Source: Electrical World and Engineer
Source type: journal
Document type: article
Document title: “President McKinley on Telegraphy and Cables”
Date of publication: 21 September 1901
Volume number: 38
Issue number: 12
|“President McKinley on Telegraphy and Cables.” Electrical World and Engineer 21 Sept. 1901 v38n12: p. 472.|
|William McKinley (last public address).|
|Pascual Cervera y Topete; Andrew Jackson; William McKinley; Nelson A. Miles.|
President McKinley on Telegraphy and Cables
Last week while Mr. McKinley lay upon his bed of sickness
and while hope of recovery was still strong, comment was made in these pages
on his references to telegraphy and the Pacific cable, in the address which
he delivered at the Pan-American Exposition, the day before his abominable assassination
there by a vile anarchist. Those utterances have now a deeply pathetic and historical
interest, and we believe that our readers will be glad to have them quoted in
full. Mr. McKinley, with no idea that the attack on his own life would be the
next confirmation of his remarks, said:
“Isolation is no longer possible or desirable. The same important news is read, though in different languages, the same day in all Christendom. The telegraph keeps us advised of what is occurring everywhere, and the press foreshadows, with more or less accuracy, the plans and purposes of the nations. Market prices of products and of securities are hourly known in every commercial mart, and the investments of the people extend beyond their own national boundaries into the remotest parts of the earth. Vast transactions are conducted and international exchanges are made by the tick of the cable. Every event of interest is immediately bulletined.
“The quick gathering and transmission of news, like rapid transit, are of recent origin, and are only made possible by the genius of the inventor and the courage of the investor. It took a special messenger of the Government, with every facility known at the time for rapid travel, 19 days to go from the city of Washington to New Orleans with a message to General Jackson that the war with England had ceased, and a treaty of peace had been signed. How different now. We reached General Miles in Porto Rico by cable, and he was able, through the military telegraph, to stop his army on the firing line with the message that the United States and Spain had signed a protocol suspending hostilities.
“We knew almost instantly of the first shots fired at Santiago, and the subsequent surrender of the Spanish forces was known at Washington within less than an hour of its consummation. The first ship of Cervera’s fleet had hardly emerged from that historic harbor when the fact was flashed to our capital, and the swift destruction that followed was announced immediately through the wonderful medium of telegraphy.
“So accustomed are we to safe and easy communication with distant lands, that its temporary interruption, even in ordinary times, results in loss and inconvenience. We shall never forget the days of anxious waiting and awful suspense when no information was permitted to be sent from Peking, and the diplomatic representatives of the nations in China, cut off from all communication, inside and outside of the walled capital, were surrounded by an angry and misguided mob that threatened their lives, nor the joy that thrilled the world when a single message from the Government of the United States brought, through our Minister, the first news of the safety of the besieged diplomats.
“At the beginning of the nineteenth century there was not a mile of steam railroad on the globe. Now there are enough miles to make its circuit many times. Then there was not a line of electric telegraph, now we have a vast mileage traversing all lands and all seas. God and man have linked the nations together. No nation can longer be indifferent to any other. And as we are brought more and more in touch with each other the less occasion is there for misunderstandings, and the stronger the disposition when we have differences to adjust them in the court of arbitration, which is the noblest forum for the settlement of international disputes.”
Mr. McKinley then discussed the expansion of American trade, advocated the cultivation of reciprocity and said:
“We must build the Isthmian Canal, which will unite the two oceans and give a straight line of water communication with the western coasts of Central and South America and Mexico. The construction of a Pacific cable cannot be longer postponed.”