430 Hackney Rd.
29th Jany 1864

My dear Alexander

I ought to have answered your very affectionate letter which we received a few days before Christmas long ago but I have been waiting in order that your father might write too but business has been so very pressing that hitherto he has been prevented. Indeed I am beginning to think that he has almost too much of it for an old gentleman of 74 and yet it would not do to give it up until obliged and he is not exactly the person to have a clerk and the expense of one would be felt. In fact, I expect the Directors of his Building Society will soon begin to think a younger man would do better in business. The old ones are always considered almost imbecile but that is not his case. He still has much energy but is not systematical and is forgetful that he is often upon the hunt for lost papers. I sometimes smile - sometimes regret - but it is the truth that we are both of us hastening to a better home than this world affords. We have done but little in our "day and generation" but I hope that little will be accepted through our blessed Redeemer.

I must now, my dear Alexander, thank you in the name of myself and your dear father for the very kind present of two sovereigns. You seem determined by your kind attention that we shall keep you in remembrance but I trust that no circumstance whatever could ever erase you from our memory. Well do I remember the spot where I parted from you. I hope the speculations you have both entered into will prove eminently successful and be the means of bringing you once more to dear old England. How glad I should be to see you and your wife and dear Walter and his and his dear children. I want to hear from him very much. I expect his large family involve a great deal of care upon him.

It is pleasing to find that you will retain the same situations under Government you did previously to the election. You both have much to be thankful for. God has been very gracious to you and has bestowed upon you many temporal mercies.

We dined and spent Christmas with your uncle and aunt Hopwood. You and your brother were frequently the subject of our conversation. They are very pleased to hear about you. They returned the visit a few days after when we dined off a turkey sent by your uncle Alexander.

I presume you have received "Public Opinion". We have sent the newspapers irregularly but they have numbered about 12 or 13. I name this to know whether they are duly received.

I sent your letter to Anne. She was very pleased with it and so was I. You are much improved in letter writing and in composition. I am glad to find your dear wife is so well. Give our kindest love to her and tell her to take care of herself for your sake. I am sorry you look sickly but you always did look very pale. A change would perhaps do you good when the summer comes.

We are about having changes in our house. Our old lady, Mrs. Benton has lost her brother and comes in for some property -consequently she will be likely to leave us after having been with us about 12 years. Who we shall get to take her place I know not but I hope agreeable people. Sometimes wish we were in a smaller house but whilst your father continues [at] the Hackney Building Society it would not do or it would take much care off me.

Your sister Fanny is likely in a few months to add to her family. Johnny is still with us but he is going home at Easter to stay for a time. He is not the active boy you were. Indeed his love for books makes him at times almost stupid about the common activities of life. I have no doubt if he were to be well educated, that is have access to the higher [?] of a public school he would turn out a very clever boy but in common things he is nothing.

I expected ere this Charles Manfred would have sent his friend to you by what you said in one of your letters. This American war is not likely to end yet. What a pity so much blood should be shed. What a debt you will have. You have I think guessed the truth in saying your papa and Anne look upon the question with regard to "British interests". Do not include me. I am still for the North.

Unexpectedly to me your papa is writing to Walter. I was afraid he would not have found time. Indeed he said so. I shall be so glad when I shall be able to congratulate you on your country's restoration to peace, but I do hope you will give the French a good thrashing and send them out of Mexico. What business have they there? I see by the papers the Californians are petitioning against their occupation.

I shall not be able to write to dear Walter this time but you give my kind love to him, Mercedes and the dear children, not forgetting your own dear wife. Love to yourself and the best wishes of, my dear Alexander, your affectionate mother

Sarah Murray