Saturday, March 08, 2008

Another book

I've been reading Lightning Man: The Accursed Life of Samuel F. B. Morse, which is full of interesting stuff.

Morse was a flighty, depressed and most often broke artist, deeply affected by religion, patriotism, and anti-European and anti-Catholic sentiment, who had little to do with his children. That's from the first third of the book.

He went to Naples, Italy, and complained about some disgusting cake the natives ate there, with tomatoes and little fishes and black pepper on top, which the author observes may have been the first American account in writing of anchovy pizza.

The idea of the electric telegraph occurred to him while crossing the Atlantic in 1832 with, among others, the American ambassador to France, Virginia's own William C. Rives, the brother of Alexander Rives, who (39 years later) became the judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.

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