No. 1 Philadelphia Place
Hackney Road, NE
31 Oct. 1861
My dear Alexander

We received your very affectionate letter of the 17th September on Monday - and are exceedingly pleased with its spirit, its information & its whole-heartedness. Your dear Mother especially is pleased with your kind present, not for its value but for its kind intention & is much obliged (as I suppose she will tell you) to you and Andrea for it. The loving spirit of your letters is invaluable.

I am very glad that California is loyal to the union - that is the part of justice, prudence & right. You need express no opinion on Slavery - the very ground of the fight, for let the issue be what it may - in two years another market supply of cotton will be found in Africa & India & when the war shall be over, America may keep her cotton & slavery cease because it will not pay - "God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform" - So that the blot of slavery is wiped out and the freedom of man sustained - in a moral and social sense as well as in State-craft, I care not by what means - whether direct or indirect.

I have not seen Mr. Russell's account of the disaster of Bull's Run - the result might have been foreseen - caught in a trap and only half disciplined, they would not be expected to emulate the fortitude of our Veterans of Waterloo. The folly was in fighting before they had an army and I expect when ready the "Yankees" will sustain their reputation for courage, discipline and tact in matters of warfare. I am glad that you both forswear warfare for yourselves - but should it approach your state, no such - (torn) be permitted - 'Tis not likely however, and - (torn) will - (torn) are both detained at home by Kentucky becoming the theatre of War - Serves Kentucky and Virginia right - had they taken part with the Union, in all probability this dreadful civil war might have been prevented - at all events it would have been of short duration. They took the contrary course and by a just moral retribution, the chief brunt and fury of the War has fallen upon them. May God protect the right.

I am glad to hear of your success, as well as Walter's, in the fall elections. Is it attended with any profit, in addition to the eclat of the position - if so, it is a capital hit for both.

I am obliged for your confidential exposition of your affairs and congratulate you thereon. In matters of business, it is ever found that "Bragg is a good dog but that Holdfast is a better". If you persevere in this course for a few years, you will be in every sense independent and the end for which you emigrated will have been answered.

I am also delighted at the affectionate terms on which you live with Andrea. I have had some experience in these matters - and as the result I believe that every marriage ought to be for love and that the same assiduity with which that love was sought should be employed to maintain it. Your dear Mother and myself are on much better terms with each other than we have ever been since our marriage. Our old love is revived - and we live only for each other. May such be your happy fate with dear Andrea - to whom I beg you will present my love and respect for her affectionate regard to - (torn) without strong individuality of character and - (torn) dear Mother maintains - On the 25th October - (torn) think of the love.

We received your leather portraits & think them very good. The practicability of the transit of such things being thus established, your dear Mother and myself intend to sit for our portraits and send you two sets - the one "cartes de visite" or paper portraits and the other on more durable materials. We had intended the same thing to be sent by "Don Pacheco" but his not presenting himself a second time prevented this course - but your dear mother makes it a matter of conscience, and it will be done her vis inertia will be overcome. I suspect we get these things much cheaper than you. Cartes de visite may be had here for 1s each - first class - other photographs 4& [= 4/-?] to £1/s1. However price is not the object - it is the transit - and that appears to be overcome.

We are both in good health and spirits - a great mercy considering that I am 71 years of age and your dear Mother 67 years. I have been prospered in my Hackney Building Society which is creeping up to £50 a year - and may much exceed that - Registration and Life Insurance much the same as before but on the whole looking up. If I maintain my health, our status is also maintained. God has been very gracious to me hitherto and I can trust Him for the future. This leads me to say that the Grace of God appears to be the keystone of the arch - I never once prospered 'till your dear Mother & myself became deeply interested in the plan of redemption by our Lord Jesus Christ - attendance on the means of Grace is something but the one thing needful is faith in Jesus as the only Saviour. He who believes - (torn) the - (torn) that "all other things shall be added unto him" - (torn) the sincere worshippers of "God and the Lamb" or more comprehensively of "our God in Christ reconciling the world unto himself". My dear son, look into these things for yourself - heartily, sincerely, faithfully.

The Hopwoods are all well & doing well. The Exhibition of 1862 will in all probability promote their prosperity as 'tis in their immediate neighbourhood - the splendid Building nearly finished - and will be a grand affair; especially interesting to me will be its picture gallery, Chef d'Oeuvres of the world, concentrated in one spot for at least one year.

Your Sister Ann & family are all well . Fanny we cannot so well hear about as she is not explicit in her communications and I suspect that she is poorly off. For ourselves, our course is clear. We have a sufficient [...??] maintenance - are now waiting in [??] adoration the pleasure of the Lord. The absence of our Sons is a drawback on our happiness but we had much rather hear of their independence on the other side of the Globe than to see them here merely underlings, dependent on the breath of a superior for their daily bread - and so we are reconciled to things as they are, but feel that our future is somewhat obscure in the uncertainty of who shall watch our latter ends or rather the survivor of us because we must expect daily to decline.

With our love to Andrea and our love to Walter and dear wife & family - believe me to be Dear Alexander

Your affectionate Father

James Murray

Mr. Alexander Murray