How strange it is, that with the manifest utility of the telegraph in case of fire, and the ease with which it could be adapted to that purpose—as it has now been for some years in Boston—the authorities take no steps to obtain its invaluable services. The alarm of fire can be transmitted to every district of London at the small cost of 350l. a-year. The most competent parties are ready to undertake the contract; but it is too large a sum for a poor little village, with only 2,500,000 of inhabitants, and not losing more than 500,000l. annually by fires, to expend. The sums spent at St. Stephen’s in giving old gentlemen colds, and in making those of all ages sneeze from underfoot snuff—in other words, the attempt at ventilation, which is totally useless—has cost the country more than would be necessary to supply this vast metropolis with telegraphic wire communication for a century.
In conclusion, I must state that in this country several establishments and individuals have their own private telegraphs, in a similar manner to that referred to at New York, and many more would do the same, did not vested interests interfere.
[Footnote AX: Vide observations on this subject in Chapter X.]
[Footnote AY: Extract from lecture delivered by S.B. Ruggles, at New York, October, 1852.]
[Footnote AZ: This extract is from a lecture by S.B. Ruggles to the citizens of Rochester, October, 1849.]
[Footnote BA: The neighbouring colony “whips” the Republic in canals. Vessels from 350 to 400 tons can pass the St. Lawrence and Welland Canals. Nothing above 75 tons can use the Erie Canal.]
[Footnote BB: The governor of the State, in his annual message, 1854, calls attention to the fact, that the toll on the canals is rapidly decreasing, and will be seriously imperilled if steps are not taken to enlarge it.]
[Footnote BC: By the Illinois and Michigan Canal the ocean lakes communicate with the Mississippi; and when the channel is made by Lake Nipissing, there will be an unbroken watercourse between New Orleans, New York, Bytown, and Quebec.]
[Footnote BD: There are upwards of 5000 miles of canal in America.]
[Footnote BE: Vide an able paper on railways, written by that officer and published in that valuable work, Aide Memoire to the Military Sciences; or for fuller particulars the reader is referred to Report on the Railways of the United States, by Capt. Douglas Galton, R.N., recently issued.]
[Footnote BF: This is without the expenses arising from law and parliamentary proceedings.]
[Footnote BG: I believe the railway from Charleston to Savannah was entirely laid down on this plan.]
[Footnote BH: Mr. Jones, in his Historical Sketch of the Electric Telegraph, makes the calculation 40l. a mile, and estimates that, to erect them durably, would cost 100l. a mile.]