SAMUEL F. B. MORSE - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 05/01/1843 - HFSID 285975
Sale Price $8,500.00
SAMUEL F.B. MORSE
One year before his first successful telegraph message, Morse signs an autograph letter to Treasury Secretary John Spencer, explaining that the cost of preparing the wire will be $10 more than his previous estimate. He'll still come in under budget!
ALS: "Saml F.B. Morse", 1 page, 8x10. New York, 1843 May 1. To Secretary of the Treasury John C. Spencer. In full: "In my letter of the 29th ulto accompanying the contracts for the Telegraphic Wire, and the expenses of covering, I left a blank in the former which I observed was to be filled with a sum not exceeding 24 cents pr.lb. I have this moment heard from Paterson, and am enabled to fill the said blank with 22 cents. This varies the expense of Preparation of the Wire as given in my letter to the Department of 26th ulto from $1900 to $1910 - making the contracts for this part of the work of $690 less than the original estimates, instead of $700 - as therein stated." Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791-1872), a portrait painter and a founder and first President of the National Academy of Design (1826-1845, 1861), interested himself in the possibilities of a magnetic telegraph in 1832. He developed the Morse Code for use in the telegraph instrument. On December 30, 1842, New York City Democratic Congressman Charles G. Ferris of the House Committee on Commerce reported H.R. 641, a bill "To test the practicability of establishing a system of electro-magnetic telegraphs by the United States" to the floor of the House. In part: "Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the sum of thirty thousand dollars be, and is hereby, appropriated, out of any moneys in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, for testing the capacity and usefulness of the system of electro-magnetic telegraphs invented by Samuel F.B. Morse of New York, for the use of the Government of the United States by constructing a line of said electro-magnetic telegraphs, under the superintendence of Professor Samuel F.B. Morse, of such length and between such points as shall fully test its practicability and utility, and the same shall be expended, under the direction of the Postmaster General, upon the application of said Morse...." It was passed by the House and Senate on March 3, 1843, the last day of the 27th Congress and was presented to President Tyler for his approval. An experimental telegraph line was built between Washington and Baltimore and, on May 24, 1844, Morse sent the first message: "What hath God wrought!" Pencil notation (unknown hand) at upper left corner. Folds, light vertical fold touches tops of "F" and "B" of signature. Lightly shaded at folds and at blank left and right edges. Overall, fine condition.
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