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electro-magnetism, and what information you or others communicated to him relating to the telegraph. State, also, all you know of the attempts of himself, and others associated with him, to construct an electro-magnetic telegraph, either from your own observation or from statements made by himself or by others in your presence. State particularly any conversation, if any, you may have bad with him in reference to your own discoveries applied to the telegraph.
Answer.—Shortly after my return from Europe, in the autumn of 1837, I learned that Mr. Morse was about to petition Congress for assistance in constructing the electro-magnetic telegraph. Some of my friends in Princeton, knowing what I had done in developing the principles of the telegraph, urged me to make the representations to Congress, which I expressed some thought of doing, namely: that the principles of the electro-magnetic telegraph belonged to the science of the world, and that any appropriation which might be made by Congress should be a premium for the best plan, and the means of testing the same, which the ingenuity of the country might cfier. Shortly after this I visited New York, and there accidentally made the personal acquaintance of Mr. Morse ;* he appeared to be an unassuming and prepossessing gentleman, with very little knowledge of the general principles of electricity, magnetism, or electro-magnetism. He made no claims, in conversation with me to any scientific discovery, or to anything beyond his particular machine and process of applying known principles to telegraphic purposes. He explained to me his plan of a telegraph with which he had recently made a successful experiment; I thought this plan better than any with which I had been made acquainted in Europe ; I became interested in him, and instead of interfering in his application to Congress, I [subsequently t] gave him a certificate, in the form of a letter, stating my confidence in the practicability of the electro-magnetic telegraph and my belief that the form proposed by himself was the best which had been published.
Mr. Morse subsequently visited Princeton several times to confer with me on the principles of electricity and magnetism which might be applicable to the telegraph. I freely gave him any information I possessed.
I learned in 1837, or thereabouts, that Professor Gale and Dr. Fisher were the scientific assistants of Mr. Morse in preparing the telegraph. Mr. Vail was also employed, but I know not in what capacity, and I am not personally acquainted with him. With Professor Gale I have been intimately acquainted for several years ; he had been a pupil in chemistry of my friend Dr. Torrey, and had studied my papers on electro-magnetism, and, as he informed me, had applied them in the arrangement of the apparatus for the construction of Morse's telegraph.
My researches had been given to the world several years before the attempt was made to reduce the magnetic telegraph to practice. Mr.
* This meeting took place in the chemical store of Mr. Chilton, Broadway, New York, and the place and time are both indelibly impressed upon my mind.
+ The word subsequently wae accidentally omitted in giving my testimony. The omission, however, is of little importance.
Chilton, of New York, informed me that he had referred Mr. Morse to them previous to his experiments in the New York University. I was therefore much surprised on the publication, in 1845, of a work purporting to give a history of the telegraph, and of the principles on which it was founded, by Mr. Vail, then principal assistant of Mr. Morse, and one of the proprietors of his patent, to find all my published researches relating to the telegraph passed over with little more than the remark that Dr. Moll and myself had made large electro-magnetic magnets. Presuming that this publication was authorized by Mr. Morse and the proprietors of the telegraph, I complained to some of his friends of the injustice, and after his return from Europe, (for he was absent at the time the book was issued,) I received a letter, copied and signed by Mr. Vail, but written by Mr. Morse, as the latter afterwards informed me, excusing the publication, on the ground that he (Mr. Vail) was ignorant of what I had done, and asking me for an account of my researches. This letter was addressed to me after the book had been stereotyped and widely circulated. It has been translated into French, and, I believe, published in Paris. To the letter I did not think fit to make any reply. I afterwards received a letter from Mr. Morse, in his own name, on the same subject, to which I gave a verbal reply in January, 1847, in Washington. In this interview Mr. Morse acknowledged that injustice had been done me, but said that proper reparation would be made. Another issue of the same work was made, bearing date 1847, in which there is no change in the statement relative to my researches.
About the beginning of 1848 Mr. Walker, of the Coast Survey, in a report on the application of the telegraph to the determination of differences of longitude, alluded to my researches. A copy of this was sent to Mr. Morse, which led to an interview between Mr. Walker, Professor Gale, Mr. Morse, and myself. At this meeting, which took place at my office in Washington, Mr. Morse stated that he had not known until reading my paper in January, 1847, that I had two years before his first conception in 1832, settled the point of practicability of the telegraph, and shown how mechanical effects could be produced at a distance, both in the deflection of a needle and in the action of an electro-magnet; that he did not know, at the time of his experiments in 1837 that there had been any doubts of the action of a current at a distance, and that in the confidence of the persuasion that the effect could be produced, he had devised the proper apparatus by which his telegraph was put in operation. Professor Gale, being then referred to, stated that Mr. Morse had forgotten the precise state of the case; that he, (Mr. Morse,) previous to his, (Dr. Gale's,) connexion with him, had not succeeded in producing effects at a distance; that, when he was first called in he found Mr. Morse attempting to make an electro-magnet act through a circuit of a few yards of copper wire suspended around a room in the University of New York, and that he could not succeed in producing the desired effect even in this that circuit; that he (Dr. Gale) asked him if he had studied Prof. Henry's paper on the subject, and that the answer was “no;" that he then informed Mr. Morse that he would find the principles
necessary to success explained in that paper; that instead of the battery of a single element, he should employ one of a number of pairs ; and that, in place of the magnet with a short single wire, he should use one with a long coil. Dr. Gale further stated that his apparatus was in the same building, and that having articles of the kind he had mentioned, he procured them, and that with these the action was produced through a circuit of half a mile of wire.* To this statement Mr. Morse made no reply. The interview then terminated, and I bave since had no further communication with him on the subject.
5. Please state whether or not you ever constructed any machine for producing motion by magnetic attraction and repulsion; if yea, what was it, and what led to the making of it.
Answer.- After developing the great magnetic power of the electromagnet as already described, the thought occurred to me that this power might be applied to give motion to a machine. The simplest arrangement which suggested itself to my mind was one already referred to, namely, causing a movable bar, supported on a horizontal axis like a scale beam, to be attracted and repelled by two permanent magnets. This could be readily effected by transmitting through a coil of wire around the suspended bar a current of galvanism, first in one direction, and then in the opposite direction, the alternations of the current being produced by dipping the ends of wires projecting from the coils into cups of mercury connected with batteries, one on either side. An account of this was published in Silliman's Journal, for 1831, vol. xx., p. 340. It was the first successful attempt to produce a mechanical motion which might apparently be employed in the arts as a motive power. This little machine attracted much attention at home and abroad, and various modifications of it were made by myself and others. I never, however, regarded it as practically applicable in the arts, because of the great expense of producing power by this means, except, perhaps, in particular cases where expense
of power is of little consequence.
6. Please look at the drawings of the Columbian telegraph, now shown you, marked G. W. B. and N. B. C., and certified by G. S. Hillard, Commissioner. Describe generally the apparatus represented and its mode of operation, and state in what respects, if any, it differs from the telegraphic apparatus patented by Mr. Morse.
Answer.- I have looked at the drawings, and I find, on examination, that it will be impossible for me to give a definite answer to the question, unless I have more time than is now at my disposal, and the means of examining and comparing the operations of the machines.
7. Please state, if you can, how many original experiments you have made in the course of your investigations in electricity, magnetism, and electro-magnetism.
Answer.-The experiments I have mentioned in this deposition form but a small part of my original investigations. Besides many
* See Dr. ale's letter of April 7, 1856, page 93.
that I made in Albany, which I have not mentioned, since my removal to Princeton, I have made several thousands on electricity, magnetism, and electro-magnetism, particularly the former, which have more or less bearing on practical applications of this branch of science, brief minutes of which fill several hundred folio pages. Many of these have not been published in detail. They have cost me years of labor and much expense.
The only reward I ever expected was the consciousness of advancing science, the pleasure of discovering new truths, and the scientific reputation to which these labors would entitle me.
Sworn to before me, September 7, 1849.
GEO. S. HILLARD,
GENERAL APPENDIX TO THE REPORT FOR 1857.
The object of this Appendix is to illustrate the operations of the Institution by the reports of lectures and extracts from correspondence, as well as to furnish information of a character suited especially to the meteorological observers and other persons interested in the promotion of knowledge.