And on November 27, he writes: “The most annoying part of the matter to me is that, notwithstanding my matters are all in the hands of agents and I have nothing to do with any of the arrangements, I am held up by name to the odium of the public. Lawsuits are commenced against them at Cincinnati and will be in Indiana and Illinois as well as here, and so, notwithstanding all my efforts to get along peaceably, I find the fate of Whitney before me. I think I may be able to secure my farm, and so have a place to retire to for the evening of my days, but even this may be denied me. A few months will decide.... You have before you the fate of an inventor, and, take as much pains as you will to secure to yourself your valuable invention, make up your mind from my experience now, in addition to others, that you will be robbed of it and abused into the bargain. This is the lot of a successful inventor or discoverer, and no precaution, I believe, will save him from it. He will meet with a mixed estimate; the enlightened, the liberal, the good, will applaud him and respect him; the sordid, the unprincipled will hate him and detract from his reputation to compass their own contemptible and selfish ends.”
While events in the business world were rapidly converging towards the great lawsuits which should either confirm the inventor’s rights to the offspring of his brain, or deprive him of all the benefits to which he was justly and morally entitled, he continued to find solace from all his cares and anxieties in his new home, with his children and friends around him. He touches on the lights and shadows in a letter to his brother, who was still in England, dated New York, April 19, 1848:—
“I snatch a moment by the Washington, which goes to-morrow, to redeem my character in not having written of late so often as I could wish. I have been so constantly under the necessity of watching the movements of the most unprincipled set of pirates I have ever known, that all my time has been occupied in defense, in putting evidence into something like legal shape that I am the inventor of the Electro-Magnetic Telegraph!! Would you have believed it ten years ago that a question could be raised on that subject? Yet this very morning in the ‘Journal of Commerce’ is an article from a New Orleans paper giving an account of a public meeting convened by O’Reilly, at which he boldly stated that I had ’pirated my invention from a German invention’ a great deal better than mine. And the ‘Journal of Commerce’ has a sort of halfway defense of me which implies there is some doubt on the subject. I have written a note which may appear in to-morrow’s ‘Journal,’ quite short, but which I think, will stop that game here.
“A trial in court is the only event now which will put public opinion right, so indefatigable have these unprincipled men been in manufacturing a spurious public opinion.
“Although these events embarrass me, and I do not receive, and may not receive, my rightful dues, yet I have been so favored by a kind Providence as to have sufficient collected to free my farm from mortgage on the 1st of May, and so find a home, a beautiful home, for me and mine, unencumbered, and sufficient over to make some improvements....