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Doctor Eleazer Wheelock to Governour Trumbull



Dartmouth College, May 13, 1775.

MUCH HONOURED AND RESPECTED SIR: Your favour of 17th ultimo duly arrived. Mr˙ Dean is not yet returned; I am now daily expecting him, with one of my English pupils, who has resided with the Tribe at St˙ Francis ever since last August, to learn their language. I have no suspicion of any publick design of hostilities in any of the Northern Tribes; but we are lately alarmed with accounts that several of our own people have been authorized by General Gage to go to Canada and collect a party there to join them in distressing us at a time which they shall think favourable for their purpose. The bearer, Mr˙ Smith, who is a tutor of this college, and a young gentleman to be depended upon, can give you the account, which I suppose you have likely already had, for substance, from Esquire Curtis,, of this place.

But we are many of us more alarmed by the rash, precipitant, and headlong conduct of a number among us who have been honoured with His Majesty' s commissions, civil and military, but have of late openly and publickly given them up, and that only upon this principle, viz: that His Majesty has forfeited his Crown, and that all commissions from him are therefore vacated of course; and have accordingly appointed a set of officers of their own choosing, and appear to be plunging themselves and their dependants as far and as fast as they can into a state of anarchy. They assume to themselves the right of treating their fellow men in a rough and sovereign manner, seizing, stopping, controlling, and examining strangers and others in such a hostile manner as tends to inspire a general fear in all sorts; e˙g˙, two of my scholars, a few days ago, were peaceably and inoffensively travelling from college home, when they were, by a ruffian, stopped in the road, who presented a gun cocked at their breasts, and swore by God they were dead men if they did not immediately tell him who they were, where they were going, and what their business was; and this without milder or other introduction to his inquiry. And it is feared, if a speedy stop cannot be put to this evil, murders, and frequent ones, too, will ensue; and that they will prove themselves really to be what these Colonies have been so injuriously charged with being, and bring the fiercest rage of a Northern Army upon these infant frontiers, and justify them in savage cruelties, prevent any testimonial of our Governour in our favour, and draw away the strength of the Provinces below us from our


defence, which he may have no occasion to do if we behave ourselves soberly, adhere firmly to our Constitution, though at the same time, as individuals, are helping our brethren as much as our feeble state will allow. And I would humbly propose whether this case, as the evil seems to be spread wide in part of this Province, and in the new countries adjoining in New-York Province, be not worthy to be communicated for the consideration of the Continental Congress, who can put a stop to it, if any can.

I also fear much evil from the unprovoked, harsh, cruel, and worse than savage threats given out by some against my Indian boys, which have already occasioned fear in some of them; and I fear, if it be not stopped, will produce some unfavourable accounts from them to their friends; this evil I am constantly guarding against as much as possible.

I have lately received letters from my honoured patrons in London, of February l7th, replete with expressions of friendship to this institution, but with assurances that no further publick aids are to be expected by me from that side the water till this publick controversy between them and us be amicably settled, which they suggest no present grounds of encouragement to expect; nor do they think fit in their publick and united capacity to write a word of politicks, but as private friends some of them express their great friendship to the religious and civil liberties of America, and their apprehensions that if the sword should be drawn in the controversy on this side the water, it will be soon theirs also.

I would humbly propose to your Honour, and if you shall think proper, to your honourable Assembly, whether —considering the surprising progress of this institution under the smiles of Heaven hitherto, and the fair prospect not only of its great utility to the general and charitable design of it, but also as it is, and likely may long be, an important barrier against the present threatening mischiefs of a Northern enemy — it may not be thought worthy your charitable recommendation of it to the charity and benevolence of the Continental Congress, to be by them recommended to the favour and notice of the pious and charitable of these Colonies.

This may greatly serve the interests of this institution in its present infant, feeble, and deserted state, and not only so, but raise it higher in the esteem of the savage Tribes, which are its first object, and enable me to increase its influence to the good purposes of preserving and increasing that peace and friendship which at present subsists between us and them, and seems to be of very great importance to both. My printed Narrative may give you and other gentlemen some short account of the progress and present state of it, by which you may be able to judge for yourselves of the propriety and expediency of what I here propose. All which I do, with the greatest cheerfulness and confidence, submit to your wise, prudent, and friendly determination. I would not have any thing published or sent abroad which I have hinted, so as to expose my friends at home, who, I find, are cautious in that matter. I am, my honoured and dear Sir, with much esteem and respect, your Honour' s most obedient and most humble servant,