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A Telegraph, 1858

Fourth Day.

August 13, 1858
Newfoundland to Valentia
Sent 12.38 A.M.-- “Send word ‘Atlantic.’”
Valentia to Newfoundland
Send 12.51 A.M.-- “Atlantic.”
[A note by Professor Thompson, in Valentia diary says:-- “This was the first word
read in Newfoundland.”]
Newfoundland to Valentia
Sent 3.07 A.M.-- “We read all your signals. Repeat ‘Atlantic.’”
Valentia to Newfoundland
Sent 3.37 A.M.-- “Atlantic.”

United Kingdom. Report of the Joint Committee Appointed by the Lords of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade and the Atlantic Telegraph Company. The Minutes of Evidence and Appendix. London: n.p., 1861. Print.

Which of the following explains why Parliament in London was so intensely interested in the earliest transmissions of the transatlantic cable?


It would be through this cable that telegraph messages could be sent to relay declarations of war against foreign powers and prospective colonies.


The cable had the potential of revolutionizing communications by speeding up the transmission of news, aiding commerce, finance and diplomacy.


If I.S. Brunel's ship, the SS Great Eastern could lay a functioning transatlantic telegraph cable, then Parliament would naturally inquire about its naval capabilities.


Parliament was engaged in a very open and rather public debate about whether the government should subsidize such communications ventures to the same degree it had the railroad system in Britain.

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