HENRY WARD BEECHER.
Henry Ward Beecher was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, on the 24th of June, 1813, and was the eighth child of Dr. Lyman Beecher, the famous Presbyterian divine of New England. Dr. Beecher was regarded as one of the most powerful champions of orthodox Christianity in the land of the pilgrims, and had the good fortune to be the father of a family whose members have become celebrated for their intellectual gifts.
The most of these gave early promise of their future distinction, but the subject of this memoir was regarded as the dunce of the family. He grew up as the children of most New England clergymen of that day climbed the road to manhood. His father’s family was large, and the salary paid by the congregation never exceeded eight hundred dollars, and was not always promptly paid at that. The good people of the land of steady habits well knew how to drive hard bargains with the Lord’s messengers, and were adepts in the art of securing the “best talent” at the lowest price. The stern, hard struggle for a livelihood in which the father was engaged prevented him from giving much personal attention to his children, and the mother of young Henry dying when he was but three years old, the boy was left very much to himself. Like most ministers’ children, he was obliged to “set an example to the village,” and this boy was dosed with Catechism and his father’s stern and gloomy theological tenets until he was sick of them.