David Aaron Kates, “Horatio Collins King’s ‘Journal of My College Life, Comprising love, foolishness, and the like,'” John and Mary’s Journal 13 (2000): 21-22.
For over fifty years, King was a member of the Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, New York, which was founded by his father-in-law, John Tasker Howard. Henry Ward Beecher was pastor there from 1847 until his death in 1887. The two men became as close as brothers. King first became entranced by Beecher while at Dickinson. Along with eighteen other students, he attended an abolitionist speech by Beecher at the First Presbyterian Church in Harrisburg. According to King, all of the students were Democrats and anti-abolitionists. Yet Beecher captivated his audience for two hours with a speech entitled, "Equal Rights." On Tuesday, March 24, 1857, King wrote in his journal, "I listened to the finest lecture it was ever my good fortune to hear. Notwithstanding I could not accord with him in his fanatical views of 'Equal Rights' and Pulpit Politics, still all must acknowledge it to be a masterly effusion from the pen of a smart tho' misguided man." The Civil War and Beecher helped to change King's outlook, however. "The three years which I devoted to the great war reversed my attitude towards the slavery question," he later recalled, "and no one was happier than myself when the escutcheon of slavery was wiped off our national emblem."