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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Atlantic Essays 2 0 Browse Search
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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Atlantic Essays, The Puritan minister. (search)
act of worship. In which settlement of the Massachusetts Colony is the great ceremonial to pass before our eyes? If it be Cambridge village, the warning drum is beating its peaceful summons to the congregation. If it be Salem village, a bell is sounding its more ecclesiastic peal, and a red flag is simultaneously hung forth from the meeting-house, like the auction-flag of later periods, but offering in this case goods without money and beyond price. If it be Haverhill village, then Abraham Tyler has been blowing his horn assiduously for half an hour, a service for which Abraham, each year, receives a half-pound of pork from every family in town. Be it drum, bell, or horn, that gives the summons, we will draw near to this important building, the centre of the village, the one public edifice,--meeting-house, townhouse, school-house, watch-house, all in one. So important is it, that no one can legally dwell more than a half-mile from it. And yet the people ride to meeting, shor