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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Atlantic Essays, The Puritan minister. (search)
is strange how few years are required to make a usage seem ancestral, or to revive it after long neglect. Who now remembers that our progenitors for more than a century disused religious services on both these solemn occasions? Magistrates alone could perform the marriage ceremony; though it was thought to be carrying the monopoly quite too far, when Governor Bellingham, in 1641, officiated at his own. Prayer was absolutely forbidden at funerals, as was done also by Calvin at Geneva, by John Knox in Scotland, by the English Puritans in the Westminster Assembly, and by the French Huguenots. The bell might ring, the friends might walk, two and two, to the grave; but there must be no prayer uttered. The secret was, that the traditions of the English and Romish Churches must be systematically set aside. Doctor, said King James to a Puritan divine, do you go barefoot because the Papists wear shoes and stockings? Even the origin of the frequent New England habit of. eating salt fish
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Atlantic Essays, Sappho. (search)
she has shared the fortunes of others of her sex, endowed like her with God's richest gifts of intellect and heart, who have been the victims of remorseless calumny for asserting the prerogatives of genius, and daring to compete with men in the struggle for fame and glory. Indeed, I know of no writer since Welcker who has seriously attempted to impugn his conclusions, except Colonel Mure, an Edinburgh advocate, whose onslaught upon Sappho is so vehement that Felton compares it to that of John Knox on Mary Stuart, and finds in it proof of a constitutional hostility between Scotch Presbyterians and handsome women. But Mure's scholarship is not high, when tried by the German standard, whatever it may be according to the English or American. His book is also somewhat vitiated in this respect by being obviously written under a theory, namely, that love, as a theme for poetry, is a rather low and debasing thing; that the subordinate part it plays in Homer is one reason why Homer is gr