While the future looked dark and the present was darker still, Morse maintained a cheerful exterior, and was still able to write to his friends in a light and airy vein. The following letter, dated September 30, 1840, was to a Mr. Levering in Paris:—
“Some time since (I believe nearly a year ago) I wrote you to procure for me two lenses and some plates for the Daguerreotype process, but have never heard from you nor had any intimation that my letter was ever received. After waiting some months, I procured both lenses and plates here. Now, if I knew how to scold at you, wouldn’t I scold.
“Well, I recollect a story of a captain who was overloaded by a great many ladies of his acquaintance with orders to procure them various articles in India, just as he was about to sail thither, all which he promised to fulfill. But, on his return, when they flocked round him for their various articles, to their surprise he had only answered the order of one of them. Upon their expressing their disappointment he addressed them thus: ‘Ladies,’ said he, ’I have to inform you of a most unlucky accident that occurred to your orders. I was not unmindful of them, I assure you; so one fine day I took your orders all out of my pocketbook and arranged them on the top of the companionway, but, just as they were all arranged, a sudden gust of wind took them all overboard.’ ’Aye, a very good excuse,’ they exclaimed. ’How happens it that Mrs. ——’s did not go overboard, too?’ ‘Oh!’ said the captain, ’Mrs. —— had fortunately enclosed in her order some dozen doubloons which kept the wind from blowing hers away with the rest.’
“Now, friend Lovering, I have no idea of having my new order blown overboard, so I herewith send by the hands of my young friend and pupil, Mr. R. Hubbard, whom I also commend to your kind notice, ten golden half-eagles to keep my order down.”
JUNE 20, 1840—AUGUST 12, 1842
First patent issued.—Proposal of Cooke and Wheatstone to join forces rejected.—Letter to Rev. E.S. Salisbury.—Money advanced by brother artists repaid.—Poverty.—Reminiscences of General Strother, “Porte Crayon.”—Other reminiscences.—Inaction in Congress.—Flattering letter of F.O.J. Smith.—Letter to Smith urging action.—Gonon and Wheatstone.— Temptation to abandon enterprise.—Partners all financially crippled.— Morse alone doing any work.—Encouraging letter from Professor Henry.— Renewed enthusiasm.—Letter to Hon. W.W. Boardman urging appropriation of $3500 by Congress.—Not even considered.—Despair of inventor.