430 Hackney Road, N.E.
27 April 1866
Your ever welcome letter of the 27th of February has been received some days since and I now proceed to reply thereto.
The little which you have said on religion - the great concern, pleases me very much because it indicates a mind disposed to weigh well every tendency & what is right and proper, sincerely desiring that the right may prevail. Sincere, earnest, and wanting sin only to be defeated. A mind so balanced will get right in the long run & ------ gives the holy spirit to such as honestly ask for it.
I was a wavering, undecided believer for many a long year but it pleased him who is the father of light to fire[?] me in a firm belief in the evangelical truth, and to promote faith in "OUR GOD CHRIST" reconciling the world unto himself. I believe "THAT JESUS CHRIST CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE SINNERS, OF WHOM I AM CHIEF". This is a brief epitome of my faith and I hope that God may guide me to adopt [the?] right faith and give me firmness and perseverance in carrying it into practice. However so [=as?] a general rule, I leave preaching to your dear mother who is proficient therein, and as [=am?] content with St. James "to show my faith by my works".
Your description of your garden is very interesting to me who have had much early experience in the science. Your practice of "trenching" two feet deep and then digging holes for fruit trees extra is just the practice of our "old benighted Country", and which I saw carried to enormous extent in our "Hobland Garden", which I should like to have the privilege of showing you and also showing some of the trees planted by my right hand and which must now be either a wood or an orchard. The cost is nothing to the enjoyment arising out of it.
In the results arising from the war and the mode and the results of peace, I see much that is new, unexpected and magnificently great. I did expect [th]at long ere this the successful party would have wreaked their vengeance on Jeff Davis - instead of that, I see a bloodless revolution and the councils of mercy followed. I expected that they would use their undoubted power in attempted coercion and intimidation. Instead of that, I see that while they attend strictly to national interests, they do not allow passion & prejudice to get the better of their Judgement. Accordingly, while they send [the] fleet to protect the fisheries of the Northern provinces, they are at the same time negotiating a permanent settlement of the differences existing, and the last - not least - they are keeping the Finians in check and only waiting an opportunity for a final Interference. All these things are right and augur a final preservation of the peace of NATIONS as far as the two great nations of the earth are interested therein. I see plainly that peace will last my time and I leave as a legacy to my sons the care of preserving, as far as their influence goes, that peace forever, trusting also that the weapons of warfare may be further so improved as to render war what it really is - a blight, a curse, and an impossibility. The internal affairs of your great republic - how to settle a black element without unsettling the interests of liberty, is a problem full of difficulties and interesting in the solution. I must wait and watch.
Your dear wife comes next for recognition. I wish I had the opportunity of seeing her and thanking her for her share [in] rendering one of my sons happy. You can hardly appreciate my thanks to that dear girl your mother for the happiness which she has conferred upon me for 50 years think of that and then you will be in a condition to estimate at its true Worth my gratitude to your dear wife for contributing to the happiness of my son.
We are obliged to you for the ------- of affection conveyed in the present of 5 sovereigns, and for the privilege of applying them. Such testimonies of love are a welcome invitation of the heart that prompts them. We are in tole[rably] good health, in good circumstances, really needing nothing, but we feel it to be a privilege to be allowed to direct [the] stream of your kindness into proper channels. Your remembrance of Aunt & Uncle Hopwood & family, and to your two sisters & family shall be duly conveyed. We expect them here in a few days to the May meetings. I mean Anne and her husband.
I have not time to write separately to Walter this time but will take an early opportunity [of] writing to him. Remember me to him and to his wife and children, all of whom I should like to have the opportunity of seeing, speaking, and shaking by the hand. And now I must say farewell- may [God] bless and protect you and yours and make them blessings to each other and to the community in which they live.
Believe me to be my dear Alexander
Your affectionate Father
Written in my 71st year in the full enjoyment of health, peace, love and joy.
Mr. Alexander Murray