[Sukie Hunter comments: DB placed it in early 1868 but I think about October 1867 is more likely. It is definitely before James's death, which Sarah doesn't mention. She also talks of Walter having written and he didn't write at all between the deaths of his father and Alexander. On the other hand, in the summer of 1867 he had written Sarah a more optimistic letter than the previous one.]
--[torn] I approved of his conduct for I was from the first on the side of the north. Your President has behaved well throughout the long struggle. The States seem to be very unsettled; still the black people seem ungovernable. What nonsense to give these poor ignorant people the power of voting. Why not cultivate them and thus give them the necessary understanding first; but I am not [a]politician so I had better be silent or I shall have you laugh at me, but I can tell you I am very fond of a Newspaper and American news. I suppose it is because it is the adopted country of my dear sons.
I did so hope I should have had a second edition of your religious opinions. I am afraid they interest you less. Recollect, dear Alexander, riches are a snare, the truth of which I verily believe. If God has in His infinite love given you temporal prosperity ought you not the more to look to Him for grace that you may make good use of your stewardship by promoting His cause? In the world all we have comes from Him; indeed so great was his love that he sent His dear son to die for us; yes, for you and me. Could He do more? and now invites you to come to Him through His beloved Son. Can you refuse? and thus preclude the opportunity of our ever meeting again. Oh dear Alexander, I hope better things of you. You write of [it] being your intention "to enjoy yourself as much as you can" - do you think there are greater enjoyments than those enjoyed in Christ? He would make every pleasure sweet because they would be sanctified pleasures. Religion is not intended to make us gloomy but happy here, and still happier hereafter.
I do not exactly understand this "English friend" of yours. He seems somewhat inconsistent - a strict Protestant one year - the next an extreme Catholic. Do not give him too much of your confidence. It may be convenient to put on these different phases [faces?]. I should like to see you equipped out in your double carriage. Do you not frequently take out your wife? and sometimes your nieces? even an old lady you perhaps would not object to were she your mother. I wish poor Walter was prospering equally but he has such a large family. I thought he wrote in better spirits the last time; more hopeful about the future.
And so your old partner has appeared again "upon the stage". I forget whether he acted a friendly part toward you. At any rate he found you happy in a home of your own and united to one you love and she loves you. This is ever a source of happiness to me. Continue to cherish this love to the end of time.
I understand Charles Manfred is very happy boarding with his brother and sister; the mother too of his sister-in-law forms one of the family circle. His brother has a store in England. Amongst a certain grade, a store is looked down upon, but I expect the Manfreds find it convenient to dignify it. I heard his sister talking after this fashion. Your Uncle Hopwood is, I am sorry to say, very ill. Poor fellow, I do not expect his days or rather years will be protracted long.--