1 Philadelphia Pl.
Hackney Road
May 3rd, 61
My dearest Alexander

I feel very much pleased with you for writing more frequently and to your good wife for her kindness in reminding you of it. It shows great amicability of disposition towards one with whom she is at present a perfect stranger but I hope the time may yet come, if it be the Lord's will, for us to meet in dear old England yet!! I can truly say with the poet "England with all thy faults I love thee still", and in no other part of the world can I witness such safety to property, so much happiness to the people or so much liberty. Oh! poor America, what a figure she is cutting here - Civil War - brother against brother! [The Civil War had begun with the bombardment of Fort Sumter, 12-13 April 1861.] I am wondering how you are likely to be situated. Do write immediately and let us know. I am very glad to find the Californians are for the Union but I presume all will be expected to become soldiers of some kind: to defend yourselves is all right but to commit wholesale murder is another thing. God grant you not be called to upon to act like "uncivilized men".

The coins came safely to hand 2/3-2/3-53. [Probably an amount in £.s.d. - need to see original.] I sent the first off to poor Fanny and most likely the last as every sixpence is acceptable to her. Poor thing, she is so self denying that in doing for her, John I expect, has the lion's share which is very provoking as I do not mind giving from my necessities to her but I am not so fond of him as to make any sacrifices for him. He is, I have no doubt, acting under a state of delusion expecting to be fed by the ravens [See 1 Kings 17:6.]. It is the will of God that we should put our shoulder to the wheel and then with His blessing we may expect to succeed. John has recently visited London. I wanted very much to have heard him preach but I did not. I sadly [=badly?] want to know what the Brethren think of him. If their opinion be not favorable I fear he will do no good but he has given his preaching sufficient trial and if he be not an efficient preacher or teacher he ought to retrace his steps but with five children there is great difficulty even in this step.

How is it that Walter does not write? I hope nothing unpleasant has occurred to him; poor fellow, he has struggled hard to get on but the fatal mistake is that he takes all upon himself and leaves God out of the question. At least he has not given his heart to Him. Would that you both had, that thus you might be safe for either time or eternity.

I thank you very much for the Newspapers, especially the Christmas one as it gives me an idea of the advancement Christianity is making in your part of the world. All our theatres last winter were filled almost to suffocation with attentive hearers listening to the word of God and now will come the open air preaching. There is to be an immense gathering in Victoria Park one day next week to express thanksgiving for the many conversions resulting from the preaching in the theatres. Indeed the word of God is spreading far and wide even amongst Catholics. The time seems fast approaching when "all shall know the Lord". Now, dear Andrea and Alexander, which is the state of your soul? are you seeking him whom to know is life everlasting? Remember we are either travelling to Heaven or Hell. Oh that you both may be in the narrow road that leads to everlasting life. Do give me a few sketches of your history. In this respect you need not fear any unkind remarks. Oh! dear Alex there have been many prayers offered up for the salvation of the souls of you and yours and I am sure there will be many more.

I wonder whether Pacheco is home again. The termination of our acquaintance was somewhat unexpected. We certainly thought of seeing him again. I am sorry I did not invite him to bring his brother with him as he was in Liverpool and only came occasionally for a day or two to London and as he appeared to have so many friends amongst the aristocracy I was afraid of putting myself too forward. He promised he would let us know when he returned and take a parcel for us but we have not heard from or seen him for months and I have no doubt this Civil War will hasten him home. I expect somehow he will be on the side of the South as he talked of Slavery as being a "necessary state of things". Of course we said nothing but thought differently.

I wonder whether Charles Manfred will come to you. If so do not suffer him to impregnate you with his principles. I am almost sorry I ever wrote to him and gave him your address but his mother was so anxious that I should that I at last yielded but not without a twelve months hesitation. Of course he has his good points but I fear America has not improved him. He was so determined to go [get?] ahead but you see the Lord has willed it otherwise. His sister Caroline called here the other evening. She said Charles had said in his letters that "she was not to be surprised if he joined the Murrays". He seemed to be travelling for a confectionery house; had been in very bad health and by no means successful. Should he come to you you will have an opportunity of putting him in a way perhaps of doing something, and considering the relationship and the kindness we have received from his parents in days long since departed, it would be quite right you should do so and I cannot doubt your willingness. His sisters are keeping a school of the first respectability and will I hope ultimately succeed. They are very nice girls, very conscientious and altogether different to their brothers. They have met with great and influential friends through the respect felt for their father whom the boys thought too little of because of his religious notions. It would have been better for them, no doubt, had they followed him more closely.

The likenesses came to hand for which we thank you very much. I fancy now and then I can discern a likeness but no doubt you are much altered since you left us. Edward Browne is still in Canada and doing no good. His wife fortunately has an income independent of him and is expecting nearly a thousand pounds at the death of her grandmother who is a very elderly lady, that I presume he is inconvenienced only for a time. His brother Herbert wishes him to go to him in Africa but his mother told us he had not the means. Oh! dear. Oh! dear, what ups and downs and yet we love this world and cling to it so much. I say were it not for the hope of a better these various ills could scarce be borne.

Nathan Barlow is not married but is doing business at Liverpool where the experience he had in America is of great use to him. His brother is there too. I believe he is still infidel Barlow.

Your papa has been busily engaged in the census. I presume this will be an additional 15 pounds which will be very acceptable. Our income is small, perhaps smaller than our relations are aware of but we maintain our position and we ask nothing of them, that it is possible they may think us better off than we are, but there is no occasion to undeceive them. Your papa has insured his life for a hundred pounds and we belong to a society, but we have already paid a large sum towards it that it cannot be a very profitable thing in the end, although at the death of either it would be acceptable. Your papa is too disinterested a man to leave much behind him but I hope to be free from debt and if the Lord pleases to go first as I am getting unable to contend with the difficulties of getting my own living; however my mind is very peaceful about the future and I feel "as my day is so my strength shall be". This is a glorious promise and one I feel I can lay hold on.

Remember me most affectionately to your better half to whom I intend to write in my next letter. The Hopwoods are going on as usual - none of them are married. They are all very pious good girls and so very clever in business that if their papa was to die no doubt they would be able to continue the business. They were all quite well when I last heard from them and doing well, I believe in business.

Your Uncle Daniel is now living at Springfield nr. Chelmsford, quite retired from business and probably will continue so. I seldom see him. He called here about a fortnight since looking quite well but sadly troubled with rheumatism.

I presume you have heard of the Duchess of Kent (the Queen's mother) being dead. We are expecting the Princess Alice to be married soon to a German Prince.

Your old friend Frank Pearson is still living at home. He was with a brother who had a booksellers shop in Bishopsgate but he died after a week's illness and poor Frank was unable to carry on the business that he was thrown out of employ but he got another situation that I hope is all right again.

I feel very much left alone since the death of poor Mrs. Bayner. I never courted many acquaintances, [so] that from the death of some and the absence of others I seem left quite by myself. We have recently lost our minister, the Rev. Thomas Thomas, a thoroughly good man. We "scarce shall look upon his like again" that we are unsettled with a minister which is by no means desirable.

Mr. Woodhouse is still a preacher at the Adelphi but he has got himself very much out of repute. He has come into plenty of money in consequence of his wife's - the death of his mother-in-law and has been building some splendid houses fit for the Regent's Park. They are called "Woodhouse's Folly". The Hackney Road continues much the same but the neighbourhood of the Park is filling with houses rapidly. You would not know the place. Kennedy amongst many others has built himself a house there. He no longer keeps a shop, indeed he has not for a very long time. I told you of the death of the eldest son.

You tell me your store is similar to his shop and that all sorts of people frequent it. Does Andrea attend to it or is her attention confined to housekeeping? I am glad you are realizing[?] it will enable you to do something better should an opportunity offer. You are quite right in not undertaking any thing you do not understand as it would be very sad for you to lose your little all.

I must now say farewell. Present my love to Mercedes and to dear Walter whom I am very anxious about. Kiss his dear children for me and believe me

Dearest Alexander

Your very affectionate Mother

Sarah Murray

[The following section presumably belongs somewhere in the main body of the letter.]

Harper’s paper was very amusing. The Americans certainly paid much respect to our young prince. I believe our good Queen was very pleased with the reception he met with. The poetry was very fair.

It is nice to know what is pushing [DB unsure] at your part of the world as every circumstance connected with you interests us. I am glad you do not perplex yourself about having no children. They bring with them many cares and without them you can live like two turtle doves. I assure you, your father and I, although advanced in life, are very happy and spend much of our time together, more than we ever did. This I find a great comfort. He is too [= He too is...?] concerned about the welfare of his soul and the souls of his children. He often prays for you and Walter and your wives and children in his morning and evening devotions. Do you ever pray for us? We are hastening to the grave - we need your and Walter’s prayers.

And so Andrea is fond of her sewing machine. This shows she is industrious - an excellent qualification in a wife. I feel so pleased that you and your brother have each met with deserving and loving wives. It must have very much contributed to your happiness. I am sure it has to mine. Indeed it is the only circumstance which could thoroughly have reconciled me to your banishment. I know now you have one to care for you and to administer to your comfort - to sympathize with you in your sorrow.

Elijah Davies is sent to boarding school - a very good thing for him. He is a nice youth but he wanted a little keeping back which at home was not understood. Anne’s children are very interesting and nicely managed.

You remember Mrs. Skinner who lived in the Victoria Park? She died about 2 months since. She was a warm hearted, affectionate mother. Do you recollect her grandson? He went out to Australia with his father. Poor child, he used to write such heart rending epistles to his grandmother wishing himself once more under her protection. As soon as he got a little money together it was stolen from him that he could never get back again.