Boston: 29 April 1719.
1-1/2 pp, second leaf addressed in Mather's hand, remnant of wax seal. 12mo. Mather discredits the minister at Bristol. Bifolium, leaves separated. Some spotting and minor soiling, two words partially obscured at foot of first page. Item #313724
Mather writes his fellow minister Samuel Danforth at Taunton, to convey a report on the Reverend James McSparran, a recent immigrant from Ireland whom Mather was trying to prevent from being installed as minister to the congregation of Bristol, Mass (later Rhode Island).
In part: "An Honorable friend has demanded it of me, that I give you some report of what Mr Boyd said unto us, concerning the unhappy young man in whom the peace of Bristol & ye Neighbourhood, is disturbed.
"He constantly said unto us, that he had no personal knowledge of this McSparron [sic]; But that it was Reported and Believed in Ireland that his coming ... was to avoid a propension for a Fornication; And that, if his Testimonials appear as coming from any Presbytery shore, they are doubtless a Forgery....
"Be it how it will, ye evidences you have to convict him of a notorious Falsehood in the confession he publickly made at Bristol, and enough to discover & determine such a leprosy upon him, as disqualifies him from the services of the sanctuary...."
Though the Bristol congregation held a meeting and found McSparran blameless, he nevertheless returned to Ireland to clear up the matter of his credentials. While there he converted to Anglicanism, and when he returned to America it was to head the Episcopal church in Narragansett, which he did for 37 years. In 1753 McSparran published America Dissected, an account of the colonies written mainly to discourage his fellow Irishmen from immigrating there.
Samuel Danforth (1666-1727) graduated from Harvard in 1683, and served as the minister at Taunton from 1687 until his death. His father, also Samuel Danforth (1626-1674), was the important Roxbury minister, poet, and astronomer, one of the five founding fellows of Harvard.
Autograph material by Mather is uncommon in the market.
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