Letter from Richard Owen to Robert Owen

Scope and Content

This manuscript letter opens with discussion of Richard's busy state of affairs at the Western Military Institute, Kentucky. Nevertheless, despite examinations proceeding he was able to take out a few days out to visit Frankfort on business. Whilst there he called on Governor [Lazarus] Powell, whom he first met at the [Western Military] Institute annual conference in 1852, as he is "much interested" in the Institute and gave permission for Richard to take anything he wished from the arsenal; a small musket and a mortar for firing bombs were taken.

Further meetings with other Kentucky dignitaries are detailed, before Richard explains the most interesting part of his stay in the state capital was spent "thoroughly inspecting" two telegraph offices. Owen is informed the Frankfort operator "conversed for a few seconds with the Louisville operator by playing on keys similar to the black and white keys on a piano and the printing machine started writing off the reply from the Louisville operator". Richard was most impressed with the [Samuel] Morse's invention and used a model of the system to explain the process to his class of students.

Reference is made of a visiting a penitentiary, with Richard writing of being "struck by the practical evidence" of Owen's long held view that it is much more effective to prevent crime than to punish it.

Note

Stamped number: 2118