Open main menu

Page:Sketch of Connecticut, Forty Years Since.djvu/61

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


              "Haste! ere oblivion's wave shall close.
                  And snatch them from the deep,
               Muse for a moment o'er their woes,
                  Then bid their memory sleep."

IT has been mentioned that the tribe of natives, whose traditions we have partially gathered, retained amid its degeneracy, some individuals worthy of being rescued from oblivion. Among these, history has been most faithful in preserving the lineaments of their spiritual guide, the Rev. Samson Occom. He received instruction in the sciences and in the Christian faith, from the Rev. E. Wheelock, afterwards President of Dartmouth College. The sympathies of this excellent man [Reverend Wheelock] were aroused by the ignorance of a race, at once rapidly vanishing, and miserably despised. Regardless of the censure which stamped him as an enthusiast, and a visionary, he commenced a school for them in Lebanon, (Connecticut,) about the middle of the eighteenth century, and by his disinterested efforts for their improvement and salvation, deserves an illustrious rank among Christian philanthropists. Occom was his first pupil, and his intellectual advances, and genuine piety, compensated the labours of his revered instructor. After a residence of several years in the family of his benefactor, he became the teacher of a school on Long Island, and endeavoured to impart the