The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
To Henry Cowles
23 December 1841
[MS in Cowles Papers, Oberlin College Archives, 30/27.]
Boston 23 Dec. 1841.
Dear Br. Cowles.
Yours of the 13th inst. is recd to day
I have recd. also your letter accompanying your call to
Br. Walker. I have laid that letter before him & con
versed with him fully on every point contained
therein. I had done this before on all the points upon
which I had any knowledge. He disclaims having
held the doctrine imputed to him in his 4 of July speech
As to his being a party man he never has been. He has
always refused to go with either party & taken
much pains to correct what he supposes to be wrong
in both parties. In some things he has gone with our
party & in others with the other party.
He is a self made man. Of a very philosophical
turn of mind. A pretty good english scholar. Has
read considerable Latin. He seemed & professed
topleased with the frankness of the brethren in
stating their views & fears & with their carefulness
to keep out wrong influences. His views of political
economy are entirely unlike any thing ever taught
in any school so far as I know. He maintains
with us that true political economy must consist
in national & individual obedience to the law of God.
This idea of the obligation of nations & of governments
to conform to the Moral law or law of equal love is
becoming developed in the minds of statesmen
John Quincy Adams recently delivered a lecture
recently in Boston in which he repudiated & exploded
Vattell's selfish scheme of international law & insisted
that nations in their intercourse with eachother
were bound to conform to the law of equal love.
Glory to God when this principle comes to be acknowledged
as universal law I think the reign of christ will
begin. Br. Walker has the subject of coming to O. under
consideration & will soon give you an answer.
I have consulted Br. Sears in regard to laying
your situation & wants before him. Br Sears is of
opinion that it would not be best. Br. Walker is
about to vest his funds where he can be sure of
the interest to support his family & where his business
will take up no part of his time. I talked with
Br. W. about his money. He says he can not tell as
yet what disposal he shall make of that part
of it which is not necessary to his support. He
must make up his mind in relation to that
when he sees the will of the Lord about it.
Br. Sears thinks that while he is balancing the
question about going to Oberlin it would be
unwise to apply to him to loan money to the In
stitution. that he needs first to be there & to be
acquainted with the brethren & see whether
the Institution meets his idea of the wants of
the church & the world. Br. Sears is well acquainted
with him & I should confide a good deal in
his judgment in the case. You say nothing about Br.
Dawes comming east after funds. Br. Walker remarked
to me a day or two since that the amount about which
they wrote to me ought not to be borrowed but might
be gotten in small donations. How I pray you is
the Institution to live another year without funds
or agents. The pressure in the money market is very
great this winter. The fact is that the system of our
trading still continues & is like to continue until
there is a radical overturning in both the world
& church upon the subject of money making.
Br. Walker says that the banking system is at the bottom
of the whole of it & in this he is undoubtedly corre[ct.]
You have no reason to fear I think that Br. Walker
will dabble with party politics at Oberlin. With respect
to his religion he thinks that he was converted some twenty
years ago. & in saying recently that he had had no reli
gion & that he must be converted &c he did not intend
absolutely that he never was converted. He has been un
able to attend meeting much for some time. He regrets
this much & so do I. I have told him that we do not
want him there unless he has the spirit of doing good
& that should he go without that spirit he will be very
unhappy there as well as useless. He know[s] fully
what we expect of him if he goes there. He calculates
& wishes to conform to Oberlin habits of living. To sell
his furniture & get it made there &c &c. His business tal
ent is said to be peculiar. His pieity will I trust improve.
I shall probably leave Boston soon to spend a little
time in Providence & perhaps some in N. York before I
return. I am pulled many ways. The interest is extending
here. I am so overcome with company that I can not stand
it much longer.
[Addressed:] Rev. Henry Cowles.
Oberlin Lorain co.
[Postmarked:] BOSTON MS DEC 2[3?]
Maffitt & Knapp & Kirk will be left on the ground
here. Knapp has begun to day. Kirk is to be here in two
weeks. He has been here two sabbaths & gone to Baltimore
Tell Br. Whipple that Br. Sears has paid 50 dollars for a draft
of the new church. It is so definite that the shape size & length
of all the timbers are marked. The plan will be sent by the
first opportunity. Your Brother. C. G. Finney.
Of Amasa Walker, R. S. Fletcher wrote:
Walker was a former wholesale shoe merchant of Boston who had retired to his family home at North Brookfield, Massachusetts, when only forty-one years of age on account of ill health. Living on the moderate fortune which he had accumulated he devoted himself to reform, politics and the study of Political Economy. He was an advocate of the immediate emancipation of the slaves, Elihu Burritt's first lieutenant in the peace crusade, an active proponent of free trade, a leading promoter of the Lyceum movement, a one-time president of the Boston Temperance Society, and a friend to every other reform. It was natural that he should be attracted to Oberlin and that Oberlin should be attracted to him. (R. S. Fletcher, A History of Oberlin College From Its Foundation Through the Civil War (New York: Arno Press, 1971), p. 706.
Walker was invited to become "Professor of Political Economy and General History". On January 17, 1842 he sent his reply accepting the appointment to teach political economy but not history; and he arrived at the college in July.
A tear in the letter here has removed part of the word correct.
This word would appear to have meant to be piety.