I am as yet undecided what shall be its name. The character of Oxyd I had designed for you. The farce is a first attempt and has received the approbation, not only of my theatrical friends generally, but of some confessed critics by whom it has been commended.
With sentiments of respect and esteem I remain, Your most obedient humble servant, T.G.S.
As no further mention of this play is made I fear that the great Charles Mathews did not find it available. There is also no trace of the play itself among the papers, which is rather to be regretted. We can only surmise that Morse came to the conclusion (very wisely) that he had no “dramatic talents,” and that he turned to the pursuit of his professional studies with increased ardor.
MAY 2, 1814—OCTOBER 11, 1814
Allston writes encouragingly to the parents.—Morse unwilling to be mere portrait-painter.—Ambitious to stand at the head of his profession.— Desires patronage from wealthy friends.—Delay in the mails.—Account of entree of Louis XVIII into London.—The Prince Regent.—Indignation at acts of English.—His parents relieved at hearing from him after seven months’ silence.—No hope of patronage from America.—His brothers.— Account of fetes.—Emperor Alexander, King of Prussia, Bluecher, Platoff. —Wishes to go to Paris.—Letter from M. Van Schaick about battle of Lake Erie.—Disgusted with England.
Morse had now spent nearly three years in England. He was maturing rapidly in every way, and what his master thought of him is shown in this extract from a letter of Washington Allston to the anxious parent at home:—
“With regard to the progress which your son has made, I have the pleasure to say that it is unusually great for the time he has been studying, and indeed such as to make me proud of him as a pupil and to give every promise of future eminence....
“Should he be obliged to return now to America, I much fear that all which he has acquired would be rendered abortive. It is true he could there paint very good portraits, but I should grieve to hear at any future period that, on the foundation now laid, he shall have been able to raise no higher superstructure than the fame of a portrait-painter. I do not intend here any disrespect to portrait-painting; I know it requires no common talent to excel in it....
“In addition to this professional report I have the sincere satisfaction to give my testimony to his conduct as a man, which is such as to render him still worthy of being affectionately remembered by his moral and religious friends in America. This is saying a great deal for a young man of two-and-twenty in London, but is not more than justice requires me to say of him.”
On May 2, 1814, Morse writes home:—