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


toŸpleased 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


[page 2]

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


[page 3]

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.


[page 4]

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.