430 Hackney Road
10th December 1865
My very dear Alexander

It is with much pleasure that we acknowledge the receipt of your letter, bearing date of 21st Oct. 1865 containing four souvereigns. We sincerely respect the feeling which prompted the gift and trust that you and your dear Andrea will accept our warmest thanks. We are very glad that you and your dear Andrea are settled down in a house of your own, and too, without debt. That is as it should be. Your business, too, is progressing. How good is the Lord thus to prosper you in temporal things. I trust this prosperity may be extended to you for many years to come, especially if it raises your thought heavenward. How very different might circumstances have been with you. You might have been a wanderer without a home or a friend!! Bless the Lord for His goodness and ask Him to give you spiritual prosperity also. The precious word of God tells us to "seek and we shall find". He now knocks at the door of your heart through any agency; will you not like to open it?

Dear Alex, do not think by thus reminding you of spiritual things that I do not fully appreciate your kind and affectionate heart towards us. Yes, my dear, we both of us do, and on that account it is that we the more desire to see you & hear of your being a child of God. It is true, I cannot see the state of either your heart or dear Andrea's but I think if you had experienced that our blessed Lord was precious to your soul, you would write and tell us so, we would perfectly understand you.

There is a freemasonry in religion, but I will revert to other subjects, and inform you that your uncle Hopwood was here the other evening and gave us an invitation to dine with him and his family on Christmas day, which if in the mercy of God we are spared, and in health, we shall do so. I read him your letter which he fully -- [torn] and seemed much pleased. He has recently purchased his house but not without having assistance from a Building Society. He is, though, notwithstanding all doing well in business and the girls have as thorough a knowledge of it that in the event of their father's death they could carry it on.

But to return to your house - you seem to have got a very convenient one and well furnished too - that is very nice. I find too that you enjoy it. I hope dear Andrea does so too. Is she fond of poultry? I can fancy I can see the young rabbits about. Do you not remember those you had at 4 Northampton Place? You say you have a yard. Do you cultivate it at all? or is it merely for the accom[m]odation of your business? How I should like to take a night's lodging with you. I find that you have two bedrooms that you can supply your friends and I am sure you would most willingly your parents, but with all this there seems an alloy can enter into it - it is this: settled residence may be the means of your not visiting your native land. Much as I should like to see you I could not ask you at the risk of your prospects in that county being destroyed, particularly as you have made up your mind never to settle down in England. I am not surprised at it as our family is so scattered about that when we are gone, which we shall be soon, who is there in London that you would care much about excepting the Hopwood family.

By the bye, Mrs. Joyce drank tea with us the other day. Her daughter is to be married on the 27th instant but I greatly fear she will live to repent as the gentleman is too fond of the bottle. [Caroline Joyce m. David Griffiths: see letter of 9 Feb 1866.] Walter has failed in business and is now upon the stage, but Mrs. Joyce seems reconciled to it by talking largely and giving us to understand that he can get £20 pound per week. She makes him out a first rate actor but what a worldly life. Already his wife is jealous of him but Mrs Joyce says, but for her taking him to plays he would never have followed such a profession.

Sydney Turner drank tea with us last evening. I gave him a short history of your success. He seemed pleased. He is still in a situation as a clerk receiving about £100 per annum. With it he takes a large house - lets it to single gentlemen and I expect manages very comfortably. Having no family, in the summer they go out for about 3 weeks, first to one part of England and then to another. Last summer they went to the Channel Islands. Augusta, one of his sisters, is in a house of business where she receives about £10 pr annum. The others are in the scholastic profession. One of them is going to Paris in order to be able to speak the language fluently.

One of the Austons is likely to be married soon after Christmas (the youngest). Poor Emily is sadly disappointed the gentleman did not choose her. She cannot conceal it; the gentleman is much nearer her age than her sister's and until the offer was made she thought he was looking after her. I expect Jane is 15 years the younger. They intend coming to London and seeing all the sights. I expect both sisters are so fond of the Metropolis. Uncle and Aunt Holt are living without business at Springfield near Chelmsford. They are on the decline indeed; our generation is going fast.

Your father is this evening at Hackney. He has always a monthly meeting of his Building Society on the 3rd Tuesday of each month. It is a very important day with us as we receive a deal of money which he has to carry with him. These winter evenings, it is something of a risk. He is looking exceedingly well but his business powers are failing him. He now has to have a clerk occasionally. I am afraid the Directors will soon begin to think the management of the Society is too much for him. He will, however, I am sure, persevere until the last. His memory fails him and I sometimes think he hears very indistinctly, but I hope it will get no worse. He is as much of a politician as ever and sometimes speaks with great vehemence. He would be pleased to see "his boys" again and talk to them about England and America.

What are you going to do with Davis? I am very pleased with President Johnson. He acts nobly and the vanquished submit with a good grace. I thank you for the books viz.[?] you sent us. What a horrid description of the suffering of the poor prisoners. You seem to settle down very comfortably again, each individual to his lawful occupation. The Constitution of the United States, I must say, has been nobly upheld. Republicanism has triumphed and no mistake. I shall send you some newspapers that you may see what Bright says about reform and your country too. He is a wonderful man. I wish there were many more like him. Poor Cobden, he did good service. Lord Palmerston was a great man but not so much for the people as the other two.

John Kraushaar and his family go on much the same. I persuaded Addy to get a situation in London. She could spend her Sunday with me, if she settled down in a house of business. Business is more pleasant and lucrative. She is a nice looking girl with ladylike manners but to be qualified for a governess much money must be spent about her and they have not, but they seem very contented. John, however, is sickly. He never was a strong man. He has contrived to keep a horse but he is seldom well enough to ride it. Living by faith is a most inconvenient thing for a family. I fear he has mistaken views or has --???