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boats on the water, and the other ships, while rockets lighted up the darkness of the sea. Then with thankful hearts we turned our faces again to the west. But soon the wind rose, and for thirty-six hours we were exposed to all the dangers of a storm on the Atlantic. Yet, in the very height and fury of the gale, as I sat in the electricians' room, a flash of light came up from the deep, which, having crossed to Ireland, came back to me in mid-ocean, telling that those so dear to me, whom I had left on the banks of the Hudson, were well, and following us with their wishes and their prayers. This was like a whisper of God from the sea, bidding me keep heart and hope. The Great Eastern' bore herself proudly through the storm, as if she knew that the vital cord which was to join two hemispheres hung at her stern; and so, on Saturday, the 7th of September, we brought our second cable safely to the shore.
Having thus accomplished our work of building an ocean telegraph, we desire to make it useful to the public. To this end, it must be kept in perfect order, and all lines connected with it. The very idea of an electric telegraph is, an instrument to send messages instantaneously. When a dispatch is sent from New York to London, there must be no uncertainty about its reaching its destination, and that promptly. This we aim to secure. two cables do their part well. There are no way-stations between Ireland and Newfoundland where messages have to be repeated, and the lightning never lingers more than a second in the bottom of the sea. To those who feared that they might be used up or wear out, I would say, for their relief, that the old cable works a little better than the new one, but that is because it has been down longer, as time improves the quality of gutta percha. But the new one is constantly growing better. To show how delicate are these wonderful cords, it is enough to state that they can be worked with the smallest battery power. When the first cable was laid in 1858, electricians thought that to send a current 2,000 miles, it must be almost like a stroke of lightning. But God was not in the earthquake, but in the still, small voice. The other day Mr. Latimer Clark telegraphed from Ireland across the ocean and back again, with a battery formed in a lady's thimble! And now Mr. Collett writes me from Heart's Content: 'I have just sent my compliments to Dr. Gould, of Cambridge, who is at Valentia, with a battery composed of a gun-cap, with a strip of zinc, excited by a drop of water, the simple bulk of a tear!' A telegraph that will do that, we think nearly perfect. It has never failed for an hour or a minute. Yet there have been delays in receiving messages from Europe, but these have all been on the land lines or in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and not on the sea cables. It was very painful to me, when we landed at Heart's Content, to find any interruption here; that a message which came in a flash across the Atlantic should be delayed twenty-four hours in crossing 80 miles of water. But it was not my fault. My associates in the Newfoundland, Company will bear me witness, that I entreated them a year ago to repair the cable in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and to put our land lines in perfect order.
But they thought it more prudent to await the result of the late expedition before making further large outlay. We have therefore had to work hard to restore our lines. But in two weeks our cable across the Gulf of St. Lawrence was taken up and repaired. It was found to have been broken by an anchor in shallow water, and, when spliced out, proved as perfect as when laid down ten years ago. Since then a new one has been laid, so that we have there two excellent cables.
"On land the task was more slow. You must remember that a Newfoundland is a large country; our line across it is 400 miles long, and runs through a wilderness. In Cape Breton we have another of 140 miles. These lines were built twelve years ago, and we waited so long for an ocean telegraph that they have become old and rusty. On such long lines, unless closely watched, there must be sometimes a break. A few weeks ago, a storm swept over the island, the most terrific that had been known for twenty years, which strewed the coast with shipwrecks. This blew down the line in many places, and caused an interruption of several days. But it was quickly repaired, and we are trying to guard against such accidents again. For three months we have had an army of men at work, under our faithful and indefatigable Superintendent, Mr. A. M. Mackay, rebuilding the line, and now they report it nearly complete. On this we must rely for the next few months. But all winter long these men will be making their axes heard in the forests of Newfoundland, cutting thousands of poles, and as soon as the spring opens will build an entirely new line along the same route. With this double line complete, with frequent station-houses, and faithful sentinels to watch it, we feel pretty secure. At Port Hood, in Nova Scotia, we connect with the Western Union Telegraph Company, which has engaged to keep as many lines as may be necessary for European business. This we think will guard against failures hereafter. But to make assurance doubly sure, we shall in the spring build still another line by a separate route, crossing over from Heart's Content to Placentia, which is about 100 miles, along a good road, where it can easily be kept in order. From Placentia a submarine cable will be laid across to the French island of St. Pierre, and thence to Sydney, in Cape Breton, where again we strike a coach-road, and can maintain our lines without difficulty. Thus we shall have three distinct lines, with which it is hardly possible that there can be any delay. A message from London to New York passes over four lines: from London to Valentia; from Valentia to Heart's Content; from there to Port Hood; and from Port Hood to New York. It always takes a little time for an operator to read a message and prepare to send it. For this allow five minutes at each station; that is enough, and I shall not be content till we have messages regularly from London in twenty minutes. One hour is ample (allowing ten minutes each side for a boy to carry a dispatch) for a message to go from Wall Street to the Royal Exchange, and to get an answer back again. This is what we aim to do. If for a few months there should be occasional delays, we ask only a little patience, remembering that our
machinery is new, and it takes time to get it well oiled and running at full speed. But after that, I trust we shall be able to satisfy all the demands of the public.
"A word about the tariff. Complaint has been made that it was so high as to be very oppressive. I beg all to remember, that it is only three months and a half since the cable was laid. It was laid at a great cost and a great risk. Different companies had sunk in their attempts $12,000,000. It was still an experiment, of which the result was doubtful. This, too, might prove a costly failure. Even if successful, we did not know how long it would work. Evil prophets in both countries predicted that it would not last a month. If it did, we were not sure of having more than one cable, nor how much work that one could do. Now these doubts are resolved. We have not only one cable but two, both in working order; and we find, instead of five words a minute, we can send fifteen. Now we are free to reduce the tariff. Accordingly, it has been cut down one-half, and I hope in a few months we can bring it down to one-quarter. I am in favor of reducing it to the lowest point at which we can do the business, keeping the lines working day and night. And then, if the work grows upon us so enormously that we cannot do it, why, we must go to work and lay more cable."
In addition to the preceding remarks of Mr. Field, a few additional details may well be added to complete the history. Four attempts were made to lay a cable across the Atlantic before success was attained. In the first attempt, in 1857, the cable gave way owing to a strain being put on the paying-out machinery, by the sudden dip of the Irish bank, which the apparatus was neither strong enough nor flexible enough to withstand. The second attempt was made in 1858, when the "Agamemnon" and the "Niagara" met in mid-ocean, effected a splice, and steering in opposite directions ultimately laid the cable, which in a few weeks transmitted about 400 messages, and then failed. The attempts of 1865 and 1866 have been sufficiently described by Mr. Field. The great fact that a cable could be laid between Europe and America, and that messages could be sent and received through its length, was practically demonstrated in 1858; the failure of the cable of 1865 was due to mechanical causes, evident enough and easily remedied, as the success of the cable of 1866 fully shows.
The cable of 1858 had for a conductor a copper strand of seven wires, six laid around one; weight, 107 lbs. per nautical mile. The insulator was of gutta percha, laid on in three coverings; weight, 261 lbs. per nautical mile. The outer coat was composed of 18 strands of charcoal iron-wire, each strand made of seven wires, twisted six around one, laid equally around the core, which had previously been padded with a serving of tarred hemp. Breaking strain, three tons five cwt.; capable of bearing its own weight in a trifle less than five miles depth of water. Length of cable, 2,174 nautical miles; diameter, five-eighths of an inch. In the cable of 1865, the conductor was a copper strand of seven wires, six laid around one; weight, 300 lbs. per nautical mile;
embedded in Chatterton's compound. Insulation was effected with gutta percha and Chatterton's compound. Weight, 400 lbs. per nautical mile. The outer coat was 10 wires drawn from Webster and Horsfall's homogeneous iron, each wire surrounded with tarred Manila rope, and the whole laid spirally around the core, which had previously been padded with a serving of tarred jute yarn. Breaking strain, seven tons, 15 cwt.; capable of bearing its own weight in 11 miles depth of water. Length of cable, 2,300 nautical miles; diameter, one inch.
The cable of 1866 has for a conductor a copper strand of seven wires, six laid around one; weight, 300 lbs. per nautical mile; embedded for solidity in Chatterton's compound, The insulator is four layers of gutta percha laid on alternately with thinner layers of Chatterton's compound; weight, 400 lbs. per nautical mile. The outer coat is 10 solid wires drawn from Webster and Horsfall's homogeneous iron and galvanized, each wire surrounded separately with five strands of white Manila yarn, and the whole laid spirally around the core, which had previously been padded with a serving of tarred hemp. The breaking strain is eight tons two cwt., and it is capable of bearing its own weight in 12 miles depth of water. The length of this cable is 2,730 nautical miles, part of which was to be used for completing the cable that parted in 1865. Diameter, one inch.
In laying the Atlantic cables, four main risks had to be encountered, all of which in the present one have been successfully passed through; 1st, the successful and rapid laying of the shore end; 2d, passing down the tremendous submarine incline known as the Irish bank;' " 3d, passing over a short steep valley, where the water sinks to almost as great a depth as in mid-ocean; 4th, and greatest, the laying of the cable for a distance of more than 100 miles through a depth of 2,400 fathoms, or 15,000 feet of water; this passed over, the ocean begins gradually to shallow to 100 fathoms on the Newfoundland coast. The present cable was landed on the American coast in 50 fathoms in Heart's Content Bay, one of the most easterly spurs of rocky headland on the south of Newfoundland; the place chosen for its landing is a deep, rocky inlet, similar to but much larger than Foilhommerum Bay, on the Irish end of the cable; this is more sheltered than Bull's Bay, where the cable of 1858 was successfully landed.
The European shore end of the cable of 1866 was landed at Foilhommerum Bay, on the coast of Ireland, July 7, 1866, at noon; by 3 A. M. of the 8th, the full length of 30 miles was paid out, signalled through, and its insulation and conductivity found perfect. On July 12th, the "Great Eastern" commenced making the splice with buoyed shore end: as soon as that was completed and found perfect, the great work of laying the cable commenced. For the first 250 miles, that is till over the Irish bank," the cable made in 1865 was used, after that the new cable only; the reason for making this difference was that the new cable is more strongly made than that of 1865, and was therefore reserved for the deepest water. The route taken was 30 to 35 miles south of the broken
cable of last year, so that in grappling for its recovery, there would be no danger of picking up the new one.
One of the the most remarkable circumstances connected with the laying of the cable of 1866 is the directness of the route taken by the Great Eastern, and the small percentage of slack of the cable paid out, compared with the distance run.
The log of the steamer shows:
Saturday, 14th. Distance run, 108 miles; cable paid out, 116
Sunday, 15th. --Distance run, 128 miles; cable paid out, 139 miles.
Monday, 16th. -Distance run, 115 miles; cable paid out, 137
Distance run, 118 miles; cable paid out, 139 Wednesday, 18th. — Distance run, 105 miles; cable paid out, 125
Thursday, 19th. - Distance run, 122 miles; cable paid out, 129 miles.
Friday, 20th.-Distance run, 117 miles; cable paid out, 127 miles.
Saturday 21st.-Distance run, 122 miles; cable paid out, 136 miles.
Sunday, 22d.-Distance run, 123 miles; cable paid out, 133 miles.
Monday, 23d.-Distance run, 121 miles; cable paid out, 138 miles.
Tuesday, 24th.-Distance run, 121 miles; cable paid out, 135 miles.
Wednesday, 25th. — Distance run, 112 miles; cable paid out, 130
Thursday, 26th.-Distance run, 128 miles; cable paid out, 134 miles.
Friday, 27th. Distance run, 112 miles; cable paid out, 118 miles; which, with shore end off Valentia, distance 27 miles, cable paid out 29 miles, makes distance run 1,669 miles, and paid out, 1,864 miles.
On the 29th of July, the New York papers were supplied with the news from Central Europe only 30 hours old.
One of the most remarkable feats of engineering of any age was the picking up of the cable of 1865, lost at sea, August 2d; at the time of parting, 1,213 miles of cable had been paid out, and all attempts to regain it had been useless on account of the inefficacy of the apparatus used. Having laid the new cable, the "Great Eastern" sailed Aug. 9th, to pick up the old. The dragging for the cable commenced Aug. 12th, resulting in bringing it to the surface on the 17th; it slipped from its fastenings and sunk, four times; but on the fifth trial, after casting the grapnel 30 times, a permanent union was made with the coil on board the "Great Eastern," on September 2d. It was found uninjured and in perfect working order. The grappling ropes were 20 miles long, seven and a half inches in circumference, of the same strands of the