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Two hundred and seventy-two years ago, John Cotton, minister of the First Church in Boston, with the co-operation of his ministerial associates, established what soon came

to be known as the “Great and Thursday Lecture.” This weekly lecture was in colonial times the chief social and religious event in Boston. In 1775 it was discontinued; but at the conclusion of the siege of Boston it was revived, and has since had a continuous existence. It has been the occasion for the discussion of public affairs as well as matters of theological interest. It is probably a unique institution in American life.

With the aid of two helpful friends, the American Unitarian Association has been able to unite with the minister and Standing Committee of the First Church to carry forward on this ancient foundation a course of lectures upon Religious Liberty in America. These lectures have attracted so much public interest that they are now published by the Association for larger circulation.

SAMUEL A. Eliot.

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