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LETTERS FROM REV. JOHN ELIOT OF ROXBURY, TO HON. ROBERT
Roxbury, Sept. 30, 1670.
YOUR constant care of, and steadfast affection unto this Indian
put under my hand, a weak and unworthy instrument herein) do great-
ters is the efficient of the stone, especially in those, whom I have conversed with, as may be demonstrated. But I am over bold to presume to meddle so far unto your honour. I therefore shall cease to give you any further trouble at present. So committing you to the Lord, and to the word of his grace, I remain,
Your honour's to serve you
in the service of the Lord Jesus,
Roxbury, October 23, 1677.
Right honourable nursing fathers,
HE poor praying Indians do thankfully acknowledge, that (under God, our heavenly father, and under Jesus Christ, our redeemer, who redeemeth us out of all our troubles) you have been the means and instruments in his hand, to save and deliver us. God moved your hearts to own us, in that black day, when all were against us, and we were almost ready to be swallowed up in destruction; which dark tine we ought not to forget, nor your owning kindness unto us in that cark day.
And since that, your charity hath greatly revived and refreshed us. Many of our aged, decrepid, fatherless, and wicows, still wear the garments, not yet worn out, which your charity did, the last winter, clothe us withal. And although we yet know not what our honoured commissioners will do for us, whose favour we doubt not of; yet understanding, that some doubt is raised about your countenancing and encouraging our rulers, who are of us, and live among us, and without whose presence and assistance, the Lord's work of soul-instruction and edification will soon faint, sink, and come to nothing; our humble petition is, first to God, that he who hath hitherunto, would still move your hearts for our good and welfare; and next, our petition is unto yourselves, that we may have the countenance of your favour, to countenance and own our rulers among us, without whose countenance, our teachers will be of little power, especially among our youth and rising generations, who do not yet favour the things of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and among strangers, who have not yet tasted how good the Lord is, though for their protection and safety they have crouded in upon us.
Noble hearted Sir, your gift I do still religiously keep, for some special and eminent service of the Lord, in the Lord's time. In our first war with the Indians, God pleased to shew us the vanity of our military skill, in managing our arms, after the European mode. Now we are glad to learn the skulking way of war. And what God's end is, in teaching us such a way of discipline, I know not. By our late eastern war it hath pleased God to shew us our weakness by sea, as formerly by land. The Indians took many of our fishing vessels and
the men that belonged to them, and forced them to sail whither they desired many of the men delivered themselves and their vessels; many Indians were slain, some English. The history of these actions I have not others do attend that service, to whom I leave it. The Governour of New-York sent a strength this summer, and took possession of a northern port, where they fixed and fortified themselves: since whose coming thither, the Indians have not stirred much. Little action hath passed, but I hear not of any peace made. The Yorkers have taken in hand a chargeable design : what profit will come of it, I know not; time will discover that: whether their intention be to promote religion, or only trading, I know not. It pleased the Lord, very lately to permit a small handful (not twenty) of the late scattered rod to make a sore direption upon Hatfield and Deerfield, at Connecticut; where about twelve persons were killed, more than twenty carried away captive, or lost; seven dwellings burned, and sundry barns full of corn; and since they have appeared at Hadley, burned the mill. They had parley with them, treated about restoring the captives, agreed of a time and place of meeting; but the Indians failed to appear. These last actions have very much discouraged our people from repairing the destroyed towns, which some were beginning to do.
We had a Sachem of the greatest blood in the country submitted to pray to God, a little before the wars: his name is Wanalaunset: in the time of the wars he fled, by reason of the wicked actings of some English youth, who causelessly and basely killed and wounded some of them. He was persuaded to come in again. But the English having ploughed and sown with rye all their lands, they had but little corn to subsist by. A party of French Indians (of whom some where of the kindred of this Sachem's wife) very lately fell upon this people, being but few and unarmed, and partly by persuasion, partly by force, carried them all away. One, with his wife, child, and kinswoman, who were of our praying Indians, made their escape, came in to the English, and discovered what was done. These things keep some in a continual disgust and jealousy of all the Indians. I shall give your honour no farther trouble at present. We entreat your prayers, and commit you to the Lord, and rest
Right honourable, charitable, indefatigable, nursing father, HEN good works of pure charity are sown three hundred fold thick, and that by a living hand, Lord, what a reaping time or harvest will there be ! Sir, you are eminently mindful of that Gospel charge, 1 Tim. vi. 17, 18, 19. Charge them that be rich in this world,
that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who, giveth us richly all things to enjoy. That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come; a foundation not of grace unto justification, by way of merit, but a foundation of degrees of glorification, when God will in free mercy distribute his gifts of glory, according to our improvements of our talents in the exercise of grace: he that gained ten talents, shall have ten cities.
I know it will please your charitable heart to hear how it fareth with those, that are your alumni. We are in great affliction by the Mauquaoy Indians; more than sixty at several times have been killed or captivated; a narrative whereof major Gookin presented to lord Culpepper, who was affected with it. Also he presented a copy thereof to Sir Edmond Andros, who was likewise affected with it, though it is said, that he might have prevented it. We hope he will move in it, and our Mr. Pinchon is gone up to join with Sir Edmond to endeavour a peace. Major Gookin intendeth to present your honour with a copy of the same narrative. The Eastern Indians do offer to renew peace with us, and to submit themselves to be taught to pray unto God. A chief Sachem was here about it, a man of a grave and discreet countenance. Our praying Indians, both in the islands, and on the main, are, considered together, numerous; thousands of souls, of whom some true believers, some learners, and some are still infants, and all of them beg, cry, entreat for bibles, having already enjoyed that blessing, but now are in great want. Your honour's liberality in English bibles is a great favour, which we with all thankfulness receive; but the bible in their own tongue, must help them to understand it. We are at the 19th chap. of the Acts; and when we have impressed the new testament, our commissioners approve of my preparing and impressing also the old. Your honour's bounty of thirty pounds towards our sending the gospel to those remote Indians, that speak the language, whereinto the bible is translated, I do religiously keep it, to be improved to the same end, to which your honour gave it, of which service I am still in hope, having more intelligence, that there is such a people,
But by the immaturity of some occurrences, and the intentions of the ships speedy sailing, I cannot give your honour any further diversion at this time: entreating your prayers, I commit you to God, and
Your honour's to serve you
in any service of Jesus Christ,
Roxbury, March 15, 1682-3.
Right honourable, charitable, nursing father,
sum of six pounds, as the product of your honour's gift of charity; which we did diligently distribute to Christian Indians, two aged blind women, others lame in their limbs, others decrepid with age; all which do bless you, the giver, and do praise God, the fountain; and we, your dispensers of so great charity, do thankfully accept of so good an office, as to be the disposers of so charitable gifts unto the poor Servants of Jesus Christ.
The Lord's work still goeth on among them, and though many of the younger sort, since the wars (where their souls received a wound) have declined, and too much miscarried, yet now (through the grace of Christ) they are on the repenting and recovering hand; of which your honour may hear more, when the work is prosecuted, and brought unto a good effect.
The great work, that I travel about, is, the printing the old testament, that they may have the whole bible. They have had the whole, in the first impression, and some of the old they still have, and know the worth and use of it; and therefore they are importunately desirous of the whole. I desire to see it done before I die, and I am so deep in years, that I cannot expect to live long besides, we have but one man (viz. the Indian printer) that is able to compose the sheets, and correct the press, with understanding. For such reasons, so soon as I received the sum of near forty pounds for the bible work, I presently set the work on foot; and one tenth part, or near, is done : we are in Leviticus. I have added some part of my salary, to keep up the work, and many more things I might add, as reasons of my urgency in this matter. Touching those remote Indians, to the North-West, whose language agreeth with ours, so that they and we can speak to each other's understanding, we have not as yet so full intelligence of them, as to make a report thereof. But I do both pray and wait for some information that way. And for the furtherance thereof, I do carefully reserve your honour's gift of thirty pounds, to be improved in that service, when the Lord shall please to open a door thereunto. The Mauquaoy Indians have not stirred to fall upon us this last year; but we are not yet fully settled in peace, because they declare the Eastern Indians to be their enemies; and the way unto them is through us; and our Wameset Indians, who are our most northerly plantation, are in danger to be their thoroughfair. And this putteth us into many fears; but our hope and help is in God, our eyes are unto him; this world is a place and state, wherein God's people must expect nothing steadfast, all things mutable and afflicting. But I shall cease to give your honour any farther trouble at present; therefore, commending you to the Lord, and to the word of his grace, I rest
Your honour's to serve you in Christ Jesus,