Forgot your password?  
Related Topics

Resources for students & teachers

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 491 pages of information about Samuel F. B. Morse, His Letters and Journals.

CHAPTER XXIX

JULY 16. 1842—­MARCH 26, 1843

Continued discouragements.—­Working on improvements.—­First submarine cable from Battery to Governor’s Island.—­The Vails refuse to give financial assistance.—­Goes to Washington.—­Experiments conducted at the Capitol.—­First to discover duplex and wireless telegraphy.—­Dr. Fisher.  —­Friends in Congress.—­Finds his statuette of Dying Hercules in basement of Capitol.—­Alternately hopes and despairs of bill passing Congress.—­ Bill favorably reported from committee.—­Clouds breaking.—­Ridicule in Congress.—­Bill passes House by narrow majority.—­Long delay in Senate.—­ Last day of session.—­Despair.—­Bill passes.—­Victory at last.

Slowly the mills of the gods had been grinding, so slowly that one marvels at their leaden pace, and wonders why the dream of the man so eager to benefit his fellowmen could not have been realized sooner.  We are forced to echo the words of the inventor himself in a previously quoted letter:  “I am perfectly satisfied that, mysterious as it may seem to me, it has all been ordered in its minutest particulars in infinite wisdom.”  He enlarges on this point in the letter to Smith of July 16, 1842.  Referring to the difficulties he has encountered through lack of means, he says:—­

“I have oftentimes risen in the morning not knowing where the means were to come from for the common expenses of the day.  Reflect one moment on my situation in regard to the invention.  Compelled from the first, from my want of the means to carry out the invention to a practical result, to ask assistance from those who had means, I associated with me the Messrs. Vail and Dr. Gale, by making over to them, on certain conditions, a portion of the patent right.  These means enabled me to carry it successfully forward to a certain point.  At this point you were also admitted into a share of the patent on certain conditions, which carried the enterprise forward successfully still further.  Since then disappointments have occurred and disasters to the property of every one concerned in the enterprise, but of a character not touching the intrinsic merits of the invention in the least, yet bearing on its progress so fatally as for several years to paralyze all attempts to proceed.

“The depressed situation of all my associates in the invention has thrown the whole burden of again attempting a movement entirely on me.  With the trifling sum of five hundred dollars I could have had my instruments perfected and before Congress six months ago, but I was unable to run the risk, and I therefore chose to go forward more slowly, but at a great waste of time.

“In all these remarks understand me as not throwing the least blame on any individual.  I believe that the situation in which you all are thrown is altogether providential—­that human foresight could not avert it, and I firmly believe, too, that the delays, tantalizing and trying as they have been, will, in the end, turn out to be beneficial.”

Follow Us on Facebook