In response to:
American Apostle from the March 26, 1998 issue
To the Editors:
Robert Stone’s wording could lead one to believe [NYR, March 26] that Harriet Beecher Stowe was the daughter of Henry Ward Beecher, which she wasn’t. Reverend Lyman Beecher sired thirteen children, one being Harriet and another being her brother Henry, who, as you know, achieved fame preaching on national issues from his Brooklyn pulpit and who also caused quite a stir as defendant in an alleged adultery suit but has been immortalized in the following:
The Reverend Henry Ward Beecher
Called his hen a most elegant creature.
The hen, pleased with that,
Laid two eggs in his hat,
And thus did the hen reward Beecher.
Robert B. Seaver
Robert Stone replies:
On some level, I believe I was aware that Henry Ward Beecher was the son of the Reverend Lyman Beecher and the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Unfortunately I seemed not in command of that level while writing my review of Alfred Kazin’s God and The American Writer. Mr. Seaver and others who wrote to point out the actual relationships of the Beecher-Stowe family are of course correct.