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Breese Family Monograph

Part 3 - pages 487 to 494


 " Haste 'tis the stillest hour of night,
The moon sheds down her palest light,
And Sleep has claimed the lake and hill,
The wood, the plain and babbling rill;
And where yon ivied lattice shows,
My air one slumbers in repose !
Come ye that know the lovely maid, 
And help prepare the Serenade.
Hither, before the night is flown,
Bring instruments of every tone;
But lest with noise ye wake, not lull
Her dreaming fancy, ye must cull
Such only as shall soothe the mind
And leave the harshest all behind;
Bring not the thund'ring drum, nor yet
The harshly shrieking clarionet,
Nor screaming hautboy, trumpet shrill,
Nor clanging cymbals; but with skill
Exclude each one. that would disturb
The fairy architects, or curb
The wild creations of their mirth -
All that would wake the soul to Earth.
Choose ye the softly breathing flute,
The mellow horn, the loving lute;
The viol ye must not forget,
And take the sprightly flageolet,
And grave bassoon; choose too the fife
Whose warblings in the tuneful strife,
Mingling in mystery with the words,
May seem like notes of blithest birds!
Are ye prepared ? now lightly tread
As if by elfin minstrels led,
And fling no sounds upon the air
To rudely wake my slumbering fair.
Softly! now breathe the symphony -
So gently breathe, the tones may vie,
In softness, with the magic notes
In visions heard; music that floats
So buoyant that it well may seem
With strains etherial, in her dream,
One song of such mysterious birth
She doubts it comes from Heaven or Earth !
Play on! my loved one slumbers still
Play on! She wakes not with the thrill
Of joy, produced by strains so mild,
But fancy moulds them gay and wild;
Now, as the music Iow declines,
'Tis sighing of the forest-pines,
Or'tis the fitful varied roar
Of distant falls, or troubled shore;
Now, as the tone grows full or sharp,
'Tis whispering of the Eolian harp;
The viol swells, now long, now loud,
Tis spirit chanting in a cloud
That passed by. It dies away--
So gently dies she scarce can sar
'Tis gone; listens! 'tis lost, she fears;
Listens! and thinks again she hears,
As dew-drops mingling in a stream;
To her 'tis all one blissful dream,
A song of angels throned in light.
Softly! Away! Fair one, Good night ! "

These verses were published in the "Talisman" for 1829, at the request of the editors, with an engraved picture of The Serenade from the author's own design. The original painting in oil was afterwards pre­sented to his cousin as a bridal gift, but was destroyed by the burning of Morell's Storehouse in New York. 

His inventive genius showed itself all through his artist-life - "his studio" being, in the words of Huntington. his successor in the presidency of the National Academy, "a kind of laboratory, where he formed theo­ries of color," and "tried experiments with various vehicles ;" while some mechanical inventions also engaged his attention at an early period. But from the year 1832 to the close of his life he was wholly occupied with his great invention of the Electric Telegraph - its first incipient stages, its first application on an experimental line from Washington to Balti­more, and onward to the culmination of his triumphs in the laying of the first telegraphic cable over the bed of thc Atlantic Ocean. There is no room for question, among scientific men, that the principles of electro­magnetism, involved in the Morse telegraph, had been discovered years before their application in that invention, through tile combined researches of several scientists, from Oersted to Henry, and had even been tenta­tively applied to the invention of an electro-magnetic telegraph by Henry. Yet the unsurpassed merit belongs to Morse of having been the first to discern the importance of the newly discovered power for its applicability to great uses. To him belongs also the credit of having, with unfailing perseverance, devised the means, which are universally recognized as the best known, of applying the electro-magnetic power to the transmission of signals between widely separated places; thus turning it to account, in the simplest and most practical manner, for the benefit of mankind. 

Of his character, the same lady-cousin above spoken of, who knew him well, has most fittingly said: "His character was remarkably symmet­rical, his temper calm and equable, his faith and trust strong throughout life, and he was always the courteous, Christian gentleman." 

He was a devoutly Christian man. If by nature too self-sufficient, early disappointments, in the failure to receive what might have been thought to be only a just appreciation of his artistic abilities, with conse­quent narrowness of pecuniary resources, added to domestic griefs, made him humble and teachable; so that he did not hesitate to acknowledge his need of just the discipline divinely apportioned to him. When honors and (what is rare in the experience of inventors) riches flowed in upon him, he bore the trial of prosperity modestly; anti was ever ready to re. echo the sentiment expressed by the first message sent on his experimental telegraph-line: "What hath God wrought !" 

He died in New York April 2, 1872, and was buried, with conspicu­ous funeral honors, in the Greenwood Cemetery. He was twice married: first, on the 1st of October 1818, to Lucretia Pickering daughter of Charles Walker Esq. of Concord, N. H., and grand­daughter of Rev. Timothy Walker, first minister of Concord - (therefore niece of Sarah (Walker) Rolfe, the wife of Count Rumford),20 by whom he had two sons, Charles Walker and James Edwards Finley,; and a  daughter Susan Walker,: beside two daughters who died in infancy.  Charles W. Morse married his second cousin Mannette Antill Lansing, and has three children. Susan W. Morse married Edward Lind of Porto  Rico, W. I., of a Danish family (who died in 1882), and had a promising son Charles Walker, who died at the age of thirty-eight )-ears, to the great grief and loss of his parents. Mrs. Lucretia P. (Walker) Morse  died in her twenty-fifth year, Feb. 7, 1825. The beautiful epitaph to her memory, by the elder Professor Silliman, must not be left out here:

 "She combined, in her character and person, a rare assemblage of excellences.

"Beautiful in form, features and expression, peculiarly bland in her manners, highly cultivated in mind, she irresistibly drew attention, love and respect;

"Dignified without haughtiness, amiable without tameness, firm without severity, and cheerful without levity, her uniform sweetness of temper spread perpetual sunshine around every circle in which she moved. 'When the ear heard her it blessed her, when the eye saw her it gave witness to her.'

"In sufferings the most keen her serenity of mind never failed her; death to her had no terrors, the grave no gloom. Though suddenly called from earth, eternity was no stranger to her thoughts, but a welcome theme of contemplation.

"Religion was the sun that illumined every virtue and united all in one bow of beauty. Hers was the religion of the Gospel; Jesus Christ her foundation, the author and finisher of her faith. In him she rests, in sure expectation of a glorious resurrection."

Twenty-three years after her death; in 1848, Prof..Morse married: secondly, Sarah Elizabeth Griswold, a first cousin's daughter, now living as his widow, by whom he had four children, three sons and a daughter. The eldest son, named Arthur,: died in 1876; the second son, William Goodrich, was married in 1873, to Kate Crabbe, and is now a widower with one daughter; the daughter, Cornelia Livingston: was married, in 1881. to Franz Rummel an artist in music, now resides abroad, and has two sons;  the third son, Edward Lind,; a graduate of Yale College in 1878, is about to reside abroad, with his mother, for the study of the art of painting.  

(2.) Sidney Edwards born Feb. 7, 1794; who married Catharine daughter of Rev. Dr. Gilbert Robert Livingston, Apr. i, 1841 (who still survives as his widow); and died Dec. 23, 1871. He was graduated at Yale College in 1811, and even before leaving college, when in his sixteenth )-car, "he wrote a series of articles in the ' Boston Centinel' on the dangers from the multiplication of new States" in the Union--thus earl)-giving indica­tion of that native bent of his mind to journalism which was to give the chief direction to his whole life. He studied theology at Andover, Mass., and law at Litchfield, Conn., but pursued neither of these professions. Being soon invited to establish a religious newspaper in Boston, he origin­ated the "Boston Recorder;" and itl 1823, in connection with his younger brother, established the "New York Observer." 

"More than to an}' other man is the public indebted to Mr. Sidney E. Morse for the religious newspaper, He may be fittingly styled its father. Previously to his conception of the ' Boston Recorder' there had been periodicals, quarterly, monthly and weekly, designed to promote religion; but the invention of the plan that was first introduced into the ' Recorder,' and subsequently enlarged and improved in the 'Observer,' was original with him, and is that which is now the feature of all papers that are, in the true sense of the word, religious.  

"With a thorough theological and legal education, his mind trained to patient thought and cautious investigation, slow in his intellectual operations and accurate in his statements, he had the highest possible qualifications for the great work of his life. When his mind was 'made up,' and his position taken, it was next to impos­sible to dislodge him. The tenacity with which he held his ground was justified by the caution with which it had been chosen; and it was held with conscientious sin­cerity and herculean ability." 

In connection with this very just tribute, by an associate and successor of his in thc editorship of the "New York Observer" (Rev. Dr. S. I. Prime), were published, soon after his death, by the same friend and companion, the following more general remarks, true to the life, on his qualities of mind and character: 

"His east of mind was eminently mathematical and statistical, finding for itself enjoyment in the most abstruse, perplexing and extended calculations and computations, tracing the peculiarities of numbers and the results of combinations. His memory of figures was extraordinary, and for hours he would descant, in general converse, upon the results obtained, with the same accuracy as if the figures were before him. To discourse upon the discoveries in art and science, and still more upon tile moral progress of the age, and the great agencies in the past that had brought on the present, was the recreation and enjoyment of his life .... He mingled but little in general society, rarely taking part in public meetings, and inclined to study and the quiet of domestic life.

"In boyhood he made a profession of religion in his father's church in Charlestown--a profession which he adorned by a consistency and uniformity of character rarely seen of men. In all the years of his public and social life those who have known him the longest and the most intimately, in business, in philanthropic and charitable labors, in the conflicts and changes of exciting times, bear willing testimony to the unwavering and unceasing self-possession of a spirit governed always by a sense of profound reverence for the right. No one ever saw him unduly excited, nor heard from his lips a severe and unkind expression; while kindness,
gentleness and grace pervaded his spirit and life. With great intellectual force, and energy that suffered no weariness or relaxation, there was also this evenness of tem perament and perfect self-control that never suffered him to be betrayed into a rash, hasty or ill-advised word or deed ....

"The lass. of his life was love. He was a moral philosopher, studying intensely the theories of the schools as to the nature of virtue, and he found the basis of all right action in love. When a boy in college, under strong religious impressions, and in a silent hour of deep concern, these words came suddenly into his spirit and took a life-possession of his whole being: 'God lives, God reigns, God loves; God will ever live, God will ever reign, God will ever love. Glory, Hallelujah'.' In those words are all the springs of his life--absolute submission to God's will, with
a sense of His infinite love; working out peace and joy, which he sought to diffuse by making the law of love the universal bond and rule.

"Such a man, both great and good, strong and gentle, honored and useful, spotless and beautiful in life, is a model of all the virtues that most adorn and dignify humanity .... 

"His genius," like that of his elder brother "was also inventive. In 1817 he and his elder brother patented the flexible piston pump. In 1839 he produced the new art of cerography, for printing maps on the common printing-press, illustrating his  new ' Geography' with it, 100,000 copies being sold the first year. This art has not been patented, and the process has never been made public. Within the last few years he has been engaged with his son Mr. G. Livingston Morse in a great invention for rapid exploration of the depths of the sea. The 'bathometer' was exhibited at the Paris Exposition of 1867, and last winter was illustrated before the New York Association for the advancement of Science and Art. To peri, cling this instrument he gave the last years of his life, and on Friday evening December 15 he was engaged until a very late hour writing upon the subject; and on rising to go up to his bed chamber was stricken with paralysis (the first illness of his life), and lingering until Saturday morning last he peacefully expired."

Sidney Edwards and Catharine (Livingston) Morse had two children: a son Gilbert Livingston,: born in 1842, married in 1871 to Mary M. C. daughter of John Coles of Worthing, co. Sussex, England, by whom he has six children: his first child, a daughter, was born during the hours of her grandfather's last illness, with reference to which he had said, a few days before: "It would not be strange if, when the new life came in. the old went out, and a daughter Lucretia.; born in 1843, and married in 1862 to Charles K. Herrick - from whom she was divorced in 1875,            assuming, together with two children, her maiden-name.

(3.) Richard Cary,  born June, 1795; who married: first, Sept. 29, 1828, Sarah Louisa daughter of William Davis of Claverack, N. Y., formerly a merchant of Boston, Mass., whose mother married for second husband Charles Joy, brother of Benjamin Joy, of Boston; and, secondly, Harriet H. daughter of Daniel Messenger of Boston, Mass.,‑Aug. I2, 1856(who survives as his widow, without children of her own); and died at,  Kissingen, Bavaria, Sept. 22, 1868. He was graduated at Yale College in 1812, spent one year after graduation in the family of President Dwight, as his amanuensis, and in 1814 entered the ‑Andover Theological Seminary, where he was graduated in course in 1817; after which he began his ministry by preaching for some months in the Presbyterian church on John's Island in the harbor of Charleston, S.C. But "he became early impressed with the idea that he had not the requisite natural qualifications for the ministry, and therefore silently retired from it; though his whole life was a continued act of devotion to the objects which the ministry contem­plates.'' His principal life-work was as associate proprietor and editor of the "New York Observer," in which  

"neatly all the articles translated from the French and German, including the letters of the regular French correspondent of tile paper [during the many years of his editorship] were from his pen. Mr. M. was an accomplished linguist. In early life he made himself master of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French and German, and in late years attained to good proficiency in several other modern languages, including the Portugese and the Norwegian. Two translations made by Mr. Morse of extensive and valuable works, one from the French and one from the German, have never appeared in print."  

He made two visits to Europe before that one from which he never returned, and traveled a short time in the East. "Various subjects of interest . . . he investigated with great care, and some of them with a surprising degree of minuteness, though he was never forward to pro­claim the results of his inquiries"--so said Rev. Dr. Sprague in a discourse delivered at his funeral, who further summed up the chief traits of his mind and character, with discrimination, as follows:  

"In his intellect there were fine qualities that could not fail to command respect. If I were to designate any particular feature of his mind as more prominent than an)' other, perhaps it would be his literary taste. The productions of his pen, though I believe they rarely, if ever, appeared before the world in connection with his name, were singularly faultless, and might well challenge the closest criticism. He was a model particularly in letter-writing .... He had great aptness for acquiring lang­uages. : · . His mind was of a highly inquisitive cast, and, though he moved about so quietly and noiselessly, he was always adding to the stores of his information.

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20 See Memoir of Sir Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford .... By George E. Ellis .... Boston,            1871, pp. 44-45, 65-7o, 206-10.


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