FREE RELIGIOUS ASSOCIATION: An association established in Boston May 30, 1867, aiming at the emancipation of religion from sectarian limitations, the reconciliation of faiths, and the application of scientific methods to the study of religion, and emphasizing practical morality. Octavius Brooks Frothingham was the first president, and for many years Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of the vice-presidents. Members are allowed the utmost liberty of opinion. The elastic nature of the organization--"any person desiring to cooperate" is "considered a member"--renders exact statistics impossible. The association has not attempted to organize local societies, but has contented itself with holding conventions and distributing publications. An annual report is usually issued in pamphlet form.
EDWIN D. MEAD.