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

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 588 pages of information about Samuel F. B. Morse, His Letters and Journals.

That Morse should make enemies on account of the outspoken stand he took on all these questions was to be expected, but I shall not attempt to sit in judgment, but shall simply give his views as they appear in his correspondence.  At any rate he was not called upon to state and maintain his opinions in the halls of Congress, for, in a letter of November 10, 1854, to a friend, he says at the end:  “I came near being in Congress at the late election, but had not quite votes enough, which is the usual cause of failure on such occasions.”


JANUARY 8, 1856—­AUGUST 14, 1856

Payment of dividends delayed.—­Concern for welfare of his country.—­ Indignation at corrupt proposal from California.—­Kendall hampered by the Vails.—­Proposition by capitalists to purchase patent rights.—­Cyrus W. Field.—­Newfoundland Electric Telegraph Company.—­Suggestion of Atlantic Cable.—­Hopes thereby to eliminate war.—­Trip to Newfoundland.—­Temporary failure.—­F.O.J.  Smith continues to give trouble.—­Financial conditions improve.—­Morse and his wife sail for Europe.—­Feted in London.—­ Experiments with Dr. Whitehouse.—­Mr. Brett.—­Dr. O’Shaughnessy and the telegraph in India.—­Mr. Cooke.—­Charles H. Leslie.—­Paris.—­Hamburg.—­ Copenhagen.—­Presentation to king.—­Thorwaldsen Museum.—­Oersted’s daughter.—­St. Petersburg.—­Presentation to Czar at Peterhoff.

I have said in the preceding chapter that order was gradually emerging from chaos in telegraphic matters, but the progress towards that goal was indeed gradual, and a perusal of the voluminous correspondence between Morse and Kendall, and others connected with the different lines, leaves the reader in a state of confused bewilderment and wonder that all the conflicting interests, and plots and counterplots, could ever have been brought into even seeming harmony.  Too much praise cannot be given to Mr. Kendall for the patience and skill with which he disentangled this apparently hopeless snarl, while at the same time battling against physical ills which would have caused most men to give up in despair.  That Morse fully appreciated the sterling qualities of this faithful friend is evidenced by the letter to Dr. Gale in the preceding chapter, and by many others.  He always refused to consider for a moment the substitution of a younger man on the plea of Mr. Kendall’s failing health, and his carelessness in the keeping of their personal accounts.  It is true that, because of this laxity on Mr. Kendall’s part, Morse was for a long time deprived of the full income to which he was entitled, but he never held this up against his friend, always making excuses for him.

Affairs seem to have been going from bad to worse in the matter of dividends, for, while in 1850 he had said that only 509 miles out of 1150 were paying him personally anything, he says in a letter to Mr. Kendall of January 8, 1855:—­

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