« السابقةمتابعة »
High, who divides to the nations their inheritance; who putteth down one and raiseth up another?
The Indians do not migrate and form distinct colonies: they die away, or disappear from the places where they are.
The historian of the District of Maine, speaking of the Indians in those parts, observes; "Of the various tribes which
once overspread the wilderness of Acadie, and Maine, there "remain only seven individuals of the Norridgewocks, and less "than three hundred of the Penobscots. The tribe last men❝tioned are extremely anxious at the idea of becoming extinct.
They cause their children to intermarry while they are "young; they wean their infants early; and do every thing "within their power, the practice of temperance excepted, to
preserve their numbers; but all is in vain. A few years "more will oblige the philosopher to content himself with the "history of the savage life only, for there will be no examples "to be seen."
It is however to be hoped, that an exception will be found to the foregoing remarks, in the New England Indians, who removed about the year 1786, into the Oneida country. The Rev. Mr. Sargeant, son of the Rev. John Sargeant, accompanied the Stockbridge Indians, as their minister; and the Rev. Sampson Occum, those of Mohegan and Narraganset. They are professors of the christian religion, and several families of them, support themselves by agriculture. Mr. Occum was generally respected through life, and was esteemed a pious man by ministers and christians universally. He died of an apoplexy at New Stockbridge, Oneida, July 1792, aged about 63 years.
The following letter from him, to a respectable gentleman, Mr. Robert Keen of London, is added as a sample of the style and spirit of the writer.
Most Worthy Sir,
Mohegan, Sept. 27, 1768.
On Friday, in the afternoon,
Doubtless you have heard of my sickness on board of ship. I was taken ill two or three days after I got on board, and was severely handled with it, four weeks, to that degree, that I was in a delirium for some days; the Captain expected nothing but to cast me overboard in a short time; and we had a rough passage, contrary winds most of the way over; by the goodness of God, I began to amend at the end of the four weeks, and grew strong very fast. We were eight weeks tossed to and fro on the mighty ocean. we landed at Boston to our great joy, and to the joy of our friends: Oh what joy will it be to christians to arrive safely at last, at the haven of the New Jerusalem. The next morning I took horse and went on my way homeward. Tuesday following, I reached home about two o'clock, P. M. And by the infinite goodness of God, found my poor family in a good state of health, except my wife, who had been in a poor declining way above a year, and she is still in a bad state of heath she has had two sudden severe ill turns since I have been at home. A few days ago we did not expect her life many hours, but by the pure mercy of God she is now much better.
I have been to several places of Indians this summer, round about here, and they all receive me with gladness and tender affection. They are very thankful to hear the benevolent dispositions of christians, over the mighty waters, by freely contributing their substance towards the instruction of the poor Indians of North America. They hope by this means their poor children's eyes may be opened, that they may see with their own eyes. I had four Oneida Indians come to see me, some time last July, and they manifested thankfulness at my return. They were greatly affected to hear the good report I gave them of the people in the old christian countries,-Were very urgent to have me go amongst them this summer past,
but I told them I had been gone so long from home, I thought it duty to stay at home this year, and if I live to see another spring, I will give them a long visit, and they went away satisfied. I am now writing a short narrative of my life.*. Doctor Wheelock's school prospers as heretofore, and the Indians are still willing to send their children. I am afraid, the Dutch and French near the Indians are trying all they can to prejudice the Indians against the school and against the English: but if this work is of God, he will carry it on. I trust the Lord will not forsake his people in these parts.
Sincere respects to you and yours, and grateful respects to our worthy Trustees.
Mr. ROBERT Keen.
I am, much esteemed Sir, your most
Note (d) page 18.
Six years before Mr. Wheelock began his Indian School at Lebanon; the Rev. John Sargeant, a gentleman of eminent piety, learning, and zeal to spread the knowledge of the Redeemer among the Indians, had projected, what he called a Boarding School for the education of Indian children at Housatonnuc, where he was missionary. He made some progress in the business. Several generous benefactors encouraged his benevolent work. The prospect of success was pleasing. The Rev. Isaac Hollis of London, was at the whole expence of the clothing, board, and schooling, of upwards of thirty children, nearly one year. Such was the pious munificence of that good man! The school was under the immediate care of Mr. Timothy Woodbridge and Capt. Martin Kellogg; and a skilful mistress superintended the education of the female children. But the church and world were suddenly deprived of the worthy Mr.
* Mr. Occum published one or two sermons and a collection of devotional Hymns, which were well approved. The narrative of his life, has not appeared.
Sargeant, who died in the vigor, of life, and before there was opportunity to make much trial of his design.* And the institution died with him; for no one appeared, at that time, possessed of the same spirit, to take it up. Mr. Wheelock's plan differed in an essential circumstance from Mr. Sargeant's The Charity School of the latter was set up among the Indians : Mr. Wheelock's was set up among the English, and with the wise design to draw the children quite away from all intercourse with their savage countrymen, until their education should be completed. It was his purpose to instruct them in all the necessary branches of learning, for the common business of life; to select the most promising, for an academic education, and qualify them for instructors, as preachers of the gospel, or school masters; and also to have a number of them taught practical agriculture, and useful mechanical arts.
Note (e) page 20.
The following extract of a letter from the Rev. William Patten of Newport, grandson of Dr. Wheelock, to the author, elucidates the first motive of the founder of this charitable design; and shews that small circumstances in Providence, occurring to generous minds, may be the spring of noble enterprises.
"One evening, after a religious conference with a number of his people at Lebanon, he walked out, as he usually did, on summer evenings, for meditation and prayer; and in his retirement, his attention was led to the neglect of his people in providing for his support; and to the reason why they were left to so great blindness and unfaithfulness, in this respect. It occurred to him, with peculiar, clearness, that if they furnished him with but half a living, they were entitled to no more than half of his labors. And he concluded, that they were left to such neglect, to teach him, that part of his
* Life of Mr. Sargeant, by the Rev. Samuel Hopkins of Springfield.
labors ought to be directed to other objects. He then inquir ed, what objects were most in want of assistance? And it occurred to him almost instantaneously, that the Indians were the most proper objects of the charitable attention of christians. He then determined to devote half of his time to them; and laid the plan of applying for a number of their children, by the medium of Sir William Johnson. This plan he soon carried into effect, and was succeeded in it; and from this beginning arose Moor's School and Dartmouth College.
I recollect hearing him say, that God graciously smiled upon his plans and expectations in general; and that he commonly proceeded in measures which he thought expedient, with the same confidence as though he had a fund at hand. particularly mentioned, that from accounts received at a certain time, from his missionaries and school masters, in the wilderness, it appeared highly important that two more persons should be sent immediately to their assistance. He accordingly selected two, and purchased what was necessary to accommodate them for the journey, and determined on Friday for their setting out, though he was then destitute of money, and knew not in what way it could be obtained :- -In this suspence he continued until Thursday evening, still believing that provision would be made, so that the young men would commence their journey in the morning. That evening a person came to his house from New Jersey, with a sum collected from a number of christian friends, amply sufficient for the object in view."
Note (f) page 22.
Extract from a recommendatory letter.
"WE, ministers of the gospel, and pastors of churches hereafter mentioned, having for a number of years past heard of, or seen with pleasure, the zeal, courage, and resolution of the Rev. Eleazar Wheelock, of Lebanon, to prosecute to effect a design of spreading the gospel among the natives in the wilds of