JULY 10, 1813—APRIL 6, 1814
Letter from the father on economies and political views.—Morse deprecates lack of spirit in New England and rejoices at Wellington’s victories.—Allston’s poems.—Morse coat-of-arms.—Letter of Joseph Hillhouse.—Letter of exhortation from his mother.—Morse wishes to stay longer in Europe.—Amused at mother’s political views.—The father sends more money for a longer stay.—Sidney exalts poetry above painting.—His mother warns him against infidels and actors.—Bristol.—Optimism.— Letter on infidels and his own religious observances.—Future of American art.—He is in good health, but thin.—Letter from Mr. Visger.—Benjamin Burritt, American prisoner.—Efforts in his behalf unsuccessful.—Capture of Paris by the Allies.—Again expresses gratitude to parents.—Writes a play for Charles Mathews.—Not produced.
The detailed accounts of his economies which the young man sent home to his parents seem to have deeply touched them, for on July 10, 1813, his father writes to him: “Your economy, industry, and success in pursuing your professional studies give your affectionate parents the highest gratification and reward. We wish you to avoid carrying your economy to an extreme. Let your appearance be suited to the respectable company you keep, and your living such as will conduce most effectually to preserve health of body and vigor of mind. We shall all be willing to make sacrifices at home so far as may be necessary to the above purposes.”
Farther on in this same letter the father says: “The character you give of Mr. Allston is, indeed, an exalted one, and we believe it correctly drawn. Your ardor has given it a high coloring, but the excess is that of an affectionate and grateful heart.”
Referring to his son’s political views, he answers in these broad-minded words:—
“I approve your love of your country and concern for its honor. Your errors, as we think them, appear to be the errors of a fair and honest mind, and are of a kind to be effectually cured by correct information of facts on both sides.
“Probably we may err because we are ignorant of many things which have fallen under your notice. We shall no doubt agree when we shall have opportunity to compare notes, and each is made acquainted with all that the other knows. I confidently expect an honorable peace in the course of six months, but may be deceived, as the future course of things cannot be foreseen.
“The present is one of the finest and most promising seasons I ever knew; the harvest to appearance will be very abundant. Heaven appears to be rewarding this part of the country for their conduct in opposing the present war.”
Perhaps the good father did not mean to be malicious, but this is rather a wicked little thrust at the son’s vehemently expressed political views. On this very same date, July 10, 1813, Morse writes to his parents:—