Henry Ward Beecher

(1813—1887) American Congregationalist clergyman, orator, and writer

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son of Lyman Beecher and brother of Catharine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe, was a celebrated Congregational minister, moral crusader, and lecturer. At his Plymouth (Congregational) Church in Brooklyn, he became the outstanding pulpit orator of his day, being immensely popular for his sentimental and high-flown rhetoric in sermons on political, social, and religious subjects. He was an ardent champion of antislavery and during the Civil War delivered a popular series of lectures in England on behalf of the Union cause. His sermons were published in many volumes, and his other books include Norwood; or, Village Life in New England (1867), a sentimental novel; The Life of Jesus, the Christ (1871); Yale Lectures on Preaching (1872–74); and Evolution and Religion (1885). His reputation was seriously injured by the suit (1874) of Theodore Tilton, who accused Beecher of adultery with Mrs. Tilton. Although the jury disagreed, the scandal turned Beecher from a respected to a notorious figure for some years.

Subjects: Literature.

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