James May



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James May writes that he is expecting William Sparrow to come visit him in Wilkes Barre and offers several routes Sparrow can take to do this. He then expresses his opinion on the potential trial of Bishop Onderdonk, which he thinks will happen soon.




James May, William Sparrow, Dr. Tyng, Bishop Onderdonk, Wilkes-Barre, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Maryland


Wilkes Barre Aug. 19, 1844

Rev. & dear brother,

I arrived here a few days ago (on the 16th) and now summon you to be & appear here also in your proper person as soon as possible after receiving this letter. I can assure you of a cordial welcome of as much enjoyment as is to be fond in a beautiful valley & in intercourse with a kind people. To speak seriously, we do certainly expect you here and are not willing to be put off. You can come from Baltimore either by way of Philad’a and Mauch Chunk or by way of York & Harrisburg. There is a Railroad from Baltimore to York by which travelers leave Baltimore at 9 o’clock A.M. & proceed from York to Harrisburd by stage & thence by canal &c. If you come by Philad’a the route is by the Pottsville & Reading Rail Road to Port Clinton to Mauch Chunk & so to Wilkes Barre by canal & the Lehigh Rail Road. From Philad’a take passage through to Willes Barre. Now we shall look for you at once.

As to diocesan matters, I think Dr. Tyng will be elected assistant Bp. at the Special Convention. This may be regarded as in the highest degree [protable], unless events occur now not thought of. The vote of evangelical men as a body will b in his favour. He will be tried & (not degraded but) suspended for a term of years (e.g. 5 or 7). The Bp he thinks has reformed & may yet become effective in this station. But the voice of the diocese is loud and strong against Bp. O. & nothing will ever give him a hold on the confidence of the body of the members of the Ch. Even if he be suspended, I do not think that he will ever again be so restored as to exercise his office. If he can be put aside in no other way it will be by a private arrangement. If summoned to trial, he has said, he will not appear. If he appear it is thought he will plead guilty in general, but offer extenuating circumstances. He has great fear of having exposed his familiarity with females, & on that count he may plead not guilty & rely on the delicacy of females to prevent testimony to the fact being found. The ch. will be greatly injured & the public scandalised if an example be not made of him. Hooker (Herman) thinks the Bp. will not be degraded & destroyed because o the maxim that “Sheep will not eat mutton, the Bp. being themutton & the court for trying him, the sheep. Time will soon open the seal.

My best regards to Mrs. Sparrow, & your children. My letter, I presume, will find you at home, as Hooker (who met you at Shepherdstown) told me you were about to go home.

Your affectionate friend

James May.

Letter to William Sparrow



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