In answer to this letter his father wrote:—
CHARLESTOWN, July 26, 1810.
DEAR Finley,—I received your letter of the 22d to-day by mail.
On the subject of your future pursuits we will converse when I see you and when you get home. It will be best for you to form no plans. Your mama and I have been thinking and planning for you. I shall disclose to you our plan when I see you. Till then suspend your mind.
It gives us great pleasure to have you speak so well of your brothers. Others do the same and we hear well of you also. It is a great comfort to us that our sons are all likely to do so well and are in good reputation among their acquaintances. Could we have reason to believe you were all pious and had chosen the “good part,” our joy concerning you all would be full. I hope the Lord in due time will grant us this pleasure.
“Seek the Lord,” my dear son, “while he may be found.”
Your affectionate father,
[ILLUSTRATION: ELIZABETH ANN MORSE AND SIDNEY E. MORSE ILLUSTRATION: REV. JEDEDIAH MORSE AND S.F.B. MORSE From portraits by a Mr. Sargent, who also painted portraits of the Washington family]
September 8, 1810.
DEAR MAMA,—Papa arrived here safely this evening and I need not tell you we were glad to see him. He has mentioned to me the plan which he proposed for my future business in life, and I am pleased with it, for I was determined beforehand to conform to his and your will in everything, and, when I come home, I shall endeavor to make amends for the trouble and anxiety which you have been at on my account, by assisting papa in his labors and pursuing with ardor my own business....
I have been extremely low-spirited for some days past, and it still continues. I hope it will wear off by Commencement Day....
I am so low in spirits that I could almost cry.
It was no wonder that he was down-hearted, for he was ambitious and longed to carve out a great career for himself, while his good parents were conservative and wished him to become independent as soon as possible. Their plan was to apprentice him to a bookseller, and he dutifully conformed to their wishes for a time, but his ambition could not be curbed, and it was not long before he broke away.
OCTOBER 31, 1810—AUGUST 17. 1811
Enters bookshop as clerk.—Devotes leisure to painting.—Leaves shop.— Letter to his brothers on appointments at Yale.—Letters from Joseph P. Rossiter.—Morse’s first love affair.—Paints “Landing of the Pilgrims.” —Prepares to sail with Allstons for England.—Letters of introduction from his father.—Disagreeable stage-ride to New York.—Sails on the Lydia.—Prosperous voyage.—Liverpool.—Trip to London.—Observations on people and customs.—Frequently cheated.—Critical time in England.—Dr. Lettsom.—Sheridan’s verse.—Longing for a telegraph.—A ghost