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Samuel Kirkland to Joseph Willard

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Kirkland 137a

Letter from Samuel Kirkland to President Willard
Stockbridge 7th June 1791 Reverend Sir, A multiplicity of Business in the
Indian country, arising from a variety of causes, together with the
pleasing expectation I had long indulged of a personal interview this
spring, has occasioned my neglect of writing you: - and particularly to
acknowledge the honor you have conferred upon me in admitting me a member
of the Academy of Arts and Sciences of which the late Honorable Mr. Bowdoin
was President. You will please to accept of my unfeigned thanks for the
respect you have therein showed me. I shall feel myself happy, if it may be
in my power to contribute anything to that useful and important
Institution. I have nearly completed a pretty accurate census of the six
Nations of Indians, with their dependents and allies. The great
disproportion of men and children to the women among them compared with
that of the white Americans, will afford amusement to the inquisitive, and
perhaps be a subject of inquiry as to the cause of the difference by the
Philosopher. Should I be able to finish it the ensuing season I shall
transmit a copy either to the President or Professor Pearsons . The grounds
of uneasiness among the Miamis, and hostile state of things in that
vicinity, has very much agitated the minds of the Indians in general. They
say, the war, on their part ought to be made a common cause. This idea,
with great plausibility, is industriously propagated among them, and not
without some success. The Americans, say they, did the same in the
beginning of the late war with Great Britain: - It was not, said the
Americans, the sum of the tax, but the manner of levying it, which would
affect posterity. This aroused and united the former. The Indians now say,
'Tis not the quantity of land, but the manner in which Congress would take
possession of it, Viz Conquest, which will affect posterity. Therefore,
prosecuting the war, will inevitably tend to unite the Indians, more than
to divide and destroy them. I have lately received by two Indian runners, a
long letter from

from the noted Captain Brant of Grand River. Among other things, he says
that in his opinion an accommodation, is practicable, and endeavors to
point out the means, by which it may be effected. He writes in high terms,
as may well be expected, while his situation exposes him to British
influence. I may remark this to you, in confidence, that measures have been
devised and pursued for more than ten months, to prevail on Brant to make a
visit to Congress you will naturally suppose for human, and good political
purposes. - he has agreed on the proposed visit, and appointed the time - I
waited near two weeks in expectation of meeting him at Oneida, before I
left that country, as I had promised to conduct him safe down so far as
Albany. On my way, to Stockbridge, was informed, I might expect to see him
in Albany this week; for which purpose, and to fulfill my engagements, I
must set out tomorrow for that place. The political and temporal concerns
of the Indians, partly owing to the unhappy divisions among them, have
occupied more than one third part of my time this year past, and at some
seasons almost worn me out. But through divine goodness, I have been, for
the most part, blessed with unusual health - equal to the uncommon
hardships which have fallen to my lot. - The School at Oneida and in one
other village, has been for a considerable part of the time, in a very
flourishing state, some of the Indians have made great proficiency,
especially in reading and writing their own language. Whether the Honorable
Corporation, or Board, will pay the expense of the School, I am not
certain; as I cannot recollect, which of them agreed to have me set up the
School, upon my representation of the urgency of the case. Dr. Wigglesworth
told me there was money sufficient to defray the expense. I have charged it
to the Corporation, upon their former vote or resolve. Permit me, Sir, to
mention the condition of Good Peter, he has become old, unable to work
hard; -- and for a great part of the time the year past, has been taken up
in public concerns: and in catechizing. It is now more than two years since
he has had no help, agreeably to a former vote, except what little
assistance I have been able to afford him. Should the Honorable Corporation
see fit to send him a small token of their love, it would now be peculiarly
acceptable, as he has had much sickness in his family the late winter. For
my own part I have expended considerably more, than my salary the year
past, and have no way to extricate myself, but by disposing of my property
to a great disadvantage and to the injury of my orphan family - A few days
are wanting to

to complete the last quarter of my annual allowance, from the Corporation,
for which I have now drawn on their treasurer. I hope, it will be in his
power to answer the whole of the order, as my necessities are pressing. My
great distance renders it difficult to draw my Bills seasonably. - Shall be
always happy to hear of your welfare and that of your family. I am Reverend
Sir, with sentiments of high respect and sincere esteem, - Your most
obedient humble Servant.

Samuel Kirkland Reverend President Willard

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