Samuel F. B. Morse to Governor Sam Houston, 1860

Memucan Hunt, Texas Minister to the United States, recorded in his letterbook on March 1, 1838, that he had received an offer from Samuel F.B. Morse to give the Republic of Texas the rights to his telegraph.

On April 27, 1837, he forwarded Morse's original letter and a drawing of the telegraph as it existed at that time, recommending that they be filed in the "secret archives."

The offer apparently languished in the files thereafter. Finally, the inventor wrote to Governor Houston revoking the order in order to make over title to the United States.

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Letter from Morse to Houston

Pokeepsie, August 9th 1860


May it please your Excellency;


In the year 1838 I made an offer of
gift of my invention of the Electro magnetic
Telegraph to Texas, Texas being then an
independent Republic. Although the offer
was made more than twenty years ago, Texas,
neither while an independent State, nor
since it has become one of the United States,
has ever directly or impliedly accepted the
offer. I am induced, therefore, to believe that in
its condition as a gift it was of no value to
the State, but on the contrary has rather been an
embarrassment. In connection, however, with
my other patent it has become for the public
interest as well as my own that I should be
able to make complete title to the whole inven-
tion in the United States.

I, therefore, now respectfully withdraw
the offer then made, in 1838, the better to be in a
position to benefit Texas, as well as the other
States of the Union.


To His Excellency
Sam'l Houston Governor of the State of Texas

I am with respect and
Sincere personal esteem
Yr Ob. Serv't
Sam'l F.B. Morse

Page last modified: April 11, 2016