The Treasury and the Government are both bankrupt, and that foolish Tyler has vetoed the tariff bill; the House is in bad humor and nothing of the kind you propose could be done. The only chance would be for the Committee on Commerce to report such a plan, but there would be little or no chance of getting such an appropriation through this session. I have much faith in your plan, and hope you will continue to push it toward Congress.
This was almost the last straw, and it is not strange that the long-suffering inventor should have been on the point of giving up in despair, nor that he should have given vent to his despondency in the following letter to Smith:—
“While, so far as the invention itself is concerned, everything is favorable, I find myself without sympathy or help from any who are associated with me, whose interest, one would think, would impel them at least to inquire if they could render some assistance. For two years past I have devoted all my time and scanty means, living on a mere pittance, denying myself all pleasures and even necessary food, that I might have a sum to put my Telegraph into such a position before Congress as to insure success to the common enterprise.
“I am, crushed for want of means, and means of so trivial a character, too, that they who know how to ask (which I do not) could obtain in a few hours. One more year has gone for want of these means. I have now ascertained that, however unpromising were the times last session, if I could but have gone to Washington, I could have got some aid to enable me to insure success at the next session.”
The other projects for telegraphs must have been abandoned, for he goes on to say:—
“As it is, although everything is favorable, although I have no competition and no opposition—on the contrary, although every member of Congress, as far as I can learn, is favorable—yet I fear all will fail because I am too poor to risk the trifling expense which my journey and residence in Washington will occasion me. I will not run in debt if I lose the whole matter. So, unless I have the means from some source, I shall be compelled, however reluctantly, to leave it, and, if I get once engaged in my proper profession again, the Telegraph and its proprietors will urge me from it in vain.
“No one can tell the days and months of anxiety and labor I have had in perfecting my telegraphic apparatus. For want of means I have been compelled to make with my own hands (and to labor for weeks) a piece of mechanism which could be made much better, and in a tenth part of the time, by a good mechanician, thus wasting time—time which I cannot recall and which seems double-winged to me.
“‘Hope deferred maketh the heart sick.’ It is true and I have known the full meaning of it. Nothing but the consciousness that I have an invention which is to mark an era in human civilization, and which is to contribute to the happiness of millions, would have sustained me through so many and such lengthened trials of patience in perfecting it.”