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.

Among his notes I find the following, which seems to me worthy of record:—­

The Sounder. Mr. Prescott, I perceive, is quoted as an authority.  He is not reliable on many points and his work should be used with caution.  His work was originally written in the interest of those opposing my patents, and his statements are, many of them, grossly unjust and strongly colored with prejudice.  Were he now to reprint his work I am convinced he would find it necessary, for the sake of his reputation, to expunge a great deal, and to correct much that he has misstated and misapprehended.

“He manifests the most unpardonable ignorance or wilful prejudice in regard to the Sounder, now so-called.  The possibility of reading by sound was among the earliest modes noticed in the first instrument of 1835, and it was in consequence of observing this fact that, in my first patent specifications drawn up in 1837-1838, I distinctly specify these sounds of the signs, and they were secured in my letters patent.  Yet Mr. Prescott makes it an accidental discovery, and in 1860 (the date of his publication) he wholly ignores my agency in this mode.  The sounder is but the pen-lever deprived of the pen.  In everything else it is the same.  The sound of the letter is given with and without the pen.”

On November 8, 1867, he writes from Paris to his friend, the Honorable John Thompson:—­

“I am still held in Paris for the completion of my labors, but hope in a few days to be relieved so that we may leave for Dresden, where my boys are pursuing their studies in the German language....  I am yet doubtful how long a sojourn we may make in Dresden, and whether I shall winter there or in Paris, but I am inclined to the latter.  We wish to visit Italy, but I am not satisfied that it will be pleasant or even safe to be there just now.  The Garibaldian inroad upon the Pontifical States is, indeed, for the moment suppressed, but the end is not yet.

“Alas for poor Italy!  How hard to rid herself of evils that have become chronic.  Why cannot statesmen of the Old World learn the great truth that most of their perplexities in settling the questions of international peace arise from the unnatural union of Church and State?  He who said ’My kingdom is not of this world’ uttered a truth pregnant with consequences.  The attempt to rule the State by the Church or the Church by the State is equally at war with his teachings, and until these are made the rule of conduct, whether for political bodies or religious bodies, there will be the sword and not peace.

“I see by the papers that the reaction I have long expected and hoped for has commenced in our country.  It is hailed here by intelligent and cool-headed citizens as a good omen for the future.  The Radicals have had their way, and the people, disgusted, have at length given their command —­’Thus far and no farther.’”


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