1 Philadelphia Place
My dear Alexander
16 October 1862
We have just received your letter of [28 August] and are well pleased that both are exempt from "drafting" and are quite satisfied with your position and prospects. We are both well, and doing well, but in this transitory world and our weight of years, how long it is to continue, we cannot tell. Our chief anxieties on your behalf are called forth by this frightful war causing widespread ruin and unheard of misery. It has now taken a new phase, liberty to the slave if his master is a Rebel, otherwise none. What principle is this? Truly none at all. How simple, how grand and how noble to say, Man is free everywhere and under all conditions - In your adopted country truth seems tributary to the "almighty dollar".
There seems some difference of opinion between you and me on many points in this unhappy controversy. For instance you ask me if I have heard Mr F. W. Train whom you describe as a "good representative American" and who you say has been speaking in all parts of London. I have not heard him and if he has at all been speaking in London it must be at "Physical Force Chartist Meetings" which are somewhat unpopular here. However, I know him - a lying scoundrel who wrote home at the time of the Trent affair every representation which he thought would produce war, - and is now gone back lecturing throughout Pensilvania [sic]- heaping falsehood on falsehood to vilify this country, because we would not have his Street Railroads. The fellow is an incorrigible scoundrel and deserves no answer but a broomstick on his unworthy shoulders.
Again, you send me "Parson Brownlow’s" speech. What does that venerable buffoon - that comical miscreant mean by his mingling the phraseology of Jack Herth [DB unsure ?Ketch?] with the profession of a Christian Minister. He reminds me of a Bishop in the dark ages, who was taken in battle in complete armour. This distinguished member of the "Church Militant" being demanded to be set at liberty by the Pope - the German prince who had taken him sent his suit of armour to the Pope with this inscription "Now tell me whether this be thy son's coat or no". [See Gen. 37:32.] So Parson Brownlow desires to ride at the head of an invading army into his native state with a coil of rope at his saddle bow to hang every one who has dared to differ from him in opinion. Truly apostolic in his aspiration. Such "bold bad men" as Parson Brownlow and Tramway Train ought to be, in American parlance, "ridden on a rail". For the sake of truth, honour, religion and consistency - praise, admire and follow better men than these, and America possesses such, or be content to be neutral.
A truce with these miserable topics. You have one addition to your family and have the prospect of another. Well, such losses and gains balance each other and together form the sum of human experience & constitute a part of the proverbial vicissitudes of human life. To alleviate human suffering and supply human wants are part of our mission and you must be gratified to be in a position to act a consistent part in each. After all, domestic society constitutes the longer portion of man's life and therefore domestic happiness is the most valuable of man's privileges. We know the full value of these things only by their loss. I have never lost this blessed privilege myself, but have witnessed it in others and know it [to] be the plague spot of life. Only think of the terrible monotony of living with a woman without loving her. It is dreadful to think of. 'Tis therefore I hear with inexpressible pleasure of the mutual attachment between yourself and your dear wife and I hope you will thank her for me for the happiness she confers which I trust will be cemented by her father being a part of your family and a witness of your felicity.
We are talking to have our portraits photographed and in due time you shall have them. 'Tis almost time, for life is uncertain. Our International Exhibition closes in about a fortnight. Of this we have some prints which we hope to convey across the Atlantic for the benefit of those who had not the privilege of seeing them.
Believe me to be, dear Alexander
Mr. Alexander Murray
Your affectionate Father