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and tar, &c.) had failed, that the simple experiment
of carrying an iron wire on poles in the
air was adopted. Until very recently, the use
of india-rubber as a covering for electric wires
was altogether abandoned; gutta-percha was
found, in spite of certain defects, more easy
to apply, and more durable.

The first attempt at a submarine communication
was not made until 1850, when a simple
unprotected wire, covered with gutta-percha, was
laid from Dover to Cape Grisnez, between Calais
and Boulogne. This wire, although it failed the
next day, proved the feasibility of the idea, and
saved a concession granted by the French
government. It was while this wire was being
laid, that the plan of protecting the hemp covering
of the gutta-percha by wire, was suggested by
a passenger on board the ship that was laying
it. In 1851, a cable, twenty-five and one-third
miles in length, covered with iron wire, was
laid from Dover to Calais, from the hulk of the
man-of-war Blazer, towed by a tug. This cable
fell short of the shore by half a mile, but as the
half-mile was in shallow water, the job was
successfully completed. This cable, although several
times broken by ships' anchors, has been repaired,
and has continued in working order ever since.

In the following year a cable was laid from
Holyhead to Howth, which failed, as did an
attempt to connect Port Patrick and Donaghadee.
In 1853, a cable successfully laid
between these ports placed England and
Ireland in electric union. In the same year, four
cables were laid between England and
Holland (by Orfordness and Schevening); these
have been repeatedly broken by ships' anchors,
but have always been repaired and maintained
in working order. The Dutch, cables form
important links in the history of submarine
telegraphs, because they were the first cables lifted,
spliced, and repaired, out at sea; and the
success of the system then adopted for repairing
these cables, and the experience gained by the
engineer employed, Mr. F. C. Webb, has been
the foundation of the art of repairing telegraph
cablesan art on which, up to the present time,
too little value has been laid.

In 1854, an English firm laid for the
Mediterranean Company a cable over a length of one
hundred and ten miles, between Spezzia, the
naval port of Piedmont, and Corsica; and
another, eleven miles long, from Corsica to the
Island of Sardinia. These have remained in
working order ever since. Between 1854 and
1855, two cables, of the same pattern as the
Hague cables, were laid between Holyhead and
Howth; one has been taken up, and the other,
although repeatedly broken, has been repaired,
and continues in use.

In 1850, England and Hanover were
connected by a cable two hundred and eighty miles
long, which continues in working order. In the
same year, Liverpool and Holyhead
Weymouth, Alderney, Jersey, and Guernsey
St. Bee's Head and the Isle of Manwere severally
connected by submarine cables. The Isle of
Man failed the first week, was partially relaid,
and has stood ever since. The expense of
repairing the Channel Islands cables has so far
exceeded all reasonable hopes of profit, that they
have been for the present abandoned to the use
of zoophytes and marine algæ.

In 1859, a cable was laid between Folkestone
and Boulogne, which still remains in good working
order. In the same year, Australia and
Tasmania were united by a cable two hundred and
forty miles in length,and, although one section
of one-third, having been cut through on a rocky
bed, had to be relaid in a more suitable channel,
it continues to work satisfactorily

In 1855 a wire, covered with gutta-percha,
and unprotected, laid for the British government
between Balaclava and Varna, continued
to work until it was wilfully cut through:
according to a camp story, by order of a French
general worried to madness by the frequency of
messages from Paris. A cable was laid, about
the same time, from Constantinople to Varna,
for the Turkish government.

All these cables, except the one between
Spezzia and Corsica, were laid in shallow seas.
The instances in which cables have worked for
any period in deep waters, are those of the
Sardinian, one hundred and ten miles: the
Newfoundland, to Cape Breton, eighty-five miles;
from Dardanelles to Scio and Candia, four hundred
and fifty knots; Athens to Syria, one hundred
and fifty knots; Barcelona to Port Mahon, one
hundred and eighty. On the other hand, the
failures have been numerous, and in two of the
greatest experiments, most disastrous in a financial
point of viewso disastrous that, with them,
further attempts at deep long-sea telegraphic
communication were, for a long period, closed;
neither the government nor private capitalists
would listen to proposals, however well devised,
for submarine cables.

The first attempt at laying the Atlantic cable
was made in 1857. In 1858 three unsuccessful
attempts were repeated, and on the 5th August
1858, a cable was laid between Galway and
Newfoundland. On the first attempt, a length of
three hundred and eighty-five miles of cable was
lost. The remaining quantity was then made up
to three thousand miles, and eventually two
thousand two hundred miles were laid, and about
one hundred miles were brought home, the rest
being lost in unsuccessful attempts. What this
speculation really did, and why it was certain to
fail, we shall presently explain.

When the Atlantic cable, after a brief loud
sensation, at a vast expense, suddenly became
dumb, capitalists, contrary to the expectations
of the promoters, who had so rashly hurried
the experiments, resolutely buttoned up their
pockets, and declined to subscribe another shilling
to long-sea telegraphs.

When, therefore, a telegraphic communication
with India became an urgent political and
commercial necessity, a dexterous company of
speculators brought pressure to bear on a tottering
government, and obtained an unconditional
guarantee of four and a half per cent on eight
hundred thousand pounds for fifty years for a

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