Fourth Meeting House was erected in 1756 on land now part of the College
Yard, where Lehman Hall stands. The pulpit was in the middle of the
long north wall, and most of the floor was divided into box pews.
The main entrance was opposite the pulpit, not under the tower at
the west end. Seats in the front gallery were set aside for students
in the college. The building was used on many public occasions, including
college commencements and the inauguration of college presidents.
The first sessions of the convention that framed the present Constitution
of the Commonwealth met here in 1779. In 1833, the property was transferred
to Harvard College and the building torn down; the Parish receive,
in exchange, the land on which it constructed the Fifth Meeting House,
the college contributing to the cost.
Fourth Meeting House (1756-1833), viewed from the Common.
It was used for worship, town meetings and college ceremonies
shown in the original documents to the left, the American Revolution
is reflected in successive warrants for meetings of the First
Parish. In 1775, the inhabitants are greeted "in his majesties
Name". The following year, the title "his majesty"
disappears and the warrant is issued "in the Name of the
Government of this Colony and of the People". In 1781,
after the adoption of the Massachusetts Constitution, the wording
is: "In the Name of the Government and People of the Common
Wealth of Massachusetts". The warrants are a reminder that
while the church was a select covenanted body of communicants,
public worship was the common concern of all the inhabitants
of the territorial parish
College in 1767
from Views of Harvard, Harvard University Press.
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