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orders, decrees, arrests and inquiries, occupied
reams of paper, myriads of words, days of
speechifying, and years of time. Heartaches
and hopes deferred the court takes no account
of, and make no inquiry about.

An issue concerning this wretched will of his
own, was directed for a jury to try, and a question
of law was reserved for the judges to determine.
The cause came on, counsel were
heard the jury were locked up because they
could not agree on the point of fact, and were
discharged. The judges gave their opinion on
the point of law, which gave his property to
the very person he had emphatically declared
should by no means have it; and so the case
came back again to the pleasant avenues of the
same High Court of Chancery.

The sense he missed his poor relations found
at last. A compromise is proposed, and all
parties agree to put an end to further litigation
by doing away with his will altogether, and
dividing the property among themselves. Where
there is no will, the law steps in and generally
makes a very sensible one. So ends the matter
in the final and complete break-down and failure
of his ridiculous attempt to have a will of his


IF Doctor Johnson were alive at the present
moment, and were required to give a definition
of a submarine telegraphic cable, we are afraid
that some very bitter epigrammatic sentence
would be put upon record. The man who described
a fishing-rod as a stick with a worm at
one end and a fool at the other, could hardly be
scientifically precise, or decently amiable, when
speaking of such failures as the Atlantic and
Red Sea cables. The contemplation of so much
capital sunk or destroyed, of so much advancement
checked, would scarcely be calculated to
decrease a certain biliousness of thought, or to
soften a certain irritability of language. The
temptation to look upon a submarine cable as a
rope with many hungry destructive worms at
one end, and many blind, trusting capitalists at
the other, would certainly be too great. It is
well, perhaps, for the battered cause of submarine
telegraphy, that Doctor Johnson has not
to "define" its aims in a single sentence.

The most unprejudiced observer or inquirer,
however, who has no desire to appear smart at
the expense of truth, will feel an uncontrollable
desire to lose his temper when dealing with submarine
telegraphs. He will see a most difficult
application of a mysterious science, made more
difficult, if not impossible, by contracting leeches
and "intermediate" interests. He will find that
slop-work is the rule and not the exception; and
that every advantage is taken of natural checks
and hindrances. The antagonism of the elements
is used as a shield to cover the most clumsy
and ignorant processes; and the true causes of
failure are artfully concealed under the inevitable
hocus-pocus of such undertakings. Because
a cable, containing a gigantic capital in wire and
coating, has to be laid in the bed of the sea, it
seems to be assumed that it must necessarily be
a wreck. The whole process of laying submarine
telegraphic cables is apparently regarded
as a ceremony required to satisfy the minds of a
few amiable scientific enthusiasts; and, therefore,
the least spent upon it, the soonest mended.
The plan is so arranged that what is entrusted
to the fishes shall bear but a small proportion
to what is devoured by the land-sharks in the
shape of "preliminary" and "incidental" expenses.
Of the eighty thousand pounds sterling
paid up by the shareholders for the Dover and
Ostend line, only thirty-three thousand pounds,
or about two-fifths, have been devoted to the
cable; and this is waste compared with the stricter
economy shown in the line from Dover to Calais.
There, only one-fifth of the capital has been cast
overboard; for, out of seventy-five thousand
pounds sterling paid up, only fifteen thousand
pounds have been sunk in the Channel cable.
When we find this evident distrust of the treacherous
element operating so largely on the
minds of telegraphic projectors and managers,
we can hardly feel surprised that out of nine
thousand miles of submarine telegraph laid
down, not more than three thousand miles can
be said to be in working order, the remaining
six thousand miles being perfectly useless.

One of the principal scientific causes of
failure is to be found in the fact that telegraphic
cables have never been thoroughly
tested under water before they have been
deposited in the ocean. The first considerable
failure of a submarine cable was that of the
Atlantic Telegraph Company. Before this
property was thrown into the sea, it was often
strongly urged by the Institution of Civil Engineers,
that the cable should be tested during
its manufacture, and that it should not be laid
until it had been tested under water as nearly
as possible under the conditions to which it
would be subjected in the ocean. In violation
of all these precautions the cable was laid, with
the conviction of its not being in a perfect
state; a capital of three hundred thousand
pounds sterling was sunk; and the cause of
electric telegraphy was seriously jeopardised.

That some mischance should happen to the
Atlantic cable was not surprising, when the
limited experience then obtained in submarine
telegraphy in deep water is taken into account.
This, however, is the chief scientific defence
that can be set up on the side of the directors
and managers. The moral causes of the failure
are more apparent and less defensible. The
details were arranged before anything was practically
known about deep sea cables. Great
mistakes were made in organising the undertaking,
the radical fault being the precipitate
manner in which the contracts were let,— precluding
any preliminary experiments.

The gross failure of the Atlantic Telegraph
or, as some prefer to say, in elastic language,
the lesson taught us by this magnificent experiment,
has been cast into the shade by the
failure of the Red Sea Telegraph. This second