One family’s mission
"With the fires of hatred rekindled in the North by the assassination and in the South by emancipation, the establishment of a more perfect union as heralded in Henry Ward’s speech was a matter of deep doubt. From his pulpit and publications, Henry Ward would have to plead with his fellow countrymen to be understanding and compassionate; as a commander responsible for order and purposeful activity to a large segment of a society turned upside down, James would have to deal with an infinite number of practical problems. Fortunately, the Beecher brothers knew that they would at least have the strong support of active and influential siblings. Four living brothers were also ministers, and three of their four sisters had established national and international leadership positions through their writings, speeches, and organizational activities. If, as Lincoln suggested, Beechers had made the war, they would now feel charged to make the peace. They had learned that it would not be easy from half a century of trying to sell their gospel of love to their fellow men; hatred found a readier market. Nevertheless, the Beechers would go on trying, since the mission that they had been trained for from the cradle was simply to save the world."
From the Prelude to The Passionate Beechers
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About the Author
SAMUEL A. SCHREINER, JR., a veteran journalist and former senior editor at Readers Digest, is the author of several novels and nonfiction works. His previous books include The Trials of Mrs. Lincoln and Henry Clay Frick: The Gospel of Greed. Schreiner lives in Darien, Connecticut.