But especially, Your Excellency, do I want words to express towards the august head of the Imperial Government, and to Your Excellency, the thankful sentiments of my heart for the part so prominently taken by His Imperial Majesty, and by Your Excellency, in so generously initiating this measure for my honor in inviting the governments of Europe to a conference on the subject, and for so zealously and warmly advocating and perseveringly conducting to a successful termination, the measure in which the Imperial Government so magnanimously took the initiative.
I accept the gratuity thus tendered, on the basis of an honorary testimonial and a personal reward, with tenfold more gratification than could have been produced by a sum of money, however large, offered on the basis of a commercial negotiation.
I beg Your Excellency to receive my thanks, however inadequately expressed, and to believe that I appreciate Your Excellency’s kind and generous services performed in the midst of your high official duties, consummating a proceeding so unique, and in a manner so graceful, that personal kindness has been beautifully blended with official dignity.
I will address respectively to the honorable ministers who were Your Excellency’s colleagues a letter of thanks for their participation in this act of high honor to me.
I beg Your Excellency to accept the assurances of my lasting gratitude and highest consideration in subscribing myself
Your Excellency’s most obedient humble servant,
SAMUEL F.B. MORSE.
SEPTEMBER 3, 1858—SEPTEMBER 21, 1863
Visits Europe again with a large family party.—Regrets this.—Sails for Porto Rico with wife and two children.—First impressions of the tropics.—Hospitalities.—His son-in-law’s plantation.—Death of Alfred Vail.—Smithsonian exonerates Henry.—European honors to Morse.—First line of telegraph in Porto Rico.—Banquet.—Returns home.—Reception at Poughkeepsie.—Refuses to become candidate for the Presidency.—Purchases New York house.—F.O.J. Smith claims part of European gratuity.—Succeeds through legal technicality.—Visit of Prince of Wales.—Duke of Newcastle.—War clouds.—Letters on slavery, etc.—Matthew Vassar.— Efforts as peacemaker.—Foresees Northern victory.—Gloomy forebodings.— Monument to his father.—Divides part of European gratuity with widow of Vail.—Continued efforts in behalf of peace.—Bible arguments in favor of slavery.
Many letters of this period, including a whole letterpress copy-book, are missing, many of the letters in other copy-books are quite illegible through the fading of the ink, and others have been torn out (by whom I do not know) and have entirely disappeared. It will, therefore, be necessary to summarize the events of the remainder of the year 1858, and of some of the following years.