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Department 1

Civil War Era Studies

Department 2



Sometime during the summer of 1830, the Rev. Dr. James May, an Episcopal clergyman and at that time rector of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, boarded a Hudson River steamboat on his way to a well-earned rest in the New York mountains. Sharing the same steamboat and the same destination with "a prominent Presbyterian Clergyman of the city of New York," the Rev. Dr. George Washington Bethune. The two divines fell to talking denominational shop, and "in the course of their conversation the Presbyterian spoke most favorably of the Protestant Episcopal Church." May was evidently taken aback; he was not accustomed to unsolicited endorsements from Presbyterian quarters. But Bethune was insistent: "I do not see, " said he, "what is to hinder your Church from becoming the dominant Christian body in this country before the close of the next half century." [excerpt]

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