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THE STORY

OF

THE TELEGRAPH IN INDIA.

BY

CHARLES C. ADLEY, C.E.

“ Open rebuke is better than secret love."-Prov. xxvii. 5.

“When the iron is hot enough the public will strike it; and depend upon it,
when the time comes, they will strike it vigorously.”--CALCUTTA ENGINEERS'
JOURNAL, vol. iv. p. 38, 1861.

LONDON:

E. & F. N. SPON, 16, BUCKLERSBURY, E.C.

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DEDICATION

TO

ROBERT WYGRAM CRAWFORD, Esq., M.P.

&c. &c. &c.

Sir,—As you are the Chairman of the Committee appointed by authority of the House of Commons to investigate the state of our East India Telegraphic and Postal communications, and as you are also Chairman of The East Indian Railway Company, in whose service I have had the honour of being engaged for nine years, I cannot otherwise than more appropriately submit the dedication of this little work to you. Having now for more than ten years ceaselessly advocated the adoption of those measures indispensable to remedy the unhappily benighted condition of Telegraphic science and accommodation in India, I feel unable at the present juncture to resist contributing my feeble efforts towards the accomplishment of that great end, so long demanded by public necessities, yet neglected and thwarted only by the guardians of the public weal.

I have the honour to be,

Sir,
Your most obedient and humble servant,

CHARLES C. ADLEY.

Lee Park, Blackheath,

19th May, 1866.

P R E F A C E.

This, though a preface, is essentially a postscript. Since this work was in the press, the Committee appointed by the authority of Parliament to examine into the state of the telegraphic and postal communications between England and her Majesty's Eastern possessions have concluded their sittings so far as India is concerned. Having heard the evidence on both sides concerning the working of the telegraph in India, the author finds that nothing new has transpired affecting in the slightest degree the opinions and conclusions herein enforced. On the contrary, these have been only confirmed and substantiated. The deficiencies of the Indian telegraph are freely and unanimously admitted by the Government authorities, while the following official explanation, in reply to question No. 2611, justifies the course which has been pursued :

I think that in a Government institution, such as the telegraph, the efficiency of its operations will essentially depend upon the manner in which the Government authority is exercised; and I think that the present system is essentially defective, and that, although a certain amount of alteration and improvement has been made now, precisely the same causes which have led to the Government telegraph lines falling into arrears in the supply of the wants of the country will continue to act, and that the same causes which have prevented the Government keeping up to the mark, and which tend, so to speak, to improvement, will still continue to act.”

It is clear that just as the whole system of Indian administration, with its peculiar bias and ideas, collapsed

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