430 Hackney Road, N.E.
3 November 1865
Time is getting on - I am nearly 75 years of age - have been married 47 years, you have been 15 years away from home - and so we may go in narrating all the unfavourable circumstances attending our existence - and still we are happy in having children that love us, that lament all these untoward events, and would be most glad to see, and to embrace us. Well, "hope on, hope ever" - it may yet be our happy fate to meet again in this world, if not, we must do our best to prepare for the next - so that we may enjoy an Eternity of happiness.
Time played us rather an odd trick the other day - we went to Tottenham, to enquire after a friend of your dear Mother's of 50 years standing and to our mutual surprise found her alive - aged 78 years - and heartily were the congratulations of each. It was the Aunt of your dear Mother's old sweetheart, Tills - who is dead, and thus the cause of separation, severed. 'Tis possible we may see her again and of this more anon.
Now, dear Alexander, the war is over, peace is come, and with it the chance of peace being preserved between the two countries - which of all others ought to have peace with each other - and the Fenians notwithstanding, will have peace. Let us draw the bands of peace tight and not suffer any absurd jealousies [to] disturb it - each country is too mighty to fear - each is too happy in employment of mutual and ever increasing commerce to heed the bickerings of disappointed ambition and therefore let love and union prevail - between the two countries by all means.
We have not heard from you of late so often as we used - How is this? Surely there is not coldness between us - let us not cherish the thought, but live and love as usual. We are in want of the usual sight of the handwriting - the index of life and health - & the chronicles of events as they arise - Matter of little import you will say - Well, in themselves they may be unimportant but to us they speak of things going on - of time occupied in the busy scenes of life - unimportant in themselves, or to indifferent spectators but to us - they, the cares of life, the joys of life, it may be the woes of life of those near and dear to us - and therefore they are to us matters of deep importance because they speak of life as it is to our dearly loved one - and so comes it that trivial matters are invested with unusual importance.
We have been talking of you and yours to Henry Manfred and his new made wife - a kind hearted, true hearted, affectionate woman, without a fault in the little intercourse we had with her - a patriot of the Soul [South?], rejoicing in Northern success and full of Union aspirations - one who has suffered from the war - who has lost two brothers in it, and whose whole heart is in the success of the Cause. Of Charles, too, we heard - he got into disgrace by pleading alienship to avoid joining in the war. However he has got through and is now employed on the RailRoad. -
One great drawback on our happiness is the little chance there is of seeing you. Well, we must take things as they are - and be content - we cannot alter it Give our love to your dear wife - her being not personally known is not a matter of importance, [but?] this: that she contributes to the happiness of our Son, and for that we thank her. We presume that you have received our answer to your last letter, containing an enclosure for which we thank you. Your dear Mother says she is too ill to write this time but the next opportunity you may expect a long letter.
With our united love to you and yours,
I am, dear Alexander
Your affectionate Father