Letter from James Cooley Fletcher to Sampson Low


1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Page 1

line 1: Consulate of the United States
line 2: Oporto January 8 1870
line 3: Sampson Low Esq.
line 4: My Dear Sir
line 5: You perhaps have not
line 6: forgotten my call upon you
line 7: in the Strand last August, &
line 8: my promise (when you told
line 9: me that you were this year
line 10: to celebrate your "golden
line 11: wedding") to send you a
line 12: bottle of wine from the
line 13: banks of the Douro that was
line 14: fifty years old. When I
line 15: reached my post I al-
line 16: most despaired of fulfilling

Page 2

line 1: that promise, because very
line 2: old wine is a rare thing
line 3: in Opurto, and wine fifty
line 4: years old is not for sale
line 5: in the grand deposits of the
line 6: purple juice for which we
line 7: are famous here. At cost
line 8: however, I obtained three bottles
line 9: one of which is 50 years, and
line 10: the other counts more than
line 11: three score years – and a
line 12: 3rd (which I send with my
line 13: compliments to Mrs Low)
line 14: is the sweet muscatel
line 15: of this sunny region and
line 16: claims thirty five years.
line 17: When used decant carefully.
line 18: I had occasion to send a few
line 19: bottles of wine to our Minister

Page 3

line 1: Mr Motley & I took the
line 2: liberty to send yours to his
line 3: care, thus avoiding duties
line 4: & other custom house troubles.
line 5: They went by the S. S. "Beta" on
line 6: New Years Day, & and are doubt-
line 7: Less already in London. Please
line 8: send to the American Embassy
line 9: & get them. The wine that I
line 10: sent to Mr M. was not the
line 11: age of your wine, for I could pro-
line 12: cure no more like those rare
line 13: old fellows – and I will
line 14: not tell you their money value
line 15: for fear you will think me
line 16: exaggerating. Remember that
line 17: Old Port becomes mellow and
line 18: clear with age*. It has no longer
line 19: the fire and thickness of quality
line 20: but is beautiful to look upon
line 21: & warms, and does not influence
line 22: *John Bull's notion of Port is that is dark – Old Port is the colour of brown
line 23: sherry.

Page 4

line 1: So my dear Sir, you have
line 2: arrived at that age when
line 3: the fires of youth are subdued,
line 4: and when the experiences of a
line 5: later manhood have rendered
line 6: your mind clean and free
line 7: from the thick prejudices which
line 8: often obscure the judgement of young
line 9: men. Many years, & the dear
line 10: companion of your early
line 11: manhood & older age, be blessed
line 12: with God's richest blessing,
line 13: for without that what is
line 14: life worth? One of our
line 15: most gifted & most
line 16: American poets is Whittier
line 17: - (the only author that I ever
line 18: heard my friend Mr Long-
line 19: fellow praise). Well, when
line 20: his fiftieth birthday came
line 21: round he wrote a beautiful

Page 5

line 1: 2
line 2: Consulate of the United States,
line 3: Oporto
line 4: poem entitled "My Psalm",
line 5: which the late Dr James Hamil-
line 6: ton (of the Regent Square Church
line 7: & author of "Life in Earnest" & the
line 8: "Royal Preacher") once told me
line 9: that he found so excellent in
line 10: sentiment & poetic ability,
line 11: that he read it on his own
line 12: (Dr Hs) birthday to his large
line 13: Congregation. This Psalm
line 14: -"My Psalm"- came into my mind
line 15: when thinking of your "golden
line 16: wedding", and it so beautifully
line 17: speaks of mercies past & a
line 18: trust in those to come that
line 19: I thought I would quote for
line 20: you & the partner of your life

Page 6

line 1: the closing stanzas
line 2: (1)
line 3: "Enough that blessings undeserved
line 4: Have marked my erring track; -
line 5: That wheresoever my feet have swerved;
line 6: His chastening brought me back; -
line 7: (2)
line 8: That more & more a Providence
line 9: Of love is understood,
line 10: Making the Springs of time & sense
line 11: Sweet with eternal good; -
line 12: (3)
line 13: That death seems but a covered way
line 14: Which opens into light,
line 15: Wherein no blinded child can stay
line 16: Beyond the Fathers sight; -
line 17: [Next, Read the 4th verse written longitudinally on the next page]
line 18: 5
line 19: That all the jarring notes of strifelife
line 20: Seem blending in a Psalm,
line 21: And all the angles of its strife
line 22: Slow sounding into calm

Page 7

line 1: 6
line 2: And so the shadows fall apart
line 3: And so the west winds play
line 4: And all the windows of my heart
line 5: I open to the day
line 6: 4
line 7: That care and trial seem at last
line 8: Through memory's sunset air
line 9: Like mountain ranges overpast
line 10: In purple distance fair
line 11: [Now turn back to verse 5]
line 12: My best wishes
line 13: attend you & yours,
line 14: my dear Sir, on
line 15: the coming "golden
line 16: wedding. Please let
line 17: me know when it
line 18: is so that I may
line 19: remember you here.
line 20: I am, my dear Sir
line 21: Very faithfully yours
line 22: J.C. Fletcher