“A Correction” (from Woodworth’s Youth’s Cabinet, September 1848, p. 291)
In an article headed “Professor Morse,” on the 111th page, we alluded to the electric telegraph, and stated among other things, on the alleged authority of Professor Olmsted, of Yale College, that when these telegraphic wires became very generally distributed through the country, they would have the effect greatly to diminish the number of casualties by lightning, as the wires would, to a great extent, conduct the electric fluid harmless from the clouds in a thunder storm. The New Haven Palladium, however, in an article published at that time, though not until this moment brought to our notice, tells us, in a notice of our Cabinet on the whole very flattering, that Professor Olmsted never made the statement which has been attributed to him, and that he has not only long since publicly denied having made the statement, but that he deems it visionary and absurd. Well, we give it up. The truth is, the thing looked a little like nonsense when we wrote the article. We should not for a moment have aided in giving currency to such an opinion, but for the authority of Professor Olmsted. He is a sort of oracle with us in these matters, and he is so generally correct, that we hardly stop to inquire about any thing, if he says it is true. But it seems that in this case he has been misrepresented. Some Professor Munchausen, as the Palladium says, must have all the credit of the lightning story. We see, however, that the hoax is gaining currency, after all that has been said and done to stop it.