430 Hackney Road, 14 July - 1865
My dear Alexander

I am pleased with your position, with determination to remain at St. Luis Obispo - as evinced by your building a new house, to avoid further uncertainty and take the moderate good you have rather than to risk the future in a new place. Granted the mines have given out, but not so badly as to preclude a future chance of improvement - but the ile [oil?] remains, and with a good chance of bringing in its train permanent success as a successful speculation or more moderately - success of a lower degree - in the permanent occupation of your lands. So I think you have done right to remain and take the chances of the town with a hopeful look for improvement in the increased capability for business of your new house - and the comfort which it bespeaks. Well now all this I like - especially the happiness it promotes and provides for Andrea and yourself.

There are however differences of opinion on public matters between you and me which I deprecate. In the first place, the Munroe Doctrine “which every American has in his heart”. What is it but organized injustice - Mexico is well enough & what you do there is rectification of wrong entered into by the Emperor of the French with his eyes open - but Canada became part of the American system long before the Monroe doctrine was even thought of - what is it but coveting your neighbor’s goods - “his ox, his ass”, or, as Shakespeare has it in Catherine & Petruchio - “his any thing”. What inherent right can exist in the matter except the right to rob.

Secondly - I see in the proceedings adopted in the “Trent” affair - the same principle attempted to be carried into effect. “The best blood in England”, says Parson Beecher, “must flow to avenge this insult” - insult indeed - why the insult is to us - & to make matters right the admiral ought to have been chastened. Here you see is an incurable difference of opinion & until the Yankees relinquish the right to go to war for an opinion - an unjust opinion - a false opinion - things will never mend. It is quite true that they have got now a National debt - which is neither more nor less than “giving hostages to fortune” - and we have this incentive to moderation - which I trust will be effectual to keep the peace - but no thanks to them for that. By the bye - I have lost Parson Brownlow’s pamphlet on the war, at it breaking out. Can you send me a copy thereof. It is worth its weight in gold - as eloquently preaching in favor of moderation.

I hope, my dear Alexander, that many years of peace and prosperity will remain to you and Andrea and we may yet enjoy the gleaning after the harvest, the here and there a bunch of grapes after the vintage, and in our age enjoy more than the comforts of our youth - for I assure you that your dear Mother and myself “get along” admirably in the way of love and enjoyment. We want a few more years in as much as we find our last days our best days and naturally wish to prolong them. I must now close this incoherent Rhapsody with the hope - natural to us, that we shall yet see you & Andrea with our mortal eyes and if not God’s will be done.

I am, my dear Son,

Your affectionate Father

James Murray