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Samuel F. B. Morse, His Letters and Journals In Two Volumes, Volume I.   By: (1791-1872)

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First Page:

SAMUEL F.B. MORSE

HIS LETTERS AND JOURNALS

IN TWO VOLUMES

VOLUME I

[Illustration: Samuel F.B. Morse]

SAMUEL F.B. MORSE

HIS LETTERS AND JOURNALS

EDITED AND SUPPLEMENTED

BY HIS SON

EDWARD LIND MORSE

ILLUSTRATED WITH REPRODUCTIONS OF HIS PAINTINGS AND WITH NOTES AND DIAGRAMS BEARING ON THE INVENTION OF THE TELEGRAPH

VOLUME I

1914

TO MY WIFE WHOSE LOVING INTEREST AND APT CRITICISM HAVE BEEN TO ME OF GREAT VALUE I DEDICATE THIS WORK

"It is the hour of fate, And those who follow me reach every state Mortals desire, and conquer every foe Save death. But they who doubt or hesitate Condemned to failure, penury and woe Seek me in vain and uselessly implore. I hear them not, and I return no more."

Ingalls, Opportunity .

PREFACE

Arthur Christopher Benson, in the introduction to his studies in biography entitled "The Leaves of the Tree," says:

"But when it comes to dealing with men who have played upon the whole a noble part in life, whose vision has been clear and whose heart has been wide, who have not merely followed their own personal ambitions, but have really desired to leave the world better and happier than they found it, in such cases, indiscriminate praise is not only foolish and untruthful, it is positively harmful and noxious. What one desires to see in the lives of others is some sort of transformation, some evidence of patient struggling with faults, some hint of failings triumphed over, some gain of generosity and endurance and courage. To slur over the faults and failings of the great is not only inartistic: it is also faint hearted and unjust. It alienates sympathy. It substitutes unreal adoration for wholesome admiration; it afflicts the reader, conscious of frailty and struggle, with a sense of hopeless despair in the presence of anything so supremely high minded and flawless."

The judgment of a son may, perhaps, be biased in favor of a beloved father; he may unconsciously "slur over the faults and failings," and lay emphasis only on the virtues. In selecting and putting together the letters, diaries, etc., of my father, Samuel F.B. Morse, I have tried to avoid that fault; my desire has been to present a true portrait of the man, with both lights and shadows duly emphasized; but I can say with perfect truth that I have found but little to deplore. He was human, he had his faults, and he made mistakes. While honestly differing from him on certain questions, I am yet convinced that, in all his beliefs, he was absolutely sincere, and the deeper I have delved into his correspondence, the more I have been impressed by the true nobility and greatness of the man.

His fame is now secure, but, like all great men, he made enemies who pursued him with their calumnies even after his death; and others, perfectly honest and sincere, have questioned his right to be called the inventor of the telegraph. I have tried to give credit where credit is due with regard to certain points in the invention, but I have also given the documentary evidence, which I am confident will prove that he never claimed more than was his right. For many years after his invention was a proved success, almost to the day of his death, he was compelled to fight for his rights; but he was a good fighter, a skilled controversialist, and he has won out in the end.

He was born and brought up in a deeply religious atmosphere, in a faith which seems to us of the present day as narrow; but, as will appear from his correspondence, he was perfectly sincere in his beliefs, and unfalteringly held himself to be an instrument divinely appointed to bestow a great blessing upon humanity... Continue reading book >>




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