( Originally Published 1902 )
THE discovery of the electric telegraph was so widespread in its influence that the civilized nations vied with each other in their expressions of gratitude to the inventor. He was loaded down with decorations and honors from almost every country of Europe ; Turkey gave him a decoration set in diamonds ; Prussia, Austria and other countries presented him with gold medals ; France made him a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor ; Denmark gave him the cross of the Knight of Danneburg; Spain, the cross of Knight Commander of the Order of Isabella the Catholic ; ten of the countries of Europe united in raising a purse of $8o,000, which was presented to Professor Morse as an expression of the feelings of admiration and gratitude which were well-nigh universally entertained for him.
An intimate friend of the great inventor writes : " He was the most simple, pure, unaffected, humble man whom I ever saw. When I say the most so, I mean just that, because I never knew any man who had attained so much honor among men and was not puffed up at all. I was with him in Paris during the great exhibition of 1867, and often saw him under circumstances that would easily develop vanity in inferior men. Royal personages would send to know at what time it would be convenient for him to receive them, when they would call at his modest lodgings to pay him the tribute of their respect. But he appeared no more elated than by the expectation of a call from a friend. He did not affect to undervalue such attentions nor to despise the honors that came from men. Esteeming them at their proper value, he had a just sense of the glory which his invention has necessarily procured for him and his country ; and he always gloried, as was becoming, in the use-fulness and happiness which his invention had added to the common stock enjoyed by the human race."
A bronze figure of Professor Morse has been placed by his countrymen in Central Park, New York, but his real monument is in the countless instruments that click, and in the gratitude of the wide world which receives their wonderful messages.
Almost all of the really great characters of the world have been simple, unpretending, modest men, who remind us of the words of Scripture : " He that humbleth himself shall be exalted," and " Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."