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Dr. Wheelock to Governour Trumbull



Dartmouth College, March 22, 1775.

MUCH HONOURED SIR: I wrote you a few days ago by a stranger belonging to Simsbury, but fearing it may have miscarried, and not knowing but the contents may be of importance to the Colonies, as they appear to be to us in these frontiers, I don' t seem to be excusable unless I have assurance that you are availed of the matter, and therefore trouble you with this line by my bookkeeper, Mr˙ Storrs.

Your honour well understands what a feeble, defenceless state this Seminary and all these frontier Towns are in; how near to the Canadians, and what an easy prey we may be to such a Northern army of Savages, &c˙, as we are threatened with.

We hear of preparations making for an invasion, and that some of the Warriours among the Indians were; in high spirits to engage on the one side or the other in the present controversy; and if they shall not be secured in our interests they will likely join on the other side.

I have hitherto been secure and easy, as I have some of their children, from the most respectable tribes in Canada, whom I consider as hostages, and trust they will send for them before they will proceed to hostilities towards us.

I have also (notwithstanding my means of supporting the expense from abroad are wholly stopped) thought the importance of the case to be so great, that I have sent Mr˙ James Dean, a young gentleman of the most excellent and thorough accomplishments for the purpose, to itinerate as Missionary among those tribes this spring, for a few months, to strengthen that friendship and cultivate that acquaintance which has lately commenced between those tribes and this school; and to bring more of those boys hither with him if he can — among whom I expect the young Sachem, who was lately elected and crowned at Caghnawaga, (and who is a descendant from captivated parents,) as his father, who was here twelve months ago to visit his little son, who is with me, promised to send him as soon as certain rites, customary to ratify and publish such election and investiture, should be performed. I look upon this connection and friendship lately commenced between us and them to be at present our surest bulwark against an invasion, if it should be attempted.

Mr˙ Dean is thorough master of the languages of the Six Nations, and can also speak the Huron language. He is a young gentleman of learning, virtue, and great prudence; was early naturalized among the Indians; well understands their customs; is much esteemed by them as an orator, and has "great interest in their affections, and is, in my opinion, the fittest man I know on earth to be employed, if there should be occasion for one among the Western and Northern Tribes. He was of opinion (though he had no thought of its being mentioned) that it would likely be in his power, if he should be properly encouraged and authorized thereto, to attach all the Six Nations firmly to the interest of these Colonies; and I don' t think he misjudged his ability or influence for that purpose. What I have wrote you will naturally understand to have been only from a principle of self-preservation, and it will be injurious to me and the cause which is my object if it should be represented as militating against the Crown.


With confidence in your prudence and friendship, and with much respect and esteem, your honour' s most obedient and very humble servant,


I expect Mr˙ Dean here in May.