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1850 __ A dream of a telegraph between America and Europe
Bishop Mullock (1807-1869)
Comment : Bishop Mullock, head of the Roman Catholic Church in Newfoundland, was lying becalmed in his yacht one day in sight of Cape Breton Island, and began to dream of a plan for uniting his savage diocese to the mainland by a line of telegraph through the forest from St. John's to Cape Ray, and cables across the mouth of the St. Lawrence from Cape Ray to Nova Scotia. St. John's was an Atlantic port, and it seemed to him that the passage of news between America and Europe could thus be shortened by forty-eight hours. On returning to St. John's he published his idea in the COURIER by a letter dated November 8, 1850. (John Munro)Long before the first attempts to lay a submarine cable across the Atlantic was made (1857), Dr. Mullock had on several occasions publicly propounded the feasibility of connecting Europe with America by means of submarine telegraph.
Original excerpt : « To the Editor fo the Courier.Sir : I regret to find that, in every plan for transatlantic communication, Halifax is always mentioned, and the natural capabilities of Newfoundland entirely overlooked. This has been deeply impressed on my mind by the communication I read in your paper of Saturday last, regarding telegraphic communication between England and Ireland, in which it is said that the nearest telegraphic station on the American side is Halifax, twenty-one hundred and fifty-five miles from the west of Ireland. Now would it not be well, to call the attention of England and America to the extraordinary capabilities of St John’s, as the nearest telegraphic point ? It is an Atlantic port, lying, I may say, in the track of the ocean steamers, and by establishing it as the American telegraphic station, news could be communicated to the whole American continent forty-eight hours, at least, sooner than by any other route. But how will this be accomplished ? Hust lok at the map of Newfoundland and Cape Breton. From St John’s to Cape Ray there is no difficulty in establishing a line passing near Holy-Rood along the neck of land connecting Trinity and Placentia Bays, and thence in a direction due west to the Cape. You have then about forty-one to forty-five miles of sea to St. Paul’s Island, with deep soundings of one hundred fathoms, so that the electric cable will be perfectly safe from icebergs. Thence to Cape North, in Cape Breton, is little more than twelve miles. This it is not only practicable to bring America two days nearer to Europe by this route, but should be the telegraphic communication between England and Ireland, sixty-two miles, be realized, it presents not the least difficulty. Of course, we in Newfoundland will have nothing to do with the erection, working, and maintenance of the telegraph; but I suppose our Government will give every facility to the company, either English or American, who will undertake it, as it will be an incalculable advantage to this country. I hope the day is not far distant when St. John’s will be the first link in the electric chain which will unite the Old World and the New.J.T.M., St. John’s, November 8, 1850. »
Source : Munro, John (1891), “Heroes of the Telegraph”, Published by BiblioBazaar, 2008, Chapter 1, p. 64, and Published by Icon Group International Inc (Webster’s French Thesaurus Edition), p. 54.
Source : Field, Henry Martin (1866), “History of the Atlantic telegraph”, New York : Charles Scribner & Co., Second Edition, 1867, pp.15-17.
Urls : http://www.worldwideschool.org/library/books/tech/engineering/HeroesoftheTelegraph/chap4.html (last visited )

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