- [torn] - Road NE
8 March 1861
My dear Alexander

"No news is good news" is an old adage which I do not very much relish. Why cannot you negative the assertion made that you are not a "writing animal"? Be assured that if you write of yourself and family whatever you transcribe on paper will be welcome to your aged parents - and of your wife too - and maybe of your children only somehow you seem not to be prolific that way. I trust that domestic happiness continues to be your staple enjoyment for you may depend that the result of my long experience is that home and home pleasures are more genuine, more lasting and more truly delightful than all the glaring charms of Society and the dubious agre'onery [? -torn].

What think you of the South pitted against the North, the Confederate States against the "United States"? Many Englishmen rejoice because it reduces the power of the Yankees - but I see in it only the confirmation of the creaking [croaking?] predictions of the Zealots of Despotism - who say that man "is not fit for self government" and point to this secession as a proof thereof. I hope my "particular friend" Lincoln, will by calmness, firmness, moderation and resolution succeed in inducing the firebrands of the South to moderate the rancour of the tongue & the virulence of Secessional zealots [so] as to listen to reason and if not that he will tread on treason to the State - and exalt the "Stars and Stripes" above the "Palmetto Flag". - See how easy 'tis to give advice at a distance and without responsibility.

If I do not hear from Walter, who has been silent for six months, let us know about him, his whereabouts, his position and prospects, for we naturally like to hear all about our children be it weal or woe. Let us also know something about yourself - your mode of spending time - especially when not engaged in business and incidentally the manners and customs of the people will peep out and furnish us a look into your parlour - and a test of domestic happiness.

- [torn] its [=As?] soon as - [torn] clear of the census 1861 now on, I will get your dear Mother to sit for her portrait, photographic of course, and send you a copy through the post.

Your dear Mother and myself are in good health and spirits. - Building Societies prosper - and all things contribute to cheer our old age - especially that we worship "God in Christ" and endeavour to obey his precepts and follow his principles as revealed in his word. This is a source of happiness I can recommend.

Sincerely to you and your dear wife,

Believe me to be

Dear Alexander

Your affectionate Father

James Murray
Mr. Alex Murray