1 Philadelphia Place
My dear Alexander
March 23rd, 1860
Reference to your last letter is almost an impossibility - 'tis so long ago we cannot remember. You are in fact "not a writing animal" as the Duke of Wellington said of the English soldier. Was it when you were married or was it a year after your marriage when you congratulated yourself on being a far happier Man than during the previous year - well I have remembered something which you have said - and well said too. That is a thing to be spoken of, it is so rare - I can congratulate you also on so auspicious a circumstance and I can appreciate its inestimable value - for I have been married for upwards of 40 years, inasmuch as my eldest born is 40 years of age, and I am far happier than when a single man and much more happy in my later years. I find your dear Mother to be a very great comfort to me and to make me more happy every year of our prolonged lives - I partly found this on our increasing dependence on each other for sympathy and help and love and partly on our both deriving peace and joy from the consolations of Religion and from our being perfectly in accord in our religious opinions.
I cannot but recommend most earnestly to you and your dear wife to study the Bible - earnestly, constantly and assiduously and form your religion thereon without consulting priest or parson, or deriving any consolation from the intercession of others - but go together to a throne of grace - plead for yourselves and for each other, in humble dependence on God's grace and thru the intercession of our dear Lord and Saviour and depend upon it the very thing you need, namely, worldly prosperity will assuredly follow - "Seek Ye first the Kingdom of God, and all those things shall be added unto you" - for your Father in Heaven knoweth your need of these things. Now, my dear Alexander, I found this advice on my experience in Holy things - I have deferred this investigation 'till late in life - 'till my faculties are becoming jaded with constant use and I cannot get on half so well as I could in my youth. Seek the Lord therefore while you are young and have on you the dew of the morning of life and it will be well with your soul.
I shall now cease to sermonize, and tell you something of ourselves. Here am I in my 70th year - in excellent health and spirits - "as hearty as a Buck" - but not so swift of foot nor so longwinded. Your dear Mother, though complaining, is also in tolerable health. Things too are mending with us. You know what a Building Society means. After 6 years of incessant work, our first shares are worked out paying at the rate of £12 per cent per annum. This has got wind, and we have had an accession since Christmas of 160 shares - raising my income therefrom to £40 a year with a prospect of a speedy & probably a progressive increase. My registration is also increasing though very slowly and this will I trust render my latter [days?] comfortable.
Now what are you about? You have separated from your Brother and this is right enough, every tub should stand on its own bottom. I trust that you are working with energy to procure the means of enjoyment without exertion in age and if possible to obtain the means & the right of locomotion - that is, dwelling in this country or your adopted country according to your predilection - in fact, doing as you like, which a man without the ready dollars cannot - He is doomed to inhabit one spot and to have about the same natural history as an oyster, fixed down by circumstances and merely opening his mouth for daily food.
I do hope my dear Son that circumstances may mend with you so as to enable you to come over and see us. We may not live many years longer - your dear Mother especially is weak & nothing would gratify her more than to see her boys - You especially because she says we were partly the means of your leaving by giving our consent and temporarily finding the cash.
With love to your dear wife whom we should especially be glad to see - I am dear Alexander
Your affectionate Father