“At ten o’clock we lay to till twelve; at four again till five. Rainy, thick, and hazy, but not blowing very hard. All is dull and dismal; a dreadful state of suspense, between feelings of exquisite joy in the hope of soon seeing home, and feelings of gloomy apprehension that a few hours may doom us to destruction.
“Half-past seven.... Heaven be praised! The joyful tidings are just announced of Land!! Oh! who can conceive our feelings now? The wretch condemned to the scaffold, who receives, at the moment he expects to die, the joyful reprieve, he can best conceive the state of our minds.
“The land is Cape Cod, distant about ten miles. Joyful, joyful is the thought. To-night we shall, in all probability, be in Boston. We are going at the rate of seven knots.
“Half-past 9. Manomet land in sight.
“Ten o’clock. Cape Ann in sight.
“Eleven o’clock. Boston Light in sight.
“One o’clock. HOME!!!”
On board the Ship Ceres
My Dear Parents,
Thanks to a kind Providence who has preserved me through all dangers, I have at length arrived in my native land. I send this just to prepare you, I shall be with you as soon as I can possibly get on shore. We have had 58 days passage long, boisterous, and dangerous, but more when I see you. Pray tell me by the bearer if I shall find all well.
Your very affectionate Son,
Samuel B. Morse
October 18, 1875]
APRIL 10, 1816—OCTOBER 5, 1818
Very little success at home.—Portrait of ex-President John Adams.— Letter to Allston on sale of his “Dead Man restored to Life.”—Also apologizes for hasty temper.—Reassured by Allston.—Humorous letter from Leslie.—Goes to New Hampshire to paint portraits.—Concord.—Meets Miss Lucretia Walker.—Letters to his parents concerning her.—His parents reply.—Engaged to Miss Walker.—His parents approve.—Many portraits painted.—Miss Walker’s parents consent.—Success in Portsmouth.—Morse and his brother invent a pump.—Highly endorsed by President Day and Eli Whitney.—Miss Walker visits Charlestown.—Morse’s religious convictions.—More success in New Hampshire.—Winter in Charleston, South Carolina.—John A. Alston.—Success.—Returns north.—Letter from his uncle Dr. Finley.—Marriage.
There is no record of the meeting of the parents and the long-absent son, but it is easy to picture the joy of that occasion, and to imagine the many heart-to-heart conversations when all differences, political and otherwise, were smoothed over.
He remained at home that winter, but seems to have met with but slight success in his profession. His “Judgment of Jupiter” was much admired, but found no purchaser, nor did he receive any commissions for such large historical paintings as it was his ambition to produce. He was asked by a certain Mr. Joseph Delaplaine, of Philadelphia, to paint a portrait of ex-President John Adams for half price, the portrait to be engraved and included in “Delaplaine’s Repository of the Lives and Portraits of Distinguished American Characters,” and, from letters of a later date, I believe that Morse consented to this.