430 Hackney Road
January 5th, 1865
My dear son and Daughter
Another year has passed away. May I ask you whether you have yet received Jesus into your hearts? Nothing short of it will give you an entrance into that upper and happier world where I hope to meet you. If you wish to make me happy in a dying hour hasten on to know the Lord for the knowledge of your souls' safety would give peace to me when all else is passing away.
My dear son and daughter, your kindness towards us "old folks at home" is truly delightful to my heart. Your expressions of kindness towards us is all we can desire and the souvereigns which you from time to time send are proofs of your affections which I trust are appreciated by us, but after all we want to know how you stand with God. Do think upon this subject and in your next letter tell me whether you have a serving knowledge of Christ.
Christmas Day, falling upon the Sunday, we went to Chapel as usual twice. On the Monday we partook of our Christmas dinner with your uncle and aunt Hopwood and cousins. It was passed very pleasantly and many enquiries were made after you and yours with a request that their love and best wishes might be presented to you. Neither of your cousins are married or likely to be, strange as it may seem. I fear they are fated to be old maids. This I am sorry for, as they are really good girls and so useful to your uncle in business that in the event of his death (which I hope is far distant) they could carry it on themselves.
On the following Thursday Dec. 30, your uncle and aunt with their eldest daughter and youngest spent the day with us: thus ended our Christmas as far as visiting was concerned. This week is devoted to higher purposes. Throughout London there are at the various places of worship meetings for prayer, addresses etc etc.
On Monday evening I was at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Mr. Spurgeon's, and last evening at our own where none were forgotten. The unconverted were especially prayed for. I am sure many prayers have been offered up for you and your brother and your wives and Walter's dear children. It is strange that he does not write and tell as about the young heir but I expect he is too busy.
However electioneering is now over and you have succeeded in electing Lincoln. What a brave fellow is Sherman. I expect to hear of the taking of Savannah. Indeed the whole North just now looks as though she would ultimately triumph. Your papa makes me silently laugh. He is so very silent upon the subject.
By the bye, just now he has something of more consequence for him to think of for he is preparing for an Annual Audit of his Hackney Building Society. This time he is obliged to employ an additional clerk as the mental exertion is almost too much for him. I expect he will ultimately be obliged to resign which will necessarily be a shortening of our income. Of course we must live accordingly and thank our Gracious God for what is left.
Your father's health continues good. We call him an 'evergreen'. What a blessed thing it is that he believes that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin and that he has given his heart to Him. There once was a time when he held a different creed but thank be unto God nothing is impossible with Him.
The sovereign you sent Fanny came very seasonably. We were then making up a parcel and intended sending her a post office order so she had two instead of one. She says she will write to you and thank you for it. Her husband has been poorly for some time but not to give up entirely. One of their boys is a regular farmer's boy. [Presumably Frank, then 9 years 8 months old.] Would do well to send out to California when older but at present they do not wish to part with their children and yet I cannot see how they are to be provided for; but truly as the word of God says "sufficient for the day is the evil thereof".
I have heard no news of Charles Manfred lately. Henry's time in the army will soon be up and then it is given out he will come to England with his bride. Uncle Walter dined with us the other day. He is looking better just now but quite as old as your father. He makes himself very happy as a widower. He makes occasional visits to London where he meets all his sons and daughters - spends a few days with them and then returns to Newcastle where he gets his living as a flour factor. He says there are many families by the name of ______ living In Newcastle.
You do not appear quite so sanguine about the mines as you did. I suppose as the office is in San Francisco that Walter is no longer Secretary to one or two of the companies. I shall like to see the "report" you write about.
I have heard nothing of Anne since Christmas. I expect she is too busy as she has all her family at home, besides which she is very active in religious matters. A friend of hers has built a Gospel Hall for the poor people and whenever he has meetings there he calls upon Anne to address them and she can do so very interestingly. I have no doubt she has been writing some texts [= tracts?] which if it does not weigh too much I will enclose. She has a friend who is a female preacher and our Anne seems inclined to follow in her footsteps now that she is not likely to have any more family.
I never like to write unless your papa writes too as I always feel my letter is not half so acceptable without his, but I do not like you to be too long without hearing from us.
And now my dear Alexander and Andrea, accept our thanks for so many proofs of your affection and with the sincere wish that you may both be living in the mutual love of each other, believe me with love and best wishes,
P S Do you get the Newspapers or Public Opinion?
Yours ever affectionately
A letter from Fanny which ought to have been sent before.