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by Jacob Marmor (pseudonym)

Friday, September 19, 1941

in What's New In Town

W. J. Sidis


            On the northwest corner of Washington and School Streets is a house which, at first sight, is just another building containing stores in the first story a 'haberdashery store on the Washington Street side, a racing-tip establishment on the School Street side, but nothing outstanding about the building at first glance. Looking at it from a little farther away―for instance, from across Washington Street―the antiquity of the building becomes apparent. It was, indeed, one of the early homes of old Puritan Boston In 1636, it was occupied by one Mrs. Anne Hutchinson and her serving-maid. Mrs. Hutchinson had her own decided views on religion, partly derived from visions which she claimed were direct revelations to her. She also organized regular meetings of Boston women for discussions of current events of the community, and very frank criticism of those in authority. This got her . . . at least on the political angle . . . followers not only among the women, but among their husbands. In 1636, she was exiled for the serious offense of unorthodox beliefs, and particularly, of criticising the clergy of the Congregational Church. Boston still had a long fight ahead of it for religious liberty, and Mrs. Hutchinson was foremost in this fight at that time. She and her maid went to the Indians for protection, and the Penacook Federation followed the policy they had already decided on with regard to religious refugees; namely, to give them a place of refuge in the Narragansett country, under special agreements providing for the strict condition that there would be full freedom of religious beliefs in the refuge. The two women were assigned the islands of Narragansett Bay, and settled on Aquidneck Island. Their followers came along shortly after to join them, and started on the island a town which they named Newport. These people drew up for themselves an agreement for administering their new colony, in accordance with the discussions they had at Washington and School Streets in Boston. In this agreement, they gave their new type of government a new name . . .also apparently from their Boston discussions . . . Democracie. It is interesting also to note that as part of the definition appears the statement "that none shall be deemed delinquent for doctrine." This little forgotten building on Washington Street is where it all started. For some time, until the World War, the building was occupied by the Old Corner Book Store, which is now on Bromfield Street.


        Boston possesses a tiny bit of territory . . . only a few hundred feet in extent, on the far side of the Mystic River. It was apparently due to another river channel that formerly existed, but now filled with mud; in fact, there is only mud in this whole tract of land. The place is at the Everett end of the bridge leading toward Sullivan Square; the Boston line is not in the river, as might be supposed, but very close to Everett Station, and a city line sign can be seen in that neighborhood. The bridge is called Malden bridge, referring to the fact that Everett used to be part of Malden.


         A bunch of tourists were being "personally conducted" around Boston by a guide. At the Bunker Hill Monument the guide informed his charges: "This is the spot where General Warren fell." At which a young lady piped up from the crowd: "Did it hurt him?


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