Samuel F. B. Morse, His Letters and Journals eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 375 pages of information about Samuel F. B. Morse, His Letters and Journals.

CHAPTER XIX

SEPTEMBER 18, 1831—­SEPTEMBER 21, 1832

Takes rooms with Horatio Greenough.—­Political talk with Lafayette.—­ Riots in Paris.—­Letters from Greenough.—­Bunker Hill Monument.—­Letters from Fenimore Cooper.—­Cooper’s portrait by Verboeckhoven.—­European criticisms.—­Reminiscences of R.W.  Habersham.—­Hints of an electric telegraph.—­Not remembered by Morse.—­Early experiments in photography.—­ Painting of the Louvre.—­Cholera in Paris.—­Baron von Humboldt.—­Morse presides at 4th of July dinner.—­Proposes toast to Lafayette.—­Letter to New York “Observer” on Fenimore Cooper.—­Also on pride in American citizenship.—­Works with Lafayette in behalf of Poles.—­Letter from Lafayette.—­Morse visits London before sailing for home.—­Sits to Leslie for head of Sterne.

The diary was not continued beyond this time and was never seriously resumed, so that we must now depend on letters to and from Morse, on fugitive notes, or on the reminiscences of others for a record of his life.

The first letter which I shall introduce was written from Paris to his brothers on September 18, 1831:—­

“I arrived safely in this city on Monday noon in excellent health and spirits.  My last letter to you was from Venice just as I was about to leave it, quite debilitated and unwell from application to my painting, but more, I believe, from the climate, from the perpetual sirocco which reigned uninterrupted for weeks.  I have not time now to give you an account of my most interesting journey through Lombardy, Switzerland, part of Germany, and through the eastern part of France.  I found, on my arrival here, my friend Mr. Greenough, the sculptor, who had come from Florence to model the bust of General Lafayette, and we are in excellent, convenient rooms together, within a few doors of the good General.

“I called yesterday on General Lafayette early in the morning.  The servant told me that he was obliged to meet the Polish Committee at an early hour, and feared he could not see me.  I sent in my card, however, and the servant returned immediately saying that the General wished to see me in his chamber.  I followed him through several rooms and entered the chamber.  The General was in dishabille, but, with his characteristic kindness, he ran forward, and, seizing both my hands, expressed with great warmth how glad he was to see me safely returned from Italy, and appearing in such good health.  He then told me to be seated, and without any ceremony began familiarly to question me about my travels, etc.  The conversation, however, soon turned upon the absorbing topic of the day, the fate of Poland, the news of the fall of Warsaw having just been received by telegraphic dispatch.  I asked him if there was now any hope for Poland.  He replied:  ’Oh, yes!  Their cause is not yet desperate; their army is safe; but the conduct of France, and more especially of England, has been most pusillanimous and culpable.  Had the English Government shown the least disposition to coalesce in vigorous measures with France for the assistance of the Poles, they would have achieved their independence.’

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