This page of the book is from "The New Student's Reference Work: Volume 3" by Chandler B. Beach, Frank Morton McMurry and others.
MORTALITY 1267 MORTON
frivolous pursuit. Nearly 20 years of struggle followed, but recognition came at last He painted a portrait of the Marquis de Lafayette in 1825, and organized the National Academy of Arts and Design in New York. At 40 years he stood at the head of his profession in the United States. He had no other thought than to devote his life to art when, in 1832, he was returning, with fresh honors, from Europe in the steamship Sully. On shipboard there happened to be several men who were interested in electricity. Mr. Morse suggested that the repeatedly broken current ought to furnish a means of communication. As he sat on deck, he worked out his plan in a series of drawings and explained them to his fellow-passengers. It consisted of a battery and a wire for transmission with an electromagnet, a recording pencil and a roll of paper at the receiving end. The pencil was to be fixed at one end of a pivoted bar, under a weak, permanent magnet, and was to be moved up and down by sparks of electricity sent over the wire. In this way dots and dashes of the Morse alphabet were to be recorded. Morse arrived in New York, a successful artist, with commissions awaiting him, and a life of ease, honor and wealth, only to disappear into a little shop in New Haven and live long years of poverty, obscurity, toil and ridicule.
His wife was dead, his children scattered among relatives. The man lived alone in his shop, sleeping on a cot there, cooking his own food, often going hungry. Once his old friends sought him out with $3,000 in hand and a commission for a great historical painting, but he refused. He consented, however, to teach in the Academy of Arts of Design in order to earn his bread. So he worked alone for five years. It was in 1837 that he applied for a patent on The American Electromagnetic Telegraph. All at once the fruits of these "wasted years" as his admirers called them, matured, but, although startling in the laboratory experiments to which he admitted the world, the "wild scheme" was thought impractical. It was not thought probable that Congress would make an appropriation of $30,000 to build a line from "Washington to Baltimore. But the money was secured and in May, 1844, the first message was flashed over a wire. It read: "What hath God wrought?" The inventor's labor of 12 years was crowned with success. He was 53 years of age. Seven years later the Western Union Telegraph Company was organized, and St. Louis connected with Buffalo by wire. In 1843 he suggested the Atlantic cable. The first attempt to lay a cable across the Atlantic was made in 1857 by Cyrus W. Field (q. v.) and Mr. Morse. Four cables parted, but the fifth was successfully laid in i860.
The first money made by the inventor was given to charity. As his fortune increased, he built a villa at Locust Grove on the Hud-
son. Here he gathered his children about him, and brought his second wife. He surrounded himself with books and pictures and extensive gardens. His home became as famous for its gatherings of distinguished men and women as his father's in Charleston had been. A quarter of a century he lived there and in a stately mansion in New York City, a man of wide learning and influence, of public importance and personal distinction. His death in 1872 was universally deplored, and his character is to-day as precious a heritage to mankind as is his extraordinary achievement.
Mortality or death-rate is measured by the number of people per 1,000 who die,.on the average, in one calendar year. Russia perhaps has the highest death-rate; the United States a low death-rate. In Australia, although the birth-rate is low, the death-rate is so low that there is a more rapid natural increase in the population than in any country of Europe In general, married people have a lower death-rate than single people, probably chiefly because sickly people less frequently marry. The death-rate for women is generally lower than for men. There seems to be a tendency in civilized countries for death-rate, birth-rate and marriage-rate all to decline. Usually a high death-rate goes along with a high birth-rate. The death-rate for infants is high always, being in the United States for females under 4 years, 47.5; and for males under 4 years, 56.7.
Mor'tar. See Artillery. Mortar. See Cements. Mor'ton, Levi Parsons, ex-vice-president of the United States (1889-93), was born at Shoreham, Vt., May 16, 1824. He-first was clerk in a country-store and then partner in a merchant's firm at Boston. In 1863 he founded banks in London and New York, and for a time was at the head of one of these — the house of Morton, Bliss & Co., now known as the Morton Trust Co. In 1878 and 1880 he was sent to Congress, and from 1881 to 1885 was minister to France. Morton, Oliver Perry, the "war-governor" of Indiana, was born in Salisbury, Wayne Co., Indiana, Aug. 4, 1823. He studied at Oxford, O., and practiced law in Indiana. In i860, as lieutenant - governor, he succeeded Governor Lane in ■ the governorship. He became famous in the next four years as one of the war-g overnors, raising troops and borrowing money on his own notes to carry on the state government. He was re-elected
OLIVER P. MORTON