“The railroad directors are as dilatory as the Government, but I know they are discussing the matter seriously at their meetings, and I was told that the most influential man among them said they ‘must have it.’ There is nothing in the least discouraging that has occurred, but, on the contrary, everything to confirm the practicability of the plan, both on the score of science and expense.”
“January 21, 1839. I learn that the Telegraph is much talked of in all society, and I learn that the Theatre des Varietes, which is a sort of mirror of the popular topics, has a piece in which persons are made to converse by means of this Telegraph some hundreds of miles off.
“This is a straw which shows the way of the wind, and although matters move too slow for my impatient spirit, yet the Telegraph is evidently gaining on the popular notice, and in time will demand the attention of Governments.
“I have the promise of a visit from the Count Boudy, Chief of the Household of the King, and who, I understand, has great influence with the king and can induce him to adopt the Telegraph between some of his palaces.
“Hopes, you perceive, continue bright, but they are somewhat unsubstantial to an empty purse. I look for the first fruits in America. My confidence increases every day in the certainty of the eventual adoption of this means of communication throughout the civilized world. Its practicability, hitherto doubted by savants here, is completely established, and they do not hesitate to give me the credit of having established it. I rejoice quite as much for my country’s sake as for my own that both priority and superiority are awarded to my invention.”
JANUARY 6, 1839—MARCH 9, 1839
Despondent letter to his brother Sidney.—Longing for a home.—Letter to Smith.—More delays.—Change of ministry.—Proposal to form private company.—Impossible under the laws of France.—Telegraphs a government monopoly.—Refusal of Czar to sign Russian contract.—Dr. Jackson.—M. Amyot.—Failure to gain audience of king.—Lord Elgin.—Earl of Lincoln. —Robert Walsh prophesies success.—Meeting with Earl of Lincoln in later years.—Daguerre.—Letter to Mrs. Cass on lotteries.—Railway and military telegraphs.—Skepticism of a Marshal of France.
Thus hopefully the inventor kept writing home, always maintaining that soon all obstacles would be overcome, and that he would then have a chance to demonstrate in a really practical way the great usefulness of his invention. But, instead of melting away, new obstacles kept arising at every turn. The dilatoriness of the French Government seems past all belief, and yet, in spite of his faith in the more expeditious methods of his own country, he was fated to encounter the same exasperating slowness at home. It was, therefore, only natural that in spite of the courageous optimism of his nature, he should at times have given way to fits of depression, as is instanced by the following extracts from a letter written to his brother Sidney on January 6, 1839:—