A man in the city hotel, and not a little feared because of his brutality, had done something more brutal than usual, and, the facts coming to Mr. Beecher's knowledge, in his sermon on the following Sunday he expressed in no gentle terms his abhorrence of the act, and in very strong language rebuked the man....
As he passed the hotel there were several standing by, evidently waiting for some development. At that moment the man came down the steps with a pistol in his hand.
"Did you say thus and so in your sermon yesterday?"
"Did you intend those remarks for me, or were you meaning me?"
"I most certainly did."
"Then take it back right here, or by -- I'll shoot you on the spot."
"Shoot away" was the reply...
-from Chapter X
Liberal preacher, abolitionist, social reformer, and proponent for women's suffrage, HENRY WARD BEECHER (1813-1887), brother of Uncle Tom novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe, was one of the most fiery personalities in American public life in the 19th century.
This stunningly comprehensive and frank 1888 biography-begun by Beecher himself and completed just after his death by his son WILLIAM CONSTANTINE BEECHER (1849-1928) and son-in-law REV. SAMUEL SCOVILLE (1834-1902)-omits not one moment of controversy in Beecher's life.
From his arming of antislavery forces in the run-up to the Civil War with rifles that came to be dubbed "Beecher's Bibles" to the shocking sex scandal that dogged him in the 1870s, this is the no-holds-barred life of a man passionate of spirit and strong of will.
OF INTEREST TO: students of American history, social activists, readers of biography