Mr. Bromfield [the merchant through whom he received his allowance] thinks I had better wait until I receive positive leave from you to go to France. Do write me soon and do give me leave. I long to bury myself in the Louvre in a country at least not hostile to mine, and where guns are not firing and bells ringing for victory over my countrymen.... Where is American patriotism,—how long shall England, already too proud, glory in the blood of my countrymen? Oh! for the genius of Washington! Had I but his talents with what alacrity would I return to the relief of that country which (without affectation, my dear parents) is dearer to me than my life. Willingly (I speak with truth and deliberation), willingly would I sacrifice my life for her honor.
Do not think ill of me for speaking thus strongly. You cannot judge impartially of my feelings until you are placed in my situation. Do not say I suffer myself to be carried away by my feelings; your feelings could never have been tried as mine have; you cannot see with the eyes I do; you cannot have the means of ascertaining facts on this side of the water that I have. But I will leave this subject and only say see Dr. Romeyn....
I find no encouragement whatever in Bristol in the way of my art. National feeling is mingled with everything here; it is sufficient that I am an American, a title I would not change with the greatest king in Europe.
I find it more reasonable, living in Bristol, or I should go to London immediately. Mr. and Mrs. Allston are well and send you their respects. They set out for London in a few days after some months’ unsuccessful (between ourselves) residence here. All public feeling is absorbed in one object, the conquest of the United States; no time to encourage an artist, especially an American artist.
I am well, extremely well, but not in good spirits, as you may imagine from this letter. I am painting a little landscape and am studying in my mind a great historical picture, to be painted, by your leave, in Paris.
NOVEMBER 9, 1814—APRIL 23. 1815
Does not go to Paris.—Letter of admonition from his mother.—His parents’ early economies.—Letter from Leslie.—Letter from Rev. S.F. Jarvis on politics.—The mother tells of the economies of another young American, Dr. Parkman.—The son resents constant exhortations to economize, and tells of meanness of Dr. Parkman.—Writes of his own economies and industry.—Disgusted with Bristol.—Prophesies peace between England and America.—Estimates of Morse’s character by Dr. Romeyn and Mr. Van Schaick.—The father regrets reproof of son for political views.—Death of Mrs. Allston.—Disagreeable experience in Bristol.—More economies.—Napoleon I.—Peace.
Morse did not go to Paris at this time. The permission from his parents was so long delayed, owing to their not having received certain letters of his, and his mentor, Mr. Bromfield, advising against it, he gave up the plan, with what philosophy he could bring to bear on the situation.