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

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

Immediately after the telegraph bill had become a law he set to work with energy to carry out its provisions.  He decided, after consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, Hon. J.C.  Spencer, to erect the experimental line between Washington and Baltimore, along the line of railway, and all the preliminaries and details were carefully planned.  With the sanction of the Secretary he appointed Professors Gale and Fisher as his assistants, and soon after added Mr. Alfred Vail to their number.  He returned to New York, and from there wrote to Vail on March 15:—­

“You will not fail, with your brother and, if possible, your father, to be in New York on Tuesday the 21st, to meet the proprietors of the Telegraph.  I was on the point of coming out this afternoon with young Mr. Serrell, the patentee of the lead-pipe machine, which I think promises to be the best for our purposes of all that have been invented, as to it can be applied ‘a mode of filling lead-pipe with wire,’ for which Professor Fisher and myself have entered a caveat at the Patent Office.”

Vail gladly agreed to serve as assistant in the construction of the line, and, on March 21 signed the following agreement:—­

PROFESSOR MORSE,—­As an assistant in the telegraphic experiment contemplated by the Act of Congress lately passed, I can superintend and procure the making of the Instruments complete according to your direction, namely:  the registers, the correspondents with their magnets, the batteries, the reels, and the paper, and will attend to the procuring of the acids, the ink, and the preparation of the various stations.  I will assist in filling the tubes with wire, and the resinous coating, and I will devote my whole time and attention to the business so as to secure a favorable result, and should you wish to devolve upon me any other business connected with the Telegraph, I will cheerfully undertake it.

Three dollars per diem, with travelling expenses, I shall deem a satisfactory salary.

Very respectfully, your ob’t ser’t,
ALFRED VAIL.

Professor Fisher was detailed to superintend the manufacture of the wire, its insulation and its insertion in the lead tubes, and Professor Gale’s scientific knowledge was to be placed at the disposal of the patentees wherever and whenever it should be necessary.  F.O.J.  Smith undertook to secure a favorable contract for the trenching, which was necessary to carry out the first idea of placing the wires underground, and Morse himself was, of course, to be general superintendent of the whole enterprise.

In advertising for lead pipe the following quaint answer was received from Morris, Tasker & Morris, of Philadelphia:—­

“Thy advertisements for about one hundred and twenty miles of 1/2 in. lead tube, for Electro Magnetic Telegraphic purposes, has induced us to forward thee some samples of Iron Tube for thy inspection.  The quantity required and the terms of payment are the inducement to offer it to thee at the exceeding low price here stated, which thou wilt please keep to thyself undivulged to other person, etc., etc.”

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Samuel F. B. Morse, His Letters and Journals from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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