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prosperous. He had been eligibly settled, and had numerous and respectable friends, and a promising family. He had been greatly assisted of God in the discovery of truth, and had acquired high reputation, and very extensive influence. It appears, however, to be the lot of the children of God, to suffer aflictions; and from this species
of discipline, even those of distinguished piety are not exempt. This affliction was most severe. Where a minister and his people are united in love, no earthly connection, if we except that of marriage and those subsisting between the nearest relations by blood, is so near and intimate. This connection had subsisted long, and had been of the happiest character. Yet, with no fault on his part to justify alienation on theirs, when he merely obeyed the dictates of his conscience, and the express command of God; he found those, who had long manifested the highest esteem and affection for him, and had publicly acknowledged him as their spiritual father, uniting against him in one body, "wickedly slandering him,"* rejecting every proposal of accommodation, paying no regard to his feelings, or the distress brought on him and his family, and resorting to low management, and to gross injustice, to drive him from the midst of them. All this, however, was the appointment of God; and he received the chastisement of his heavenly Father, with such exemplary submission, that it would seem to have been sent upon him, only to reveal more fully, the excellence of his character.
ON THE WHOLE, it is evident, that, while the dismission of Mr. Edwards was, in itself considered, an event greatly to be regretted, it was at the same time, in every part of it, most honourable to himself, and proved, in its ultimate consequences, an essential blessing to the Church of God.
* Mr. Hawley's Letter.
Proposals from Stockbridge and from the Commissioners.-Visit
to Stockbridge.--Indian Mission.-Housatonnucks.Mohawks. - Dissensions of English inhabitants.-Mr. Hollis' munificence. - Letter to Mr. Hobby.—Reply of Rev. Solomon Williams.Letter to Mr. Erskine.—Letter to Mr. Gillespie.—First Letter
to Mr. Hollis.—Removal to Stockbridge.—Letter to Hon. Mr. Hubbard.-Petition to General Court.
Early in December, 1750, Mr. Edwards received proposals, from the church and congregation in Stockbridge, to become their Minister; and about the same time, similar proposals from the COMMISSIONERS, at Boston, of the “Society IN LONDON, FOR PROPAGATING THE GOSPEL IN New ENGLAND, AND THE PARTS ADJACENT,” to becomet he Missionary of the Housatonnucks, or River Indians, a tribe at that time located in Stockbridge and its immediate vicinity. Before deciding on these proposals, he went to Stockbridge, in the beginning of January, 1751, and continued there during the remainder of the winter, and the early part of the spring, preaching both to the English inhabitants, and, by the aid of an interpreter, to the Indians. Soon after his return, he accepted of the invitation both of the Commissioners, and of the people of Stockbridge.
The Indian Mission at Stockbridge commenced in 1735; when the Rev. John Sergeant was ordained their Missionary. He continued to reside there until his death, July 27th, 1749. His Indian congregation, originally about fifty in number, gradually increased, by accessions from the neighbouring settlements on the Housatonnuck River, to the number of two hundred and fifty—the actual number in 1751. Mr. Sergeant devoted much of his time to the study of their language; (the Moheekanneew;*) yet, at the close of his life, he had not made such progress, that he could preach in it, or even pray in it, except by a form. He ultimately regretted the time and labour thus lost, and expressed the conviction, that it would be far better for his successor not to learn the language, but to preach by an interpreter, and to teach the children of the Indians the English language, by the aid of schoolmasters. Very little
*The common language of all the Indians in New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, except the Iroquois. VOL. I.
success appears to have attended his labours, either among the Indians or the English congregation.
A school was established, for the instruction of the Indian children, at the commencement of the mission, and placed under the care of Timothy Woodbridge, Esq. one of the original settlers of Stockbridge, and characterized by Mr. Edwards, as “a man of very good abilities, of a manly, honest and generous disposition, and as having, by his upright conduct and agreeable manners, secured the affections and confidence of the Indians.” He was supported by the government of the Province, and devoted himself faithfully to the business of instructing the Indian children; yet for a long period, like Mr. Sergeant, he had to lament that so little success attended his labours. This was owing to various causes. The Indians lived in a village by themselves, at a small distance from the English settlement. Their children lived at home with their parents, , and not in a boarding school ; and of course made little or no progress in the English language; and they had no books in their own. The English traders sold large quantities of ardent spirits to the Indians, and in this way constantly counteracted the efforts, made to do them good. There were also unfortunate dissensions among the people of Stockbridge. The settlement of the town was begun, with a direct reference to the intellectual and moral improvement of the Indians, in the immediate vicinity. The lands of the Indians, comprizing a very extensive tract, were secured to
and important privileges were granted to the families of the original settlers, by the Provincial Legislature, with reference to this very object. Unfortunately, one of the most wealthy of those settlers* appears to have removed to Stockbridge, with the design of amassing a still larger fortune, by his intercourse with the Indian settlement. With this view, he formed a large trading establishment in the neighbourhood. From his wealth and his locality, affairs of some moment, relating to the Indians at Stockbridge, were on various occasions, entrusted to his management; in one of which Mr. Woodbridge regarded him as doing so great and palpable an injury, both to the ludians and the province, that, taking it in connection with the general tenor of his conduct, he felt himself bound to prevent, as far as lay in his power, all intercourse between him and the Indian settlement, as well as all influence which he might attempt to exert, over the affairs of the Indians. In return, he endeavoured, in the first instance, to prevent the Indians from sending their children to the school, and to render those parents who actually sent them, dissatisfied with Mr. Woodbridge; and at length to procure the dismission of that gentleman from his appointment. This controversy was of long continuance, and affected the whole
* This individual was an elder branch of the to in the account of Mr. Edwards' dismission.
family, already alluded
settlement. The result was, that, although he amassed considerable wealth, he entirely lost the confidence of the Indians; and so
: completely alienated the minds of the English inhabitants, that every family in the place, his own excepted, sided with his antagonist. This controversy, for a long time, had a most inauspicious effect on the school of Mr. Woodbridge, and on the mission of Mr. Sergeant.
In 1739, Mr. Sergeant, despairing of any considerable success under the existing plan of instruction, attempted the establishment of an Indian boarding-school, to be kept at the expense of the English. He proposed, that the children should live in the family of their instructor, and learn the English language, and that their time should be divided between work and study, under different masters. For some time, he made but little progress in raising funds for this purpose, but at length was aided in his design, by the benevolence of the Rev. Isaac Hollis, a clergyman near London, who most generously offered to defray the expense of the board, clothing and instruction, of twelve Indian children.* At this time, no boarding house was built; and, for a long period, Mr. Sergeant found it impossible, to procure a person, duly qualified, to take charge of the school. To begin the work, however, Mr. Sergeant hired as a temporary teacher, until a competent one could be procured, a Capt. Martin Kellogg, an illiterate man, originally a farmer, and subsequently a soldier, about sixty years of age, very lame withal, and wholly unaccustomed to the business of instruction. His sister, Mrs. Ashley, the wife of a Capt. Ashley of Suffield, who had been taken prisoner, when a child, by the Iroquois, and perfectly understood their language, was the interpreter of the English at Stockbridge; and her brother having come to reside there, in consequence of having no regular business, was employed temporarily by Mr. Sergeant, for the want of a better instructor, because he was on the spot. A school had just been commenced under his auspices, (not however as a boarding school, as no house could be procured for the purpose,) when the French war of 1744 broke it up; and Capt. Kellogg, that he might con
* In the spring of 1732, Mr. Hollis remitted £100, stg. to the Rev. Dr. Col. man, for the instruction of Indian children. In 1734, having seen the printed account of the Ordination of Messrs. Parker, Hinsdale and Secembe, and their mission to the Indian tribes on the Eastern and Western borders of New England; he offered Dr. C. £20, stg. per annum, forever, for the support of a fourth missionary ; but Dr. C. dissuaded him froin such an appropriation. In Nov. 1736, Dr. C. received from Mr. H. £56, stg. for the education of twelve Indian boys at Housatonnuck, under the care of Mr. Sergeant ; in Aug. 1738, £343, currency; and in May, 1740, £447, 9s. currency, for the same object. After this he appropriated, at first, £50, stg. annually, for the support and instruction of twelve Indian boys, and subsequently £120, stg. annually, for the support and instruction of twenty-four Indian boys, at the same place.--- See a pamphlet, published by Dr. Colman in 1743.
tinue to receive the money of Mr. Hollis, carried several of the Indian boys to Newington in Connecticut, where he had previously resided.
After the close of the war, in 1748, Mr. Sergeant began the erection of a house for a boarding school. He also wrote a letter
a to the nation of the Mohawks, then residing on the Mohawk River, about forty miles west of Albany, inviting them to bring their children to Stockbridge, for instruction. But he did not live to see either of these designs accomplished. At his death, in 1749, several Indian boys were left in the hands of Capt. Kellogg, who, in the autumn of 1750, not having heard from Mr. Hollis for a considerable period, and supposing him to be dead, dismissed them for a time, and gave up his attempt to form a school.
In consequence of the letter of Mr. Sergeant to the Mohawk tribe, which had been accompanied by a very kind invitation from the Housatonnuck Indians, offering them a portion of their lands, for a place of settlement, if they would come and reside in Stockbridge, about twenty of them, old and young, came to that place, in 1750, a short time before the removal of Mr. Edwards and his family. The Provincial Legislature, learning this fact, made provision for the support and maintenance of the children, and Capt. Kellogg, unfortunately, was employed as the instructor. He never established a regular school, however, but taught the boys occasionally, and incidentally, and employed them chiefly in cultivating his own lands. He was then 65
age. Near the close of Mr. Sergeant's life, the school for the Housatonnuck children, under Mr. Woodbridge, became much more flourishing. His salary was increased, the number of his pupils augmented, and himself left to act with less restraint. The Indians also became less inclined to intemperance. The influence of the
family was likewise extinct: the English inhabitants having, to a man, taken the opposite side in the controversy; and the Indians regarding Mr. Woodbridge as their best friend, and his opponent as their worst enemy. Mr. Woodbridge was also, at this period, able to avail himself of the assistance of a young Housatonnuck, educated by himself, of the name of John Wonwanonpequunnonnt, a man of uncommon talents and attainments, as well as of sincere piety; who appears to have been raised up by Providence, that he might become the interpreter of Mr. Edwards, in preaching to his countrymen.
Mr. Hollis, having heard of the arrival of the Mohawks at Stockbridge, and supposing that a regular boarding school was established under the care of Capt. Kellogg, wrote to him to increase the number of the children to twenty-four, who were to be maintained and instructed at his expense. During the winter of 1750–51, the number of Mohawks, who came to reside at Stockbridge, was in