Morse, Sidney Edwards

Morse, Sidney Edwards an American religious journalist, brother of the preceding, was born at Charlestown, Massachusetts, February 7, 1794, and was educated at Yale College, which he entered at eleven years of age, and was graduated at fourteen, with a class many of whom lived to a great age and became famous in various departments of professional life. He studied theology at Andover and law at Litchfield, but at sixteen began his apparently predestinated life-work by writing for a Boston newspaper. Afterwards, when a number of clergymen about Boston, among them his own father, determined to try the experiment of a religious newspaper, and the Boston Recorder was projected, young Morse was chosen to conduct it. A few years later (in 1823) he established, in connection with his brother Richard the New York Observer, which perhaps during the whole of Sidney E. Morse's administration as its senior editor, that is, till 1858, as the ablest religious paper in the country, as it was the pioneer of its class of periodicals. He died December 23, 1871, at his residence in New York. Mr. Morse had a clear and logical mind, wide culture, and a tireless spirit of investigation. He was acknowledged to be a man of broad and catholic views, though eminently conservative in his temperament, and of strong convictions, to which he rendered the most complete loyalty. He was uniformly calm and kind, and not without charity for those with whom he differed on many of the great moral movements of the age, and lived and died having faith in humanity and in God. Few men have had so long a career — for he was engaged in public life sixty years — and fewer yet have ever enjoyed in so rich a measure the reverence of associates and the respect of the great public. He will be especially remembered in coming time as the founder of the New York Observer, in the conduct of which he was for nearly forty years actively engaged. From his mind and spirit, probably more than from any other, the religious press of the present day has received its best characteristics, and if new papers now surpass their venerable predecessor — which but few do — they owe their success in no small degree to the inspiration of his genius. Like his distinguished brother, Prof. S.F.B. Morse, he always took an active interest in science, and especially in those branches which relate to geography and exploration, and was engaged until interrupted by his last illness in perfecting an invention for exploring, the depths of the ocean. He had been writing on this favorite subject until a late hour a week before his death. His best-known works are A New System of Modern Geography (1823), A North American Atlas, and a series of general maps. For several years the sales of the two first- mentioned works averaged 70,000 copies annually, and more than 500,000 copies of the first-named have been printed. See Appleton's Annual Cyclopedia, 1871, page 532; New York Observer, December 1871; North Amer. Rev. January 1823, pages 176-181; Observer Jubilee Year-book, 1873. (J.H.W.)

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