Morse sailed from Europe on the Great Western on the 23d of March, 1889, and reached New York, after a Stormy passage, on the 15th of April. Discouraged by his lack of success in establishing a line of telegraph in Europe on a paying basis, and yet encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by the scientists of the Old World, he hoped much from what he considered the superior enterprise of his own countrymen. However, on this point he was doomed to bitter disappointment, and the next few years were destined to be the darkest through which he was to pass.
On the day after his arrival in New York he wrote to Mr. F.O.J. Smith:—
“I take the first moment of rest from the fatigues of my boisterous voyage to apprise you of my arrival yesterday in the Great Western.... I am quite disappointed in finding nothing done by Congress, and nothing accomplished in the way of company. I had hoped to find on my return some funds ready for prosecuting with vigor the enterprise, which I fear will suffer for the want.
“Think a moment of my situation. I left New York for Europe to be gone three months, but have been gone eleven months. My only means of support are in my profession, which I have been compelled to abandon entirely for the present, giving my undivided time and efforts to this enterprise. I return with not a farthing in my pocket, and have to borrow even for my meals, and even worse than this, I have incurred a debt of rent by my absence which I should have avoided if I had been at home, or rather if I had been aware that I should have been obliged to stay so long abroad. I do not mention this in the way of complaint, but merely to show that I also have been compelled to make great sacrifices for the common good, and am willing to make more yet if necessary. If the enterprise is to be pursued, we must all in our various ways put the shoulder to the wheel.
“I wish much to see you and talk over all matters, for it seems to me that the present state of the enterprise in regard to Russia affects vitally the whole concern.”
Thus gently did he chide one of his partners, who should have been exerting himself to forward their joint interests in America while he himself was doing what he could in Europe. The other partners, Alfred Vail and Dr. Leonard Gale, were equally lax and seem to have lost interest in the enterprise, as we learn from the following letter to Mr. Smith, of May 24, 1839:—
“You will think it strange, perhaps, that I have not answered yours of the 28th ult. sooner, but various causes have prevented an earlier attention to it. My affairs, in consequence of my protracted absence and the stagnant state of the Telegraph here at home, have caused me great embarrassment, and my whole energies have been called upon to extricate myself from the confusion in which I have been unhappily placed. You may judge a little of this when I tell you that my absence has deprived me of my usual