« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
safety of every vessel plying the ocean-rather than merely in the interest of any particular ship—and a common fund provided accordingly. COMPARISON OF CABLE AND WIRELESS SERVICES IN PRACTICE
One of many recent newspaper reports spoke of a wireless message between London and New York 'occupying on the average a few minutes less than two hours,' and added : 'This compares not at all unfavourably with the average time occupied in transmitting ordinary cable messages.' The truth is, however, that, in the usual way, a cablegram is sent between these points well within twenty minutes, whilst a Stock Exchange cable message is sent and a reply received within three minutes.
The Marconi Company has achieved much and deserves hearty congratulations and support. Yet the Post Office have not, so far, greatly encouraged wireless telegraphy for transatlantic purposes, notwithstanding the apparent preference of the Government for 'wireless' on the larger (inter-Imperial) scale. On the 5th of April I endeavoured to send a 'Marconigram' from a post office in London. This involved much consultation of the Post Office Guide by the clerk behind the counter. That great work proved, however, to be unequal to the occasion, for next day a telegraph-boy left a verbal message stating that the ‘ Marconigram' could not be sent. A call was, thereupon, made at the neighbouring district post office-to which I had been referred-and the information elicited was to the effect that the money collected from me was insufficient, partly because the charge was at too low a rate, and also because the routeing'instruction, 'Via Expanse, Dublin,' was necessary, and for this I, rather than the Company, must pay. Understanding that the money which had been remitted for the original message would be refunded to me by the sub-office from which the original • Marconigram’had been sent, I then paid for a fresh message, the charge for two words, in addition to the telegraphic address, being 6s. 8d., instead of 7s. by cable (or 3s. 6d. deferred rate); so that there did not appear to be much economy in it-and certainly not, value for value, when the services are compared.
I was subsequently informed that it would be necessary to apply in writing to the General Post Office if I wished to have the charge of the original 'Marconigram' refunded; and that I must state all the particulars—even though it was through no fault of mine that the message was not sent. It is more than a month since these instructions were complied with, but up to the present only the usual printed acknowledgment has reached me!
OTHER WIRELESS SYSTEMS
The foregoing remarks have relation to the Marconi system, that being the only method with which the Government appears to be dealing as regards the Imperial wireless project, whilst it is also the only one with anything in the nature of a commercial service from our shores.
So far, notwithstanding the 1907 Radio-Telegraphic Inquiry, small encouragement appears to have been meted out to any rival system. It may be urged that other methods have been under official test, but that these are not as yet 'on the market' in a commercial sense. But without some definite encouragement in the direction of a contract it is, of course, very difficult for a private enterprise to make headway against anything in the nature of a monopoly. Those of us who are concerned with wireless telegraphy in a strictly impartial sense know that there is at least one system that is doing splendid work with undamped waves. By automatic transmission, this system has attained speeds over long ranges that compare most favourably with what has, as yet, been secured on a cable--and this, too, with excellent recorded signals. It should, however, be added that, though admirably adapted to long-distance, high-speed, shore-to-shore communication, it does not appear to be well suited for installation on board ships, or for general intercommunication with other systems.
Possibly these objections would be stated as the reason why this system has not been accorded an opening over the Imperial scheme. Yet these grounds do not appear to be altogether sufficient explanation for the agreement arrived at solely with one company in regard to this far-reaching and obviously costly project. It has to be remembered that by the system referred to the necessity for relay work would be obviated. Another possible defence for the agreement would be on the score of the recent litigation in wireless telegraphy over which the Marconi Company has come out very successfully; and certainly in acquiring the Lodge-Muirhead system (with its receiver ') the said Company has placed itself in a very strong position. But be that as it may, all agreements of this nature are invariably made to provide for litigation contingencies.
GOVERNMENT INQUIRY It would seem to me that the Government might suitably justify itself for the expenditure of public money solely on one particular system of wireless telegraphy in preference to the
One advantage in the signals being recorded is that improper messages for dishonest purposes are thereby to a great extent obviated and are also more likely to be traced.
constantly urged Imperial Atlantic cable scheme; and that, to this end, an absolutely independent Royal Commission should be appointed to inquire into the relative merits (under the principal beads) of all existing methods of communication. Such a course would, indeed, be following on the lines of the Royal Commission of 1861 for inquiry into the best form of construction for a submarine telegraph cable—the labours of which served so eminently useful a purpose. If, as the result of such an inquiry, it can be shown that shrewd business-people are foolish in going on investing in cables-aye, and keeping their money in cables -those concerned may just as well know it, and the sooner the better.
Another inquiry that might usefully be made for confirming, or otherwise, the recently adopted Government policy, would be as to whether the Imperial wireless scheme-competing with British private enterprise and an excellent service-was more required than the previously proposed All-British link with Canada. If the answer happened to be in the negative, whether this latter link should be by cable or 'wireless' would depend upon the result of the other suggested inquiry. In any case it should be remembered that-so far as a second string goes—this is already available in the Marconi transatlantic service.
COLONIAL AND FOREIGN VIEWS The views of the Government in regard to effective telegraphic communication do not appear to be shared either by the Colonies (which continue to press for the All-British line) or by our neighbours. If wireless telegraphy is more effective than the cable, how comes it that the Canada-West Indies Royal Commission of 1910 urged for the latter rather than 'wireless' for connecting up Bermuda with Barbados, Trinidad and British Guiana, even though expert wireless evidence was taken, and even though the cable was agreed to be more costly? The Commission only recommended 'wireless' for the purpose of connecting some of the other, less important, West Indian Islands, where the sea-bottom is eminently unfavourable for cables. The Home Government showed a disinclination to follow up these recommendations in the matter of cables, whereupon the Ottawa Conference of last month have now strongly confirmed them in the face of the Home Government's suggestion for wireless telegraphy.
And how do foreign countries act? Germany, France, and Italy all possess admirable wireless systems; yet all these countries, recognising the importance of being independent of our cable system, have established one of their own, and are continuing to lay down further lines. To take an example, the
German Government subscribes annually to two Atlantic cables no less than 85,0001., and a further 75,0001. towards the GermanDutch cables to the East. Our American cousins, too, can hardly be said to lack in enterprise or appreciation of what the latest inventions can do for them; and the Western Union Telegraph Company of New York would scarcely have indulged in a new Atlantic cable, and practically bought out five British lines, if it had thought 'wireless' would prove more efficient in the end.
It will, of course, be generally admitted that competition by means of an inferior article is scarcely satisfactory, even though the terms may be more favourable; and it is to the credit of the Government that it presumably thinks to 'knock out’ other countries in this matter; but will it?
INDEPENDENT CONCLUSIONS It must always be borne in mind that development cannot be reserved for either industry alone; and, though people seem to imagine that cable development is standing still, the reverse is very much the case, both technically and in a business way, the result being that the network of cables goes on increasing steadily from year to year-as much as ever; and, judging by recent events, there is no sign of any change in this respect.
For long-range shore work it would seem that the typical 'wireless' future lies before us primarily in the use of persistent oscillations, preferably generated by mechanical rather than physical means. Here we ensure securing all the advantages associated with the use of undamped oscillations-provided the mechanical problems associated with such a machine are capable of solution-without the objections attached to a more or less unstable arc. Such a system would not, however, adapt itself to ordinary maritime purposes.
Dealing with facts as they are to-day, my own view is that cable and wireless telegraphy each has its independent uses. Whilst we require more cables, I am also in favour of wireless telegraphy as an auxiliary service. I would, indeed, supplement every inter-Imperial cable by some wireless system, thereby affording a convenient test for the relative merits of cables and of different wireless systems.
Meantime, the Mother Country may any day be put to shame by our Dominions beyond the Seas-or by some Imperially minded individual-producing the necessary half-million capital to remedy our present position in regard to telegraphic communication with Canada and the All-British Pacific line to Australasia.
SOME AUSTRALIAN EXPERIENCES OF THE ORGANISATION OF
A DISESTABLISHED CHURCH
A SPEAKER during the debate preceding the second reading of the Established Church (Wales) Bill' said that the right honourable gentleman in charge of the Bill was 'not giving to the Church in Wales the freedom he intended to give. What the Home Secretary was trying to do was to found a new Church.'
It is obviously a much more difficult thing to uproot an organism which is the oldest in a country than it is to plant a cutting from that organism in new conditions in a new land. But some information as to the organisation of an unestablished Church in the Empire may not be without interest and usefulness ere the details of the Bill come before the Committee of the House. Australia, as I have often ventured to say, is a 'testing shop' for social, political and ecclesiastical experiments. Almost as much can be learned from our failures as from our successes. And I may add that, in venturing to give some information upon this subject, I do not hold any brief either for the Government or for the Opposition. I am simply setting down the result of my observation, and my conclusions after sixteen years' work in Australia.
CONNEXION WITH THE ESTABLISHED CHURCH Taking it for granted that the Government intends to give freedom to the Church in Wales, it is by no means certain that the Bill in its present form will realise such good intentions. The crucial point is not the attitude that the State proposes to take towards the Welsh Church. That is indicated by Clause 3 of the Bill. It is the conditions upon which the Welsh Church after disestablishment will hold its property. “Established by law' is a popular phrase, but, like many other popular phrases, it is not easy to define. It is still more difficult to reduce within terms of law an institution not originally called into existence by statute. And the connexion between such an institution and the State, with which for very many centuries it has been identified, is still more difficult wholly to disannul. For instance, the Bill contains no