San Luis Obispo, Cal.
June 18, 1861 My dear sister Anne;

After so long a silence I hardly know how to commence a letter for your perusal; but, I suppose that now the ice is broken I shall find it easy enough. I have kept myself pretty well posted about you and yours from my brother, who is a pretty regular correspondent of yours.

As far as regards myself, I am still in the land of the living, am doing very well and hope to do still better. If circumstances favor me I shall be able within a year or two to make a trip home and still be, when I return, in very comfortable circumstances. I could not venture on the trip without having at least $3000 in hard cash that I could afford to spend.

You must know that persons living in California necessarily learn to be careless and extravagant in their expenditures, from the facility there is of making and also of losing money. I am sorry to hear that our little squabble here in the family is affecting business in the old country. In California it is, I believe, benefiting instead of injuring business, I know it does with me. We are all Unionists here except a few misled individuals who are only laughed at. It will soon be over, I hope, and then the United States stars and stripes will wave prouder than ever, in spite of the evil prognostications of croakers.

Pacheco has arrived here, and we are going to run him for Senator. Some parties wish my brother to run against him, but he does not feel inclined much to do so. I am sorry you did not see him, as I am sure you would have been pleased with him.

I would like very much to see Elijah again; I have not forgotten my old playmate.

My mother is rather alarmed at the prospect of Charles Manfred's coming to California. She seems to look upon me yet as the child I was when I went away. One thing I know, Charles was the only person that gave me good sound worldly advice when I left, and I think I can teach him a little now.

July 13.

I am so wrapt up in the solution of the American difficulties that I take little notice of what goes on in Europe, and I think that now if the US breaks up then adieu to all hope of civil and religious liberty all over the globe. Here is where the great battle of the age has to be fought and I hope and trust it will be won by the patriots. But the US has lost its most potent defender when Douglas died. The last hope of the US is General Scott now and he is very old. But the veteran that never retreated and never lost a battle, will I hope not lose any of his laurels.

One thing you are mistaken about. I do not happen to have a Catholic wife. True her mother was a Catholic, but her father was a foreigner and you will seldom come across half-breeds that go much on the Catholic religion. She never attends Catholic church and whenever there is a Protestant one here will attend it with me.

I am in pretty good luck I think not to have any children, In a country where help is worth 10 pounds a month and board, it is quite comfortable to be able to do without it.

If you buy a sewing machine get a Wheeler & Wilson. They are the best, I think, for family purposes. A woman that can work one well here can hire out for $5 a day. Here machines are quite cheap, about $75.00.

One thing I dislike in California. It is all work and no play. From the minute I get up and till I go to bed it is attend to business, Sunday and all. There is no rest at all, as I do all my own work. I did have a brother-in-law of mine as a clerk, but he did not like the continued application to business, and I have no confidence in clerks, anyhow, so I let such business as I cannot attend to myself pass by and benefit somebody else.

I am Postmaster here which helps my business exceedingly. I expect, though, Uncle Abe will shove me out one of these days for not being a Republican.

Can you tell me what kind of profits are usually made in a fair country store in England and how much capital is required? If I was ever to stop in England I should like to keep such a place as Mr. -- used to keep a few doors from us in Suffolk Place and speculate with the balance of my capital.

I may do that yet some day, but it will be when I get tired of striving for a fortune.

But now as I have to write to my mother next mail I must close this - and commence hers. I write very regularly to her now, as I have no doubt she is alarmed about us being mixed up in these troubles, but we are in the remotest part of the US for that. All we can do is sympathize and help pay the taxes.

My respect to your husband and love to you and the children, especially my little pet.

Believe me to be

Your affectionate brother

Alex Murray

PS My wife sends her regards to you and hopes to see you someday.