[Date missing. DB thinks 1861, but since James says Sarah is 70 and the weather is delightful, April-May 1865 seems more likely. Joseph Bazalgette's monumental sewage scheme (which James describes and which included the Thames embankments, although they weren't completed until rather later), was completed in April 1865. SH]

- [torn] myself, but she is usually very unwell with a headache every morning & after breakfast cheers up and is then very well indeed for an old woman of 70 years. We seem like fixtures - all around us are falling away - such ability [DB unsure: = instability?] seems the order of nature. The Hackney Road you would hardly know - shops bring [=spring?] out everywhere, old houses pulled down & replaced with a more aspiring order of man's creation.

As for London proper, it will soon be changed into a City of Italian Palaces - new streets, viaducts and railways springing up, electric telegraphs occupy the air and underground rails the earth. The Thames embanked, new streets forming by its side - its passage, of course, narrowed which will give force to the current, sweeping everything with resistless force - like the "father of waters", the Mississippi - to the sea. The sewage conducted by underground watercourses to a point 10 miles east of London where having been first deodorized it is pumped into the Thames at flow tide & by the rising of the water hurried away out of sight. [If this is indeed what James wrote, it is surely the opposite of what was required. Probably, the discharge was made as soon as the flow, or flood, tide had turned, and the water was flowing out from the Thames to the sea. See http://www.the-river-thames.co.uk/environ.htm ] Ten years hence the little boys may fish for tittle bats at London bridge. The suburbs of London are extending on every side except where arrested by parks - rows of houses rise as by magic - the population of London within the 10 mile circle from St. Paul's amounting to nearly three millions.

The Park itself is extremely beautiful - the trees are now about 20 feet high and rising every day - the "hilly fields" gone, and instead thereof a verdant plain extends, leaving between the woods a fine drill ground for Volunteers. The Home Park is beautifully ornamented with very expensive [=extensive?] flower beds and borders in which the choicest roses are bedded out for the constant enjoyment of the people, who of course pay for it. - [torn] covered with borders of choice flowers which are magnificently beautiful and surrounded with a Park of perhaps 100 acres of varied lawn, hill and water. It is altogether surpassingly beautiful & so says your Mr. Beecher of Brooklin [sic], New York, who indeed did not find much else to praise.

When will you come and have a look at it? or rather when will you come and take a parting look at your aged parents, for Man is dearer than Nature and "blood is thicker than water". Your dear Mother and myself, with plenty to do, have still time to love and cheer others in our downward course. None of our children stop with us. Only fancy the difference - suppose instead of being more than 10,000 miles away, that you and Andrea and Walter and Mercedes and family were within an hour's journey by rail or omnibus - fancy your mother stepping in for an hour's chat, a cup of tea or other refreshment and the old greybeard calling to fetch her home - such as can, exhibiting their 'none such' children and the rest contenting themselves with displaying their love for each other. Life is a constant succession of such pleasing exercises, and though the poet says "man was made to mourn" I should add, "if need be", but man also was made to give and be pleased, & be happy himself, and cause the happiness of others and if he succeed in this he has not lived in vain. The poor poets seem all miserable, deriving sometimes a cheering thought out of this very misery, as witness Gray
"To each his sufferings all are men condemned alike to groan
The feeling for another's pain - the unfeeling for his own."
Would it not be nice to see each other every week or two or every day or two and interchange the warm feelings of the heart - barter without loss, of course? It would - [torn] of course of drawbacks to [=and?] disappointments. "Tis not all gold that glitters."

I shall look with deep interest at the record of your progress, both in quicksilver and the copper mine. We too of the "Old World" have our fertility [?] causing operations in which I should largely engage were I about 20 years younger. It appears that Louis Napoleon has established in France what he calls the "Crédit Mobilier", which is merely a gigantic joint stock company which absorbs and employs the spare cash of the working man, and employs it profitably. It has perfectly succeeded in France, Spain and Italy - returning heavy dividends - say 18 or 20 per cent, and being introduced into England under the name of "International" Joint Stock companies, and if it keep the word of promise to the ear and deny it not to the hope, it appears destined to raise the working man in the social scale of life, and enable him to tread close upon the heels of the middling classes, if they do not beat them in the race. Anything tending to ennoble, to enfranchise & make the working man really a portion of the body politic and not an incubus therein will be fraught only with blessings - so at least says radical Murray. Shall look on with interest.

We have been sending you for some time past "Public Opinion". Of course I look into it and find it to contain a judicious selection from the writings of others, without writing anything themselves. Let us know whether you receive them pretty regularly and whether you appreciate and enjoy them. If so, we will continue the supply.

The weather is delicious just now in England and I am enjoying it very much. What is in the pursuit - [torn] independence, and the stay of life. I trust that you and Andrea continue to enjoy each other's love, and by mutual interchange to support, enforce and fix it - as an American would say. This life has its joys - its cares - its duties - all very pleasant in their way, and if unpleasant must be fulfilled, but I have learned and desire to convey to you my discovery - that to enjoy this life to the full you must employ it with a view to eternity - that the things of this world must be subordinated to the requirements of another world. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven and all these earthly things will be added unto you." This is the true secret of happiness which I knew relatively but little about 'till after you left this benighted old world - but now, I consider the "Pearl of great price" to be faith in Jesus Christ and in the efficacy of his blood to cleanse us from the stain of sin, to atone for all sin. Believing this and acting upon this belief in my every day intercourse with the world I should fail in my duty & be in my own eyes criminal if I did not fairly & honestly state such to be my belief to my own children - and recommend them to search the Scriptures, if these things be so or no.

Give my love to Andrea, accept the same from me and believe me to be, dear Alexander

Your affectionate father

James Murray

Mr. Alexander Murray