24 de enero de 2014

Samuel Morse y la primera línea telegráfica de Puerto Rico - Una referencia

En el articulo anterior compartimos un corto resumen del desarrollo del servicio telegráfico en Puerto Rico. Durante mi búsqueda de datos me encontré varias veces con artículos que atribuyen la primera instalación telegráfica en Puerto Rico nada mas y nada menos que al ilustre Samuel Morse. Morse fue atraido a Puerto Rico por una de sus hijas (Susan Walker Morse) quien junto a su esposo Edward Lind eran dueños de la hacienda La Enriqueta en el pueblo de Arroyo. Esta primera línea de 3.2 kilometros de largo que conectaba la hacienda con el almacen en el muelle fue inagurada el 1ro de marzo de 1859. ¿De donde sale este dato que la gente repite una y otra vez?

Buscando como corroborar esta historia me encontré con el volumen II de las cartas de Samuel Morse. El fragmento que reproduzco en esta página corrobora este relato histórico:

This check to self-laudation came at an appropriate moment, as he said, for just at this time honors were being plentifully showered upon him. It was then that he was first notified of the bestowal of the Spanish decoration, and of the probability of Portugal's following suit. Perhaps even more gratifying still was his election as a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Sweden, for this was a recognition of his merits as a scientist, and not as a mere promoter, as he had been contemptuously called. On the Island of Porto Rico too he was being honored and fêted. On March 2, he writes:
"I have just completed with success the construction and organization of the short telegraph line, the first on this island, initiating the great enterprise of the Southern Telegraph route to Europe from our shores, so far as to interest the Porto Ricans in the value of the invention. "Yesterday was a day of great excitement here for this small place. The principal inhabitants of this place and Guayama determined to celebrate the completion of this little line, in which they take a great pride as being the first in the island, and so they complimented me with a public breakfast which was presided over by the lieutenant-colonel commandant of Guayama. The commandant and alcalde, the collector and captain of the port, with all the officials of the place, and the clergy of Guayama and Arroyo, and gentlemen planters and merchants of the two towns, numbering in all about forty, were present. We sat down at one o'clock to a very handsome breakfast, and the greatest enthusiasm and kind and generous feeling were manifested. My portrait was behind me upon the wall draped with the Spanish and American flags. I gave them a short address of thanks, and took the opportunity to interest them in the great Telegraph line which will give them communication with the whole world. I presume accounts will be published in the United States from the Porto Rico papers. Thus step by step (shall I not rather say _stride by stride_?) the Telegraph is compassing the world. My accounts from Madrid assure me that the government will soon have all the papers prepared for granting the concession to Mr. Perry, our former secretary of legation at Madrid, in connection with Sir James Carmichael, Mr. John W. Brett, the New York, Newfoundland and London Telegraph Company, and others. The recent consolidation plan in the United States has removed the only hesitation I had in sustaining this new enterprise, for I feared that I might unwittingly injure, by a counter plan, those it was my duty to support. Being now in harmony with the American Company and the Newfoundland Company, I presume all my other companies will derive benefit rather than injury from the success of this new and grand enterprise. At any rate I feel impelled to support all plans that manifestly tend to the complete circumvention of the globe, and the bringing into telegraphic connection all the nations of the earth, and this when I am not fully assured that present personal interests may not temporarily suffer. I am glad to know that harmonious arrangements are made between the various companies in the United States, although I have been so ill-used. I will have no litigation if I can avoid it. Even Henry may have the field in quiet, unless he has presented a case too flagrantly unjust to leave unanswered."

The short line of telegraph was from his son-in-law's house to his place of business on the bay, about two miles, and the building of it gave rise to the legend on the island that Morse conducted some of his first electrical experiments in Porto Rico, which, of course, is not true.

There is much correspondence concerning the proposed cable from Spain or Portugal by various routes to the West Indies and thence to the United States, but nothing came of it.

Monumento a Samuel Morse, Arroyo.
Foto por Héctor Ruiz (2015).


1. Samuel F. B. Morse, His Letters and Journals,Volume 2 (originally published in 1914) <http://www.gutenberg.org/files/11018/11018-8.txt>

2. Samuel Morse. Wikipedia. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Morse>


Anónimo dijo...

El Sr. Ruiz Lopez, Mariano presidente de Communications & Industrial Electronics Corporation sabe mucho acerca de este tema. Lo entreviste con relación a otro asunto y me contó sobre Morse y el telégrafo en PR. Tiene como 88 años y esta como coco seria buena idea que lo entrevistaran para añadir mas información a este articulo. Les dejo el link de su website http://www.comindelpr.com

Anónimo dijo...

segun me conto mi madre,dos de sus tios fueron ayudantes de morse en p.r.modesto y jose escudero.luego uno de ellos viajo a venezuela para instalar un sistema telegrafico.me gustaria tener informacion.

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