had rather stand in  his Shoes than in those who have a much better  opinion of themselves [& | and]&and exceed him abundantly in  putting the best [gloſs | gloss]gloſsgloss on every thing; the best respecting  them is only considered [& | and]&and the worst of him, it should  be remembered he has been taken from that scene  of life that made labor [& | and]&and the greatest parsimony  habitual to him [& | and]&and it is not in human Nature  to return ^[inline] to^to it with that alacrity which is expected ^[above] from him^from him  If people that Judge harshly would make his Case 
their own, they would be compassionate instead of [ſevere | severe]ſeveresevere  O how differently would they judge! [& | and]&and pray look to his Case  [& | and]&and [Dr | Dr.]DrDr. Whitaker[pers0037.ocp]s, [& | and]&and see who was benefited [& | and]&and yet [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. Occom[pers0030.ocp]  was the Instrument (under God) that was the means of  collecting all the Money [& | and]&and Had the Doctor come  without him the disgrace would have all fell to  his share, whereas poor Occom[pers0030.ocp] proved the ScapeGoat  [& | and]&and I am much mistaken if a day is not at hand  that a [Vail | veil]Vailveil will be drawn over his great Infirmities  [& | and]&and his heart be found upright with God, do my  dear Sir [shew | show]shewshow him all the [kindneſs | kindness]kindneſskindness you consist[illegible][guess (h-dawnd): on]only  can, he will not prove unworthy of your Patronage  I never was more deceived then in him if he is  not an Israelite indeed; his trials have been very  great, I trust he will set [bright | right]brightright at last —  [Aſsist | Assist]AſsistAssist him with whatever you please from ^[inline] me^me I am  very willing my heart yearns towards him [& | and]&and I love  him unfeignedly that I can’t but feel for him  I am very glad to hear [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. Avery[pers0064.ocp] is gone to [Oneide | Oneida]OneideOneida[place0179.ocp]  [& | and]&and that the Lord seems to be smiling on the good  work you are engaged in I trust the [illegible][guess (h-dawnd): mou]mouths of 
all our [Adversarys | adversaries]Adversarysadversaries will be [stoped | stopped]stopedstopped, I sent [Dr | Dr.]DrDr. Erskine[pers0185.ocp]  of Edinburgh[place0066.ocp] a Copy of the Agreement [betwixt | between]betwixtbetween you  [& | and]&and [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. Kirkland[pers0315.ocp] [& | and]&and endeavoured to remove some  prejudices I found he had [inbibed | imbibed]inbibedimbibed to the prejudice  of your new School[org0037.ocp], as I got an extract of a Letter  he wrote [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. Davidson[pers0647.ocp] of Braintree[place0260.ocp] last [ſeptember | September]ſeptemberSeptember[1771-09]  as follows — “By accounts from America[place0003.ocp] one [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. [Kd | Kirkland]KdKirkland[pers0315.ocp]  “a [Miſsionary | missionary]Miſsionarymissionary among the Oneida[org0075.ocp] [& | and]&and [Tuscoraga | Tuscarora]TuscoragaTuscarora Indians[org0104.ocp]  “has been wonderfully [bleſsed | blessed]bleſsedblessed [& | and]&and in the [Judgemt | judgement]Judgemtjudgement of Charity  “many of his hearers savingly converted. There has been  “nothing equal to this since [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. David [Brainard | Brainerd]BrainardBrainerd[pers0003.ocp] [& | and]&and  “yet he might have starved for [Dr | Dr.]DrDr. Wheelock[pers0036.ocp] had not  “our board of Correspondents[org0011.ocp] [& | and]&and the London [Com̅iſsioners | Commissioners]Com̅iſsionersCommissioners  “at Boston[org0095.ocp] taken him under their care. The [Dr | Doctor]DrDoctor instead  “of employing Missionaries, Schoolmasters or Catechists  “has alienated the greatest part of the Monies collected  “in England[place0068.ocp] to creating a new College[org0037.ocp] in New Hampshire[place0160.ocp]  “the Charter of which where he is named first President  “is conceived in such artful terms, that that College[org0037.ocp]  “will soon fall under Episcopal management, [& | and]&and had  “not this been in view, the ease with which he  “procured a Charter, when [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. Whitefield[pers0038.ocp] was refused  “it can hardly be accounted for —” 
I shall not cease to pray that the Lord may long  strengthen you in your Work [& | and]&and for your Work, it is hard  Service that forms Veterans, as you have often seen  in the Book of the way to Zion, may you be enabled  to say with a departed Friend of mine under very severe  Discipline, “I have great Confidence — great [Submiſsion | submission]Submiſsionsubmission  “no complaining. The Word to Christians goes beyond  “all this “in every thing give thanks” Hard as this  “may seem under great bodily trials [&c | etc.]&cetc. I have no objection  “to it, [& | and]&and the real sense of my own mind is, thankful  “for Christ — thankful for every thing”— I shall be  always glad to hear from you, may you [& | and]&and yours  be growing up in the love of Christ devoted Servants  of the [Croſs | Cross]CroſsCross, live daily upon the will of God [& | and]&and enjoy  yourselves in nothing else  praised be God there seems  a great revival in this Land  in various parts while those  that preserve the form only  are making great strides to cast that [intirely | entirely]intirelyentirely off [& | and]&and  Luxury [& | and]&and dissipation surely never were more prevalent   
I am always  Dear [ſir | Sir]ſirSir  Yours affectionately   John Thornton[pers0541.ocp] 
To the [Revd | Rev.]RevdRev. [Dr | Dr.]DrDr. Wheelock[pers0036.ocp] 
From [Esq.r | Esq.]Esq.rEsq. Thornton[pers0541.ocp]  [Feb.y | February]Feb.yFebruary 28. 1772.[1772-02-28] 
To  The [Rev.d | Rev.]Rev.dRev.  [Eleazer | Eleazar]EleazerEleazar Wheelock[pers0036.ocp] DD:  President of Dartmouth‐  College[org0037.ocp] at Hanover  [N | New]NNew Hampshire[place0160.ocp][place0095.ocp] [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Chace[pers0728.ocp]
[note (type: editorial): Blank page.]
Document Summary

People identified in this document:

id Text in document Role in header Authorized Name
pers0315.ocp M r Mr. Kirkland mentioned Kirkland, Samuel
pers0578.ocp Ralph mentioned Wheelock, Rodulphus
pers0610.ocp M r Mr. Woodward mentioned Woodward, Bezaleel
pers0030.ocp M r Mr. Occom mentioned Occom, Samson
pers0037.ocp D r Dr. Whitaker mentioned Whitaker, Nathaniel
pers0030.ocp Occom mentioned Occom, Samson
pers0064.ocp M r Mr. Avery mentioned Avery, David
pers0185.ocp D r Dr. Erskine mentioned Erskine, John
pers0647.ocp M r Mr. Davidson mentioned Davidson
pers0315.ocp M r Mr. K d Kirkland mentioned Kirkland, Samuel
pers0003.ocp M r Mr. David Brainard Brainerd mentioned Brainerd, David
pers0036.ocp D r Dr. Wheelock recipient Wheelock, Eleazar
pers0038.ocp M r Mr. Whitefield mentioned Whitefield, George
pers0541.ocp John Thornton writer Thornton, John
pers0036.ocp Rev d Rev. D r Dr. Wheelock recipient Wheelock, Eleazar
pers0541.ocp Esq. r Esq. Thornton writer Thornton, John
pers0036.ocp Rev. d Rev. Eleazer Eleazar Wheelock recipient Wheelock, Eleazar
pers0728.ocp M. r Mr. Chace mentioned Chace

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0041.ocp Clapham Clapham
place0179.ocp Oneide Oneida Oneida
place0066.ocp Edinburgh Edinburgh
place0260.ocp Braintree Braintree
place0003.ocp America America
place0068.ocp England England
place0160.ocp New Hampshire New Hampshire
place0095.ocp Hanover N New Hampshire Hanover
place0160.ocp N New Hampshire New Hampshire

Organizations identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
org0103.ocp Trust Trust in England
org0098.ocp the School Moor’s Indian Charity School
org0037.ocp the College Dartmouth College
org0103.ocp Trustees Trust in England
org0037.ocp your new School Dartmouth College
org0075.ocp Oneida Oneida Nation
org0104.ocp TuscoragaTuscarora Indians Tuscarora Nation
org0011.ocp board of Correspondents Boston Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge
org0095.ocp London Com̅iſsionersCommissioners “at Boston The Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America
org0037.ocp a new College Dartmouth College
org0037.ocp that College Dartmouth College
org0037.ocp Dartmouth‐ College Dartmouth College

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1772-02-28 28th28th February 1772
1771-01-11 11th11th JanyJanuary
1771-06-20 20th20th June
1771-08-01 1st1st August
1771-08-29 29th29th do
1771-09-09 9th9th SeptrSeptember
1771-10-31 31st31st October
1772-05-16 May. 16th16th 1772
1771-09 last ſeptemberSeptember
1772-02-28 Feb.yFebruary 28. 1772.

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
modernization 28th 28th
modernization ſir Sir
modernization 11th 11th
modernization 20th 20th
modernization 1st 1st
modernization 29th 29th
modernization 9th 9th
modernization 31st 31st
modernization Mr Mr.
variation betwixt between
variation shews shows
modernization ſir sir
modernization 16th 16th
variation thro through
variation eno enough
variation strengtheneth strengthens
modernization poſsible possible
modernization aſsistance assistance
modernization aſsist assist
modernization groundleſs groundless
modernization unneceſsary unnecessary
variation whither whether
modernization weakneſs weakness
modernization unleſs unless
modernization bleſsing blessing
modernization bleſsed blessed
variation fulneſs fullness
variation plentious plenteous
modernization leſs less
variation imbitter embitter
variation then than
modernization paſs pass
modernization gloſs gloss
modernization ſevere severe
modernization Dr Dr.
variation Vail veil
variation shew show
modernization kindneſs kindness
modernization Aſsist Assist
variation Oneide Oneida
variation Adversarys adversaries
variation stoped stopped
variation inbibed imbibed
modernization ſeptember September
modernization Miſsionary missionary
variation Tuscoraga Tuscarora
variation Brainard Brainerd
modernization Submiſsion submission
modernization &c etc.
modernization Croſs Cross
variation intirely entirely
modernization Revd Rev.
modernization Esq.r Esq.
modernization Rev.d Rev.
variation Eleazer Eleazar
modernization M.r Mr.

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
recd received
Jany January
Septr September
& and
forewarn’d forewarned
accots accounts
Kd Kirkland
Judgemt judgement
Com̅iſsioners Commissioners
Dr Doctor
Feb.y February
N New

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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 39)
Number of people/places/organizations with unknown keys: 0 (out of 43)
Number of "add" tags with unknown 'place' attributes: 0 (out of 7)
Mixed case attribute values in header (potential error): 0 (out of 153)