Letitia Hall, "Threshold of a Century: the Diary of Louisa Adams Park, 1800-1801"


Price stressed the essential unity of belief in Christian sects, but inferred that Unitarianism was the most logical and most biblically correct.39  Some of Price's sermons focused on the happiness to be derived by learning and practicing virtues. These were published with a series of sermons explaining similarities and differences between various dissenting Christian sects. Louisa's diary entries indicate that this was the volume she rented from the library. Louisa admired Price's work, and read deeply and regularly:

17th Sunday. Read sermons in the morning–go to Amesbury [meeting house] to hear Mr. Hull [preach.] The people like him much,–but I think he is rather superficial....
...20. Wednesday. I read, every morning, one or two of Price's Sermons. They are excellent–the best, I think I ever read....
...25. Monday. Price's Sermons I have read attentively, and can say, I think his sentiments of religion–it's principles–it's advantages and blessings to those who practice it as they ought, the most consistent and reasonable of any. I certainly have taken much satisfaction in reading him.40

In New England, Price's sermons were being read as part of an influx of new and dissenting religious ideas. Questions about salvation, the Trinity and the divine nature Jesus, and how best to live a Christian life were addressed by Methodists, Universalists, and Unitarians, as well as other lesser known sects. The autonomous Congregational churches were free to call dissenting ministers to their pulpits.

Louisa was fully engaged in the that exchange of ideas. During the time she had the library copy of Price's Sermons, Louisa was invited to hear a sermon by a minister whose doctrine offended her. Her criticism shows a spunky sarcasm unusual in her writing and it is steeped in her associations with class and moral responsibility:

39. Richard Price, Sermons on the Christian Doctrine as Received by the Denominations of Christians. To which are added, Sermons on the Security and Happiness of a Virtuous Course, on the Goodness of God, and the Resurrection of Lazarus. London, 1787, The Eighteenth Century (Woodbridge, Conn.: Research Publications, Inc., 1985) 98-101.
40. Park, Diary, May 1801.
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