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tion," and a "Great Ship Company" was formed for purchasing and completing the vessel, £300,000, including the subscriptions of the old shareholders in the Eastern Steam Company, being subscribed to purchase and finish the ship and to provide working capital. The ship was completed, and it was a truly magnificent example of what could be accomplished by the skill of the engineer and the naval architect. The names of Mr. Brunel and Mr. Scott Russell were everywhere mentioned in terms of admiration, the latter having been the originator of the idea of constructing a vessel of such magnitude. Early in August, 1859, the completion of the vast undertaking was celebrated by a banquet on board, when a large number of distinguished visitors were present, and Lord Stanley presided. The ship was then ready for her eastern voyage, and the whole arrangements were such as would satisfy the expectations even of those passengers to the East who demanded luxurious surroundings. The larger berths were handsome rooms for parties of four or five persons, the smaller berths were commodious cabins, the chief saloons were elegant and spacious apartments, the main saloon a sumptuous and magnificent hall. The ice-house held above 100 tons of ice, the wine-cellar a wine merchant's stock. In every detail of the machinery and rigging the utmost thought and care had been exercised, and the innumerable contrivances for dealing with enormous masses of machinery and working gear were more wonderful even than the enormous bulk and extent of the floating city, with its fleet of twenty boats of the size of sailing cutters hanging to the davits at the sides. Both paddle and screw engines were used for propelling this vast edifice through the water; the paddle engines of 3000 horse-power, the screws from 4000 to G000 horse-power; the average consumption of coal when both engines were at work was estimated at 250 tons a day.

The initiatory experiences of the Great Eastern were not altogether encouraging. On her trial trip to Portland she had only arrived off Hastings, when, through some negligence, the explosion of a jacket or casing for heating the water before it entered the boilers had a

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terrific effect, blowing up the centre of the ship and tearing away the enormous funnel of eight tons weight, and along with it the decks, cabins, and steam-gearing. The furnace doors were burst open, and a number of firemen killed or seriously injured. Captain Harrison and the officers showed prompt courage and mastery of the accident, and many of the passengers were also of great service in attending to the wounded or scalded men. The vessel did not discontinue her course, and arrived at Portland the next morning. Captain Harrison was four months afterwards drowned in Southampton Water by the capsizing of a small boat, in which he was being rowed to the town. A sudden squall took the boat, and the intense cold (it was in January, 1860) was supposed to have caused the death of the captain by bringing on a fit of apoplexy when he was submerged. The coxswain and the son of the purser also perished. Great Eastern subsequently made a successful voyage to the United States, reaching New York in ten days and a half. She was received with great enthusiasm, and made the return run from New York to Halifax in forty-six hours, the shortest time then on record. Her speed during the whole voyage averaged fourteen knots an hour. She afterwards left the Mersey to convey about 3300 troops to Canada, where, being caught in a storm about 280 miles west of Cape Clear, she was so damaged that she had to put back to Kinsale. The experiments made with this "Leviathan" seemed to show, that while she was not likely to become a profitable investment as a passenger vessel, which could only make a paying voyage by conveying an altogether unusual number of persons at one time, she was too unwieldy and too much exposed to accident either for a passenger or a troop ship to run in all weathers and for any voyage.

It will be seen, however, that the possibility of constructing such a vessel complete in all its parts, and including so many remarkable inventious and contrivances, showed an extraordinary advance in practical and mechanical science. In another direction, too, there had been an equally astonishing application of recent discoveries. Communication by means


of electric telegraphy had, as we have seen, become possible not only between distant points of the same mainland, but between countries separated by seas and rivers. We were already in constant communication with the Continent of Europe, and it was being urged that the telegraph line should be brought to us direct from India, that we might not derive our intelligence from our Indian possessions through foreign channels. The prospect of establishing a great length of submarine cable between England and the United States had not been very cheering; but that was not unnaturally regarded as a supreme test, and discoveries were being perfected which might eventually enable us to redeem the first failure. It was during the visit of the queen to Cherbourg in 1858 that two vessels, the Agamemnon and the Niagara, had gone out in unfavourable weather, and laid an electric cable at the bottom of the Atlantic. Messages of congratulation had passed between her Majesty and the President of the United States, and between the Lord-mayor of London and the Mayor of New York. The jubilation was great on both sides. It was hoped that a vast scientific success had been achieved; and so it had, for the fact of having been able to send messages at all was a great step in advance; but the signals became fainter; the electric current apparently grew feeble, and at length ceased altogether, or was too weak to transmit any further signals. It was at first suspected that a portion of cable, temporarily laid down to make good the connection in the shallow water near the Irish coast, was weaker than the rest, and that there the fault would be discovered. This, however, proved not to be the case; the cause of the cessation of the current could not be detected, and the first great Atlantic cable was set down as a failure, and remained at the bottom of the ocean.

But science, or rather the patient indefatigable workers of science, can accept no failure; science to them is indeed the constant rectification of mistakes by repeated processes of experiment; and there was a man at work whose discoveries had already prepared the way to the ultimate success of the scheme.

It was not till 1866 that a second Atlantic


cable was taken out by the Great Eastern steamship, which had from that time found a vocation, and afterwards took out the French and the Suez cables with equal success; but this is the fitting time to introduce the name of the man who may be said to have come to the rescue. This was Mr. William Thomson, who, beside the highest academical titles conferred on him by the Oxford, Cambridge, Dublin, and Edinburgh universities, and by scientific associations, has received the honour of knighthood in recognition of his claims to public honour by the state.

It is not out of place to record here that submarine telegraphy owes its present degree of perfection, if not its practically useful existence, to the remarkable research and the inventions of Sir William Thomson, the professor of natural philosophy in the University of Glasgow. It would be difficult to name any subject of modern science with which this distinguished experimentalist has not been associated, but for some time his investigations were particularly directed to the various conditions affecting the transmission of electricity. His father, the late James Thomson, LL.D., who was lecturer on mathematics at the Royal Academical Institute at Belfast, was appointed to the mathematical professorship of the University of Glasgow, and Sir William, when he was only twenty-two years of age, was appointed professor of natural philosophy in the same university, where he had entered as a student in 1835 when he was only eleven years old, and—after completing his course of study -had left it for Cambridge, where he graduated as second wrangler, was immediately afterwards elected to a fellowship, and was appointed to his professorship in the following year, when he also accepted the editorship of the Cambridge and Dublin Mathematical Journal. It was during the time of his editorship (about seven years) that he published in its pages some remarkable papers on the mathematical theory of electricity, and these studies were followed by many valuable experiments on the electrodynamic properties of metals, his investigations being afterwards summarized in the "Bakerian" lecture which he delivered in 1855. But perhaps still more

important to the development of electric science and its numerous associations were his studies of atmospheric electricity, and the electrometers and other instruments of his invention, which have since remained in use, for determining and marking atmospheric conditions. From these it was but a step to the "mirror galvanometer" and the "siphon recorder," those delicate instruments which, because of their capability of being worked by a low power, have been so effectual in preserving submarine cables. It was by the ingenious application of these instruments that the Atlantic cable was at last successfully completed in 1866, on which occasion the inventor received the honour of knighthood, and was presented with the freedom of the city of Glasgow. This was in 1866; but his name is naturally associated with the first mention of the great advance made, not only in the science of practical magnetism and electricity, at the period which we are now considering, but also in any record of the march of social progress. He had then, and has since, been a constant and indefatigable worker for the public advantage, and even the list of his writings and lectures would give but an imperfect idea of the ardour with which he patiently pursued experiments of which the world can know little except the results by which it is benefited.

The generally prosperous condition of the country at the end of the year 1859 enabled Mr. Gladstone and his colleagues to look forward with some confidence to a favourable financial statement in the coming session. There were still many proposals for measures of financial reform, and an association which had been organized at Liverpool drew public attention to the increase of taxation which had taken place during a few years. To this it was answered that the increase of taxation was less rapid than the increase of population, and that while at the beginning of the present century the taxation of the country had represented 43s. per head, in the year 1858 it was only 41s. 2d. per head, while in 1851 it had fallen as low as 39s. per head. It was also argued that the increase of wealth had during the same period gone on much more rapidly than the increase of taxation. The

proportion which the taxation of the country bore to its wealth was only half that of the year 1803, and four-fifths of what it was in 1845, and this notwithstanding the large expendi ture for national defences. The cost of collecting the revenue was said to be excessive. It was stated that to collect the £69,207,000 of estimated revenue it would cost very nearly £7 per cent, and the Financial Association computed it at a still higher figure; but the cost was alleged to be lower in England than in France or America, and also to be placed at a higher rate than it really was, because it included the payment for a large number of extraneous services, such as the collection of statistics and of light duties, the working of the merchants' shipping act, and the cost of bonding and warehousing incurred for the benefit of the merchant. When these various items were deducted it would be found that the actual cost of collecting would probably not exceed £3 per cent, and if certain remaining protective duties were abolished, the amount would undergo further considerable reduction. Still it was contended that the cost of collection was excessive, and that a saving of at least two millions might be effected. This was before Mr. Cobden had fulfilled his mission to France, and Mr. Bright, at a meeting of the association on the 1st of December, 1859, proposed a scheme for a financial reform which would, it was contended, repeal those taxes that pressed unduly on the larger portion of the community, and on persons with precarious incomes, and substitute for them taxes on property which produced a fixed and comparatively certain income. This would involve the abolition of the existing income-tax, assessed taxes (except the house duty), the tax on marine assurances and fire assurances, and the excise duty on paper. All duties on the customs' tariff were to be struck off except those on foreign wines, which were to be reduced from five and sixpence to one shilling a gallon, and the duties on foreign spirits and tobacco. These remissions, it was calculated, would reduce the revenue by upwards of £26,000,000, and he proposed to cover this enormous deficiency by a tax of eight shillings per cent on the income

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