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

“First, as to things at home.  New York is improved, as the word goes, wonderfully.  You will return to a strange city; you will not recognize many of your acquaintances among the old buildings; brand-new buildings, stores, and houses are taking the place of the good, staid, modest houses of the early settlers. Improvement is all the rage, and houses and churchyards must be overthrown and upturned whenever the Corporation plough is set to work for the widening of a narrow, or the making of a new, street.

“I believe you sometimes have a fit of the blues.  It is singular if you do not with your temperament.  I confess to many fits of this disagreeable disorder, and I know nothing so likely to induce one as the finding, after an absence of some years from home, the great hour-hand of life sensibly advanced on all your former friends.  What will be your sensations after six or seven years if mine are acute after three years’ absence?

“I have not been much in society as yet.  I have many visitations, but, until I clear off the accumulated rubbish of three years which lies upon my table, I must decline seeing much of my friends.  I have seen twice your sisters the Misses Delancy, and was prevented from being at their house last Friday evening by the severest snow-storm we have had this season.  Our friends the Jays I have met several times, and have had much conversation with them about you and your delightful family.  Mr. P.A.  Jay is a member of the club, so I see him every Friday evening.  Chancellor Kent also is a member, and both warm friends of yours....

“My time for ten or twelve days past has been occupied in answering a pamphlet of Colonel Trumbull, who came out for the purpose of justifying his opposition to measures which had been devised for uniting the two Academies.  I send you the first copy hot from the press.  There is a great deal to dishearten in the state of feeling, or rather state of no feeling, on the arts in this city.  The only way I can keep up my spirits is by resolutely resisting all disposition to repine, and by fighting perseveringly against all the obstacles that hinder the progress of art.

“I have been told several times since my return that I was born one hundred years too soon for the arts in our country.  I have replied that, if that be the case, I will try and make it but fifty.  I am more and more persuaded that I have quite as much to do with the pen for the arts as the pencil, and if I can in my day so enlighten the public mind as to make the way easier for those that come after me, I don’t know that I shall not have served the cause of the fine arts as effectively as by painting pictures which might be appreciated one hundred years after I am gone.  If I am to be the Pioneer and am fitted for it, why should I not glory as much in felling trees and clearing away the rubbish as in showing the decorations suited to a more advanced state of cultivation?...

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