Littell's Living Age/Volume 4/Issue 34/The Magnetic Telegraph

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Littell's Living Age
Volume 4, Issue 34 : The Magnetic Telegraph
Originally appeared in the Albany Argus, January 4, 1845.

The Magnetic Telegraph[edit]

Its Contemplated Extension—Its National Importance[edit]

The contemplated extension of the Magnetic Telegraph by private enterprize, from New York to Boston, may be hailed as a stride in the march of intelligence of no ordinary importance. It is one of those triumphs of the arts of peace that knit our people in closer relations of union and brotherhood. The Magnetic Telegraph annihilates distance. So complete is this annihilation that the newspapers at Baltimore have made arrangements to report the proceedings of congress by telegraph, so as to have the intelligence from the capital (40 miles distant) as soon even as the Washington papers. A like effect will happen when the line is established between New York and Boston. The news from Europe brought by the Boston packet will be known in New York (220 miles distant) as soon as it is in Boston. And so likewise when the line is completed between Albany and Buffalo, which we understand is in contemplation. Will not the telegraph literally render our people one family?—for when it is fully extended throughout the Union, our brethren in Louisiana will receive intelligence from their brethren in New York and Maine, almost as quick as if they were seated around the same board—within the sound of each other’s voices. Perhaps it is not figurative to say that hundreds of miles will then seem no more than previously as many hundred feet.

All know the wonderful influence rail-roads have exercised in drawing distant parts of the country together, and in breaking up the prejudices and asperities of sections. Utica and Syracuse now almost seem a part of Albany. A few years since they were afar off. The iron horse which has diminished the time in travelling, has brought about this revolution, but still more remarkable is the telegraph. Under its operation New Orleans will be nearer to New York, so far as regards the transmission of intelligence, than Albany is now.

It will certainly seem odd, but such will most assuredly be the case, that the result of the election in New Orleans will be known in New York, on the same evening. And thus when it is extended to all our principal cities, the presidential election will be known throughout the Union on the very day the votes are cast. This magical transmission of intelligence would relieve the anxieties, the doubts and the labors of thousands who now fritter away their time weeks after the election in ascertaining the result in other states.

The president’s message could also be thus transmitted from Washington to Maine or Louisiana a few hours after its delivery. It would be an express far exceeding in fleetness and certainty, the never tiring locomotive.

It is impossible to enter into a tithe of the results which will flow from the adoption of this wonderful agent. Good must come of it, that is certain. While the patriot and the American who looks forward to the time when our great confederacy shall stretch over the Mississippi and Oregon territories, embracing perhaps sixty states, some of which are separated thousands of miles, will regard this new and mighty agency in interchanging thoughts, sentiments and feelings, as one of the indissoluble links of firm and enduring union, and of making us all feel that we are still one nation—with one language—one capitol —and more than all, with one heart.—Albany Argus.