When the transatlantic cable sent its first message in 1858, politicians, preachers, and journalists hailed the event as the beginning of a new era of peace and brotherhood. The first official cablegram was an exchange of cordial greetings between the President of the United States and the Queen of England. That ceremony was repeated for the opening of the 1866 cable.
|The Atlantic cable of 1866 was inaugurated with an exchange of telegrams between world leaders. Cable operators at Newfoundland recorded the pledges of peace and amity in the station's record book.|
Exchange of greetings between Queen Victoria and President Andrew Johnson, 1866|
National Museum of American History, from Isabelle Field Judson
Atlantic cable commemorative pitcher, decorated with British and American flags, 1858|
National Museum of American History
Promoters of the Atlantic cables stressed British-American cooperation.
"Eighth Wonder of the World," 1866
Courtesy of Library of Congress
|The British promoted submarine cables as a means of almost literally tying together the Empire (colored red on British maps). Yet those same cables rapidly spread information that led people in the colonies to question British rule and seek independence.|
Cable map of the British Empire, about 1902|
Courtesy of The Science Museum, London
|McClenachan records the celebrations and oratory that surrounded the inauguration of the 1858 Atlantic cable. The keynote of nearly every speech and banner was "peace."|
Charles McClenachan, Detailed Report of the Proceedings Had in Commemoration of the Successful Laying of the Atlantic Telegraph Cable (New York, 1863) |
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