My dear Alex
The other day we sent off the photographs which we have so long promised you and before this reaches you [you] will doubtless have received them, all safe. I do not know what resemblance you will discover between them and the individuals of your earlier recollections whom they represent but as far as your own picture is concerned I can detect a resemblance to the boy of twelve years old as I knew you in London, though I must confess I gave a start upon first beholding it; I have pictured you to myself as the boy I once knew but instead of this the figure of a man is before me. I trust one day to have the satisfaction of beholding the original.
I am pleased to learn that you get along so comfortably - it is likely that I shall marry as soon as I can see my way clearly before me. By the by, Alexander, it is not unlikely that I shall see your mother this year. In truth I have many pleasant recollections of both your parents. They were always so kind, hospitable to me and indeed every member of our large family, that it will afford me much pleasure to shake them by the hand once more.
To be candid with you I have some serious intentions of pulling up stakes and locating elsewhere, and if so shall most likely avail myself of my freedom from harness to visit again once more the land of my birth before settling down again. Owing to our political disturbance, business is likely to be extremely dull for some time to come and I may never have such a favorable opportunity again; if I can make the necessary arrangements it is probable my departure will take place about the latter end of June. I hope we shall avoid civil war, as this would probably upset all my calculations, but it is quite useless in the present complicated conditions of the country to speculate upon the future. We know not what a day may bring forth.
We shall be pleased to receive a photograph of Walter to add to the family group which already adorns the walls of our Sanctum as well as a line from him when he feels disposed to write. Now that the ice is broken, we propose to keep up an occasional correspondence with you and Walter - when we have anything of interest to communicate and if you & your brother will reciprocate it will make it mutually pleasant and advantageous to all of us.
Charles is engaged in the Commission [?] for which he [is] well adapted and will, I have no doubt, give a good account of himself. Had I been ten years older and arrived here ten years earlier there is no doubt I should have accumulated an independent fortune here - but before I arrived the time had gone by; as it is now I stand ready to avail myself of any chance that may turn up; we shall each of us do the best we can and leave the balance.
The photograph of San Luis Obispo is framed and hangs up in our rooms. Will Mr. Lincoln's election disturb your possession [= position?] as postmaster? It is my wish to acquire the Spanish, German and French language and the first opportunity that offers I intend to avail myself of it.
I suppose you heard of Brother Edward's death which occurred in 1859 and also of my brother Herbert's, which took place two years earlier. The same year also carried off Aunt Clarke so that our family is now reduced to four.
Charles does business with the firm in Cincinnati and boards and lodges with me in Covington, which occupies the same position relative to Cincinnati that Brooklyn does to New York. Business of all kinds is paralyzed here, a condition of things which is likely, I fear, to last some time unless a speedy solution of our difficulties is offered of which there is little prospect. It affords me much pleasure to see Italy bravely overcoming all the obstacles and pushing her way rapidly to freedom independence & prosperity. Thanks to Garibaldi, Victor Emmanuel and Count Cavour, what a trio of almost superhuman energy, wisdom and courage, to the uncrowned King; to the king who has proved equal to the emergency, and to the accomplished far-seeing Statesman - seconded by a united and heroic people - all honor is due - but also while Italy is becoming a united and prosperous nation we are breaking up into confusion and anarchy.
With kind regards to your brother & your little circle - with every wish for your continued happiness and wellbeing
Believe me always
[Note added by Charles Manfred]
Covington Mar. 26/1861
Dear Cousin: Wrote you about ten days ago with our photographs, which I trust you will receive all in order; - the doctor leaves for Europe in June next, will be away about 2 months or 3 at the outside. Kentucky is not yet out of the Union. Hope she will remain in. We are organizing Union Clubs, all over the state using every means in our power to fight the secessionist. If there is civil war around these diggings I shall bolt somewhere - Kind regards to Walter -