Heroes of the Telegraph
J. Munro

Part 2 out of 4

which a sheath of eighteen strands, each of seven iron wires, was laid
in a close spiral. It weighed nearly a ton to the mile, was flexible as
a rope, and able to withstand a pull of several tons. It was made
conjointly by Messrs. Glass, Elliot & Co., of Greenwich, and Messrs. R.
S. Newall & Co., of Liverpool.

The British Government promised Mr. Field a subsidy of L1,400 a year,
and the loan of ships to lay the cable. He solicited an equal help from
Congress, but a large number of the senators, actuated by a national
jealousy of England, and looking to the fact that both ends of the line
were to lie in British territory, opposed the grant. It appeared to
these far-sighted politicians that England, the hereditary foe, was
'literally crawling under the sea to get some advantage over the United
States.' The Bill was only passed by a majority of a single vote. In
the House of Representatives it encountered a similar hostility, but was
ultimately signed by President Pierce.

The Agamemnon, a British man-of-war fitted out for the purpose, took in
the section made at Greenwich, and the Niagara, an American warship,
that made at Liverpool. The vessels and their consorts met in the bay
of Valentia Island, on the south-west coast of Ireland, where on August
5, 1857, the shore end of the cable was landed from the Niagara. It was
a memorable scene. The ships in the bay were dressed in bunting, and
the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland stood on the beach, attended by his
following, to receive the end from the American sailors. Visitors in
holiday attire collected in groups to watch the operations, and eagerly
joined with his excellency in helping to pull the wire ashore. When it
was landed, the Reverend Mr. Day, of Kenmore, offered up a prayer,
asking the Almighty to prosper the undertaking, Next day the expedition
sailed; but ere the Niagara had proceeded five miles on her way the
shore-end parted, and the repairing of it delayed the start for another

At first the Niagara went slowly ahead to avoid a mishap, but as the
cable ran out easily she increased her speed. The night fell, but
hardly a soul slept. The utmost vigilance was maintained throughout the
vessel. Apart from the noise of the paying-out machinery, there was an
awful stillness on board. Men walked about with a muffled step, or
spoke in whispers, as if they were afraid the sound of their voices
would break the slender line. It seemed as though a great and valued
friend lay at the point of death.

The submarine hill, with its dangerous slope, was passed in safety, and
the 'telegraph plateau,' nearly two miles deep, was reached, when
suddenly the signals from Ireland, which told that the conductor was
intact, stopped altogether. Professor Morse and De Sauty, the
electricians, failed to restore the communication, and the engineers
were preparing to cut the cable, when quite as suddenly the signals
returned, and every face grew bright. A weather-beaten old sailor
said, 'I have watched nearly every mile of it as it came over the side,
and I would have given fifty dollars, poor man as I am, to have saved
it, although I don't expect to make anything by it when it is laid

But the joy was short-lived. The line was running out at the rate of
six miles an hour, while the vessel was only making four. To check this
waste of cable the engineer tightened the brakes; but as the stern of
the ship rose on the swell, the cable parted under the heavy strain, and
the end was lost in the sea.

The bad news ran like a flash of lightning through all the ships, and
produced a feeling of sorrow and dismay.

No attempt was made to grapple the line in such deep water, and the
expedition returned to England. It was too late to try again that
year, but the following summer the Agamemnon and Niagara, after an
experimental trip to the Bay of Biscay, sailed from Plymouth on June 10
with a full supply of cable, better gear than before, and a riper
experience of the work. They were to meet in the middle of the
Atlantic, where the two halves of the cable on board of each were to be
spliced together, and while the Agamemnon payed out eastwards to
Valentia Island the Niagara was to pay out westward to Newfoundland. On
her way to the rendezvous the Agamemnon encountered a terrific gale,
which lasted for a week, and nearly proved her destruction.

On Saturday, the 26th, the middle splice was effected and the bight
dropped into the deep. The two ships got under weigh, but had not
proceeded three miles when the cable broke in the paying-out machinery
of the Niagara. Another splice, followed by a fresh start, was made
during the same afternoon; but when some fifty miles were payed out of
each vessel, the current which kept up communication between them
suddenly failed owing to the cable having snapped in the sea. Once more
the middle splice was made and lowered, and the ships parted company a
third time. For a day or two all went well; over two hundred miles of
cable ran smoothly out of each vessel, and the anxious chiefs began to
indulge in hopes of ultimate success, when the cable broke about twenty
feet behind the stern of the Agamemnon.

The expedition returned to Queenstown, and a consultation took place.
Mr. Field, and Professor Thomson, who was on board the Agamemnon, were
in favour of another trial, and it was decided to make one without
delay. The vessels left the Cove of Cork on July 17; but on this
occasion there was no public enthusiasm, and even those on board felt as
if they were going on another wild goose chase. The Agamemnon was now
almost becalmed on her way to the rendezvous; but the middle splice was
finished by 12.30 p.m. on July 29, 1858, and immediately dropped into
the sea. The ships thereupon started, and increased their distance,
while the cable ran easily out of them. Some alarm was caused by the
stoppage of the continuity signals, but after a time they reappeared.
The Niagara deviated from the great arc of a circle on which the cable
was to be laid, and the error was traced to the iron of the cable
influencing her compass. Hence the Gorgon, one of her consorts, was
ordered to go ahead and lead the way. The Niagara passed several
icebergs, but none injured the cable, and on August 4 she arrived in
Trinity Bay, Newfoundland. At 6. a.m. next morning the shore end was
landed into the telegraph-house which had been built for its reception.
Captain Hudson, of the Niagara, then read prayers, and at one p.m.
H.M.S. Gorgon fired a salute of twenty-one guns.

The Agamemnon made an equally successful run. About six o'clock on the
first evening a huge whale was seen approaching on the starboard bow,
and as he sported in the waves, rolling and lashing them into foam, the
onlookers began to fear that he might endanger the line. Their
excitement became intense as the monster heaved astern, nearer and
nearer to the cable, until his body grazed it where it sank into the
water; but happily no harm was done. Damaged portions of the cable had
to be removed in paying-out, and the stoppage of the continuity signals
raised other alarms on board. Strong head winds kept the Agamemnon
back, and two American ships which got into her course had to be warned
off by firing guns. The signals from the Niagara became very weak, but
on Professor Thomson asking the electricians on board of her to increase
their battery power, they improved at once. At length, on Thursday,
August, 5, the Agamemnon, with her consort, the Valorous, arrived at
Valentia Island, and the shore end was landed into the cable-house at
Knightstown by 3 p.m., and a royal salute announced the completion of
the work.

The news was received at first with some incredulity, but on being
confirmed it caused a universal joy. On August 16 Queen Victoria sent a
telegram of congratulation to President Buchanan through the line, and
expressed a hope that it would prove 'an additional link between the
nations whose friendship is founded on their common interest and
reciprocal esteem.' The President responded that, 'it is a triumph more
glorious, because far more useful to mankind, than was ever won by
conqueror on the field of battle. May the Atlantic telegraph, under the
blessing of heaven, prove to be a bond of perpetual peace and friendship
between the kindred nations, and an instrument destined by Divine
Providence to diffuse religion, civilisation, liberty, and law
throughout the world.'

These messages were the signal for a fresh outburst of enthusiasm. Next
morning a grand salute of 100 guns resounded in New York, the streets
were decorated with flags, the bells of the churches rung, and at night
the city was illuminated.

The Atlantic cable was a theme of inspiration for innumerable sermons
and a prodigious quantity of doggerel. Among the happier lines were
these :-

''Tis done! the angry sea consents,
The nations stand no more apart;
With clasped hands the continents
Feel throbbings of each other's heart.

Speed! speed the cable! let it run
A loving girdle round the earth,
Till all the nations 'neath the sun
Shall be as brothers of one hearth.

As brothers pledging, hand in hand,
One freedom for the world abroad,
One commerce over every land,
One language, and one God.'

The rejoicing reached a climax in September, when a public service was
held in Trinity Church, and Mr. Field, the hero of the hour, as head and
mainspring of the expedition, received an ovation in the Crystal Palace
at New York. The mayor presented him with a golden casket as a souvenir
of 'the grandest enterprise of our day and generation.' The band played
'God save the Queen,' and the whole audience rose to their feet. In the
evening there was a magnificent torchlight procession of the city

That very day the cable breathed its last. Its insulation had been
failing for some days, and the only signals which could be read were
those given by the mirror galvanometer.[It is said to have broken down
while Newfoundland was vainly attempting to inform Valentia that it was
sending with THREE HUNDRED AND TWELVE CELLS!] The reaction at this news
was tremendous. Some writers even hinted that the line was a mere hoax,
and others pronounced it a stock exchange speculation. Sensible men
doubted whether the cable had ever 'spoken;' but in addition to the
royal despatch, items of daily news had passed through the wire; for
instance, the announcement of a collision between two ships, the Arabia
and the Europa, off Cape Race, Newfoundland, and an order from London,
countermanding the departure of a regiment in Canada for the seat of
the Indian Mutiny, which had come to an end.

Mr. Field was by no means daunted at the failure. He was even more
eager to renew the work, since he had come so near to success. But the
public had lost confidence in the scheme, and all his efforts to revive
the company were futile. It was not until 1864 that with the assistance
of Mr. Thomas (afterwards Lord) Brassey, and Mr. (now Sir) John Fender,
that he succeeded in raising the necessary capital. The Glass, Elliot,
and Gutta-Percha Companies were united to form the well-known Telegraph
Construction and Maintenance Company, which undertook to manufacture and
lay the new cable.

Much experience had been gained in the meanwhile. Long cables had been
submerged in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. The Board of Trade in
1859 had appointed a committee of experts, including Professor
Wheatstone, to investigate the whole subject, and the results were
published in a Blue-book. Profiting by these aids, an improved type of
cable was designed. The core consisted of a strand of seven very pure
copper wires weighing 300 lbs. a knot, coated with Chatterton's
compound, which is impervious to water, then covered with four layers of
gutta-percha alternating with four thin layers of the compound
cementing the whole, and bringing the weight of the insulator to 400
lbs. per knot. This core was served with hemp saturated in a
preservative solution, and on the hemp as a padding were spirally wound
eighteen single wires of soft steel, each covered with fine strands of
Manilla yam steeped in the preservative. The weight of the new cable
was 35.75 cwt. per knot, or nearly twice the weight of the old, and it
was stronger in proportion.

Ten years before, Mr. Marc Isambard Brunel, the architect of the Great
Eastern, had taken Mr. Field to Blackwall, where the leviathan was
lying, and said to him, 'There is the ship to lay the Atlantic cable.'
She was now purchased to fulfil the mission. Her immense hull was
fitted with three iron tanks for the reception of 2,300 miles of cable,
and her decks furnished with the paying-out gear. Captain (now Sir)
James Anderson, of the Cunard steamer China, a thorough seaman, was
appointed to the command, with Captain Moriarty, R.N., as chief
navigating officer. Mr. (afterwards Sir) Samuel Canning was engineer
for the contractors, the Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company,
and Mr. de Sauty their electrician; Professor Thomson and Mr. Cromwell
Fleetwood Varley were the electricians for the Atlantic Telegraph
Company. The Press was ably represented by Dr. W. H. Russell,
correspondent of the TIMES. The Great Eastern took on board seven or
eight thousand tons of coal to feed her fires, a prodigious quantity of
stores, and a multitude of live stock which turned her decks into a
farmyard. Her crew all told numbered 500 men.

At noon on Saturday, July 15, 1865, the Great Eastern left the Nore for
Foilhommerum Bay, Valentia Island, where the shore end was laid by the

At 5.30 p.m. on Sunday, July 23, amidst the firing of cannon and the
cheers of the telegraph fleet, she started on her voyage at a speed of
about four knots an hour. The weather was fine, and all went well until
next morning early, when the boom of a gun signalled that a fault had
broken out in the cable. It turned out that a splinter of iron wire had
penetrated the core. More faults of the kind were discovered, and as
they always happened in the same watch, there was a suspicion of foul
play. In repairing one of these on July 31, after 1,062 miles had been
payed out, the cable snapped near the stern of the ship, and the end was
lost. 'All is over,' quietly observed Mr. Canning; and though spirited
attempts were made to grapple the sunken line in two miles of water,
they failed to recover it.

The Great Eastern steamed back to England, where the indomitable Mr.
Field issued another prospectus, and formed the Anglo-American Telegraph
Company, with a capital of L600,000, to lay a new cable and complete the
broken one. On July 7, 1866, the William Cory laid the shore end at
Valentia, and on Friday, July 13,.about 3 p.m., the Great Eastern
started paying-out once more. [Friday is regarded as an unlucky, and
Sunday as a lucky day by sailors. The Great Eastern started on Sunday
before and failed; she succeeded now. Columbus sailed on a Friday, and
discovered America on a Friday.] A private service of prayer was held
at Valentia by invitation of two directors of the company, but otherwise
there was no celebration of the event. Professor Thomson was on board;
but Dr. W. H. Russell had gone to the seat of the Austro-Prussian war,
from which telegrams were received through the cable.

The 'big ship' was attended by three consorts, the Terrible, to act as a
spy on the starboard how, and warn other vessels off the course, the
Medway on the port, and the Albany on the starboard quarter, to drop or
pick up buoys, and make themselves generally useful. Despite the
fickleness of the weather, and a 'foul flake,' or clogging of the line
as it ran out of the tank, there was no interruption of the work. The
'old coffee mill,' as the sailors dubbed the paying-out gear, kept
grinding away. 'I believe we shall do it this time, Jack,' said one of
the crew to his mate.

On the evening of Friday, July 27, the expedition made the entrance of
Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, in a thick fog, and next morning the Great
Eastern cast her anchor at Heart's Content. Flags were flying from the
little church and the telegraph station on shore. The Great Eastern was
dressed, three cheers were given, and a salute was fired. At 9 a.m. a
message from England cited these words from a leading article in the
current TIMES: 'It is a great work, a glory to our age and nation, and
the men who have achieved it deserve to be honoured among the
benefactors of their race.' 'Treaty of peace signed between Prussia and
Austria.' The shore end was landed during the day by the Medway; and
Captain Anderson, with the officers of the telegraph fleet, went in a
body to the church to return thanks for the success of the expedition.
Congratulations poured in, and friendly telegrams were again exchanged
between Her Majesty and the United States. The great work had been
finally accomplished, and the two worlds were lastingly united.

On August 9 the Great Eastern put to sea again in order to grapple the
lost cable of 1865, and complete it to Newfoundland. Arriving in mid-
ocean she proceeded to fish for the submerged line in two thousand
fathoms of water, and after repeated failures, involving thirty casts of
the grapnel, she hooked and raised it to surface, then spliced it to the
fresh cable in her hold, and payed out to Heart's Content, where she
arrived on Saturday, September 7. There were now two fibres of
intelligence between the two hemispheres.

On his return home, Professor Thomson was among those who received the
honour of knighthood for their services in connection with the
enterprise. He deserved it. By his theory and apparatus he probably
did more than any other man, with the exception of Mr. Field, to further
the Atlantic telegraph. We owe it to his admirable inventions, the
mirror instrument of 1857 and the siphon recorder of 1869, that messages
through long cables are so cheap and fast, and, as a consequence, that
ocean telegraphy is now so common. Hence some account of these two
instruments will not be out of place.

Sir William Thomson's siphon recorder, in all its present completeness,
must take rank as a masterpiece of invention. As used in the recording
or writing in permanent characters of the messages sent through long
submarine cables, it is the acknowledged chief of 'receiving
instruments,' as those apparatus are called which interpret the
electrical condition of the telegraph wire into intelligible signals.
Like other mechanical creations, no doubt its growth in idea and
translation into material fact was a step-by-step process of evolution,
culminating at last in its great fitness and beauty.

The marvellous development of telegraphy within the last generation has
called into existence a great variety of receiving instruments, each
admirable in its way. The Hughes, or the Stock Exchange instruments,
for instance, print the message in Roman characters; the sounders strike
it out on stops or bells of different tone; the needle instruments
indicate it by oscillations of their needles; the Morse daubs it in ink
on paper, or embosses it by a hard style; while Bain's electro-chemical
receiver stains it on chemically prepared paper. The Meyer-Baudot and
the Quadruple receive four messages at once and record them
separately; while the harmonic telegraph of Elisha Gray can receive as
many as eight simultaneously, by means of notes excited by the current
in eight separate tuning forks.

But all these instruments have one great drawback for delicate work,
and, however suitable they may be for land lines, they are next to
useless for long cables. They require a certain definite strength of
current to work them, whatever it may be, and in general it is very
considerable. Most of the moving parts of the mechanism are
comparatively heavy, and unless the current is of the proper strength to
move them, the instrument is dumb, while in Bain's the solution requires
a certain power of current to decompose it and leave the stain.

In overland lines the current traverses the wire suddenly, like a
bullet, and at its full strength, so that if the current be sufficiently
strong these instruments will be worked at once, and no time will be
lost. But it is quite different on submarine cables. There the current
is slow and varying. It travels along the copper wire in the form of a
wave or undulation, and is received feebly at first, then gradually
rising to its maximum strength, and finally dying away again as slowly
as it rose. In the French Atlantic cable no current can be detected by
the most delicate galvanoscope at America for the first tenth of a
second after it has been put on at Brest; and it takes about half a
second for the received current to reach its maximum value. This is
owing to the phenomenon of induction, very important in submarine
cables, but almost entirely absent in land lines. In submarine cables,
as is well known, the copper wire which conveys the current is insulated
from the sea-water by an envelope, usually of gutta-percha. Now the
electricity sent into this wire INDUCES electricity of an opposite kind
to itself in the sea-water outside, and the attraction set up between
these two kinds 'holds back' the current in the wire, and retards its
passage to the receiving station.

It follows, that with a receiving instrument set to indicate a
particular strength of current, the rate of signalling would be very
slow on long cables compared to land lines; and that a different form of
instrument is required for cable work. This fact stood greatly in the
way of early cable enterprise. Sir William (then Professor) Thomson
first solved the difficulty by his invention of the 'mirror
galvanometer,' and rendered at the same time the first Atlantic cable
company a commercial success. The merit of this receiving instrument
is, that it indicates with extreme sensibility all the variations of the
current in the cable, so that, instead of having to wait until each
signal wave sent into the cable has travelled to the receiving end
before sending another, a series of waves may be sent after each other
in rapid succession. These waves, encroaching upon each other, will
coalesce at their bases; but if the crests remain separate, the delicate
decipherer at the other end will take cognisance of them and make them
known to the eye as the distinct signals of the message.

The mirror galvanometer is at once beautifully simple and exquisitely
scientific. It consists of a very long fine coil of silk-covered copper
wire, and in the heart of the coil, within a little air-chamber, a small
round mirror, having four tiny magnets cemented to its back, is hung, by
a single fibre of floss silk no thicker than a spider's line. The
mirror is of film glass silvered, the magnets of hair-spring, and both
together sometimes weigh only one-tenth of a grain. A beam of light is
thrown from a lamp upon the mirror, and reflected by it upon a white
screen or scale a few feet distant, where it forms a bright spot of

When there is no current on the instrument, the spot of light remains
stationary at the zero position on the screen; but the instant a current
traverses the long wire of the coil, the suspended magnets twist
themselves horizontally out of their former position, the mirror is of
course inclined with them, and the beam of light is deflected along the
screen to one side or the other, according to the nature of the current.
If a POSITIVE current--that is to say, a current from the copper pole of
the battery--gives a deflection to the RIGHT of zero, a NEGATIVE
current, or a current from the zinc pole of the battery, will give a
deflection to the left of zero, and VICE VERSA.

The air in the little chamber surrounding the mirror is compressed at
will, so as to act like a cushion, and 'deaden' the movements of the
mirror. The needle is thus prevented from idly swinging about at each
deflection, and the separate signals are rendered abrupt and 'dead
beat,' as it is called.

At a receiving station the current coming in from the cable has simply
to be passed through the coil of the 'speaker' before it is sent into
the ground, and the wandering light spot on the screen faithfully
represents all its variations to the clerk, who, looking on, interprets
these, and cries out the message word by word.

The small weight of the mirror and magnets which form the moving part of
this instrument, and the range to which the minute motions of the mirror
can be magnified on the screen by the reflected beam of light, which
acts as a long impalpable hand or pointer, render the mirror
galvanometer marvellously sensitive to the current, especially when
compared with other forms of receiving instruments. Messages have been
sent from England to America through one Atlantic cable and back again
to England through another, and there received on the mirror
galvanometer, the electric current used being that from a toy battery
made out of a lady's silver thimble, a grain of zinc, and a drop of
acidulated water.

The practical advantage of this extreme delicacy is, that the signal
waves of the current may follow each other so closely as almost entirely
to coalesce, leaving only a very slight rise and fall of their crests,
like ripples on the surface of a flowing stream, and yet the light spot
will respond to each. The main flow of the current will of course shift
the zero of the spot, but over and above this change of place the spot
will follow the momentary fluctuations of the current which form the
individual signals of the message. What with this shifting of the zero
and the very slight rise and fall in the current produced by rapid
signalling, the ordinary land line instruments are quite unserviceable
for work upon long cables.

The mirror instrument has this drawback, however --it does not 'record'
the message. There is a great practical advantage in a receiving
instrument which records its messages; errors are avoided and time
saved. It was to supply such a desideratum for cable work that Sir
William Thomson invented the siphon recorder, his second important
contribution to the province of practical telegraphy. He aimed at
giving a GRAPHIC representation of the varying strength of the current,
just as the mirror galvanometer gives a visual one. The difficulty of
producing such a recorder was, as he himself says, due to a difficulty
in obtaining marks from a very light body in rapid motion, without
impeding that motion. The moving body must be quite free to follow the
undulations of the current, and at the same time must record its motions
by some indelible mark. As early as 1859, Sir William sent out to the
Red Sea cable a piece of apparatus with this intent. The marker
consisted of a light platinum wire, constantly emitting sparks from a
Rhumkorff coil, so as to perforate a line on a strip of moving paper;
and it was so connected to the movable needle of a species of
galvanometer as to imitate the motions of the needle. But before it
reached the Red Sea the cable had broken down, and the instrument was
returned dismantled, to be superseded at length by the siphon recorder,
in which the marking point is a fine glass siphon emitting ink, and the
moving body a light coil of wire hung between the poles of a magnet.

The principle of the siphon recorder is exactly the inverse of the
mirror galvanometer. In the latter we have a small magnet suspended in
the centre of a large coil of wire--the wire enclosing the magnet, which
is free to rotate round its own axis. In the former we have a small
coil suspended between the poles of a large magnet--the magnet enclosing
the coil, which is also free to rotate round its own axis. When a
current passes through this coil, so suspended in the highly magnetic
space between the poles of the magnet, the coil itself experiences a
mechanical force, causing it to take up a particular position, which
varies with the nature of the current, and the siphon which is attached
to it faithfully figures its motion on the running paper.

The point of the siphon does not touch the paper, although it is very
close. It would impede the motion of the coil if it did. But the
'capillary attraction' of so fine a tube will not permit the ink to flow
freely of itself, so the inventor, true to his instincts, again called
in the aid of electricity, and electrified the ink. The siphon and
reservoir are together supported by an EBONITE bracket, separate from
the rest of the instrument, and INSULATED from it; that is to say,
electricity cannot escape from them to the instrument. The ink may,
therefore, be electrified to an exalted state, or high POTENTIAL as it
is called, while the body of the instrument, including the paper and
metal writing-tablet, are in connection with the earth, and at low
potential, or none at all, for the potential of the earth is in general
taken as zero.

The ink, for example, is like a highly-charged thunder-cloud supported
over the earth's surface. Now the tendency of a charged body is to move
from a place of higher to a place of lower potential, and consequently
the ink tends to flow downwards to the writing-tablet. The only avenue
of escape for it is by the fine glass siphon, and through this it rushes
accordingly and discharges itself in a rain upon the paper. The natural
repulsion between its like electrified particles causes the shower to
issue in spray. As the paper moves over the pulleys a delicate hair
line is marked, straight when the siphon is stationary, but curved when
the siphon is pulled from side to side by the oscillations of the signal

It is to the mouse-mill that me must look both for the electricity which
is used to electrify the ink and for the motive power which drives the
paper. This unique and interesting little motor owes its somewhat
epigrammatic title to the resemblance of the drum to one of those
sparred wheels turned by white mice, and to the amusing fact of its
capacity for performing work having been originally computed in terms of
a 'mouse-power.' The mill is turned by a stream of electricity flowing
from the battery above described, and is, in fact, an electro-magnetic
engine worked by the current.

The alphabet of signals employed is the 'Morse code,' so generally in
vogue throughout the world. In the Morse code the letters of the
alphabet are represented by combinations of two distinct elementary
signals, technically called 'dots' and 'dashes,' from the fact that the
Morse recorder actually marks the message in long and short lines, or
dots and dashes. In the siphon recorder script dots and dashes are
represented by curves of opposite flexure. The condensers are merely
used to sharpen the action of the current, and render the signals more
concise and distinct on long cables. On short cables, say under three
hundred miles long, they are rarely, if ever, used.

The speed of signalling by the siphon recorder is of course regulated by
the length of cable through which it is worked. The instrument itself
is capable of a wide range of speed. The best operators cannot send
over thirty-five words per minute by hand, but a hundred and twenty
words or more per minute can be transmitted by an automatic sender, and
the recorder has been found on land lines and short cables to write off
the message at this incredible speed. When we consider that every word
is, on the average, composed of fifteen separate waves, we may better
appreciate the rapidity with which the siphon can move. On an ordinary
cable of about a thousand miles long, the working speed is about twenty
words per minute. On the French Atlantic it is usually about thirteen,
although as many as seventeen have sometimes been sent.

The 'duplex' system, or method of telegraphing in opposite directions at
once through the same wire, has of late years been applied, in
connection with the recorder, to all the long cables of that most
enterprising of telegraph companies--the Eastern--so that both stations
may 'speak' to each other simultaneously. Thus the carrying capacity
of the wire is in practice nearly doubled, and recorders are busy
writing at both ends of the cable at once, as if the messages came up
out of the sea itself.

We have thus far followed out the recorder in its practical application
to submarine telegraphy. Let us now regard it for a moment in its more
philosophic aspect. We are at once struck with its self-dependence as
a machine, and even its resemblance in some respects to a living
creature. All its activity depends on the galvanic current. From
three separate sources invisible currents are led to its principal
parts, and are at once physically changed. That entering the mouse-mill
becomes transmuted in part into the mechanical motion of the revolving
drum, and part into electricity of a more intense nature--into mimic
lightning, in fact, with its accompaniments of heat and sound. That
entering the signal magnet expends part of its force in the magnetism
of the core. That entering the signal coil, which may be taken as the
brain of the instrument, appears to us as INTELLIGENCE.

The recorder is now in use in all four quarters of the globe, from
Northern Europe to Southern Brazil, from China to New England. Many and
complete are the adjustments for rendering it serviceable under a wide
range of electrical conditions and climatic changes. The siphon is, of
course, in a mechanical sense, the most delicate part, but, in an
electrical sense, the mouse-mill proves the most susceptible. It is
essential for the fine marking of the siphon that the ink should neither
be too strongly nor too feebly electrified. When the atmosphere is
moderately humid, a proper supply of electricity is generated by the
mouse-mill, the paper is sufficiently moist, and the ink flows freely.
But an excess of moisture in the air diminishes the available supply of
EXALTED electricity. In fact, the damp depositing on the parts leads
the electricity away, and the ink tends to clog in the siphon. On the
other hand, drought not only supercharges the ink, but dries the paper
so much that it INSULATES the siphon point from the metal tablet and the
earth. There is then an insufficient escape for the electricity of the
ink to earth; the ink ceases to flow down the siphon; the siphon itself
becomes highly electrified and agitated with vibrations of its own; the
line becomes spluttered and uncertain.

Various devices are employed at different stations to cure these local
complaints. The electrician soon learns to diagnose and prescribe for
this, his most valuable charge. At Aden, where they suffer much from
humidity, the mouse-mill is or has been surrounded with burning carbon.
At Malta a gas flame was used for the same purpose. At Suez, where they
suffer from drought, a cloud of steam was kept rising round the
instrument, saturating the air and paper. At more temperate places the
ordinary means of drying the air by taking advantage of the absorbing
power of sulphuric acid for moisture prevailed. At Marseilles the
recorder acted in some respects like a barometer. Marseilles is subject
to sudden incursions of dry northerly winds, termed the MISTRAL. The
recorder never failed to indicate the mistral when it blew, and
sometimes even to predict it by many hours. Before the storm was itself
felt, the delicate glass pen became agitated and disturbed, the frail
blue line broken and irregular. The electrician knew that the mistral
would blow before long, and, as it rarely blows for less than three days
at a time, that rather rude wind, so dreaded by the Marseillaise, was
doubly dreaded by him.

The recorder was first used experimentally at St. Pierre, on the French
Atlantic cable, in 1869. This was numbered 0, as we were told by Mr.
White of Glasgow, the maker, whose skill has contributed not a little to
the success of the recorder. No. 1 was first used practically on the
Falmouth and Gibraltar cable of the Eastern Telegraph Company in July,
1870. No. 1 was also exhibited at Mr. (now Sir John) Pender's telegraph
soiree in 1870. On that occasion, memorable even beyond telegraphic
circles, 'three hundred of the notabilities of rank and fashion gathered
together at Mr. Pender's house in Arlington Street, Piccadilly, to
celebrate the completion of submarine communication between London and
Bombay by the successful laying of the Falmouth, Gibraltar and Malta and
the British Indian cable lines.' Mr. Pender's house was literally turned
outside in; the front door was removed, the courtyard temporarily
covered with an iron roof and the whole decorated in the grandest style.
Over the gateway was a gallery filled with the band of the Scots
Fusilier Guards; and over the portico of the house door hung the grapnel
which brought up the 1865 cable, made resplendent to the eye by a
coating of gold leaf. A handsome staircase, newly erected, permitted
the guests to pass from the reception-room to the drawing-room. In the
grounds at the back of the house stood the royal tent, where the Prince
of Wales and a select party, including the Duke of Cambridge and Lady
Mayo, wife of the Viceroy of India at that time, were entertained at
supper. Into this tent were brought wires from India, America, Egypt,
and other places, and Lady Mayo sent off a message to India about half-
past eleven, and had received a reply before twelve, telling her that
her husband and sons were quite well at five o'clock the next morning.
The recorder, which was shown in operation, naturally stood in the place
of honour, and attracted great attention.

The minor features of the recorder have been simplified by other
inventors of late; for example, magnets of steel have been substituted
for the electro-magnets which influence the swinging coil; and the ink,
instead of being electrified by the mouse-mill, is shed on the paper by
a rapid vibration of the siphon point.

To introduce his apparatus for signalling on long submarine cables, Sir
William Thomson entered into a partnership with Mr. C. F. Varley, who
first applied condensers to sharpen the signals, and Professor Fleeming
Jenkin, of Edinburgh University. In conjunction with the latter, he
also devised an 'automatic curb sender,' or key, for sending messages on
a cable, as the well-known Wheatstone transmitter sends them on a land

In both instruments the signals are sent by means of a perforated ribbon
of paper; but the cable sender was the more complicated, because the
cable signals are formed by both positive and negative currents, and not
merely by a single current, whether positive or negative. Moreover, to
curb the prolongation of the signals due to induction, each signal was
made by two opposite currents in succession--a positive followed by a
negative, or a negative followed by a positive, as the case might be.
The after-current had the effect of curbing its precursor. This self-
acting cable key was brought out in 1876, and tried on the lines of the
Eastern Telegraph Company.

Sir William Thomson took part in the laying of the French Atlantic cable
of 1869, and with Professor Jenkin was engineer of the Western and
Brazilian and Platino-Brazilian cables. He was present at the laying of
the Para to Pernambuco section of the Brazilian coast cables in 1873,
and introduced his method of deep-sea sounding, in which a steel
pianoforte wire replaces the ordinary land line. The wire glides so
easily to the bottom that 'flying soundings' can be taken while the ship
is going at full speed. A pressure-gauge to register the depth of the
sinker has been added by Sir William.

About the same time he revived the Sumner method of finding a ship's
place at sea, and calculated a set of tables for its ready application.
His most important aid to the mariner is, however, the adjustable
compass, which he brought out soon afterwards. It is a great
improvement on the older instrument, being steadier, less hampered by
friction, and the deviation due to the ship's own magnetism can be
corrected by movable masses of iron at the binnacle.

Sir William is himself a skilful navigator, and delights to cruise in
his fine yacht, the Lalla Rookh, among the Western Islands, or up the
Mediterranean, or across the Atlantic to Madeira and America. His
interest in all things relating to the sea perhaps arose, or at any rate
was fostered, by his experiences on the Agamemnon and the Great Eastern.
Babbage was among the first to suggest that a lighthouse might be made
to signal a distinctive number by occultations of its light; but Sir
William pointed out the merits of the Morse telegraphic code for the
purpose, and urged that the signals should consist of short and long
flashes of the light to represent the dots and dashes.

Sir William has done more than any other electrician to introduce
accurate methods and apparatus for measuring electricity. As early as
1845 his mind was attracted to this subject. He pointed out that the
experimental results of William Snow Harris were in accordance with the
laws of Coulomb.

In the Memoirs of the Roman Academy of Sciences for 1857 he published a
description of his new divided ring electrometer, which is based on the
old electroscope of Bohnenberger and since then he has introduced a
chain or series of beautiful and effective instruments, including the
quadrant electrometer, which cover the entire field of electrostatic
measurement. His delicate mirror galvanometer has also been the
forerunner of a later circle of equally precise apparatus for the
measurement of current or dynamic electricity.

To give even a brief account of all his physical researches would
require a separate volume; and many of them are too abstruse or
mathematical for the general reader. His varied services have been
acknowledged by numerous distinctions, including the highest honour a
British man of science can obtain-- the Presidency of the Royal Society
of London, to which he was elected at the end of last year.

Sir William Thomson has been all his life a firm believer in the truth
of Christianity, and his great scientific attainments add weight to the
following words, spoken by him when in the chair at the annual meeting
of the Christian Evidence Society, May 23, 1889 :-

'I have long felt that there was a general impression in the non-
scientific world, that the scientific world believes Science has
discovered ways of explaining all the facts of Nature without adopting
any definite belief in a Creator. I have never doubted that that
impression was utterly groundless. It seems to me that when a
scientific man says--as it has been said from time to time--that there
is no God, he does not express his own ideas clearly. He is, perhaps,
struggling with difficulties; but when he says he does not believe in a
creative power, I am convinced he does not faithfully express what is in
his own mind, He does not fully express his own ideas. He is out of his

'We are all out of our depth when we approach the subject of life. The
scientific man, in looking at a piece of dead matter, thinking over the
results of certain combinations which he can impose upon it, is himself
a living miracle, proving that there is something beyond that mass of
dead matter of which he is thinking. His very thought is in itself a
contradiction to the idea that there is nothing in existence but dead
matter. Science can do little positively towards the objects of this
society. But it can do something, and that something is vital and
fundamental. It is to show that what we see in the world of dead matter
and of life around us is not a result of the fortuitous concourse of

'I may refer to that old, but never uninteresting subject of the
miracles of geology. Physical science does something for us here. St.
Peter speaks of scoffers who said that "all things continue as they were
from the beginning of the creation;" but the apostle affirms himself
that "all these things shall be dissolved." It seems to me that even
physical science absolutely demonstrates the scientific truth of these
words. We feel that there is no possibility of things going on for ever
as they have done for the last six thousand years. In science, as in
morals and politics, there is absolutely no periodicity. One thing we
may prophesy of the future for certain--it will be unlike the past.
Everything is in a state of evolution and progress. The science of dead
matter, which has been the principal subject of my thoughts during my
life, is, I may say, strenuous on this point, that THE AGE OF THE EARTH
IS DEFINITE. We do not say whether it is twenty million years or more,
or less, but me say it is NOT INDEFINITE. And we can say very
definitely that it is not an inconceivably great number of millions of
years. Here, then, we are brought face to face with the most wonderful
of all miracles, the commencement of life on this earth. This earth,
certainly a moderate number of millions of years ago, was a red-hot
globe; all scientific men of the present day agree that life came upon
this earth somehow. If some form or some part of the life at present
existing came to this earth, carried on some moss-grown stone perhaps
broken away from mountains in other worlds; even if some part of the
life had come in that way--for there is nothing too far-fetched in the
idea, and probably some such action as that did take place, since
meteors do come every day to the earth from other parts of the
universe;--still, that does not in the slightest degree diminish the
wonder, the tremendous miracle, we have in the commencement of life in
this world.'



Charles William Siemens was born on April 4, 1823, at the little
village of Lenthe, about eight miles from Hanover, where his father, Mr.
Christian Ferdinand Siemens, was 'Domanen-pachter,' and farmed an
estate belonging to the Crown. His mother was Eleonore Deichmann, a lady
of noble disposition, and William, or Carl Wilhelm, was the fourth son
of a family of fourteen children, several of whom have distinguished
themselves in scientific pursuits. Of these, Ernst Werner Siemens, the
fourth child, and now the famous electrician of Berlin, was associated
with William in many of his inventions; Fritz, the ninth child, is the
head of the well-known Dresden glass works; and Carl, the tenth child,
is chief of the equally well-known electrical works at St. Petersburg.
Several of the family died young; others remained in Germany; but the
enterprising spirit, natural to them, led most of the sons abroad--
Walter, the twelfth child, dying at Tiflis as the German Consul there,
and Otto, the fourteenth child, also dying at the same place. It would
be difficult to find a more remarkable family in any age or country.
Soon after the birth of William, Mr. Siemens removed to a larger estate
which he had leased at Menzendorf, near Lubeck.

As a child William was sensitive and affectionate, the baby of the
family, liking to roam the woods and fields by himself, and curious to
observe, but not otherwise giving any signs of the engineer. He
received his education at a commercial academy in Lubeck, the Industrial
School at Magdeburg (city of the memorable burgomaster, Otto von
Guericke), and at the University of Gottingen, which he entered in 1841,
while in his eighteenth year. Were he attended the chemical lectures of
Woehler, the discoverer of organic synthesis, and of Professor Himly,
the well-known physicist, who was married to Siemens's eldest sister,
Mathilde. With a year at Gottingen, during which he laid the basis of
his theoretical knowledge, the academical training of Siemens came to an
end, and he entered practical life in the engineering works of Count
Stolberg, at Magdeburg. At the University he had been instructed in
mechanical laws and designs; here he learned the nature and use of tools
and the construction of machines. But as his University career at
Gottingen lasted only about a year, so did his apprenticeship at the
Stolberg Works. In this short time, however, he probably reaped as much
advantage as a duller pupil during a far longer term.

Young Siemens appears to have been determined to push his way
forward. In 1841 his brother Werner obtained a patent in Prussia for
electro-silvering and gilding; and in 1843 Charles William came to
England to try and introduce the process here. In his address on
'Science and Industry,' delivered before the Birmingham and Midland
Institute in 1881, while the Paris Electrical Exhibition was running,
Sir William gave a most interesting account of his experiences during
that first visit to the country of his adoption.

'When,' said he, 'the electrotype process first became known, it
excited a very general interest; and although I was only a young student
at Gottingen, under twenty years of age, who had just entered upon his
practical career with a mechanical engineer, I joined my brother, Werner
Siemens, then a young lieutenant of artillery in the Prussian service,
in his endeavours to accomplish electro-gilding; the first impulse in
this direction having been given by Professor C. Himly, then of
Gottingen. After attaining some promising results, a spirit of
enterprise came over me, so strong that I tore myself away from the
narrow circumstances surrounding me, and landed at the east end of
London with only a few pounds in my pocket and without friends, but with
an ardent confidence of ultimate success within my breast.

'I expected to find some office in which inventions were examined
into, and rewarded if found meritorious, but no one could direct me to
such a place. In walking along Finsbury Pavement, I saw written up in
large letters, "So-and-so" (I forget the name), "Undertaker," and the
thought struck me that this must be the place I was in quest of; at any
rate, I thought that a person advertising himself as an "undertaker"
would not refuse to look into my invention with a view of obtaining for
me the sought-for recognition or reward. On entering the place I soon
convinced myself, however, that I came decidedly too soon for the kind
of enterprise here contemplated, and, finding myself confronted with the
proprietor of the establishment, I covered my retreat by what he must
have thought a very lame excuse. By dint of perseverance I found my way
to the patent office of Messrs. Poole and Carpmael, who received me
kindly, and provided me with a letter of introduction to Mr. Elkington.
Armed with this letter, I proceeded to Birmingham, to plead my cause
before your townsman.

'In looking back to that time, I wonder at the patience with which
Mr. Elkington listened to what I had to say, being very young, and
scarcely able to find English words to convey my meaning. After showing
me what he was doing already in the way of electro-plating, Mr.
Elkington sent me back to London in order to read some patents of his
own, asking me to return if, after perusal, I still thought I could
teach him anything. To my great disappointment, I found that the
chemical solutions I had been using were actually mentioned in one of
his patents, although in a manner that would hardly have sufficed to
enable a third person to obtain practical results.

On my return to Birmingham I frankly stated what I had found, and
with this frankness I evidently gained the favour of another townsman of
yours, Mr. Josiah Mason, who had just joined Mr. Elkington in business,
and whose name, as Sir Josiah Mason, will ever be remembered for his
munificent endowment of education. It was agreed that I should not be
judged by the novelty of my invention, but by the results which I
promised, namely, of being able to deposit with a smooth surface 30 dwt.
of silver upon a dish-cover, the crystalline structure of the deposit
having theretofore been a source of difficulty. In this I succeeded,
and I was able to return to my native country and my mechanical
engineering a comparative Croesus.

'But it was not for long, as in the following year (1844) I again
landed in the Thames with another invention, worked out also with my
brother, namely, the chronometric governor, which, though less
successful, commercially speaking, than the first, obtained for me the
advantage of bringing me into contact with the engineering world, and
of fixing me permanently in this country. This invention was in course
of time applied by Sir George Airy, the then Astronomer-Royal, for
regulating the motion of his great transit and touch-recording
instrument at the Royal Observatory, where it still continues to be

'Another early subject of mine, the anastatic printing process,
found favour with Faraday, "the great and the good," who made it the
subject of a Friday evening lecture at the Royal Institution. These two
circumstances, combined, obtained for me an entry into scientific
circles, and helped to sustain me in difficulty, until, by dint of a
certain determination to win, I was able to advance step by step up to
this place of honour, situated within a gunshot of the scene of my
earliest success in life, but separated from it by the time of a
generation. But notwithstanding the lapse of time, my heart still beats
quick each time I come back to the scene of this, the determining
incident of my life.'

The 'anastatic' process, described by Faraday in 1845, and partly due
to Werner Siemens, was a method of reproducing printed matter by
transferring the print from paper to plates of zinc. Caustic baryta was
applied to the printed sheet to convert the resinous ingredients of the
ink into an insoluble soap, the stearine being precipitated with
sulphuric acid. The letters were then transferred to the zinc by
pressure, so as to be printed from. The process, though ingenious and
of much interest at the time, has long ago been superseded by
photographic methods.

Even at this time Siemens had several irons in the fire. Besides the
printing process and the chronometric governor, which operated by the
differential movement between the engine and a chronometer, he was
occupied with some minor improvements at Hoyle's Calico Printing Works.
He also engaged in railway works from time to time; and in 1846 he
brought out a double cylinder air-pump, in which the two cylinders are
so combined, that the compressing side of the first and larger cylinder
communicated with the suction side of the second and smaller cylinder,
and the limit of exhaustion was thereby much extended. The invention was
well received at the time, but is now almost forgotten.

Siemens had been trained as a mechanical engineer, and, although he
became an eminent electrician in later life, his most important work at
this early stage was non-electrical; indeed, the greatest achievement of
his life was non-electrical, for we must regard the regenerative furnace
as his MAGNUM OPUS. Though in 1847 he published a paper in Liebig's
ANNALEN DER CHEMIE on the 'Mercaptan of Selenium,' his mind was busy
with the new ideas upon the nature of heat which were promulgated by
Carnot, Clayperon, Joule, Clausius, Mayer, Thomson, and Rankine. He
discarded the older notions of heat as a substance, and accepted it as a
form of energy. Working on this new line of thought, which gave him an
advantage over other inventors of his time, he made his first attempt to
economise heat, by constructing, in 1847, at the factory of Mr. John
Hick, of Bolton, an engine of four horse-power, having a condenser
provided with regenerators, and utilising superheated steam. Two years
later he continued his experiments at the works of Messrs. Fox,
Henderson, and Co., of Smethwick, near Birmingham, who had taken the
matter in hand. The use of superheated steam was, however, attended with
many practical difficulties, and the invention was not entirely
successful, but it embraced the elements of success; and the Society of
Arts, in 1850, acknowledged the value of the principle, by awarding Mr.
Siemens a gold medal for his regenerative condenser. Various papers read
before the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Institution of Civil
Engineers, or appearing in DINGLER'S JOURNAL and the JOURNAL OF THE
FRANKLIN INSTITUTE about this time, illustrate the workings of his mind
upon the subject. That read in 1853, before the Institution of Civil
Engineers, 'On the Conversion of Heat into Mechanical Effect,' was the
first of a long series of communications to that learned body, and
gained for its author the Telford premium and medal. In it he contended
that a perfect engine would be one in which all the heat applied to the
steam was used up in its expansion behind a working piston, leaving none
to be sent into a condenser or the atmosphere, and that the best results
in any actual engine would be attained by carrying expansion to the
furthest possible limit, or, in practice, by the application of a
regenerator. Anxious to realise his theories further, he constructed a
twenty horse-power engine on the regenerative plan, and exhibited it at
the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1855; but, not realising his
expectations, he substituted for it another of seven-horse power, made
by M. Farcot, of Paris, which was found to work with considerable
economy. The use of superheated steam, however, still proved a
drawback, and the Siemens engine has not been extensively used.

On the other hand, the Siemens water-meter, which he introduced in
1851, has been very widely used, not only in this country, but abroad.
It acts equally well under all variations of pressure, and with a
constant or an intermittent supply.

Meanwhile his brother Werner had been turning his attention to
telegraphy, and the correspondence which never ceased between the
brothers kept William acquainted with his doings. In 1844, Werner, then
an officer in the Prussian army, was appointed to a berth in the
artillery workshops of Berlin, where he began to take an interest in the
new art of telegraphy. In 1845 Werner patented his dial and printing
telegraph instruments, which came into use all over Germany, and
introduced an automatic alarm on the same principle. These inventions
led to his being made, in 1846, a member of a commission in Berlin for
the introduction of electric telegraphs instead of semaphores. He
advocated the use of gutta-percha, then a new material, for the
insulation of underground wires, and in 1847 designed a screw-press for
coating the wires with the gum rendered plastic by heat. The following
year he laid the first great underground telegraph line from Berlin to
Frankfort-on-the-Main, and soon afterwards left the army to engage with
Mr. Halske in the management of a telegraph factory which they had
conjointly established in 1847. In 1852 William took an office in John
Street, Adelphi, with a view to practise as a civil engineer. Eleven
years later, Mr. Halske and William Siemens founded in London the house
of Siemens, Halske & Co., which began with a small factory at Millbank,
and developed in course of time into the well-known firm of Messrs.
Siemens Brothers, and was recently transformed into a limited liability

In 1859 William Siemens became a naturalised Englishman, and from
this time forward took an active part in the progress of English
engineering and telegraphy. He devoted a great part of his time to
electrical invention and research; and the number of telegraph apparatus
of all sorts--telegraph cables, land lines, and their accessories--which
have emanated from the Siemens Telegraph Works has been remarkable. The
engineers of this firm have been pioneers of the electric telegraph in
every quarter of the globe, both by land and sea. The most important
aerial line erected by the firm was the Indo-European telegraph line,
through Prussia, Russia, and Persia, to India. The North China cable,
the Platino-Brazileira, and the Direct United States cable, were laid by
the firm, the latter in 1874-5 So also was the French Atlantic cable,
and the two Jay Could Atlantic cables. At the time of his death the
manufacture and laying of the Bennett-Mackay Atlantic cables was in
progress at the company's works, Charlton. Some idea of the extent of
this manufactory may be gathered from the fact that it gives employment
to some 2,000 men. All branches of electrical work are followed out in
its various departments, including the construction of dynamos and
electric lamps.

On July 23, 1859, Siemens was married at St. James's, Paddington, to
Anne, the youngest daughter of Mr. Joseph Gordon, Writer to the Signet,
Edinburgh, and brother to Mr. Lewis Gordon, Professor of Engineering in
the University of Glasgow, He used to say that on March 19 of that year
he took oath and allegiance to two ladies in one day--to the Queen and
his betrothed. The marriage was a thoroughly happy one.

Although much engaged in the advancement of telegraphy, he was also
occupied with his favourite idea of regeneration. The regenerative gas
furnace, originally invented in 1848 by his brother Friedrich, was
perfected and introduced by him during many succeeding years. The
difficulties overcome in the development of this invention were
enormous, but the final triumph was complete.

The principle of this furnace consists in utilising the heat of the
products of combustion to warm up the gaseous fuel and air which enters
the furnace. This is done by making these products pass through
brickwork chambers which absorb their heat and communicate it to the gas
and air currents going to the flame. An extremely high temperature is
thus obtained, and the furnace has, in consequence, been largely used in
the manufacture of glass and steel.

Before the introduction of this furnace, attempts had been made to
produce cast-steel without the use of a crucible--that is to say, on the
'open hearth' of the furnace. Reaumur was probably the first to show
that steel could be made by fusing malleable iron with cast-iron. Heath
patented the process in 1845; and a quantity of cast-steel was actually
prepared in this way, on the bed of a reverberatory furnace, by Sudre,
in France, during the year 1860. But the furnace was destroyed in the
act; and it remained for Siemens, with his regenerative furnace, to
realise the object. In 1862 Mr. Charles Atwood, of Tow Law, agreed to
erect such a furnace, and give the process a fair trial; but although
successful in producing the steel, he was afraid its temper was not
satisfactory, and discontinued the experiment. Next year, however,
Siemens, who was not to be disheartened, made another attempt with a
large furnace erected at the Montlucon Works, in France, where he was
assisted by the late M. le Chatellier, Inspecteur-General des Mines.
Some charges of steel were produced; but here again the roof of the
furnace melted down, and the company which had undertaken the trials
gave them up. The temperature required for the manufacture of the steel
was higher than the melting point of most fire-bricks. Further
endeavours also led to disappointments; but in the end the inventor was
successful. He erected experimental works at Birmingham, and gradually
matured his process until it was so far advanced that it could be
trusted to the hands of others. Siemens used a mixture of cast-steel
and iron ore to make the steel; but another manufacturer, M. Martin, of
Sireuil, in France, developed the older plan of mixing the cast-iron
with wrought-iron scrap. While Siemens was improving his means at
Birmingham, Martin was obtaining satisfactory results with a
regenerative furnace of his own design; and at the Paris Exhibition of
1867 samples of good open-hearth steel were shown by both
manufacturers. In England the process is now generally known as the
'Siemens-Martin,' and on the Continent as the 'Martin-Siemens' process.

The regenerative furnace is the greatest single invention of Charles
William Siemens. Owing to the large demand for steel for engineering
operations, both at home and abroad, it proved exceedingly remunerative.
Extensive works for the application of the process were erected at
Landore, where Siemens prosecuted his experiments on the subject with
unfailing ardour, and, among other things, succeeded in making a basic
brick for the lining of his furnaces which withstood the intense heat
fairly well.

The process in detail consists in freeing the bath of melted pig-iron
from excess of carbon by adding broken lumps of pure hematite or
magnetite iron ore. This causes a violent boiling, which is kept up
until the metal becomes soft enough, when it is allowed to stand to let
the metal clear from the slag which floats in scum upon the top. The
separation of the slag and iron is facilitated by throwing in some lime
from time to time. Spiegel, or specular iron, is then added; about 1
per cent. more than in the scrap process. From 20 to 24 cwt. of ore are
used in a 5-ton charge, and about half the metal is reduced and turned
into steel, so that the yield in ingots is from 1 to 2 per cent. more
than the weight of pig and spiegel iron in the charge. The consumption
of coal is rather larger than in the scrap process, and is from 14 to 15
cwt. per ton of steel. The two processes of Siemens and Martin are
often combined, both scrap and ore being used in the same charge, the
latter being valuable as a tempering material.

At present there are several large works engaged in manufacturing the
Siemens-Martin steel in England, namely, the Landore, the Parkhead
Forge, those of the Steel Company of Scotland, of Messrs. Vickers & Co.,
Sheffield, and others. These produced no less than 340,000 tons of
steel during the year 1881, and two years later the total output had
risen to half a million tons. In 1876 the British Admiralty built two
iron-clads, the Mercury and Iris, of Siemens-Martin steel, and the
experiment proved so satisfactory, that this material only is now used
in the Royal dockyards for the construction of hulls and boilers.
Moreover, the use of it is gradually extending in the mercantile marine.
Contemporaneous with his development of the open-hearth process, William
Siemens introduced the rotary furnace for producing wrought-iron direct
from the ore without the need of puddling.

The fervent heat of the Siemens furnace led the inventor to devise a
novel means of measuring high temperatures, which illustrates the value
of a broad scientific training to the inventor, and the happy manner in
which William Siemens, above all others, turned his varied knowledge to
account, and brought the facts and resources of one science to bear upon
another. As early as 1860, while engaged in testing the conductor of
the Malta to Alexandria telegraph cable, then in course of manufacture,
he was struck by the increase of resistance in metallic wires occasioned
by a rise of temperature, and the following year he devised a
thermometer based on the fact which he exhibited before the British
Association at Manchester. Mathiessen and others have since enunciated
the law according to which this rise of resistance varies with rise of
temperature; and Siemens has further perfected his apparatus, and
applied it as a pyrometer to the measurement of furnace fires. It forms
in reality an electric thermometer, which will indicate the temperature
of an inaccessible spot. A coil of platinum or platinum-alloy wire is
enclosed in a suitable fire-proof case and put into the furnace of which
the temperature is wanted. Connecting wires, properly protected, lend
from the coil to a differential voltameter, so that, by means of the
current from a battery circulating in the system, the electric
resistance of the coil in the furnace can be determined at any moment.
Since this resistance depends on the temperature of the furnace, the
temperature call be found from the resistance observed. The instrument
formed the subject of the Bakerian lecture for the year 1871.

Siemens's researches on this subject, as published in the JOURNAL OF
297), included a set of curves graphically representing the relation
between temperature and electrical resistance in the case of various

The electric pyrometer, which is perhaps the most elegant and
original of all William Siemens's inventions, is also the link which
connects his electrical with his metallurgical researches. His invention
ran in two great grooves, one based upon the science of heat, the other
based upon the science of electricity; and the electric thermometer was,
as it were, a delicate cross-coupling which connected both. Siemens
might have been two men, if we are to judge by the work he did; and
either half of the twin-career he led would of itself suffice to make an
eminent reputation.

The success of his metallurgical enterprise no doubt reacted on his
telegraphic business. The making and laying of the Malta to Alexandria
cable gave rise to researches on the resistance and electrification of
insulating materials under pressure, which formed the subject of a paper
read before the British Association in 1863. The effect of pressure up
to 300 atmospheres was observed, and the fact elicited that the
inductive capacity of gutta-percha is not affected by increased
pressure, whereas that of india-rubber is diminished. The electrical
tests employed during the construction of the Malta and Alexandria
cable, and the insulation and protection of submarine cables, also
formed the subject of a paper which was read before the Institution of
Civil Engineers in 1862.

It is always interesting to trace the necessity which directly or
indirectly was the parent of a particular invention; and in the great
importance of an accurate record of the sea-depth in which a cable is
being laid, together with the tedious and troublesome character of
ordinary sounding by the lead-line, especially when a ship is actually
paying out cable, we may find the requirements which led to the
invention of the 'bathometer,' an instrument designed to indicate the
depth of water over which a vessel is passing without submerging a line.
The instrument was based on the ingenious idea that the attractive power
of the earth on a body in the ship must depend on the depth of water
interposed between it and the sea bottom; being less as the layer of
water was thicker, owing to the lighter character of water as compared
with the denser land. Siemens endeavoured to render this difference
visible by means of mercury contained in a chamber having a bottom
extremely sensitive to the pressure of the mercury upon it, and
resembling in some respects the vacuous chamber of an aneroid barometer.
Just as the latter instrument indicates the pressure of the atmosphere
above it, so the bathometer was intended to show the pull of the earth
below it; and experiment proved, we believe, that for every 1,000
fathoms of sea-water below the ship, the total gravity of the mercury
was reduced by 1/3200 part. The bathometer, or attraction-meter, was
brought out in 1876, and exhibited at the Loan Exhibition in South
Kensington. The elastic bottom of the mercury chamber was supported by
volute springs which, always having the same tension, caused a portion
of the mercury to rise or fall in a spiral tube of glass, according to
the variations of the earth's attraction. The whole was kept at an even
temperature, and correction was made for barometric influence. Though of
high scientific interest, the apparatus appears to have failed at the
time from its very sensitiveness; the waves on the surface of the sea
having a greater disturbing action on its readings than the change of
depth. Siemens took a great interest in this very original machine, and
also devised a form applicable to the measurement of heights. Although
he laid the subject aside for some years, he ultimately took it up
again, in hopes of producing a practical apparatus which would be of
immediate service in the cable expeditions of the s.s. Faraday.

This admirable cable steamer of 5,000 tons register was built for
Messrs. Siemens Brothers by Messrs. Mitchell & Co., at Newcastle. The
designs were mainly inspired by Siemens himself; and after the Hooper,
now the Silvertown, she was the second ship expressly built for cable
purposes. All the latest improvements that electric science and naval
engineering could suggest were in her united. With a length of 360
feet, a width of 52 feet, and a depth of 36 feet in the hold, she was
fitted with a rudder at each end, either of which could be locked when
desired, and the other brought into play. Two screw propellers, actuated
by a pair of compound engines, were the means of driving the vessel, and
they were placed at a slight angle to each other, so that when the
engines were worked in opposite directions the Faraday could turn
completely round in her own length. Moreover, as the ship could steam
forwards or backwards with equal ease, it became unnecessary to pass the
cable forward before hauling it in, if a fault were discovered in the
part submerged: the motion of the ship had only to be reversed, the
stern rudder fixed, and the bow rudder turned, while a small engine was
employed to haul the cable back over the stern drum, which had been used
a few minutes before to pay it out.

The first expedition of the Faraday was the laying of the Direct
United States cable in the winter of 1874 a work which, though
interrupted by stormy weather, was resumed and completed in the summer
of 1875. She has been engaged in laying several Atlantic cables since,
and has been fitted with the electric light, a resource which has proved
of the utmost service, not only in facilitating the night operations of
paying-out, but in guarding the ship from collision with icebergs in
foggy weather off the North American coast.

Mention of the electric light brings us to an important act of the
inventor, which, though done on behalf of his brother Werner, was
pregnant with great consequences. This was his announcement before a
meeting of the Royal Society, held on February 14, 1867, of the
discovery of the principle of reinforcing the field magnetism of
magneto-electric generators by part or the whole of the current
generated in the revolving armature--a principle which has been applied
in the dynamo-electric machines, now so much used for producing electric
light and effecting the transmission of power to a distance by means of
the electric current. By a curious coincidence the same principle was
enunciated by Sir Charles Wheatstone at the very same meeting; while a
few months previously Mr. S. A. Varley had lodged an application for a
British patent, in which the same idea was set forth. The claims of
these three inventors to priority in the discovery were, however,
anticipated by at least one other investigator, Herr Soren Hjorth,
believed to be a Dane by birth, and still remembered by a few living
electricians, though forgotten by the scientific world at large, until
his neglected specification was unexpectedly dug out of the musty
archives of the British Patent Office and brought into the light.

The announcement of Siemens and Wheatstone came at an apter time than
Hjorth's, and was more conspicuously made. Above all, in the affluent
and enterprising hands of the brothers Siemens, it was not suffered to
lie sterile, and the Siemens dynamo-electric machine was its offspring.
This dynamo, as is well known, differs from those of Gramme and
Paccinotti chiefly in the longitudinal winding of the armature, and it
is unnecessary to describe it here. It has been adapted by its inventors
to all kinds of electrical work, electrotyping, telegraphy, electric
lighting, and the propulsion of vehicles.

The first electric tramway run at Berlin in 1879 was followed by
another at Dusseldorf in 1880, and a third at Paris in 1881. With all of
these the name of Werner Siemens was chiefly associated; but William
Siemens had also taken up the matter, and established at his country
house of Sherwood, near Tunbridge Wells, an arrangement of dynamos and
water-wheel, by which the power of a neighbouring stream was made to
light the house, cut chaff turn washing-machines, and perform other
household duties. More recently the construction of the electric railway
from Portrush to Bushmills, at the Giant's Causeway, engaged his
attention; and this, the first work of its kind in the United Kingdom,
and to all appearance the pioneer of many similar lines, was one of his
very last undertakings.

In the recent development of electric lighting, William Siemens,
whose fame had been steadily growing, was a recognised leader, although
he himself made no great discoveries therein. As a public man and a
manufacturer of great resources his influence in assisting the
introduction of the light has been immense. The number of Siemens
machines and Siemens electric lamps, together with measuring instruments
such as the Siemens electro-dynamometer, which has been supplied to
different parts of the world by the firm of which he was the head, is
very considerable, and probably exceeds that of any other manufacturer,
at least in this country.

Employing a staff of skilful assistants to develop many of his ideas,
Dr. Siemens was able to produce a great variety of electrical
instruments for measuring and other auxiliary purposes, all of which
bear the name of his firm, and have proved exceedingly useful in a
practical sense.

Among the most interesting of Siemens's investigations were his
experiments on the influence of the electric light in promoting the
growth of plants, carried out during the winter of 1880 in the
greenhouses of Sherwood. These experiments showed that plants do not
require a period of rest, but continue to grow if light and other
necessaries are supplied to them. Siemens enhanced the daylight, and, as
it were, prolonged it through the night by means of arc lamps, with the
result of forcing excellent fruit and flowers to their maturity before
the natural time in this climate.

While Siemens was testing the chemical and life-promoting influence
of the electric arc light, he was also occupied in trying its
temperature and heating power with an 'electric furnace,' consisting of
a plumbago crucible having two carbon electrodes entering it in such a
manner that the voltaic arc could be produced within it. He succeeded
in fusing a variety of refractory metals in a comparatively short time:
thus, a pound of broken files was melted in a cold crucible in thirteen
minutes, a result which is not surprising when we consider that the
temperature of the voltaic arc, as measured by Siemens and Rosetti, is
between 2,000 and 3,000 Deg. Centigrade, or about one-third that of the
probable temperature of the sun. Sir Humphry Davy was the first to
observe the extraordinary fusing power of the voltaic arc, but Siemens
first applied it to a practical purpose in his electric furnace.

Always ready to turn his inventive genius in any direction, the
introduction of the electric light, which had given an impetus to
improvement in the methods of utilising gas, led him to design a
regenerative gas lamp, which is now employed on a small scale in this
country, either for street lighting or in class-rooms and public halls.
In this burner, as in the regenerative furnace, the products of
combustion are made to warm up the air and gas which go to feed the
flame, and the effect is a full and brilliant light with some economy of
fuel. The use of coal-gas for heating purposes was another subject which
he took up with characteristic earnestness, and he advocated for a time
the use of gas stoves and fires in preference to those which burn coal,
not only on account of their cleanliness and convenience, but on the
score of preventing fogs in great cities, by checking the discharge of
smoke into the atmosphere. He designed a regenerative gas and coke
fireplace, in which the ingoing air was warmed by heat conducted from
the back part of the grate; and by practical trials in his own office,
calculated the economy of the system. The interest in this question,
however, died away after the close of the Smoke Abatement Exhibition;
and the experiments of Mr. Aiken, of Edinburgh, showed how futile was
the hope that gas fires would prevent fogs altogether. They might
indeed ameliorate the noxious character of a fog by checking the
discharge of soot into the atmosphere; but Mr. Aiken's experiments
showed that particles of gas were in themselves capable of condensing
the moisture of the air upon them. The great scheme of Siemens for
making London a smokeless city, by manufacturing gas at the coal-pit and
leading it in pipes from street to street, would not have rendered it
altogether a fogless one, though the coke and gas fires would certainly
have reduced the quantity of soot launched into the air. Siemens's
scheme was rejected by a Committee of the House of Lords on the somewhat
mistaken ground that if the plan were as profitable as Siemens supposed,
it would have been put in practice long ago by private enterprise.

>From the problem of heating a room, the mind of Siemens also passed
to the maintenance of solar fires, and occupied itself with the supply
of fuel to the sun. Some physicists have attributed the continuance of
solar heat to the contraction of the solar mass, and others to the
impact of cometary matter. Imbued with the idea of regeneration, and
seeking in nature for that thrift of power which he, as an inventor, had
always aimed at, Siemens suggested a hypothesis on which the sun
conserves its heat by a circulation of its fuel in space. The elements
dissociated in the intense heat of the glowing orb rush into the cooler
regions of space, and recombine to stream again towards the sun, where
the self-same process is renewed. The hypothesis was a daring one, and
evoked a great deal of discussion, to which the author replied with
interest, afterwards reprinting the controversy in a volume, ON THE
CONSERVATION OF SOLAR ENERGY. Whether true or not--and time will
probably decide--the solar hypothesis of Siemens revealed its author in
a new light. Hitherto he had been the ingenious inventor, the
enterprising man of business, the successful engineer; but now he took a
prominent place in the ranks of pure science and speculative philosophy.
The remarkable breadth of his mind and the abundance of his energies
were also illustrated by the active part he played in public matters
connected with the progress of science. His munificent gifts in the
cause of education, as much as his achievements in science, had brought
him a popular reputation of the best kind; and his public utterances in
connection with smoke abatement, the electric light. Electric railways,
and other topics of current interest, had rapidly brought him into a
foremost place among English scientific men. During the last years of
his life, Siemens advanced from the shade of mere professional celebrity
into the strong light of public fame.

President of the British Association in 1882, and knighted in 1883,
Siemens was a member of numerous learned societies both at home and
abroad. In 1854 he became a Member of the Institution of Civil
Engineers; and in 1862 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. He
was twice President of the Society of Telegraph Engineers and the
Institution of Mechanical Engineers, besides being a Member of Council
of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and a Vice-President of the Royal
Institution. The Society of Arts, as we have already seen, was the first
to honour him in the country of his adoption, by awarding him a gold
medal for his regenerative condenser in 1850; and in 1883 he became its
chairman. Many honours were conferred upon him in the course of his
career--the Telford prize in 1853, gold medals at the various great
Exhibitions, including that of Paris in 1881, and a GRAND PRIX at the
earlier Paris Exhibition of 1867 for his regenerative furnace. In 1874
he received the Royal Albert Medal for his researches on heat, and in
1875 the Bessemer medal of the Iron and Steel Institute. Moreover, a few
days before his death, the Council of the Institution of Civil
Engineers awarded him the Howard Quinquennial prize for his improvements
in the manufacture of iron and steel. At the request of his widow, it
took the form of a bronze copy of the 'Mourners,' a piece of statuary by
J. G. Lough, originally exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851, in
the Crystal Palace. In 1869 the University of Oxford conferred upon him
the high distinction of D.C.L. (Doctor of Civil Law); and besides being
a member of several foreign societies, he was a Dignitario of the
Brazilian Order of the Rose, and Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.

Rich in honours and the appreciation of his contemporaries, in the
prime of his working power and influence for good, and at the very
climax of his career, Sir William Siemens was called away. The news of
his death came with a shock of surprise, for hardly any one knew he had
been ill. He died on the evening of Monday, November 19, 1883, at nine
o'clock. A fortnight before, while returning from a managers' meeting of
the Royal Institution, in company with his friend Sir Frederick
Bramwell, he tripped upon the kerbstone of the pavement, after crossing
Hamilton Place, Piccadilly, and fell heavily to the ground, with his
left arm under him. Though a good deal shaken by the fall, he attended
at his office in Queen Anne's Gate, Westminster, the next and for
several following days; but the exertion proved too much for him, and
almost for the first time in his busy life he was compelled to lay up.
On his last visit to the office he was engaged most of the time in
dictating to his private secretary a large portion of the address which
he intended to deliver as Chairman of the Council of the Society of
Arts. This was on Thursday, November 8, and the following Saturday he
awoke early in the morning with an acute pain about the heart and a
sense of coldness in the lower limbs. Hot baths and friction removed the
pain, from which he did not suffer much afterwards. A slight congestion
of the left lung was also relieved; and Sir William had so far
recovered that he could leave his room. On Saturday, the 17th, he was to
have gone for a change of air to his country seat at Sherwood; but on
Wednesday, the 14th, he appears to have caught a chill which affected
his lungs, for that night he was seized with a shortness of breath and a
difficulty in breathing. Though not actually confined to bed, he never
left his room again. On the last day, and within four hours of his
death, we are told, his two medical attendants, after consultation,
spoke so hopefully of the future, that no one was prepared for the
sudden end which was then so near. In the evening, while he was sitting
in an arm-chair, very quiet and calm, a change suddenly came over his
face, and he died like one who falls asleep. Heart disease of long
standing, aggravated by the fall, was the immediate cause; but the
opinion has been expressed by one who knew him well, that Siemens
'literally immolated himself on the shrine of labour.' At any rate he
did not spare himself, and his intense devotion to his work proved

Every day was a busy one with Siemens. His secretary was with him in
his residence by nine o'clock nearly every morning, except on Sundays,
assisting him in work for one society or another, the correction of
proofs, or the dictation of letters giving official or scientific
advice, and the preparation of lectures or patent specifications. Later
on, he hurried across the Park 'almost at racing speed,' to his offices
at Westminster, where the business of the Landore-Siemens Steel Company
and the Electrical Works of Messrs. Siemens Brothers and Company was
transacted. As chairman of these large undertakings, and principal
inventor of the processes and systems carried out by them, he had a
hundred things to attend to in connection with them, visitors to see,
and inquiries to answer. In the afternoon and evenings he was generally
engaged at council meetings of the learned societies, or directory
meetings of the companies in which he was interested. He was a man who
took little or no leisure, and though he never appeared to over-exert
himself, few men could have withstood the strain so long.

Siemens was buried on Monday, November 26, in Kensal Green Cemetery.
The interment was preceded by a funeral service held in Westminster
Abbey, and attended by representatives of the numerous learned societies
of which he had been a conspicuous member, by many leading men in all
branches of science, and also by a large body of other friends and
admirers, who thus united in doing honour to his memory, and showing
their sense of the loss which all classes had sustained by his death.

Siemens was above all things a 'labourer.' Unhasting, unresting
labour was the rule of his life; and the only relaxation, not to say
recreation, which he seems to have allowed himself was a change of task
or the calls of sleep. This natural activity was partly due to the spur
of his genius, and partly to his energetic spirit. For a man of his
temperament science is always holding out new problems to solve and
fresh promises of triumph. All he did only revealed more work to be
done; and many a scheme lies buried in his grave.

Though Siemens was a man of varied powers, and occasionally gave
himself to pure speculation in matters of science, his mind was
essentially practical; and it was rather as an engineer than a
discoverer that he was great. Inventions are associated with his name,
not laws or new phenomena. Standing on the borderland between pure and
applied science, his sympathies were yet with the latter; and as the
outgoing President of the British Association at Southport, in 1882, he
expressed the opinion that 'in the great workshop of nature there are no
lines of demarcation to be drawn between the most exalted speculation
and common-place practice.' The truth of this is not to be gain-said,
but it is the utterance of an engineer who judges the merit of a thing
by its utility. He objected to the pursuit of science apart from its
application, and held that the man of science does most for his kind who
shows the world how to make use of scientific results. Such a view was
natural on the part of Siemens, who was himself a living representative
of the type in question; but it was not the view of such a man as
Faraday or Newton, whose pure aim was to discover truth, well knowing
that it would be turned to use thereafter. In Faraday's eyes the new
principle was a higher boon than the appliance which was founded upon

Tried by his own standard, however, Siemens was a conspicuous
benefactor of his fellow-men; and at the time of his decease he had
become our leading authority upon applied science. In electricity he was
a pioneer of the new advances, and happily lived to obtain at least a
Pisgah view of the great future which evidently lies before that
pregnant force.

If we look for the secret of Siemens's remarkable success, we shall
assuredly find it in an inventive mind, coupled with a strong commercial
instinct, and supported by a physical energy which enabled him to labour
long and incessantly. It is told that when a mechanical problem was
brought to him for solution, he would suggest six ways of overcoming the
difficulty, three of which would be impracticable, the others feasible,
and one at least successful. From this we gather that his mind was
fertile in expedients. The large works which he established are also a
proof that, unlike most inventors, he did not lose his interest in an
invention, or forsake it for another before it had been brought into the
market. On the contrary, he was never satisfied with an invention until
it was put into practical operation.

To the ordinary observer, Siemens did not betray any signs of the
untiring energy that possessed him. His countenance was usually serene
and tranquil, as that of a thinker rather than a man of action; his
demeanour was cool and collected; his words few and well-chosen. In his
manner, as well as in his works, there was no useless waste of power.

To the young he was kind and sympathetic, hearing, encouraging,
advising; a good master, a firm friend. His very presence had a calm and
orderly influence on those about him, which when he presided at a
Public meeting insensibly introduced a gracious tone. The diffident took
heart before him, and the presumptuous were checked. The virtues which
accompanied him into public life did not desert him in private. In
losing him, we have lost not only a powerful intellect, but a bright
example, and an amiable man.



The late Fleeming Jenkin, Professor of Engineering in Edinburgh
University, was remarkable for the versatility of his talent. Known to
the world as the inventor of Telpherage, he was an electrician and cable
engineer of the first rank, a lucid lecturer, and a good linguist, a
skilful critic, a writer and actor of plays, and a clever sketcher. In
popular parlance, Jenkin was a dab at everything.

His father, Captain Charles Jenkin, R.N., was the second son of Mr.
Charles Jenkin, of Stowting Court, himself a naval officer, who had
taken part in the actions with De Grasse. Stowting Court, a small
estate some six miles north of Hythe, had been in the family since the
year 1633, and was held of the Crown by the feudal service of six men
and a constable to defend the sea-way at Sandgate. Certain Jenkins had
settled in Kent during the reign of Henry VIII., and claimed to have
come from Yorkshire. They bore the arms of Jenkin ap Phillip of St.
Melans, who traced his descent from 'Guaith Voeth,' Lord of Cardigan.

While cruising in the West Indies, carrying specie, or chasing
buccaneers and slavers, Charles Jenkin, junior, was introduced to the
family of a fellow midshipman, son of Mr. Jackson, Custos Rotulorum of
Kingston, Jamaica, and fell in love with Henrietta Camilla, the youngest
daughter. Mr. Jackson came of a Yorkshire stock, said to be of Scottish
origin, and Susan, his wife, was a daughter of [Sir] Colin Campbell, a
Greenock merchant, who inherited but never assumed the baronetcy of
Auchinbreck. [According to BURKE'S PEERAGE (1889), the title went to
another branch.]

Charles Jenkin, senior, died in 1831, leaving his estate so heavily
encumbered, through extravagance and high living, that only the mill-
farm was saved for John, the heir, an easy-going, unpractical man, with
a turn for abortive devices. His brother Charles married soon
afterwards, and with the help of his wife's money bought in most of
Stowting Court, which, however, yielded him no income until late in
life. Charles was a useful officer and an amiable gentleman; but
lacking energy and talent, he never rose above the grade of Commander,
and was superseded after forty-five years of service. He is represented
as a brave, single-minded, and affectionate sailor, who on one occasion
saved several men from suffocation by a burning cargo at the risk of his
own life. Henrietta Camilla Jackson, his wife, was a woman of a strong
and energetic character. Without beauty of countenance, she possessed
the art of pleasing, and in default of genius she was endowed with a
variety of gifts. She played the harp, sang, and sketched with native
art. At seventeen, on hearing Pasta sing in Paris, she sought out the
artist and solicited lessons. Pasta, on hearing her sing, encouraged
her, and recommended a teacher. She wrote novels, which, however,
failed to make their mark. At forty, on losing her voice, she took to
playing the piano, practising eight hours a day; and when she was over
sixty she began the study of Hebrew.

The only child of this union was Henry Charles Fleeming Jenkin,
generally called Fleeming Jenkin, after Admiral Fleeming, one of his
father's patrons. He was born on March 25, 1833, in a building of the
Government near Dungeness, his father at that time being on the coast-
guard service. His versatility was evidently derived from his mother,
who, owing to her husband's frequent absence at sea and his weaker
character, had the principal share in the boy's earlier training.

Jenkin was fortunate in having an excellent education. His mother took
him to the south of Scotland, where, chiefly at Barjarg, she taught him
drawing among other things, and allowed him to ride his pony on the
moors. He went to school at Jedburgh, and afterwards to the Edinburgh
Academy, where he carried off many prizes. Among his schoolfellows were
Clerk Maxwell and Peter Guthrie Tait, the friends of his maturer life.

On the retirement of his father the family removed to Frankfort in 1847,
partly from motives of economy and partly for the boy's instruction.
Here Fleeming and his father spent a pleasant time together, sketching
old castles, and observing the customs of the peasantry. Fleeming was
precocious, and at thirteen had finished a romance of three hundred
lines in heroic measure, a Scotch novel, and innumerable poetical
fragments, none of which are now extant. He learned German in
Frankfort; and on the family migrating to Paris the following year, he
studied French and mathematics under a certain M. Deluc. While here,
Fleeming witnessed the outbreak of the Revolution of 1848, and heard the
first shot. In a letter written to an old schoolfellow while the sound
still rang in his ears, and his hand trembled with excitement, he gives
a boyish account of the circumstances. The family were living in the
Rue Caumartin, and on the evening of February 23 he and his father were
taking a walk along the boulevards, which were illuminated for joy at
the resignation of M. Guizot. They passed the residence of the Foreign
Minister, which was guarded with troops, and further on encountered a
band of rioters marching along the street with torches, and singing the
Marseillaise. After them came a rabble of men and women of all sorts,
rich and poor, some of them armed with sticks and sabres. They turned
back with these, the boy delighted with the spectacle, 'I remarked to
papa' (he writes),'I would not have missed the scene for anything. I
might never see such a splendid one ; when PONG went one shot. Every
face went pale: R--R--R--R--R went the whole detachment [of troops],
and the whole crowd of gentlemen and ladies turned and cut. Such a
scene!---ladies, gentlemen, and vagabonds went sprawling in the mud,
not shot but tripped up, and those that went down could not rise--they
were trampled over. . . . I ran a short time straight on and did not
fall, then turned down a side street, ran fifty yards, and felt
tolerably safe; looked for papa; did not see him; so walked on quickly,
giving the news as I went.'

Next day, while with his father in the Place de la Concorde, which was
filled with troops, the gates of the Tuileries Garden were suddenly
flung open, and out galloped a troop of cuirassiers, in the midst of
whom was an open carriage containing the king and queen, who had
abdicated. Then came the sacking of the Tuileries, the people mounting
a cannon on the roof, and firing blank cartridges to testify their joy.
'It was a sight to see a palace sacked' (wrote the boy), 'and armed
vagabonds firing out of the windows, and throwing shirts, papers, and
dresses of all kinds out.... They are not rogues, the French; they are
not stealing, burning, or doing much harm.' [MEMOIR OF FLEEMING JENKIN,
by R. L. Stevenson.]

The Revolution obliged the Jenkins to leave Paris, and they proceeded to
Genoa, where they experienced another, and Mrs. Jenkin, with her son and
sister-in-law, had to seek the protection of a British vessel in the
harbour, leaving their house stored with the property of their friends,
and guarded by the Union Jack and Captain Jenkin.

At Genoa, Fleeming attended the University, and was its first Protestant
student. Professor Bancalari was the professor of natural philosophy,
and lectured on electro-magnetism, his physical laboratory being the
best in Italy. Jenkin took the degree of M.A. with first-class honours,
his special subject having been electro-magnetism. The questions in the
examinations were put in Latin, and answered in Italian. Fleeming also
attended an Art school in the city, and gained a silver medal for a
drawing from one of Raphael's cartoons. His holidays were spent in
sketching, and his evenings in learning to play the piano; or, when
permissible, at the theatre or opera-house; for ever since hearing
Rachel recite the Marseillaise at the Theatre Francaise, he had
conceived a taste for acting.

In 1850 Fleeming spent some time in a Genoese locomotive shop under Mr.
Philip Taylor, of Marseilles; but on the death of his Aunt Anna, who
lived with them, Captain Jenkin took his family to England, and settled
in Manchester, where the lad, in 1851, was apprenticed to mechanical
engineering at the works of Messrs. Fairbairn, and from half-past eight
in the morning till six at night had, as he says, 'to file and chip
vigorously, in a moleskin suit, and infernally dirty.' At home he
pursued his studies, and was for a time engaged with Dr. Bell in working
out a geometrical method of arriving at the proportions of Greek
architecture. His stay amidst the smoke and bustle of Manchester,
though in striking contrast to his life in Genoa, was on the whole
agreeable. He liked his work, had the good spirits of youth, and made
some pleasant friends, one of them the authoress, Mrs. Gaskell. Even as
a boy he was disputatious, and his mother tells of his having overcome a
Consul at Genoa in a political discussion when he was only sixteen,
'simply from being well-informed on the subject, and honest. He is as
true as steel,' she writes, 'and for no one will he bend right or
left... Do not fancy him a Bobadil; he is only a very true, candid boy.
I am so glad he remains in all respects but information a great child.'

On leaving Fairbairn's he was engaged for a time on a survey for the
proposed Lukmanier Railway, in Switzerland, and in 1856 he entered the
engineering works of Mr. Penn, at Greenwich, as a draughtsman, and was
occupied on the plans of a vessel designed for the Crimean war. He did
not care for his berth, and complained of its late hours, his rough
comrades, with whom he had to be 'as little like himself as possible,'
and his humble lodgings, 'across a dirty green and through some half-
built streets of two-storied houses.... Luckily,' he adds, 'I am fond of
my profession, or I could not stand this life.' There was probably no
real hardship in his present situation, and thousands of young engineers
go through the like experience at the outset of their career without a
murmur,' and even with enjoyment; but Jenkin had been his mother's pet
until then, with a girl's delicate training, and probably felt the
change from home more keenly on that account. At night he read
engineering and mathematics, or Carlyle and the poets, and cheered his
drooping spirits with frequent trips to London to see his mother.

Another social pleasure was his visits to the house of Mr. Alfred
Austin, a barrister, who became permanent secretary to Her Majesty's
Office of Works and Public Buildings, and retired in 1868 with the title
of C.B. His wife, Eliza Barron, was the youngest daughter of Mr. E.
Barron, a gentleman of Norwich, the son of a rich saddler, or leather-
seller, in the Borough, who, when a child, had been patted on the head,
in his father's shop, by Dr. Johnson, while canvassing for Mr. Thrale.
Jenkin had been introduced to the Austins by a letter from Mrs. Gaskell,
and was charmed with the atmosphere of their choice home, where
intellectual conversation was happily united with kind and courteous
manners, without any pretence or affectation. 'Each of the Austins,'
says Mr. Stevenson, in his memoir of Jenkin, to which we are much
indebted, 'was full of high spirits; each practised something of the
same repression; no sharp word was uttered in the house. The same point
of honour ruled them: a guest was sacred, and stood within the pale
from criticism.' In short, the Austins were truly hospitable and
cultured, not merely so in form and appearance. It was a rare privilege
and preservative for a solitary young man in Jenkin's position to have
the entry into such elevating society, and he appreciated his good

Annie Austin, their only child, had been highly educated, and knew Greek
among other things. Though Jenkin loved and admired her parents, he did
not at first care for Annie, who, on her part, thought him vain, and by
no means good-looking. Mr. Stevenson hints that she vanquished his
stubborn heart by correcting a 'false quantity' of his one day, for he
was the man to reflect over a correction, and 'admire the castigator.'
Be this as it may, Jenkin by degrees fell deeply in love with her.

He was poor and nameless, and this made him diffident; but the liking of
her parents for him gave him hope. Moreover, he had entered the service
of Messrs. Liddell and Gordon, who were engaged in the new work of
submarine telegraphy, which satisfied his aspirations, and promised him
a successful career. With this new-born confidence in his future, he
solicited the Austins for leave to court their daughter, and it was not
withheld. Mrs. Austin consented freely, and Mr. Austin only reserved
the right to inquire into his character. Neither of them mentioned his
income or prospects, and Jenkin, overcome by their disinterestedness,
exclaimed in one of his letters, 'Are these people the same as other
people?' Thus permitted, he addressed himself to Annie, and was nearly
rejected for his pains. Miss Austin seems to have resented his
courtship of her parents first; but the mother's favour, and his own
spirited behaviour, saved him, and won her consent.

Then followed one of the happiest epochs in Jenkin's life. After
leaving Penn's he worked at railway engineering for a time under Messrs.
Liddell and Gordon; and, in 1857, became engineer to Messrs. R. S.
Newall & Co., of Gateshead, who shared the work of making the first
Atlantic cable with Messrs. Glass, Elliott & Co., of Greenwich. Jenkin
was busy designing and fitting up machinery for cableships, and making
electrical experiments. 'I am half crazy with work,' he wrote to his
betrothed; 'I like it though: it's like a good ball, the excitement
carries you through.' Again he wrote, 'My profession gives me all the
excitement and interest I ever hope for.'... 'I am at the works till
ten, and sometimes till eleven. But I have a nice office to sit in,
with a fire to myself, and bright brass scientific instruments all round
me, and books to read, and experiments to make, and enjoy myself
amazingly. I find the study of electricity so entertaining that I am
apt to neglect my other work.'... 'What shall I compare them to,' he
writes of some electrical experiments, 'a new song? or a Greek play?' In
the spring of 1855 he was fitting out the s.s. Elba, at Birkenhead, for
his first telegraph cruise. It appears that in 1855 Mr. Henry Brett
attempted to lay a cable across the Mediterranean between Cape
Spartivento, in the south of Sardinia, and a point near Bona, on the
coast of Algeria. It was a gutta-percha cable of six wires or
conductors, and manufactured by Messrs. Glass & Elliott, of Greenwich--a
firm which afterwards combined with the Gutta-Percha Company, and became
the existing Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company. Mr. Brett
laid the cable from the Result, a sailing ship in tow, instead of a more
manageable steamer; and, meeting with 600 fathoms of water when twenty-
five miles from land, the cable ran out so fast that a tangled skein
came up out of the hold, and the line had to be severed. Having only
150 miles on board to span the whole distance of 140 miles, he grappled
the lost cable near the shore, raised it, and 'under-run' or passed it
over the ship, for some twenty miles, then cut it, leaving the seaward
end on the bottom. He then spliced the ship's cable to the shoreward
end and resumed his paying-out; but after seventy miles in all were
laid, another rapid rush of cable took place, and Mr. Brett was obliged
to cut and abandon the line.

Another attempt was made the following year, but with no better success.
Mr. Brett then tried to lay a three-wire cable from the steamer
Dutchman, but owing to the deep water--in some places 1500 fathoms --its
egress was so rapid, that when he came to a few miles from Galita, his
destination on the Algerian coast, he had not enough cable to reach the
land. He therefore telegraphed to London for more cable to be made and
sent out, while the ship remained there holding to the end. For five
days he succeeded in doing so, sending and receiving messages ; but
heavy weather came on, and the cable parted, having, it is said, been
chafed through by rubbing on the bottom. After that Mr. Brett went

It was to recover the lost cable of these expeditions that the Elba was
got ready for sea. Jenkin had fitted her out the year before for laying
the Cagliari to Malta and Corfu cables; but on this occasion she was
better equipped. She had a new machine for picking up the cable, and a
sheave or pulley at the bows for it to run over, both designed by
Jenkin, together with a variety of wooden buoys, ropes, and chains. Mr.
Liddell, assisted by Mr. F. C. Webb and Fleeming Jenkin, were in charge
of the expedition. The latter had nothing to do with the electrical
work, his care being the deck machinery for raising the cable; but it
entailed a good deal of responsibility, which was flattering and
agreeable to a young man of his parts.

'I own I like responsibility,' he wrote to Miss Austin, while fitting up
the vessel; 'it flatters one; and then, your father might say, I have
more to gain than lose. Moreover, I do like this bloodless, painless
combat with wood and iron, forcing the stubborn rascals to do my will,
licking the clumsy cubs into an active shape, seeing the child of to-
day's thought working to-morrow in full vigour at his appointed task.'
Another letter, dated May 17, gives a picture of the start. 'Not a
sailor will join us till the last moment; and then, just as the ship
forges ahead through the narrow pass, beds and baggage fly on board, the
men, half tipsy, clutch at the rigging, the captain swears, the women
scream and sob, the crowd cheer and laugh, while one or two pretty
little girls stand still and cry outright, regardless of all eyes.'

The Elba arrived at Bona on June 3, and Jenkin landed at Fort Genova, on
Cape Hamrah, where some Arabs were building a land line. 'It was a
strange scene,' he writes, 'far more novel than I had imagined; the
high, steep bank covered with rich, spicy vegetation, of which I hardly
knew one plant. The dwarf palm, with fan-like leaves, growing about two
feet high, forms the staple verdure.' After dining in Fort Genova, he
had nothing to do but watch the sailors ordering the Arabs about under
the 'generic term "Johnny." ' He began to tire of the scene, although,
as he confesses, he had willingly paid more money for less strange and
lovely sights. Jenkin was not a dreamer; he disliked being idle, and if
he had had a pencil he would have amused himself in sketching what he
saw. That his eyes were busy is evident from the particulars given in
his letter, where he notes the yellow thistles and 'Scotch-looking
gowans' which grow there, along with the cistus and the fig-tree.

They left Bona on June 5, and, after calling at Cagliari and Chia,
arrived at Cape Spartivento on the morning of June 8. The coast here is
a low range of heathy hills, with brilliant green bushes and marshy
pools. Mr. Webb remarks that its reputation for fever was so bad as to
cause Italian men-of-war to sheer off in passing by. Jenkin suffered a
little from malaria, but of a different origin. 'A number of the
SATURDAY REVIEW here,' he writes; 'it reads so hot and feverish, so
tomb-like and unhealthy, in the midst of dear Nature's hills and sea,
with good wholesome work to do.'

There were several pieces of submerged cable to lift, two with their
ends on shore, and one or two lying out at sea. Next day operations
were begun on the shore end, which had become buried under the sand, and
could not be raised without grappling. After attempts to free the cable
from the sand in small boats, the Elba came up to help, and anchored in
shallow water about sunset. Curiously enough, the anchor happened to
hook, and so discover the cable, which was thereupon grappled, cut, and
the sea end brought on board over the bow sheave. After being passed
six times round the picking-up drum it was led into the hold, and the
Elba slowly forged ahead, hauling in the cable from the bottom as she
proceeded. At half-past nine she anchored for the night some distance
from the shore, and at three next morning resumed her picking up. 'With
a small delay for one or two improvements I had seen to be necessary
last night,' writes Jenkin, 'the engine started, and since that time I
do not think there has been half an hour's stoppage. A rope to splice,
a block to change, a wheel to oil, an old rusted anchor to disengage
from the cable, which brought it up-- these have been our only
obstructions. Sixty, seventy, eighty, a hundred, a hundred and twenty
revolutions at last my little engine tears away. The even black rope
comes straight out of the blue, heaving water, passes slowly round an
open-hearted, good-tempered-looking pulley, five feet in diameter, aft
past a vicious nipper, to bring all up should anything go wrong, through
a gentle guide on to a huge bluff drum, who wraps him round his body,
and says, " Come you must," as plain as drum can speak; the chattering
pauls say, "I've got him, I've got him; he can't come back," whilst
black cable, much slacker and easier in mind and body, is taken by a
slim V-pulley and passed down into the huge hold, where half a dozen men
put him comfortably to bed after his exertion in rising from his long

'I am very glad I am here, for my machines are my own children, and I
look on their little failings with a parent's eye, and lead them into
the path of duty with gentleness and firmness. I am naturally in good
spirits, but keep very quiet, for misfortunes may arise at any instant;
moreover, to-morrow my paying-out apparatus will be wanted should all go
well, and that will be another nervous operation. Fifteen miles are
safely in, but no one knows better than I do that nothing is done till
all is done.'

JUNE 11.--'It would amuse you to see how cool (in head) and jolly
everybody is. A testy word now and then shows the nerves are strained a
little, but every one laughs and makes his little jokes as if it were
all in fun....I enjoy it very much.'

JUNE 13, SUNDAY.--'It now (at 10.30) blows a pretty stiff gale, and the
sea has also risen, and the Elba's bows rise and fall about nine feet.
We make twelve pitches to the minute, and the poor cable must feel very
sea-sick by this time. We are quite unable to do anything, and continue
riding at anchor in one thousand fathoms, the engines going constantly,
so as to keep the ship's bows close up to the cable, which by this means
hangs nearly vertical, and sustains no strain but that caused by its own
weight and the pitching of the vessel. We were all up at four, but the
weather entirely forbade work for to-day; so some went to bed, and most
lay down, making up our lee-way, as we nautically term our loss of
sleep. I must say Liddell is a fine fellow, and keeps his patience and
his temper wonderfully; and yet how he does fret and fume about trifles
at home!'

JUNE 16.--'By some odd chance a TIMES of June 7 has found its way on
board through the agency of a wretched old peasant who watches the end
of the line here. A long account of breakages in the Atlantic trial
trip. To-night we grapple for the heavy cable, eight tons to the mile.
I long to have a tug at him; he may puzzle me; and though misfortunes,
or rather difficulties, are a bore at the time, life, when working with
cables, is tame without them.--2 p.m. Hurrah! he is hooked--the big
fellow--almost at the first cast. He hangs under our bows, looking so
huge and imposing that I could find it in my heart to be afraid of him.'

JUNE 17.--'We went to a little bay called Chia, where a fresh-water
stream falls into the sea, and took in water. This is rather a long
operation, so I went up the valley with Mr. Liddell. The coast here
consists of rocky mountains 800 to 1000 feet high, covered with shrubs
of a brilliant green. On landing, our first amusement was watching the
hundreds of large fish who lazily swam in shoals about the river. The
big canes on the further side hold numberless tortoises, we are told,
but see none, for just now they prefer taking a siesta. A little
further on, and what is this with large pink flowers in such abundance?-
-the oleander in full flower! At first I fear to pluck them, thinking
they must be cultivated and valuable; but soon the banks show a long
line of thick tall shrubs, one mass of glorious pink and green, set
there in a little valley, whose rocks gleam out blue and purple colours,
such as pre-Raphaelites only dare attempt, shining out hard and weird-
like amongst the clumps of castor-oil plants, cistus, arbor-vitae, and
many other evergreens, whose names, alas! I know not; the cistus is
brown now, the rest all deep and brilliant green. Large herds of cattle
browse on the baked deposit at the foot of these large crags. One or
two half-savage herdsmen in sheepskin kilts, etc., ask for cigars;
partridges whirr up on either side of us; pigeons coo and nightingales
sing amongst the blooming oleander. We get six sheep, and many fowls
too, from the priest of the small village, and then run back to
Spartivento and make preparations for the morning.'

JUNE 18.--'The short length (of the big-cable) we have picked up was
covered at places with beautiful sprays of coral, twisted and twined
with shells of those small fairy animals we saw in the aquarium at home.
Poor little things! they died at once, with their little bells and
delicate bright tints.'

JUNE 19.--'Hour after hour I stand on the fore-castle-head picking off
little specimens of polypi and coral, or lie on the saloon deck reading
back numbers of the TIMES, till something hitches, and then all is
hurly-burly once more. There are awnings all along the ship, and a most
ancient and fish-like smell (from the decaying polypi) beneath.'

JUNE 22.--'Yesterday the cable was often a lovely sight, coming out of
the water one large incrustation of delicate net-like corals and long
white curling shells. No portion of the dirty black wire was visible;
instead we had a garland of soft pink, with little scarlet sprays and
white enamel intermixed. All was fragile, however, and could hardly be
secured in safety; and inexorable iron crushed the tender leaves to

JUNE 24.--'The whole day spent in dredging, without success. This
operation consists in allowing the ship to drift slowly across the line
where you expect the cable to be, while at the end of a long rope, fast
either to the bow or stern, a grapnel drags along the ground. The
grapnel is a small anchor, made like four pot-hooks tied back to back.
When the rope gets taut the ship is stopped and the grapnel hauled up to
the surface in the hopes of finding the cable on its prongs. I am much
discontented with myself for idly lounging about and reading WESTWARD
HO! for the second time instead of taking to electricity or picking up
nautical information.'

During the latter part of the work much of the cable was found to be
looped and twisted into 'kinks' from having been so slackly laid, and
two immense tangled skeins were raised on board, one by means of the
mast-head and fore-yard tackle. Photographs of this ravelled cable were
for a long time exhibited as a curiosity in the windows of Messrs.
Newall & Co's. shop in the Strand, where we remember to have seen them.

By July 5 the whole of the six-wire cable had been recovered, and a
portion of the three-wire cable, the rest being abandoned as unfit for
use, owing to its twisted condition. Their work was over, but an
unfortunate accident marred its conclusion. On the evening of the 2nd
the first mate, while on the water unshackling a buoy, was struck in the
back by a fluke of the ship's anchor as she drifted, and so severely
injured that he lay for many weeks at Cagliari. Jenkin's knowledge of
languages made him useful as an interpreter; but in mentioning this
incident to Miss Austin, he writes, 'For no fortune would I be a doctor
to witness these scenes continually. Pain is a terrible thing.'

In the beginning of 1859 he made the acquaintance of Sir William
Thomson, his future friend and partner. Mr. Lewis Gordon, of Messrs. R.
S. Newall & Co., afterwards the earliest professor of engineering in a
British University, was then in Glasgow seeing Sir William's instruments
for testing and signalling on the first Atlantic cable during the six
weeks of its working. Mr. Gordon said he should like to show them to 'a
young man of remarkable ability,' engaged at their Birkenhead Works, and
Jenkin, being telegraphed for, arrived next morning, and spent a week in
Glasgow, mostly in Sir William's class-room and laboratory at the old
college. Sir William tells us that he was struck not only with Jenkin's
brightness and ability, but with his resolution to understand everything
spoken of; to see, if possible, thoroughly into every difficult
question, and to slur over nothing. 'I soon found,' he remarks, 'that
thoroughness of honesty was as strongly engrained in the scientific as
in the moral side of his character.' Their talk was chiefly on the
electric telegraph; but Jenkin was eager, too, on the subject of
physics. After staying a week he returned to the factory; but he began
experiments, and corresponded briskly with Sir William about cable work.
That great electrician, indeed, seems to have infected his visitor
during their brief contact with the magnetic force of his personality
and enthusiasm.

The year was propitious, and, in addition to this friend, Fortune about
the same time bestowed a still better gift on Jenkin. On Saturday,
February 26, during a four days' leave, he was married to Miss Austin at
Northiam, returning to his work the following Tuesday. This was the
great event of his life; he was strongly attached to his wife, and his
letters reveal a warmth of affection, a chivalry of sentiment, and even
a romance of expression, which a casual observer would never have
suspected in him. Jenkin seemed to the outside world a man without a
heart, and yet we find him saying in the year 1869, 'People may write
novels, and other people may write poems, but not a man or woman among
them can say how happy a man can be who is desperately in love with his
wife after ten years of marriage.' Five weeks before his death he wrote
to her, 'Your first letter from Bournemouth gives me heavenly pleasure
--for which I thank Heaven and you, too, who are my heaven on earth.'

During the summer he enjoyed another telegraph cruise in the
Mediterranean, a sea which for its classical memories, its lovely
climate, and diversified scenes, is by far the most interesting in the


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