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looking stranger (both written in pencil) ran as follows:

Captain Wragge. Post-office, Bristol.



IN the present condition of public opinion
as to submarine cables, there is not the
slightest chance of inducing either a company
or the government to risk a million or even half
a million of money on long-sea cables.
Unreasoning confidence has been succeeded by
unreasoning distrust; private enterprise and the
public purse have both been so severely taxed
by the failures of rash ignorance and unscrupulous
jobbery, that submarine-cable communications
have fallen into undeserved disrepute. Yet
it will not be difficult to show that, with
existing materials and existing experience,
properly employed, the most distant civilised
regions may be brought into telegraphic
communication with this country.

It is self-evident that telegraphic communication
with our colonists and customers in
Asia, Africa, and America is one of the most
pressing wants of the agea want which follows
naturally the perfection of railroads and steamboats.
The value of speed increases, with more
than geometrical proportion, with distance. A
letter from London to Liverpool will often be
delivered as soon as a telegram, especially if
sent very late in the day, but a telegram to
Marseilles outstrips the express train by many
hours; and a telegram to Bombay would be in
advance of the mail by many days. For this
reason we ought not to be content until America,
India, and China, are brought within the
influence of a system of telegraphs.

The art of constructing and working land
electric telegraphs has been almost brought to
perfection. Let the money only be subscribed,
and mechanics and manufacturers can be found
thoroughly able to make and work a system of
telegraphs over any distance and any country in
which man can exist. Not only has all Europe
including the vast Russian empire, the
principal islands of the Mediterranean, and Egypt
been united by a system of telegraphs, but
British India and the colonies of Australia
possess systems of "winged wires," which, passing
through thousands of miles of deserts and forests,
unite the principal towns and ports of those

The formation of submarine telegraphs for
use in deep seas is still in the stage of experiment.
We have arrived at a point where the
combination of various inventions already made,
and the application of experience already gained,
is required rather than any extraordinary inventive

The problem of manufacturing, laying, and
maintaining deep-sea telegraph cables over one
thousand miles, is notlike the telescope, the
safety-lamp, the steam-engine, or the locomotive
railwayto be worked out by the efforts of any
one man of genius vivifying the crude ideas
of his predecessors. It is a problem that can
only be worked out by a number of minute
and often individually insignificant improvements
in various processes connected with
manufacturing cables, by increased care and skill
in selecting sea routes, and in laying down cables
when properly made.

On the question of deep-sea telegraphy we are
much in the position of Horace's "brass-breasted
hero" who first ventured on the ocean, or
rather, perhaps, of the manif there ever was
such a manwho first thought of extending
coasting to far-sea voyages, and of leaving
familiar landmarks and ready shelter for an
adventure of weeks on the trackless ocean.
Ships, cables, sails, and stores for navigating
the Mediterranean or the Red or the Indian
seas were to be had, but it required a long
accumulation of experience, and a long series of
improvement, before what the French call the
long-course voyage could be brought down to a
reasonable average of safety and certainty.

The idea of electric telegraphs remained a
philosopher's toy until railways found a clear
place for their development. They were only
first tried on a working scale in 1839; and
almost insuperable difficulties appeared to attend
their use for even twenty miles. Several years
elapsed before it was found possible to work
with certainty over a hundred miles.
Unlike most inventions of a scientific character, the
failures in submarine telegraphs may be
distinctly traced to over-confidence, the result of
early success. The first submarine cable laid
between and across the Straits of Dover was
a complete successit was, in fact, a fortunate
accidentand sanguine speculators, without
either science or practical skill, have again and
again obtained subscriptions for submarine cables
constructed on the rule of thumb, and utterly
unsuitable for any situation except the exact
line on which the Dover and Calais cable
happened to fall.

Professor Wheatstone, to whom the world is
more indebted for the perfection to which land
telegraphs have been brought than to any man
living, suggested submarine telegraphs so early
as 1837. On the 6th February, 1840, before a
Select Committee of the House of Commons
on Railways, he stated, in answer to a question,
that he considered it would be perfectly practicable
to communicate by electric telegraphs
between Dover and Calais. In 1845, he made it
part of an agreement with the company to whom
he and Mr. Cook sold their patents, that he
should have assistance in carrying out a
submarine cable project. But differences arose
between the professor and the company, and
nothing was done.

The manufacture of a newly-discovered
substancegutta-perchaand the invention of
wire-twisted ropes, were necessary before it
was possible to make an effective submarine
telegraphic cable. The first attempts at land
electric telegraphs were subterranean, and it
was not until various plans for insulating wires
underground (such as covering them, with cotton