Brimscombe Mills, near Stroud
Nov. 21, 1867
My dear Br.
I was very glad to see that rara avis, a letter from you. Thanks for the picture of [Jefferson] Davis - tho' I should have preferred a photograph to put opposite Lincoln in my Album of celebrated people. You say you cannot understand how I can admire him and his cause. Well, we look at the matter from different standpoints. Apart from his cause, I think him a greater and more capable man than Lincoln - I never thought him great, for a great man in a great difficulty would have known how to act & he never did a great thing. The cause we wished to succeed not for its merits, but for our own interests.We also wished the freedom of the negroes & had they been willing to concede this, they might have gained the help of not only England, but Europe - but obstinately determined as they were to keep the negro in slavery, they wore out the sympathy of England & we saw them conquered without one regret. Yet still tho' we earnestly, honestly, desired the freedom of the negro, we did not contemplate putting him on an equality with the white man & putting him politically above white women. Europe looks on with derisive laughter to see what you are doing now & you will too late see its folly. The suffrage might have been given to every coloured man fit to exercise it, but to give it to all is political suicide. You will say we have done as much, but not quite - the lowest class of white man here is intellectually far above the average black, yet even here we have gone too far in my opinion. It is difficult to draw the line & our statesmen have done their best to keep back the scum. You have made a way for the scum to be uppermost. All respectable English people have a great horror of American Institutions. They have not yet commended themselves & while we would acknowledge that our government is far from perfect, we would jealously guard it from Americanism. Just look at your House of Commons - look at the ungovernable spirits that congregate there & the disgraceful scenes that occur - worthy of a beer garden - an Irish wake or frat house. I must say I like to be governed by gentlemen.
But enough of politics. I am glad you and your wife are well, as are we too - but our Father fell from an omnibus 3 weeks ago & tho' no bones were broken, yet he was much injured & is only just beginning to get about. Of course, business was stopped as he was helpless, so nothing has been coming in. When you do send Mama anything, you should strictly enjoin her to keep it herself, unless you wish it sent to Fanny, for Mama is so nervously anxious about her she would send every farthing she can scrape together to her & go bare herself & I can assure you the old folks need it much more than Fanny & John.
Adele is now married. John partly maintains himself & Fanny & John have very many friends, so I don't think there is very much need now. John is a preacher among a party called Darbyites & they ought to maintain him & I think they are doing so now. They are much more comfortable than they were - I am going to see them on my next visit to my daughter as she is only seven miles off, & then I will report to you what I see. But unless you hear from me to the contrary, the old folks need help the most.
I intend to go to London next week to see Papa - the wool sales are on & my husband is going, so I shall go too. I send you the Photograph of my two youngest boys. They are at school at Clevedon. Teddy promises to be clever, Arthur is delicate & that keeps him back. I am thinking of having a governess at Xmas to teach my three girls at home. How time flies - before you get this, I shall be grandmama in all probability; fancy it - I can't.
I hope you sometimes think of eternity. You said in one of your letters you were "not a converted person". Are you satisfied with that? 'Tis a sad state to be in - I cannot be satisfied about you while that is your state. Often prayers go up at public meetings in England "For two unconverted brothers and their wives". But oh do begin to pray for yourself. It is high time you gave your heart to Him who gave His Son for you. You treat no other friends so ill as you treat God, & if death should overtake you in this state, what will you do? The Lord forbid it. All send their love to you. Love also to your wife and
Your affectionate Sister