Return to America.—Telegraph affairs in bad shape.—Degree of LL.D. from Yale.—Letter from Cambridge Livingston.—Henry O’Reilly.—Grief at unfaithfulness of friends.—Estrangement from Professor Henry.—Morse’s “Defense.”—His regret at feeling compelled to publish it.—Hopes to resume his brush.—Capitol panel.—Again disappointed.—Another accident.—First money earned from telegraph devoted to religious purposes.—Letters to his brother Sidney.—Telegraph matters.—Mexican War.—Faith in the future.—Desire to be lenient to opponents.—Dr. Jackson.—Edward Warren.—Alfred Vail remains loyal.—Troubles in Virginia.—Henry J. Rogers.—Letter to J.D. Reid about O’Reilly.—F.O.J. Smith again.—Purchases a home at last.—“Locust Grove,” on the Hudson, near Poughkeepsie.—Enthusiastic description.—More troubles without, but peace in his new home.
Having established to his satisfaction the fact that his system was better than any of the European plans, which was the main object of his trip abroad, Morse returned to his native land, but not to the rest and quiet which he had so long desired. Telegraph lines were being pushed forward in all directions, but the more the utility of this wonderful new agent was realized, the greater became the efforts to break down the lawful rights of the patentees, and competing lines were, hurriedly built on the plea of fighting a baleful monopoly by the use of the inventions of others, said to be superior. Internal dissensions also arose in the ranks of the workers on the Morse lines, and some on whom he had relied proved faithless, or caused trouble in other ways. But, while these clouds arose to darken his sky, there was yet much sunshine to gladden his heart. His health was good, his children and the families of his brothers were well and prosperous. In the year 1846 his patent rights were extended for another period of years, and he was gradually accumulating a competence as the various lines in which he held stock began to declare dividends. In addition to all this his fame had so increased that he was often alluded to in the papers as “the idol of the nation,” and honorary degrees were conferred on him by various institutions both at home and abroad. Of these the one that, perhaps, pleased him the most was the degree of LL.D. bestowed by his alma mater, Yale. He alludes to it with pride in many of his letters to his brother Sidney, and once playfully suggests that it must mean “Lightning Line Doctor.”
One of the first letters which he received on his return to America was from Cambridge Livingston, dated December 20, 1845, and reads as follows:—
“The Trustees of the New York and Boston Magnetic Telegraph Association are getting up a certificate of stock, and are desirous of making it neat and appropriate. It has seemed to me very desirable that one of its decorations should be your coat of arms, and if you will do me the favor to transmit a copy, or a wax impression of the same, I shall be much obliged.”