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 church of Henry Ward Beecher, the Congregational Union, a church building society, had its anniversary. The house was filled with people, and Mr. Beecher presided. Our church had recently solicited pecuniary aid from the building society. Our Washington pastor, Dr. Boynton, and I were designated to plead our cause at this meeting and show why a Congregational enterprise at the capital should receive assistance from this national society. Dr. Boynton was well received by the people and gave an excellent, comprehensive written address. I followed with an offhand speech, in which I said in a half-jocose manner, that I had been at one time offered as a personal gift some United States bonds from citizens of Maine; that the press of Portland and of Boston had quickly taken up the subject before I had any notification. The newspapers declared that it was believed, a priori, that General Howard would not accept such a present. On seeing such words in print, I had written to friends in Portland and Boston and stated that I agreed with the published statement, but that I earnestly hoped that the contemplated bonds and money would be given to the orphans of our deceased soldiers. In the same manner I had hitherto declined such gifts. Then, turning to Mr. Beecher, I said: “Permit me to change my mind about taking presents. Generals Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, and Meade have had theirs. Now I will take mine. It shall be wholly for the house of the Lord!” Mr. Beecher, full of happy humor, said: “Well, General Howard, you shall have your gift.” Then he told the people to pass in their donations. Some $5,000 for our building fund was handed up from the people, in various sums, while Mr. Beecher amused them by his odd and humorous remarks. Something
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