April 19, 1890 Letter to unidentified recipient, G. Routledge and Sons

Routledge and Sons were publishers. Between 1890–92 Higginson published five books, including the two volumes of the poems of Emily Dickinson he co-edited with Mabel Loomis Todd. It is not clear what "privilege" this letter refers to, or if it has to do with any of his own publishing projects. The two churches he mentions were the First Religious Society of Newburyport, Massachusetts, where he was minister from 1847–1849, and the Free Church in Worcester where he was minister from 1852–1857. His first church was Unitarian, but the members found him too radical for their taste. After the 1853 convention of the American Unitarian Association, Higginson was increasingly critical of them for their aimlessness and powerlessness in the current anti-slavery climate. Higginson was more in tune with the more liberal members of the Free Church, but he resigned his pulpit when he became increasingly active in anti-slavery work and the Disunion movement, a radical effort by Abolitionists in the North to expel the slave states from the Union.

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Cambridge, Mass.

Apr. 10, 1890

Messrs. G. Routledge & Sons
Dear Sir

I am
well acquainted with "Men of
the Fire" & have been struck
with its accuracy on American
Subjects. I have tried not to
abuse the privilege you offer.
The first connection as to the
churches was necessary, as it
describes more correctly the facts
of the case. Neither of my
churches called itself Unitarian
& my second was a wholly
independent organization called a
"Free Church."

Truly yours

T. W. Higginson