SAMUEL F. B. MORSE - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 08/08/1868 - HFSID 285860
Sale Price $2,550.00
SAMUEL F.B. MORSE
Signed, handwritten letter to telegraphic expert Robert Sabine (1868), insisting that he be given journal space to refute "Hamel's calumnious paper read before the Society of Arts".
ALS: "Saml F.B. Morse, 3 pages, 5x8. Po'keepsie, N.York, 1868 August 8. The inventor of the Morse Code who established a telegraph line between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore in 1844 writes to Robert Sabine, Westminster, London. In full: "I began a letter to you on the 18th July in reply to your valuable letter of the 18th of June. I have had so many interruptions since my return that I must defer its completion, until I have finished by Report as Commissioner for my Government. I write now simply to acknowledge your kindness and to thank you for your courtesy, and to promise you at no very distant day the finished letter on Hamel's calumnious paper read before the Society of Arts. The part in which he refers to me, requires a thorough exposure. I do not ask to have it published entire, but I do ask that it be read to the Society, and that it be recorded in their proceedings, with such remarks of their own as their sense of justice may prompt after a proper examination of the case. If Hamel's paper on their Records should ever be referred to in disparagement of me, it seems but just that my remarks should be at hand on the same records, as rebutting evidence. If at any time you have printed documents on Telegraphic matters which you think may be of interest to me, I shall be much gratified to have copies of them and shall feel greatly obliged to you if you would take the trouble to send them to me; any expense of course, I will cheerfully defray. We have your photographic portrait in our choice Album. I enclose you two views of my country villa, my summer residence on the Hudson, where I hope yet to have the pleasure at a future day of seeing you." Samuel F. B. Morse (1791-1872) was an accomplished portrait and mural painter and founder of the National Academy of Design. On a trip to Europe in 1830, while observing French semaphores, and realized that messages could be sent even more quickly using an electrical spark. In March 1843, he won a grant from the US Congress to build the first telegraph line. He sent the first successful telegraph message from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore on May 24, 1844. His code for message transmission became, of course, the system of dots and dashes known as Morse code. Morse built telegraph lines across the country while battling rivals in the courts. Robert Sabine was an English science writer who had recently published a book on the telegraph (The Electric Telegraph, 1867). That same year he produced a report for the British government on telegraph techniques shown at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1867. The Hamel Morse denounces in this letter was probably Joseph Hamel, a scholar at the Russian Imperial Academy who kept the Czar informed of technological developments in the West, including telegraphy and photography. Hamel has been called "the first industrial spy." Light show-through from mounting remnant on verso of third page, usual folds, slight separation at bottom of vertical fold and at blank portion of third page above but not touching signature, else fine.
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