DescriptionSamuel Morse Autograph Letter Signed. One page, 7.75" x 9.75", Poughkeepsie, July 27, 1855. This interesting letter concerns itself with two significant events in Morse's life: suspicions that his electro-magnetic telegraph was not an invention created solely by him, and the laying of the first trans-Atlantic/underwater telegraph cable. Questions about Morse's telegraph patent were raised by Dr. Charles Thomas Jackson, whom Morse met while traveling at sea in 1932. Jackson claimed that he'd given Morse important insights into electromagnetism, and therefore Morse's later claim as the sole inventor of the electro-magnetic telegraph was false. Morse was deeply concerned with this slur on his reputation, and mounted a vigorous defense, some of which is discussed here. Addressed to attorney B.B. Minor, Morse begins the letter with a discussion about defense strategies in his telegraph patent case, saying, "There is still another living witness from whom I expect to hear in a few days, which when received will be published..." The case went before the Supreme Court in 1851, and after several years of legal investigation, the court ruled that Morse's particular combination of electromagnetism, electro-magnets, and batteries proved his claim as sole inventor of the electro-magnetic telegraph. However, it would be many more years before his contribution to global communication would be fully recognized and honored.
The letter moves on to more pressing matters - Morse's imminent trip to "Newfoundland, to be present at the laying of the cable from Cape Ray to Cape Breton, about 60 miles submarine telegraph..." Serving at the time as an electrician for the company that would lay the cable, Morse traveled to personally witness the historic birth of the Newfoundland to Nova Scotia cable - the first substantial underwater telegraph cable in existence. Letter is beautifully penned, fresh and clean.
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