Introduction: Jim Coombs shares this information on his great-grandfather Ernest William Enfield (1849-1925), who sailed on Great Eastern and other cable ships between 1873 and 1875, supervising the laying cables from Newfoundland
to Ireland, Portugal to Brazil, and along the west coast of South America from Chile to Peru.
All text and images on this page are copyright © 2014 by Jim Coombs unless otherwise noted, and are used by permission. The brief introductory texts describing each year’s cable expeditions were written by Bill Burns.
The following information is transcribed from personal family letters from Ernest William Enfield written to his Father and his (step) Mother and covers events after he joined the offices of Messrs. Forde and Clark Telegraph Engineers in 1872.
The company had been formed in September 1868 to offer contracting services to assist various submarine telegraph companies lay down cables. Latimer Clark was an early and important figure in the cable industry; his obituary notes that in association with his partners he supervised the manufacture and laying of some 100,000 miles of submarine cable in all parts of the world. The company also employed Charles Hockin and Herbert A. Taylor, and was later known as Clark, Forde, and Taylor.
Ernest William Enfield
Ernest with his wife, Lucy Alice, and children Ernest Arthur and Nora at the right of the photo; Joyce at Lucy’s knee; Ralph and Elinor on the left. Joyce, the youngest, was born in 1895, so the photograph would date to about 1897.
Ernest William Enfield was born on Sunday November 25 1849 in Kensington. His mother (Honora Taylor) died a few days later on November 28 1849. He was looked after by various nannies including Big Fanny, shown below with him in early 1850.
Subsequently his father (Edward Enfield – see annex) remarried on August 19 1854. Hence, letters addressed to ‘Mother’ below would refer to Harriet Roscoe.
During his period at Oxford University and again while he worked for Forde and Clark he kept detailed accounts of income and expenditure. In addition to general University expenses he records payments for Billiards, Fishing, Cricket, Rackets, Opera and Concerts. He was also a keen rower1. His total expenditure in three years was around £370 including £9-10s for his degree. His main source of income was cheques from his father. Such payments continued to 1873 when he reports payments, bonus and ‘Outfit’ from C.F. and Co.2. In April he reports paying 8s-8d for Crystal Palace and Great Exhibition. The accounts for this year end in June 5, except for an entry ‘£40.00 spent in America’. In November he was again paid by C.F. and Co, suggesting a salary of £10 per month when he was not abroad – during cable laying it seems all expenses were paid – but as detailed below the trip to America was a private holiday for which he paid. In November 1874 he records a £20 bonus from C.F. and Co. as well as regular payments of £20 per month, contributing to a total income of £321-10s with a total expenditure of £160-17s, enabling him to carry over £160-13s to 1875. Including this as well as salary and various payments from a number of Railway companies in November and December (presumably for whom he contracted worked after returning from Peru), his total assets for this year were £607-10s. There is no general expenditure recorded between July 8 and November 14 when he was abroad. He appears to have made a number of payments to his Father, no doubt to repay his University costs, enabling him to take £251-15s forward to 1876.
|Copies of pages from the accounts of Ernest William Enfield
Expenses for May 1872 just
before he left on his first voyage
Income for 1875 when
went to Peru and Chile
1 Taking part in college races, both as an oar and as a cox.
2 Forde and Clark.
Further information derived from ‘Chronicles of the Enfield Family from 1811 to 1911’ has been added within the text or as footnotes. It provides the following biography for Ernest William Enfield:
|1849 November 25
||Ernest born in Kensington
|| Ernest started at Westbourne College, his first school
||Ernest started at Ipswich School
|1866 June 25
|1867 July 15
||Ernest B.A. Exams (assumed to refer to University entrance exam)
|1868 October 17
||To Oxford (Corpus Christie College, where he took a BA)
|1870 November 25
||Ernest came of age
|1871 December 14
||Ernest left Oxford
||Ernest went to offices of Forde and Clark
|1876 October 30
||Went to Nottingham to enter the Bank of Hart and Fellows
|1877 January 2
||Ernest left home forever
|1880 July 1
||The firm of Hart, Fellows, and Co., was dissolved, with the business henceforth carried on by George Fellows, Ernest William Enfield, and Albert Beymann, under the style of Hart, Fellows, and Co
|1881 January 14
||Married Lucy Alice Lawford and produced 5 children (Nora 1882, Ernest Arthur 1883, Ralph Roscoe 1885, Margaret Elinor3 1887, Joyce 1895).
||His bank was taken over by Lloyds
||Appointed Alderman on the County Council for Nottingham
||Retired from public life
|1923 November 2
|| Lucy Alice died
||Ernest William died
3 Mr. Coombs' grandmother, after marriage to Emile Vivian Burns
Ernest Enfield’s letters during his career as a cable engineer:
Expedition to lay an Atlantic cable between Valentia, Ireland, and Heart’s Content, Newfoundland. This cable was made and laid using Great Eastern by the Telegraph Construction & Maintenance Company (Telcon) for the Anglo American Telegraph Company. The cable was originally ordered by the French Atlantic Telegraph Company just before its takeover by Anglo American.
From the Enfield Chronicles ‘1873 - June 6 Ernest to America’
Monday 9. pm . Between England and Ireland
My Dear Father
Here I am really at sea out of sight of land – the wind rising and the old ship as steady as a rock – I met Head all right at Waterloo and we travelled down with several of our future companions – when we got to Weymouth we came out at once to the big ship4 got our cabins and had dinner – I have got a very fair cabin (all to myself) opening out of the large saloon and at the same level, just before the port paddles - about as good a position as I could have and am now settling down and getting used to it. We (all the engineers, electricians etc, not the officers except the 2 captains) mess together about 30 in the big saloon. Breakfast at half past eight, lunch at 1 and dinner at 6.30 – as yet they have fed us very well indeed, soup, fish, meat, entries, pastry, wine, beer etc; and appetites have been decidedly good.
We got under weigh about 10 on Sunday morning in splendid calm weather, the Edinboro and Hibernian following us – one on each side and a small steamer of our latest visitors and newspaper reporters accompanying us. All three ships are very heavily laden and deep in the water, especially the Great Eastern, which of course sets the pace, so that we get on very slowly in spite of fine weather and our immense engines – only doing 6 and a half knots per hour – Yesterday evening before sunset we passed “Start” point which looked beautiful,, such a splendid evening and moon light. This morning when I went on deck we were just off the Lands End but of course a long way out so that the cliff looked but poor – we then passed the Scilly’s and since have been out of sight of land; nothing to be seen but the sea (which now that it is rising enables me to appreciate Harry’s pictures) and our two attendant ships.
Of course at present it is nearly all holiday as our regular work does not begin until we join on to the shore end at Valencia: but today I have a good deal of writing to do for Forde5 – I had a talk with him today (he has been very jolly since we have been out) and find that the plan is to lay a cable from Placentia6 to Sydney7 and another from Sydney to Placentia– but whether they will be laid this way or the reverse way is not certain yet – and I am to be left, with Head as assistant – to take the 30 days trial tests on these 2 three hundred mile cables so that it depends on the way of laying whether I am at Placentia or Sydney, but probably it will be the former – however Forde has promised to consult with Capt Halpin and if possible to let me know where to have letters directed before we get to Valencia.
We expect to be there tomorrow night having now come about 280 miles and probably shall reach Hearts Content about 3 weeks afterwards – and I suppose Placentia (for the first time) 3 or 4 days later. I got your letter at Portland and was very glad of it (also contents) – I suppose it is the last I shall hear of you till Placentia by which time I shall imagine you enjoying yourselves abroad – Forde tells me that the temperature for July in Newfoundland varies from 50º to 70º - so that my mother need not be alarmed at the idea of any great extremes of heat or cold.
This is certainly a wonderful ship – if slow, uncommonly steady at any rate in only moderate weather like this – the only fault it is so big and there are such a lot of people about you never find any one you want to see – I am writing this in the ‘ladies saloon’ a beautiful room opening out of the big saloon (full of flowers and canaries) which serves as our office. Our companions of the Construction Company do not seem a very lively lot nor particularly inclined to be sociable but that won’t much matter when we get to work – and head and I get on very well at present – so that in our present immunity from illness we have a good time.
Talking of illness has Aunt Harrie any news of Nannie or her ship? Now I must shut up tonight and add what information I can tomorrow, I have still a lot of writing to do for the firm.
Tuesday evening – Bantry Bay8
Here we are instead of at Valencia as we hoped. We got opposite there this afternoon but found it too rough for the shore and to be laid, so turned round and came back to anchor here and wait for better weather. We are lying in a sheltered bay at the back of an island about quarter mile from the shore. It blew hard last night, though not today, so that there has been a long rolling swelling all day: the big ship pitched rather but nothing very much so that I enjoyed it (Head however declined to appear at lunch).
This delay is tiresome but I suppose better than running the chance of breaking the cable by starting too soon – when new work begins we are going to take 4 hour watches each so that as there are four of us we shall have four hours on duty and then 12 off, which will make it easy work – and also on this plan we shall never have the same watch to keep 2 days running, a less onerous plan that the usual one.
We are going to lie here all day at least – so I am going ashore and will post this here if possible
So goodbye Ever your affectionate son Ernest Enfield
4 The Great Eastern converted to a cable-laying ship in 1865.
5 Henry Charles Forde (1829-1897)
7 Nova Scotia
8 County Wexford Ireland
Saturday - Rest Haven Bantry Bay
My Dear Mother
Here we are still daily expecting to go on and as often disappointed. We are lying in a beautiful sheltered bay behind an island about 5 miles from the little town of Castletown – while the Edinboro is gone to Valentia to lay the shore end , ever since Tuesday it has been too rough for them to do so but a telegram has just come to say that they began at 4 o’clock this morning – so I suppose that before 24 hours more we shall be on our way again, we shall then only have to make the splice with the cable laid from shore and proceed on our long voyage.
This delay is very tiresome of course we have nothing in the world to do here but wander about the ship and read and occasionally go ashore. It is a beautiful place just here very like one of our well known sea-locks – though the mountains are not so high – The town is a very small place and very dirty, something like Portue.
We managed to get an Irish newspaper with an account of the burning of the Alexandra Palace9. But that is all the news we have had since we left – would you be so good as to send me a few to meet me at Heart’s Content10; the mail goes there every fort-night; I believe next Tuesday is the day but that you can hear in town – I suppose we may be there in 8 weeks from this, not much sooner – I wonder whether you will have written to Valencia. I hardly expect it as even from my other letter you would have not expect not think of our having been delayed so long here – It seems a long time since we started, the days go slowly with so little to do here. Forde unluckily is away on the Edinboro’ or no doubt he would have found plenty of jobs for me to do for him – he has a happy gift that way – The only thing I can do in his absence is to read up navigation – not an exciting study.
I am very well having just finished off a small cold that I caught at my farewell dance.
Ever yours E.W.E.
9 Opened by Queen Victoria on her birthday (24 May 1873), but a few days later a fire (started around midday on 9 June), accidentally caused by a plumber repairing the dome, burnt the building to the ground.
10 Heart’s Content is an incorporated town in Trinity Bay on the Bay de Verde Peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Great Eastern at the time of Ernest’s 1873 & 1874 expeditions
Friday 27 June – Entering Trinity Bay Newfoundland11
Dear Father and Mother
Here we are at last after a most successful voyage, almost within sight of the end (at any rate of the longest part) of our sea-going. I meant to have written a letter for you by bits as we went along but I have been so busy at work that I have not had time to do so and must try and make up for it now. I don’t know when the mail will be leaving so I am writing this before we arrive to make sure of having some things ready to send at once.
Well we left Bear Haven12 on the Saturday morning 13 days ago (how much longer it seems) and joined the small ship Robert Lowe which had laid the shore end, near Valentia and went along with her as she paid out about 90 miles of heavy cable and then on Sunday we both stopped and the end of our cable was taken by the united efforts of the boats of the four ships (luckily in a splendidly calm sea) over to the Robert Lowe and spliced on to the end of the heavy cable. This is always rather a ticklish job but thanks to the fine weather it was got through very well – then away we went paying out our cable behind us, never stopping until today – at first whilst we were paying out rather heavy cable we went quite slowly, about 4 and a half to 5 knots – but after a day or so got up to our proper pace – about 7. This is of course very slow travelling compared to mail boats which would ordinarily go by, which go 12 & 14. But it is all that can be done with perfect safety in this business and that is the first consideration - and so good have been all the arrangements that the whole thing has been accomplished without the slightest hitch.
Last night we reached the edge of comparatively shoal water about 150 miles from land and met (by appointment) the government surveying ship “Faluare” which was to give us a fixed position and take us into Trinity bay – and this morning early the cable on board the Great Eastern was all paid out. The Hibernia which has accompanied us all across has the heavy cable on board to join to ours and lay to shore but as it was too rough to make a splice at sea this morning the end of the cable was fastened to a big boy and left to take care of itself (what a chance for any one to hoax the British Public if he was to happen to pass that way with a battery!).
And so we are proceeding on to Heart’s Content, where as soon as the weather is fit the Hibernia will lay the shore end and take out about 100 miles of cable, pick up the buoy and splice the 2 ends together, and then the Atlantic Cable of ’73 will be complete – it is as good as done now all the risky part of the job being over as the rest is only shallow water 100 or 150 fathoms. So that is the history of our doings and of about the most successful expedition of the kind that there has ever been.
On the whole we have had splendid weather and have made very good runs twice doing over 150 miles in the day and never less than 15, which is quite exceptional going. Of course you never see the sea what we call calm at a watering place, there is always a heavy swell going – and all along we have had more or less wind and once a gale in which the Edinburgh’s yards came to grief so that she dropped astern and has not been seen since though no doubt she is all right and will appear in a day or two after we reach land – but in this delightful old ship you are quite unconscious of anything like a small gale: she rolls they say, a great deal in a very bad sea, but in all that we have had the motion has been nothing to mind at all: where she does roll a bit it feels as though you were in a house in an earth quake, she is big and majestic. Of course for paying out a cable this is invaluable as the strain keeps steady but you don’t really know how rough it is when you are on her, you are so far above the sea it looks much smoother than it really is – but watching the other two ships, rolling and pitching so that you can see nearly all their hulls one minute & nothing the next (big though they are really and heavily laden) you begin to be conscious of your advantages.
Today of course has been quite a day of excitement for us, first getting rid of the cable and then sighting land: besides which we have been passing ice bergs all day , think of that – I almost began to think I was realizing my old idea of going on an Arctic expedition when I saw them. We saw about 20 all sizes and at all distances: they looked almost beautiful some of them like small Matterhorns floating along perfectly white: they were all sorts of shapes, single peaked, square, and double peaked and a good many only dull long flat blocks: how large they really were we could not tell as we passed no large ones close enough to compare it with the ship but some must have 200 feet or more.
And now we are going up a very wide bay, so that we cannot see much of the shore; what is visible looks very bare and rocky a few white cottages here and there; and there are steep cliffs all around: but about the land I shall be able to tell better in a day or two if the mail gives me time.
Altogether the time has passed very pleasantly and fast for I have had plenty to do – our plan was to take 4 hour watch each: and by this of course we changed our hours of duty ever other day so that one day I began at 8 am and went on to noon, them from midnight to 4 am next morning and again from 4 pm to 8 pm that afternoon and back to 8 am next morning & the same round over again. What we had to do was not much, to keep notes of everything that went on, watch the cable being paid out and all the machines etc and put down in a log everything done by the contractors’ engineers, electricians etc: we had to manage nothing ourselves, but only to see everything that was done. At first the idea was that this would be all that we should have to do but Mr Forde soon found so much to do besides this that being on watch was the easiest part of it, at any rate for me. He has kept me going the whole time doing charts (not easy work when the ship is rolling) and calculations and all that sort of thing: he has worked indefatigably himself and has been in an uncommonly good temper with me so that I was glad to help him – Head is very little use and only does as little as possible, and as Taylor makes about the same use of his power as a partner there was a good deal left to be done – I was really glad of the chance of having so much as Forde will have confidence in me for another time and it would decidedly slow all this time if we had only to loaf about the decks: as it is I have not been on deck an hour a day sometimes.
Our plans are now pretty well set: Mr Forde goes back in this ship to pick up and replace the broken down ’65 cable. Taylor stops at Heart’s Content to test this long cable. Head is to be sent home and I am to be left at Placentia to test the 2 cables to Sydney which we are going to lay after this work one is finished – we shall probably be 10 days at Heart’s Content before starting to lay these during which time I should be watching Taylor testing this as I have no experience in that sort of testing: there is no great difficulty in it, I believe, very much the same as what I have already done: still I am glad that I am not going to be dropped down in Placentia on my own hook and with a good deal of responsibility without having seen anything of the same sort before.
I shall be there 20 days and then probably come home by some of the mail lines – I have not yet asked Mr Forde about taking a holiday afterwards but mean to do so though I am not sure that I shall go much of a tour if I get leave as they say it takes a week to get even to Boston from Placentia so that I would take a long time to see anything much. I don’t think he would make much difficulty about my stopping a week or two but they are so pressed with work at home that they will want me there; however we shall see. Placentia - by all accounts – is a very small dull place but rather pretty: the only amusement or thing to be done of any kind is fishing, which is luckily for me very good.
Tuesday – I have been very busy since we got to land and so unable to go on writing my letter. I have been helping in the tests of the broken cable, trying to find the fault – it has been a very good chance for one to learn that sort of thing as it is a peculiarly ‘interesting case’ and I was the only one present with the two head swells Taylor and Laws. But this has kept me from seeing much of the country yet - I have been for one walk inland; it is al hilly and covered with low spruce firs about 5 feet high – altogether rather pretty – but monotonous after a time. The village is quite small about 20 white cottages scattered about with the Telescope Station which is a large place.
I was very glad to see your letters (they were both sent here) and such a splendid supply of newspapers. I was very glad to see Peter’s success: he will be so pleased.
About taking a trip here - I quite agree with you, but it must depend upon circumstances if possible. I shall certainly go a short tour; anyhow I don’t expect to be able to get any holiday when I get back to England. I expect to be settled in Placentia in about a fortnight from now and to remain there a month; then if I go on a trip I shall probably come home by New York; if I don’t go by St Johns by the mail. But when I get to Placencia I shall have lots of time to mature my plans and write you letters; just now I am rather pushed as the mail goes in an hour or so and the Hibernian is just starting on her expedition to finish the cable: I am not going inn her, but stop here to help in the testing – but I have a lot to do before she goes off with Forde. So goodbye for a fortnight till next mail. I hope your journey will be a great success: enjoy yourselves as much as you can
Ever your Affectionate son Earnest W Enfield
I have been uncommonly well all along - I have not read this over so forgive mistakes.
11 From the Enfield Chronicles Ernest arrived at Trinity Bay Newfoundland
12 Bear Haven [also Barehaven]- a harbour in Cork, Ireland
S S Kangaroo13 Somewhere at Sea Saturday July 12
My Dear Father
I daresay you will be surprised to see the above address thinking one by this time at Placentia as indeed we ought to be – instead we are – goodness where – all we know is that we cannot be 100 miles from Newfoundland – The history of our proceedings is this: everything being finished about the long cable at Heart’s Content and this old ship having arrived from England with the shore ends for the Placentia – Sydney cables on Tuesday we set out for Placentia on Wednesday. Most of the engineers in the Hibernia & Edinburgh, I and two others in this: it is about 30 hours journey properly round to Placentia but a very few hours after leaving we got into one of the horrid thick fogs which are always hanging about this coast and in it we have been ever since – sometimes able to see half a mile, generally hardly the length of the ship – going slow or half-speed all the time – edging a little forward in the daytime, starting slowly back at night and stopping to take soundings every hour or so: you may imagine that you could hardly have a slower sort of job.
Luckily we have a very cautious old captain so that we are in no fear of an accident, though the coast is a horrid one: but for dreariness it beats anything and there is no knowing how long it may last: I am writing this on the chance of one getting in somewhere before Tuesday when the mail goes but it really seems as if the fog might just as well go on for a month as not and we cannot get into Placentia as it does last – so that unless the coals get so short that we have to make a bolt somewhere for a fresh supply – Do you remember the fog we had coming down the Rhine? It is just like that only we have a steam whistle going night and day instead of a bell as there.
An aggravating part of it is that we know the fog is quite low for we can see bright blue sky or stars overhead and yet it is just so high as to shut everything out from us even from the masthead: it is a great change being in this old ship instead of the Eastern – she is rather small or at any rate not large, a very good sea boat but what they call as lively as a duck – that is to say that with the least breeze or sea she goes rolling and dancing about in the most extraordinary way – luckily for me I have never felt the least ill from it and almost beginning to think I am a pretty good sailor – which |I could not tell in the big ship – I feel as if I had very little news to send you this time, for you see for all the last week we were stopping at Heart’s Content and as I was busy all the time testing and other work I had no chance of going any expeditions. I went fishing for about an hour one day with Forde but caught next to nothing and got awfully bitten by mosquitoes which are very bad there: luckily the bites had not much effect on one and did not swell much as they did with some other people.
Sunday Hooray we have got in last – the fog cleared off at 2 this morning and we found ourselves at the entrance to the bay and the Edinburgh curiously near to us: she left H.C. with us but had never known where she was since. She has had a very narrow escape as she ran end on to an iceberg in the fog14; luckily she was going very slow at the time or probably would have been lost; as it is she has her bows all smashed – I feel thankful that we escaped so well and that I shall not have to go home again that way.
We arrived in at 9 o’clock and anchored in the little bay: it is really a very pretty place – high steep rocky hills covered with fir trees and broken by valleys and areas of the sea. I went ashore with Forde this afternoon and got my letters & papers, the only ones there as no others had been directed to Placentia and are waiting at St Johns – I found the mail is going this evening so I am just rushing this off to catch it and have not even had time to read your letter yet as I want to have this ready, short as it is so that you may hear something of one.
We go on again in a day or two, weather permitting, to lay the Sydney cables and then on our return here I shall be left behind for my 30 days. I broached the subject of going for a tour to Forde today during the walk I had with him and he quite approved, so I shall nail him to it whilst he is so sweet on one: he agreed that it was a pity not to see something of the country and is altogether very jolly – tomorrow I shall have to get all my goods on shore for my future stay here – I often wonder how you are all getting on; I shall be very glad to see you again in (say) 2 months time.
Now I have just been able to read through your letter once – I am jolly glad to find at the end that your plans were not so unpleasantly upset; no doubt you are now in the seventh heaven. As to myself I can only tell you I feel remarkably well and eat an extraordinary quantity; whether I am grown or not I don’t know but you must wait for all that till I get home – I feel as if I should have heaps of little things to tell you then, but writing in such an unexpected hurry as this – I can do no more than give you base news – You may safely write here next mail and the one after – as the beginning of my 30 days stay cannot begin for at least a week, so will last till about 20 Aug, say. After that I cannot tell, but of course you will hear again from me before that. Thank you very much for your grand selection of newspapers; they are very welcome here as we have none besides of anything like so late a date – I have 3 other letters from Aunt Harrie, Percy and Annie but only had time to read your yet.
Now goodbye ever your E W Enfield
Pray do not be alarmed about my coming home in the fog again: as I certainly shall not, but go overland to St Johns whichever way I go thence. E.W.E.
13 In 1870 Kangaroo became a British cable steamer with the Telegraph Construction & Maintenance Co. of London (Telcon).
14 The incident was reported in the New York Times published on July 15 1973 which indicated that her bow gear was damaged, but the ship was not much injured.
Placentia Sunday 27 July
My Dear Mother
At last I have done with the sea, at least for the present: last night was the first that I had slept on shore or in a bed for seven weeks: rather a new state of things in my life is not it? Well when last I wrote I had only an hour or two to write in to catch the mail and hoped to make up for it this time as I expected to be settled here some days before this mail – but I am even worse off than before as I have literally hardly had a minute to myself to write in lately and am now beginning at 12 o’clock at night to catch the mail at 7 in the morning so you must excuse any shortcomings.
When last you heard I had just arrived here. I think we left again two days after in the Hibernia to lay a cable from here to Sydney Cape Breton about 300 miles, which we accomplished all right in 2 and a half days except that owing to fog currents etc we got south of our proper course and found ourselves 25 miles from Sydney at the end of our cable so that we had to fasten a buoy to the end and leave it to its fate and go on with our consort the Edinburgh to Sydney. It was blowing a gale at the time (and so it was impossible to splice on the Edinburgh’s cable then) and the Hibernia being empty had a great “list” i.e. was all leaning over to one side so that you could hardly walk on deck; however we got in all right in a few hours though the Edinburgh with her usual luck had some of her bulwarks carried away by the sea.
Early the next morning after we arrived we were all transferred to the Edinburgh whilst the Hibernia went further up the harbour to coal: Sydney is a great ship-coal place and is a thriving little town very pretty situated on the shore of a fine large harbour. We stopped 2 or 3 days there and I went on shore once or twice; the first day we went a drive to the camp of some Indians to see the real native and as you may imagine found him a dirty looking creature, dressed like anybody else and speaking (most of them) very good English: in fact very little Indian about them but their wretched looking face – dark wigwams and general air of vagabondage.
Some of the country we drove through was really pretty well wooded with spruce-fir and birch with low hills and lakes (very like some parts of Scotland). And here/there farms and houses; altogether more civilised looking than Newfoundland – indeed when you get amongst the collieries you might as well be within 10 miles of Wolverhampton: most of the people seem to be scotch or of scotch origin and very pious consequently, the number of churches about it is wonderful.
On Tuesday, the Kangaroo having laid a shore end, we proceeded in the Edinburgh to find the buoy we had left at the end of the Hibernia’s cable: it was a most beautiful day, bright, hot and the sea quite calm (the first time I have ever seen it so since we left Portland) and we were lucky enough to find the buoy without difficulty: so we spliced on more cable to that already laid and paid out till we came to the buoy at the end of the shore end laid by the Kangaroo when we spliced on and ran back to Sydney.
The next morning we were to have started back here with the second cable, but the bad luck of the Edinburgh was not ended yet, for when they began to get up steam to start the engine broke down, and we had to wait 24 hours while the engines were repaired. However the next day all was right and we made a very good run indeed and got back here on Friday night – all Thursday afternoon was very foggy, perfectly thick and in the night we passed right through a most tremendous thunder storm through still thick fog all round us; it was really awful, the worst thunder storm I ever saw – the lightning tremendously bright and constant, streaming up from the ship and apparently all round, the thunder crashing and creaking immediately after the flash and thick darkness covering the surroundings; after we had passed right through the centre of it and the deluge of rain had nearly filled the ship we gradually left the storm behind and the next day being fine and clear we finished the cable and the whole job (this being the last cable) without difficulty – as there was only 2 of us, Mr Forde and myself, out with these two jobs of course it was harder work for us: we had 6 hours on watch and 6 off each. He had from 6 to 12 and I 12 to 6. it is not pleasant work having to turn out on deck at 12 o’clock at night to begin a 6 hour watch, especially if it is wet and rough and as there was a lot of work to be done (charts, calculations, etc) when I was off watch I could into get much sleep and was glad the job only lasted 2 days and nights each.
The Hibernia and Edinburgh are both fair sized ships but feel smaller after the Eastern and are proportionally lively in rough weather: and as there was so many of us we had to be 2 or 3 in each cabin: on the The Edinburgh I was in the same as Forde and we did box and cox very comfortably. However, it is quite peasant to be settled on land again after so long a spell at sea although I have really been very comfortable on board.
I moved on shore yesterday and proceeded at once to test these 2 cables to enable Forde to give a certificate for them and that kept me till late at night; and all day I have been at that and other work for him, finishing off things as he starts at 7 tomorrow morning overland to Hearts Content; I shall almost glad to see the last of him and have a little leisure after so much work. I think he is well satisfied with the help I have given him as he is always in a good humour with me, though he has never said anything about it – I am very comfortably settled here in the Telegraph Station, with a very good sitting room and bed-room: it is a very pretty place with decent fishing; and with that and any testing I think I shall get on very well, unless it is for want of company, of which there is none, the whole village being very small, though it does contain 2 churches and a nunnery – but I will tell you all about it next mail when I know it better and have more time.
My 30 days end on 23 August so I shall be here till then, afterwards I shall go round somehow to New York and get home somewhere about 20 Sept, I hope. It seems odd you had not got a letter from me when last you wrote; it is ages since I wrote from Hearts Content – I am very glad you are enjoying yourselves so much, what a splendid place the Black Forest sounds; your letter about it was most welcome here on my arrival (also newspapers from Caroline) – give my love to aunt Kate and the others. I would have written to her if I had had more time – now I must stop as I must send an answer to some of the kind people who wrote to me last mail and I could not answer them.
So goodbye yours ever E.W.E.
I have written this hurriedly, as you see, and cannot get in nearly all I have to tell you but I shall have plenty of time hence forward – please keep up the supply of newspapers - as there no one to talk to here they will be very welcome.
Sunday 10 August Placentia
My dear Father
Your most welcome letter from Engleberg has just reached me – what a splendid time you seem to be having. I suppose now you are now at Syrgenstein and when this reaches your part of the world will have left there; so I direct this to Chester Terrace.
It seems odd that you have only got one letter from me it is ages ago that I wrote from Hearts Content. Well I have now been here a fortnight, half my time and am getting on very fairly well. I leave here tomorrow fortnight if nothing goes wrong and drive 84 miles across country to St Johns – Unluckily I shall have to wait there a week as the steamers go thence east and west alternate weeks and I shall just arrive as the one for England starts; this has already tempted me to give up my tour and go straight home as I should so get back nearly a month sooner, but on the whole I think I shall stick to my original plans, that is as modified at present. So I shall travel slowly to St Johns go on to Halifax by the steamer the week after, thence by rail to the St Laurence, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec and Niagara – and then back to New York and home, getting there in about 6 weeks from now. That sounds a nice plan does not it, how I wish you were coming with me, I have almost a mind to telegraph to you to meet me at St Johns; you could do it so easily, coming out in the mail leaving Liverpool on Aug 26 or 27 for St Johns: that would set you up after the Swiss heat.
I can send any messages I like anywhere, one of my privileges; but I have not sent you any home yet as I did not see any good doing so and you might be alarmed. After most of the business work has passed over the cables for the day and whenever they are not wanted for that , we have conversations with people at all the other places on the different lines that go from here: I have been introduced (all by telegraph to several people at various distances and then we talk away: it is rather amusing for a short time – They work the telegraph quite differently here to what they do at home: they read all the messages by sound, that is to say by the tapping together of two little platinum points, so that they send and receive very quick: it is more like talking to a man for you actually hear what he says.
Of course I cannot manage it at all myself but have to get a clerk (“operator” they call them here) to interpret for me – This is only a ‘transmitting’ station being at the end of the land lines across Newfoundland (which are in conjunction with the Atlantic cables) and also at the end of the cable going west to Sydney and America; but every message that goes to or from England by the Atlantic cables from Hearts Content can be read here as it is ‘transmitted’ for it passes through the instruments here, thereby receiving an access of battery power, a sort of passing kick to help it on, so that you can read every thing that passes: at first I thought that would be amusing, but unluckily all the messages are in cipher, unintelligible to us: even the newspaper news goes in cipher, but we get that telegraphed back from America as soon as it appears in the papers, so that we hear just the bare news (generally a most extraordinary jumble) every day.
My own work goes on pretty well: they are both splendid cables but unfortunately it is about the worst place for testing in the world as there are always ‘earth currents’15 which disturb my tests most horribly: they have not sent me a good selection of instruments considering the circumstances and so my results are not so satisfactory as I should like: however they must be contented with what they can get in London. The last thing Forde said when I saw him off was “Well don’t work too hard” – so I am not afraid of him not being satisfied. Some days the earth currents are so strong that I can do nothing: so then I go off for a holiday.
I have had two days fishing in a river about 5 miles off: it is very different fishing to that in England: the fish are not a bit shy and on a good day you may catch as many as you can carry in a few hours; we caught some dozen sea-trout each day – very good sport. But the flies are awful and make you pay for your fishing; there are 3 sorts, proper mosquitoes, sand flies and midges. The mosquitoes sting you and you swell up and itch horribly for 2 or 3 days after: the sand-flies bite you, but don’t suck the blood leaving it to run down your face so that each time I have come in in the most unbecoming state my face all covered with blotches of blood. I think my mother would go mad: the midges are so insignificant compared to the others that you never notice them.
It is an awfully dull place, this: there is hardly a soul to speak to but the operators, who are not anything very great; all the people in the “town” are connected with the cod-fishing which is now just going on and all over the great shingle beach on which Placentia is built you see the cod, split open, drying before being sent off: the smell is said to be very wholesome: it is certainly unpleasant. The natives seem all Irish with a touch of Yankee in them: all Catholics. I have not yet filled my sketch-book but have begun one or two scrawls to try and give you an idea of the place if possible. I will get some photographs in St John.
I was quite unmistakably fat when I came ashore after my 7 weeks of ship living: I could hardly get my cloths on: but am now getting back a little to my normal condition. I have been uncommonly well all along: not seedy for a day.
One of the ships stopped here till last Thursday, repairing a broken cable so I had a call from some of the people on her from now and then to enliven one and now I have got a man staying here who has been about with us to do “speaking check” on the cables, he is not a particularly bright companion but better than nothing.
What a lot of new people I seem to have got have got acquainted with since I left England.
I shall be here when the next mail gets in but I suppose I shall not hear from you as you will expect me to be away then: the one after (leaving England about Aug 26) you might direct to Post Office Halifax Nova Scotia if you can get this in time to know: after that to the Booths, New York. I have got a letter from Aunt Maria by this mail: I feel so grateful to people who write to me out here: she gives abetter account of Ben16 that you do; what a dreadful illness it must have been: and how on earth is the business to go on? I wonder if there is any hope for Percy there now: I am afraid if they took a new partner it would be someone out of the office who could take up the business at once. I know you will write to Uncle Dick if it would do any good. I shall be glad to hear how they all are at Syrgenstein if you can hit off a mail to one. My mother may be quite easy about my outfit: it has turned out all that was required, the only thing is that as I have been away longer that I expected, some of the things which were very old to start with are in holes now and scarcely wearable, so that I shall have to get some things to travel home in, I think, somewhere. My big boots I did not use on board ship, but they are splendid for fishing.
I am afraid I shall not get back in time to go in for your place of living out of town: I hardly expect to get home before the first week in October, but we must see that bye and bye: anyway I should have had a good deal of country this year.
I look forward to a holiday and trip in the States very much: they say it is a very good time to go there now as it is beginning to get cooler in September: here it is very like England as regards climate, a little hotter perhaps on fine days but the fog comes on very often to make it cold.
And now goodbye – how glad I shall be to see you again
Ever your son Ernest W Enfield.
15 Earth currents are geophysical effects and arise since the potential of the earth is not identical at both sides of the Atlantic. Earth currents change quite slowly so they can be distinguished from the telegraphic signal. However they caused a large offset on the receiving galvanometer. It was later found that if a capacitor were placed between the receiving instrument and ground then all earth current effects were eliminated.
16 Probably Benjamin Dowson, cousin to EWE through Anna Enfield (one of his father’s sisters) and Septimus Dowson.
Placentia N.F.L.D Sunday 24 August
My Dear Mother
For the last time I set to work to write to you from this address, today is the last of my thirty days, hurrah – and tomorrow I am free for a holiday – very glad I shall be of it too, for lately I have hardly been out of the house, trying to get some tolerable tests in spite of the earth currents - I have been rather more successful but am getting heartily sick of such continual aggravating work so shall rejoice to get out of doors for a holiday and forget all about telegraphs for a while; it is more than 3 months since I left England now and the whole time I have been in an atmosphere of telegraphy.
I got your letter from Syrgenstein last night and was uncommonly glad to do so for I almost feared you would not write here again thinking I should have left before this. I am so thankful to hear that my father is alright again: no doubt it was more the heat than anything else that affected him and Syrgenstein will be (or have been, now) the place to set him right – (I find it so hard to realise that all events you speak of in your letters in the future, are long past before I can answer you about them).
It is odd that we have had an unusually cold summer, so they say, it has been a continual succession of splendid days ever since I came, about as hot as a good summer day in England, with generally a pleasant sea-breeze, so that I have longed greatly to go out and lie on the grass instead of sitting in my horrid dark paraffin-scented room, but hurrah that is almost all over now and off I go to Canada.
Your time abroad seems to have been one success, except the heat, I shall be glad to hear more about Syrgenstein in your next – I am quite ashamed never to have written to Aunt Kate from here – but perhaps you will have explained to her how busy I have been? – I am very glad you sent the sheet of your letter you thought of leaving out and am grateful to you for your goodness in writing it: perhaps I may say I agree with you more than I should have done 3 months ago: how should I ever get on without you?
As you might suppose (if you saw the place) my life here has not been very eventful: I am comfortably off as regards lodgings – for I have a large pleasant sitting room and a good bed-room – in fact the swell rooms of the biggest house here – and my landlady is an agreeable sort of party – the feeding is slightly monotonous, being veal, veal, veal, veal with now and then a day of mutton.
Here I was interrupted to go and have a chat with a man in St Pierre, who wanted to telegraph that he had just met a man from John Taylor and Sons17 who asked after me. I wonder who it can be – he had forgotten his name but says he was Welsh, short thick, sandy and going to west of N.F.L.D . I must telegraph to where the unknown is going to land from the steamer tomorrow and see who he is.
The man in St Pierre is the same that was with us on board the ships and stayed with me 10 days here – he left to go home a week ago – and I drove with him 30 miles on the road one evening and back early next morning – most of the country when you get inland is dull – flat with little hills – but every now and then you come to a beautiful place woods and rocks. It seems a fine country for game, lots of deer and ptarmigan; and everything much tamer that at home. My driver got down and chased a lot of ptarmigan with stones for 5 minutes before they got up. On the way back we stopped for half an hour by a pond (there are lots of ponds all about) and caught about 3 dozen trout with one rod and one fly between the two of us – what would they think of such fishing at home?
That is all the fishing I have had lately but tomorrow I am going to drive with some people to a pond and have a day of it – of course I know about everybody here, there are no great people, but they are all very hospitable and kind, though slightly dull for a month.
Today their Parliamentary representative (or rather one of them for this little place has three members) is to address his constituents: I should like to have heard him but shall barely have time. The question of the day is Telegraphs – whether the government can or should exercise a right of presumption on our company (the Anglo American). There has been a great to-do about it both in England and here, and is important for all parties; on its decision depends the maintenance of the monopoly of landing cables in N.F.L.D which our Co. now processes.
I think of stopping here for 2 days more leaving on Wednesday for St Johns. I shall drive slowly stopping to fish now and then and getting there about Friday afternoon – I shall then have to wait till Wednesday for the mail going west to Halifax. From that point my plans are of course uncertain as I have no map or Bradshaw for the States yet, but I hope to get round to New York in about 10 days from Halifax: i.e. about Sept 17 and so home about Sept 27 or 30. I wonder if I shall find you there or when we shall meet again. I had made up my mind some time ago not to go to Wales and indeed I expect I shall have to stop in London when I get back. The servants have sent newspapers all right every mail, and most welcome they are, no other English ones ever reaching this our of the way corner; and one does not know what a newspaper’s worth till you have lived in some such place.
St Johns is quite a town, I believe, so I shall feel back in civilisation there. The Bowrings18 are some of the big people there – I must go and see them when I get to St Johns. I have had no news of the Great Eastern for some time and wondered very much how they are getting on with their job: it is a very difficult troublesome piece of work and a successful completion of it will be a grand thing: how proud Mr Forde will be of himself if they manage it.
I am making up my report to telegraph home (Popes Head Alley) tonight when I have finished my last test and I daresay you will get word from the office of my leaving here. I shall be glad to be rid of the responsibility – for contrary to what they have always done before the contractors have left no electricians here for the 30 day tests, so that all the responsibility of seeing that the cables remain good rests on me – and of course if I sent word that there was a break down (if only an hour before the end of the 30 days) they would have to send out an expedition to repair it at no matter what cost. Luckily so far my two old friends have behaved admirably and in a few hours more I shall cease to be their guardian.
I seem to have no news to send you this time – for really nothing happens here – always the same thing every day – testing till dinner at one and off and on again in the afternoon and writing up my books and in the evening with now and then a talk with the operators or the “working man’s candidate” is about my routine every day. So now I will say goodbye my dear people, there are only one or two mails more to write by now and then we’ll talk.
Ever your E.W.E.
I am very glad the news of Ben is still good.
17 A water and general engineering company
18 Charles Rennie Bowring (1840 – January 31, 1890) was a merchant and politician born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. He was a
junior partner of Bowring Brothers in Liverpool until he moved back to Newfoundland to become manager of the operation there.
7 pope’s Head Alley, Lombard Street EC, 25 August 1873
We have much pleasure in informing you that a telegram has been received this morning from your son at Placentia and that he leaves there for New York on his homeward journey on the 27th inst. All quite well.
Yours faithfully, For Clark Forde and Co
Halifax Nova Scotia, Sunday Sep 7
My Dear Father
Here I am in another country, fairly off on my trip – When I had just finished my work at Placentia I received a telegram from London telling me to go to Heart’s Content to test the new Atlantic cable as owing to some misunderstanding the tests of it had not been properly completed. So I had to put off my holiday for a bit and set off to drive across country, rather over 100 miles – luckily I had tolerably fine weather for all the vehicles are alike, just flat trays on high thin wheels with 2 seats on the top – very light and good for the rough roads but decidedly unfitted for bad weather: the horses of the country are miserable to look at but travel very fast for a long way – all the first day was over a bad road right across wild country to Holyrood at the top of Conception Bay – 55 miles passing perhaps 5 hours on the way – the country was mostly wooded – but sometimes open and boggy – with a great many of little lakes dotted about – the woods are nearly all fir, the trees growing so close together that it is nearly impossible to get through them and quite impossible for the dead ones to fall – altogether not like English woods.
I stopped at night at the house of a telegraph “repairer”: there is one of these men stationed about every 20 miles along the line to keep it right and theirs are the only houses of the nature of an inn on the road – but as I could always telegraph on to announce my approach I always found things comfortable for me especially as I was of course rather a great swell with every one connected with the telegraph.
Most of the next day was along the bay, the country being quite different, rocky & bare, with scattered villages nearly all the way. Finally I got to Hearts Content in the evening that day, Thursday and after some difficulty got the required tests by Sunday evening – so I set off to dive back at 6 thirty on Monday morning 20 miles, and then took passage in a steamer across Conception bay and then on again by carriage to St Johns where I had to wait 2 days for the steamer to come here.
St Johns is the only town and capital of N.F.L.D but it is a nasty dirty sea-port with scarcely a good house in the place – There I made only my first acquaintance with a boarding house – they have no proper hotels – and a queer idea it is, nothing like so comfortable as our hotel plan.
A man came in one day and said he had been introduced to me: I could not think what he meant as I was certain I had never seen him before, but t turned out that the introduction had been performed by telegraph – he was an electrician from the island of St Pierre – and a very pleasant man - so we enjoyed the town together.
Mr Mackay19 too the superintendent and head swell of all the telegraphs about N.F.L.D. was very kind to me and curiously the man who had come out from John Taylor and son had done so to see a mine of Mackay’s – who owns some few and is employing, or rather consulting, Harry as his engineer so I was able to give him some information and am to do some business for him when I get back.
As I only expected to be one day in St Johns and was busy with these other people, I did not call on the Bowrings – not thinking it worth while.
The steamer was late in arriving from England and we did not get off till late on Wednesday night: it was one of the mail boats, Allan Line, and pretty full of passengers – we had a rough voyage and so rather long but we got here all right after 2 and a half days, about 1 yesterday Saturday – and after going through the customs get settled in the big hotel here – It is a much bigger, cleaner and handsomer town that St Johns and stands on the shore of a most splendid harbour – I rather hoped to find a letter from you here, but as I did not, I suppose you did not get my last but one in time to know where to write – so I must wait till I get to New York.
This I think will be my last letter to you from this side of the world as I shall be starting home myself in 10 days, I hope. I leave here at 7.30 tomorrow morning to go through by train night and day to Quebec, where I expect to be sometime on Tuesday; then I think of going up the river by boat to Montreal, thence to Toronto, then to Niagara, where I shall stop a day or two and from there by rail to Albany and down the Hudson by boat to New York. But you know my plans are always liable to alterations and as I know so little about the places and travelling here I mean only to fix as I go along – anyway I mean if possible to be in New York in 10 days and so home in about 3 weeks – how glad I shall be to see you again I cannot say.
I wonder very much where you are – I think you could not have got home as soon as you said you would20 or you would have got my last letter but one in time to answer it here – If I can manage it I will telegraph to you from New York what boat I am leaving by so that you may know when to expect one – today is the first Sunday I have had with no work to do since I left England. It has generally been by far the busiest day of the week – so today I have been able to go to church – but did not hear much worth hearing for a sermon.
How I wish you were with me to go this trip – you would enjoy it immensely I know – I am quite determined that you shall come out the first opportunity. It is all so different to travelling at home – especially the hotels – everybody in the house breakfasts together at 8; dine at one and tea at 6. This seems the plan everywhere here – then at dinner one drinks anything but water – but before and after meals you take a drink at the bar – altogether it is very amusing – and it is delightful to find everyone talking English – at least what they think English as it is rapidly getting American as I get west.
Here everyone says ‘is that so’ just as Emmett did – and it seems very odd to find so many of the townspeople living altogether in the hotel; although you know beforehand that they do all those things here, it strikes you so much more forcibly when you find yourself in the middle of it all.
Now I think I had better stop it seems no good trying to do anything but give you the facts of my journey when I expect to be able to tell you all about it within a few days after you get this. So goodbye for 3 weeks more,
Ever yours E.W.E..
I have been first rate all along
19 Alexander Mackay went to Newfoundland in January 1857 as local superintendent of the New York, Newfoundland and London Telegraph Company, whose operations consisted of a line across the island and a link with Cape Breton.
20 From the Enfield Chronicles covering this period: June 27, we started for abroad - |Heidelberg, Switzerland and Syrgenstein: Sep 4 Got to London: Sep 6 to Manchester; Sep 27 Home.
7 pope’s Head Alley, Head Alley, Lombard Street EC
20th September 1873
On the other side find copy of a telegram just received from your son which I have been requested to do with Messrs. Clark Forde and Co compliments
- Enfield Esq
“Enfield says Clark and Forde
“am leaving per Celtic twentieth
“well – inform family
21 19 September 1873 was actually a Tuesday!
The first expedition this year was to lay the Brazilian Submarine Telegraph Company cable linking Carcavelos, Portugal, to Pernambuco, Brazil, via Madeira and Cape Verde Islands. Telcon were awarded the contract to manufacture and lay the complete system. CS Seine on her maiden voyage as a cable ship laid the section from Carcavelos to Madeira assisted by CS Minia. CS’s Hibernia and Edinburgh laid the section from Madeira to St Vincent, Cape Verde Islands. and CS’s Hibernia and Seine laid the St Vincent-Pernambuco section with CS Investigator laying the shore ends. Ernest was on CS Edinburgh.
His second expedition of 1874 was to lay a second Atlantic cable between Valentia, Ireland, and Heart’s Content, Newfoundland. Made and laid using Great Eastern and Minia by Telcon for the Anglo American Telegraph Company.
From the Enfield Chronicles: 1874 Friday February 13 – Ernest went to Madeira
Sunday Feb 15 even22
My dear Father
I will just send you a line by the pilot to tell you of our start. We got down all right to Sheerness and after some delay reached the ships in a steam tug – we are all three on board the Edinburgh: Hockin23 and I together in the cabin that Forde and I had last year, on of the best in the ship so I may consider myself lucky. Poor Archdale was rather dismayed at the discomforts of the first night on board – especially when he found he had to share with three others. We started at 11 this morning but have stopped again here (Claygate Roads) for the night so as to have daylight to make a good start past the Goodwin’s tomorrow – it has been blowing very hard and everybody expects a bad passage but we shall see: at any rate it will get warmer as we go on – it is uncommonly cold here now. The ship is very full: many of the people being the same as were on the Atlantic last year, so that |I know most of them. They expect to reach Madeira in about 8 days as the ships are both heavily laden and not very fast. I got my entire luggage including the chess (sic = chest) safely down and now the quantity of it won’t much matter.
Percy saw me off at Victoria. The best direction to write to me seems to be to the Tell Station Madeira as I said, so please write in a fortnight or 3 weeks.
Ever yours E.W.E.
My cold is I hope getting on but the weather is against it.
22 referred to in next letter as a 'note from Margate'
23 Assumed to be Charles Hockin, a Cambridge graduate engineer who had joined the company
S S Edinburgh
23 Feb 1874 (Monday)
As our voyage is nearly over and there is no knowing when the mail will be going back I will begin a letter so as to be ready any how – We sighted Porto Santo early this morning and expect to get into Funchal in the middle of the afternoon – I suppose you got my note from Margate, so I will go on from there.
We left early on Monday and were all the next two days going down the channel, weather very windy and sea rough; the second and third days were the worst the ship rolled very heavily and consequently nearly every one was ill, though almost all have been sea-going for years: even Hockin was bad and as for poor Archdale he would not stir out of his bunk for two days and insisted that he was going to die – so that altogether I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was in no way affected and have now some confidence in my sea-going powers.
After we got to the middle of the Bay of Biscay and ever since we have had most beautiful weather, bright sunshine gradually getting warmer, light winds with us so that everybody got comfortable again – though the ship is a brute for rolling, so that on the calmest days she will begin.
It has been a quick passage for a cable ship, averaging over 200 miles a day and we could have come quicker but that the Hibernia is a good deal slower and we have waited to keep her company. Of course there has been very little to do, one day just like another; the people who are out this time are mostly a very rough lot and so not particularly interesting companions: Hockin and I have been testing nearly every day, more for something to do that anything else and he had been teaching me to take sights so that we may fix our positions for ourselves instead of taking the officers.
Just got to Funchal – mail going instantly – all right beautiful place will write by next mail
Ever yours E.W.E.
Funchal Friday (27 Feb)
My Dear Mother
I am afraid you will have thought my last letter a shabby one, but the mail went out a quarter hour after we got in so I had not time to add to what I wrote at sea. The morning after was wet but I went ashore and called on Mrs Hall: she is a very nice looking , pleasant party and was very much obliged to me for bringing the box as to which my troubles are not yet over. They are very strict about the custom-house here and directly we arrived two officials were put on board to stop till we left: so I thought it was better not to try to smuggle the box ashore and by the directions of these officials I took it to the custom house and left it there to be sent for from the hotel, supposing of course that the duty if any would only be a few shillings and that it would be better for the owner to pass it through that for me. But last night I got a message from shore that there were 3 silks in the box and the duty was £17! So I believe they want me to bring it off again, take it round to St Vincent and bring it back to smuggle in amongst my own luggage – but I must go on shore this morning and see about it – it sounds rather a muddle, does not it? I don’t much think that I will ever oblige people again by bringing out boxes for them especially if they put silk dresses in them without telling me: I understood it was one common woollen dress before.
The weather has been a little unsettled since we have been here early in the mornings but when it is fine it is glorious beautiful deep calm blue sky and about as hot as a good summer day in England, though it feels hotter to us coming from sea – It is the queerest most foreign town imaginable – very like that description in that book we had, only from that I thought it was half English whereas it is most entirely foreign. The streets you will remember are all very narrow, steep and paved with little stones, so that walking is most trying work, and people go about in sledges like small four posters drawn by two bullocks or in hammocks (gorgeous) carried on a pole by two men, or riding.
Hockin and I went for a ride on Wed. to see some of the country. As far as the riding goes it is not much good as you are always going up or down roads about as steep as stairs, paved with small stones so that anything but foots pace is impossible, but the country is well worth seeing: from the photographs the interior, amongst the mountains, must be grand.
About here the chief attraction is the plants and trees: it seems so odd to me still to see cactuses of all sorts & sizes growing wild in the hedges and ditches, sugar cane and Indian cows in all the fields and palm trees and all sorts of green things all about. But I can’t describe everything now.
We expect to start again tomorrow weather permitting and hope to reach St Vincent in 8 or 9 days, and after stopping there a few days to get back here in 3 weeks or a month, when I shall be landed to stop for a fortnight or so i.e. till the end of the 30 day tests. (Hockin is taking the first fortnights tests from St Vincent whilst I am getting back here).
The mails seem most irregular both in coming and in going; it is all a delusion about their running twice a week – but one is due from England today so I hope to hear fro you and this ought to leave on Monday if not before. We got here just after the arrival of the bad news from Ashantee24 which you have of course heard days ago: it sounds dreadfully bad especially as it is so late in the season that it would be no good sending reinforcements now. There are several men about the streets here invalided I suppose from Ashantee.
The hotel seems very comfortable indeed, altogether it is a most pleasant contrast to Placencia and I have no doubt I shall enjoy stopping here. I think you had better still direct my letters to the Telegraph Station as I am not sure to get into the hotel – it is so very full – we may meet a mail possibly at St Vincent coming home, if so I will send a letter, but probably I shall not be able to write before we get back here so don’t expect anything for a month – I have got my cooler cloths now and the Panama hat is a great success – the portmanteau has done very well indeed as yet.
I have done no photographing yet – as I did not wish to unpack my things before getting to St Vt – I thought they would keep better.
Now adieu, ever your E.W.E.
24 The Anglo-Ashanti Wars were conflicts between the Ashanti Empire, in the interior of the Gold Coast (now Ghana), and the British Empire. The third war lasted from 1873 to 1874. A treaty to end the war was signed in July 1874.
St Vincent 18 March
My dear Mother
It seems a long time since I wrote last but the mail has been very irregular, however there is one to leave tonight so I take the opportunity to send you this.
We left Madeira on the Saturday after we got in, laying the shore-end that afternoon very successfully and proceeding on our way in splendid weather – all went well and we got to Ferro where we were to change ships, here the trade winds were blowing rather hard and we had to buoy the end of the cable while we went under shelter of the island to change; we waited a day there for better weather and then picked up our buoy but found that the cable had chafed through on a very rocky bottom; however we let down the grapple and were lucky enough to get hold of the string at the first attempt so that we were only delayed half a day – after that the weather was perfect, smooth seas and light winds and beautiful cloudless blue skys, making the work quite a pleasure; this lasted all the way to these islands where we had to buoy and change ships again – But the wind was blowing too hard through the channel to make the splice that day (Tuesday 11th) so we went into harbour and waited. I had to go on shore every day to prepare the instruments for testing, but then tried every day to complete the job unsuccessfully, until yesterday when having finished my wok on shore I joined them again and we laid the final short piece without difficulty – so now our work is all finished and we are happy – Tomorrow we start for Madeira, expecting to get there in 5 or 6 days.
Hockin has determined to remain here a few days to test and I wish him joy of the place. It is about the most unattractive spot I ever saw; not a blade of grass, scarcely a tree, nothing but sand and volcanic rock; the town is very small and the people Portuguese, half-castes and natives, none of them attractive.
It is the windy season (which answers to the wet season in other tropical places, it never rains here) and the sand flies about most unpleasantly, while the sun is quite hot enough.
Altogether I am glad Madeira has fallen to my lot; I was quite uncertain till this morning which would be my stopping place as there is some idea of Halpin undertaking the repairing of the other cable (Lisbon - Madeira) on his way home in which case Hockin would have gone back with him and I should probably have stopped here – But the orders have not yet arrived from England so we shall stick to the original arrangements much to my satisfaction.
I have been too busy as yet to do any photography, and indeed this place does not offer much in the way of subjects, though. I should like to have done a few, but at Madeira no doubt I shall be able.
We have had a very pleasant time and everybody has been very jolly; for myself I have not had a minutes illness of any kind, though some others have had attacks of various kinds – Altogether it is much pleasanter work in a warm climate like this than on the Atlantic where a night watch is rarely anything but misery; here the nights are so glorious that one hardly minds having to be up – the settings in particularly have been splendid.
I got no letter till last Friday when our letters arrived here, forwarded from Madeira and the news I got was great indeed – I got letters both from Percy and Annie25 as well as you, both of course bursting with happiness: I was so surprised and pleased I could barely take it in at first – poor old things, I wish I had been there at the time – I am sure they deserve all for their patience. Now Percy must hurry up and get enough to satisfy the parents: but as he says in his case (at any rate at present) marriage seems a secondary consideration – I am so uncommonly glad about it all: they both wrote me most wonderfully kind letters almost upsetting me – you shall see them when I come home.
I had to take Mrs hall’s dress round with me here after all, as they would have had to pay £17 for landing it including harbour dues etc etc our ship having no cargo to land at Madeira – so I am to take it in amongst my luggage about which there will be no difficulty they say.
So the poor claimant is done for at last. I wonder if he will die in prison. The last of the transports was just leaving here (from Ashantee) when we got here and the Victor Emanuel26 with invalids on board is here now; the officers gave grand accounts of the last fights it must have been awful work.
I expect to be at Madeira 8 weeks and go home in about 6 from now but I will write to you on my arrival there when my destiny will be fixed – till then goodbye write to me while I am there.
Ever yours Ernest W E
I should rather like to know why the engagement was allowed the very day after my departure, was it only a coincidence?
25 The Enfield Chronicles reports ' Feb 17 Percy L engaged to Annie A" – it is assumed L = Lawford and A = Armstrong
26 H. M.S. Victor Emanuel was a 91 gun ship launched in 1855, and served as a hospital ship during the Anglo-Ashanti war to June 1874.
Miles Hotel Madeira Friday March 27th
My Dear Mother
We have got safe back to Madeira again and I am settled down for my stay here. We arrived 2 days ago and found the letters from England had got here just before: there were three from you for which I am very grateful; I am afraid you are a much better correspondent that I am; I always seem to be writing in a hurry and also when I expect to be home so soon it seems no good to tell you everything by letter. Now – a steamer for England has just arrived and is going on in an hour or two, so I will send you a note.
Poor old Nannie, I am so sorry for her: her loss will seem so very great, it will be hard to bear. I hope she will not break down now, they do indeed have nothing but misfortune in their life. I was thinking of them yesterday as I went over the sugar-mills here; it must be just like their works, I suppose, rolling the sugar-cane and then making sugar from the juice squeezed out. I went with the superintendent of the Telegraph Station, not a bad sort of man who is doing the civil to me. I have a companion here, one of the construction co’s men, who is rather above the average of their staff: he assists me in testing, so I am not nearly so solitary as at Placentia and the place is so much pleasanter too that my time here will pass much better. Still I rather envied the people on our ships when they left 2 days ago; they will be home for Easter and I very much wanted to have gone to Southport for Easter, but business is business and I am lucky to be so well off here
It is a very comfortable hotel not very full now as the people are beginning to leave again after the winter. I am living in a house belonging to the hotel, close by, as I am rather more independent that in the hotel itself, where they shut up early on account of the invalids; here I have a latch key which is a convenience as a good deal of testing must be done at night. Since I have been here the weather has been cloudy but the place looks beautiful, they are just beginning to cut the sugar-cane and all day long bullock-sledges are passing loaded with it for the mills. I am becoming a member of the English club and perhaps of a Portuguese one : altogether my time will be pretty well occupied and I am afraid I shan’t have much to spare for photography.
We had a splendid voyage back from St Vincent so that I was quite sorry when it was over; it is certainly pleasant being at sea under those circumstances, a good ship, beautiful weather, calm sea, warm enough to sit about on deck and not too much work to do.
Hockin stopped behind a week at St Vincent and then left for England.
Our cable at present is good, beyond all previous cables and I trust it will remain so.
My time here is up April 16 and I shall leave as soon after as possible so that you may expect to see me about the 25th if I am lucky in catching a steamer.
I successfully smuggled the dresses in amongst my clothes. I heard afterwards that the custom house people knew I should have them but were determined not to see them, it having all been arranged by the hotel keeper Mr Miles. Anyhow Mrs Hall was very grateful and pleased about it; her sister is still very ill, keeps in her room so that I have not seen her yet. They say this place is not so good for invalids as it used to be; growing sugar-cane instead of vines has made the climate much damper; so that for healthy English people it is quite relaxing and uninjurious
I wish you could see the town, it is the greenest place possible, a regular labyrinth of little narrow streets paved with the most abominable little round stones ; all the shops are in arched cellars on the ground floor, over which the houses , white yellow or blue, are built. The inhabitants are nearly entirely Portuguese but many of them know a little English or French so that it is pretty easy to get on. There are some fine views up amongst the mountains to be done and I hope I may find time and a companion to do one or two of them but they are all long jobs: I wonder whether you will see the boat race tomorrow, it is the first I have missed for 10 years I think – I am rather surprised at the Taylors taking another house without being sure they like it – I would have thought their last failure27 would have made them very cautious.
What a lot of news there is in the papers you sent, I have missed several things such as who formed the government, which I shall have to pick up bit by bit as I can from these papers.
Now must stop Ever your E.W.E.
I shall probably land at Liverpool.
27 Dec 3rd 1870 the Enfield Chronicles report "Taylor’s House on Fire"
My Dear Mother
I got two letters from you the day before yesterday so as a homeward bound steamer is expected in a day or two I will proceed to answer them. The mails here are most irregular , they sent no mail on the 20th so your letter of that date came with the one of the 27th and very glad I was to get them – You seem to be having lots going on, visits etc.
I am very glad your dinner party for Mr. Forde was a success he is in his element at dinner I think, and was pleasant no doubt. I am not altogether surprised to hear that they will want one to get to Pernambuco28 as I knew the former arrangements would very likely to be changed ; that job won’t come off much before September I think.
I have been going on here just the same; very busy testing every day so that I have not had much time for anything else, for photography I am sorry to say no time at all. I have been on 3 or 4 rides, one with Mrs Hall and another lady and the others with a Telegraph official – it is most beautiful country everywhere – and one long ride that we went Reberio Frio [Ribeiro Frio, Portugal] was most splendid – we went right over the mountains and nearly to the north coast and then down into a most beautiful deep wooded valley surrounded by precipitous hills 4 or 5000 feet high; I never saw anything like it. I only wish I had more time to see the place but very likely I shall have to wait 3 or 4 days for a steamer after my work is over and then there will be an opportunity for making some good expeditions – We have had most glorious weather every day, the only time I have seen rain since we left England was a very small drizzle the day we first called here, think of that!
There is a good deal going on here in the way of croquet parties, picnics etc and I have been invited to several but my work has prevented my going to some of them – The invalids are certainly lucky to have such a nice place to be sent: Mrs Macdonald is still very bad, her husband arrived again a day or two ago, unexpectedly.
I cannot tell what steamer I shall come home by, as there is a gap between the regular ones just at that time, so I shall very likely come home by some chance one, possibly one of Lamport and Holts29. If I am lucky I shall be with you about the 25th, if not not till a week later.
There have been grand doings here in the Catholic church for Easter, ending up by hanging Judas and a very poor attempt at a carnival, balls, masques, etc.
Sat Another mail arrived from England this morning bringing 2 newspapers (with the account of the boat race) but no letter, so I suppose I shall not hear again before I leave and of course it is no good my writing again, so till we meet, goodbye.
Ever yours E W E.
I will telegraph my arrival in England when I get there so that you may not be taken unawares.
28 A state of Brazil, located in the Northeast region of the country
29 The Lamport & Holt Line was established in the year 1845, when a Partnership was entered into by William James Lamport and George Holt. In 1865 his older brother, Alfred Holt, formed the Blue Funnel Line, which designation was later adopted for all the ships.
From the Enfield Chronicles April 27 1874 “E.W.E. returned from Madeira with ague (malaria)”
From the Enfield Chronicles Aug 5 1874 (Wednesday) E.W.E. left for Weymouth and Newfoundland in Great Eastern
S S Great Eastern, Hearts Content, 25 August
My dear Mother
Here we are again in Newfoundland and I have just got your letter which was very welcome tho’ rather tantalizing – I wonder very much what the news from Everleigh30 is: by the time you get this you will be there I suppose.
We left Portland on the Sunday (9th) all well: there are very much the same people on board that I have been out with before so that I know them nearly all – and we have had a pleasant enough time so far – We had bad weather nearly all the way across, strong head winds, big seas and a good deal of rain & fog but the old ship came through it all grandly. It is wonderful the difference between her and all the other ships: I did not appreciate it before properly, not having been on others then – but now I can. She is slower than ever this year as she is so heavily laden so that we took 14 days getting across arriving about 10 o’clock on Sunday morning – There was not a soul to be seen about to welcome us; the want of enthusiasm about the ‘big ship’ quite disgusted the people who had not been here before - Peake31 and I spent the whole day struggling through the bush getting angles to fix some positions by – it is the very worst walking in the world and we were quite done up with about 3 miles of it .
The shore end was laid this morning and tomorrow we start back so that we expect to reach Valentia tomorrow fortnight if all goes well – Hockin informed me last night that he wishes me to stop there to take the 30 days tests – which was the last thing I expected as there are two senior to me on the staff – of course as he asked me to do it I did not like to, tho’ I don’t at all like these jobs – there is too much responsibility, especially on such a big cable as this. So if you come to Ireland (about which you say nothing in your letter) perhaps you will be so kind as to look me up at the hotel, Knightstown Valentia, any time for a month after we get over – It is about 10 or 12 miles from Waterville where Dick Worsley32 goes to fish – would you like to come and stay there. I have never been on a cable yet without having to take these tests so I shall have done my share of this work. I think I can’t imagine why they give me this job rather than Lambert or Peake - as I have had nothing to do with testing this cable at all, whilst Peake has been doing it during all the time of manufacture, etc. But I suppose it is a compliment, so take it as such.
I wonder what your plans are now – I should hear when we get to Valentia I suppose. I shall hardly get to Everleigh now I am afraid, which I am very sorry for.
We are to have a ball on board tonight – not a very grand affair – for after hunting up all the neighbourhood they can only get eight eligible partners! We have had a piano in tolerable tune all this trip so that we had a good deal of music coming out and altogether it has been more lively than usual. Peake is very fat and flourishing, the sea seems to suit him anyhow – You will probably see our progress in the papers any how in a fortnight you will hear again from
Yours ever Affectionate E W E
Feeling not so good as usual – chief cook tried to commit suicide half way out and is incapacitated.
30 From the Enfield Chronicles "Aug. 22. We went to the Taylors at Eversleigh.
31 Possible William Alan Peake
32 Grandson of John Taylor, whose daughter Anne married Philip Worsley.
Tuesday, Valencia Hotel, Knightstown, Valentia Co Kerry Ireland
My Dear Mother
Here I am at last settled in what is to be my abode for a month. I got your letter here last night and a fine one it is – I was rather surprised about Med, I must say though I never thought Frank was likely to rush into matrimony yet. What very sad news it is from Syrgenstein – it really seems that the only thing to be hoped for is that the old lady may not live till the winter – a cold winter there would certainly kill her and nearly so the other members of the family.
I have very little time this morning as we have to take the final test today, but I thought I must just send you a line – We had a very rough passage across a gale from N lasting 3 days and driving us a little out of our course – but not withstanding we made the fastest across that has yet been made with a cable, 12 days getting over here on Sunday morning – most unluckily whilst they were lifting the end of the shore end (which had been laid out from shore by another ship the Investigator) on board to make the final splice the rope holding it broke and it went down to the bottom.
So then both ships went to Bear Haven (where we were last year) to put some cable from the Great Eastern onto the Investigator after which the former went on her way home and the latter came back, picked up and joined the two ends (yesterday) whilst Archdale33, who is to be with me here, and I landed and drove across here; a long dreary drive it was too. And here I found your letter telling me where you were so that now I can communicate with you – I suppose before now you have got my letter from Hearts Content telling you of my having to stop here for the 30 days – so I need not go through all the particulars of that again – It is a most dreary spot apparently and we have to live 5 to 6 miles off the cable house so we shall have to drive that every day to do our testing.
I have written to Caroline34 just now to send one a Daily News and Photo do. From Miss Hewitt and perhaps if you come across any good small book you will send it to me – as I have finished all my literature not expecting to be away from home long.
I have had easier work a good deal this time as Mr Forde very considerately arranged that I should keep no watches but attend to the charts and navigating department only so that I had not to be up at night nor standing about in the wet.
He did this of course without any suggestion from me – it was very good of him was not it? So I have had no ague or cold at all – and the voyage has been much more comfortable than usual. Now I must shut up – I’ll write again in a day or two as soon as I can.
Ever yours, E.W.E.
33 Possibly Edward Archdale (1850–1916), recorded as a civil engineer who spent many years laying submarine cables.
34 Possibly Caroline Taylor corresponding family generation, daughter of Richard Taylor and Caroline Dyke (another possible).
Valencia, Thursday Evening
My Dear Father
I have just got your second letter, but as the post comes in in the afternoon and goes out in the morning I could not send you an answer today. I am delighted at the idea of having a visit from you here – though I hardly feel justified in urging you to it much – The view where I am staying is very tolerable indeed, clear and plenty of victuals and the place is by no means intolerably ugly – some of the coast being very fine – but the weather is decidedly wet and I am afraid you would not find much to do here – you see I don’t want to get you to come here under false pretences though I shall be only too glad to see you here – If you came the end of next week you could stay a few days and then travel about a bit meeting me again at Killcarny [Kilkarney] (say), which is where I mean to go from here (a mail boat carrying passengers runs between the two places in 5 and a half hours).
I shall probably stop here till the end of the thirty days, counting from last Monday – and shall then take a few days going home via Dublin – Hockin has not left yet so that we are testing practically all day, but when he goes in a day or two I shall be at work about half each day, I expect. We are making arrangements for testing at the station close by here instead of at the cable house – 5 miles off – which will be a great improvement and save me a good deal of time.
I don’t think I can tell you anything else to aid you in settling your plans and shall wait anxiously to hear your decision.
I had an unpleasant thing happen on my arrival here, the man who drove us the last stage, was very sick once or twice coming along and when he got to the end said he could go no further but must stop there the night – and there he did stop that night and died in the house just at the opposite side of the ferry from here – so we have been expecting a summons to the inquest ever since but as yet have heard nothing about it and we shall not now I suppose. It was a curious thing: he looked a great strong man.
The newspapers began coming yesterday – I am very much obliged to you for being so prompt in ordering them – We are now watching the progress of the Faraday35 across with her cable, with great interest. She started yesterday week from the next bay south of our in Newfoundland so that it is a very good test of her power and those of Siemens’ people as compared with those of the Great eastern and the T C and U Co. As yet she has got on very well for though she broke her cable by fouling some wreck she picked it up again the next day in 2570 fathoms – a very remarkable performance, especially for beginners.
I don’t think I can tell you anything about the way to get here as I know scarcely anything except that a car runs between here and Killarney but it would be a pity to come that way if any other was possible if we were likely to go back so. As to bringing things, I really don’t know of anything that I want, I have plenty of warm cloths. Now everyone has gone to bed and I must do ditto – we were testing till half past two this morning.
Ever yours E W E
Letters will be very acceptable if you don’t come.
35 CS Faraday (1) was the first purpose-built cable ship, constructed for Siemens Brothers of London in 1874. She incorporated twin screws and a bow rudder amongst other modifications to improve her suitability for this task. Ernest viewed Faraday off Ireland at the end of her voyage to lay an Atlantic cable on the route Rye Beach, New Hampshire, USA - Tor Bay, Nova Scotia - Ballinskelligs, Ireland
CS Faraday on her maiden voyage in 1874
From the Enfield Chronicles Sept 15th 1874 By Manchester to Hollyhead and Dublin and joined Ernest at Valentia.
The following painting is held in family documents:
Valentia in 1874, painted by Harriet Roscoe (Mrs Enfield)
This expedition was to lay a cable on the route Valparaiso - La Serena - Caldera - Antofagasta - Iquique - Arica (all in Chile) - Lima, Peru. The cable was made and laid by the India Rubber Gutta Percha & Telegraph Works Company of London for the West Coast of America Telegraph Company using CS Dacia.
From the Enfield Chronicles March 6 1875 E.W.E. to Peru
S S Shannon, Saturday 15 May
At last we are getting near the end of the first stage of our journey and I may begin to get ready for telling you of our welfare. We are expecting to reach St Thomas36 tomorrow evening, but when the mail leaves for England and when you will get this I don’t yet know (this writing is abominable but the ship shakes so with the vibration of the screw that I can hardly get on at all).
For the first week we had very bad weather, cold and windy with rough seas and general unpleasantness – the ship too is one of the liveliest going, so that we have had full benefit of the lurching about and were truly glad when we got into fine warm tropical weather at the beginning of this week, since when it has been getting finer and hotter every day and the last 2 or 3 it has been really pleasant sitting on deck under the awning, with a smooth sea and only a light following breeze. But it is awfully dull work a the best of times, absolutely nothing to do but talk and read & smoke, at least Lambert and I have found it so and we shall be real glad to get on shore again.
Mr Gray37 has not been particularly sociable and the passengers are not a very lively lot, though one or two are sufficiently odd to be amusing – one gets through any quantity of eating and sleeping, breakfast at 9.00, lunch at 12.30, dinner at 5 and tea at 7.30 so that like everybody else we are getting fat and brown – and awfully in want of a few good walks.
Generally there is something going on in the way of entertainment on the mail boats but this is a very poor spirited lot of people and except one or two very feeble attempts at singing by moonlight on deck, nothing as been done at all.
I am afraid this kind of thing is not exactly in my line at any rate I can’t find any enjoyment in this endless talk about nothing, still less in the spoonings of the half dozen young ladies on board, which is the sole pleasure most of the people seem to find: so that I shall be uncommonly glad to get to work, indeed I have begun to do some preparatory work already, rather to Lambert’s dismay – He and I get on very well; I am lucky in having him as a companion for so long .
We have not had much talk with Gray about business but from what he has said , I think it not at all unlikely that he will not want us to stop out after the completion of the cable which is now ready and sent out – in which case we should be home again in 5 or 6 months – but all this must remain uncertain for some time.
We have one or two people on board who know Peru and they all describe it as the most delightful country and the climate perfect so that’s all right – I wonder whether we shall be long enough in Lima to get your first letters – how I want them already – you are just writing them now – and I shan’t get them for more than a month. I thought of the Taylor’s dance on the 11th , were you there? and all the usual lot and any number of strangers? Now that I am really away I feel sure that I have done well in going - at any rate for myself and I hope that it will not be for so long that you will feel it too much – how hard it was to part from you this time – I could not tell you then – I should not have been able to get through at all – and of course now I find it heavy work day after day, but I always screw myself up by thinking that it is much better to go through it and that it will make things more bearable when I get back again. After all when we get on shore and to work there will be more to do & think about. I always felt these first days at sea would be rather hard to get through.
But you will be glad to hear that Lambert tells one I look ever so much better and stouter than when we started – so as there seems very little chance of ague again, you will probably see me back as fat as you can wish.
We have got regularly into the tropics now, going through miles of floating sea-weed, with a beautiful calm sea and only now and then a tremendous shower of real tropical rain to remind us that the wet season is beginning here. We have had to leave off all hot things: the ladies all coming out in white, and gents mostly in blue flannel curiously alike and like mine as if every one had outfitted at Silvers.
The bath is the best thing in the day – fine big marble baths full of sea water they have so that my India-rubber one is still not unpacked. Altogether the ship is very comfortably fitted up and the feeding etc is very fair; but this vibration is worse than any ship I have ever been on and in bad weather she rolls and pitches in the most unwarrantable way.
Our party of four38 have the four best cabins opening out of a kind of forward saloon, covered with a large skylight (open now) so that they are tolerably cool and airy.
Owing to their being in a great hurry to get this ship off on this trip she came away rather out of time and also short of coal so that we shall probably stop a day both at St Thomas and Jamaica to re-coal before going on – which we are rather glad of as a break to the sea voyage – I shall keep this open just to put in our safe arrival and then post it on shore.
Remember me to P and A, I often wonder how they are getting on in their cosy little ‘residence’ – I shall expect letters from them at Lima and will write to them next chance. Will you send Mrs Mitttle a line to let her know that I have got here? We are sending word to Gray’s secretary in London to forward to you any news he may receive by Telegraph of our progress as it is too expensive for us to send messages on our own account; they have to go all round by New York: but I don’t expect you will hear much that way.
So for the present, Goodbye ever yours E W E
Sunday even. 6 miles from S Thom. We are first meeting the homebound steamer and send letters by her, so this must go now. Goodbye – send me all the news you can
36 An island in the Caribbean and that together with St. John and Water Island, now forms a part of the United States Virgin Islands, but at this time belonged to Denmark.
37 Matthew Gray – see annex
38 EWE, Frank Lambert, one of Latimer Clark's colleagues who had worked in the cable industry since the early 1850s; Matthew Gray (see annex); and his son John K. Gray (born 1856), identified on the basis of a fragment of a latter letter that records, “Of my companions I cannot say much: Lambert does not improve on acquaintance which is a nuisance as we are obliged to be constantly together, but we get on tolerably well – old Gray is by no means inclined to do the agreeable but that we expected beforehand and were prepared for and as yet he has not made himself in any way disagreeable; his son is a youth of 19 that is all that is to be said of him, neither particularly attractive nor the contrary”.
Bethia Aitken Gray, Matthew Gray's daughter, kept a diary during this period which has numerous mentions of the cable work of her father and older brothers. Her descendant Nicky Hibbin has transcribed the diary, and an entry for 1872 confirms that it was John K. Gray ("Jack") who sailed on the Shannon with his father Matthew: “May 3rd Dear Papa & Jack started in the S.S. Shannon for Panama today.” Also noted in the diary is that Robert Kaye Gray had sailed from England on Dacia on April 14th.
Hotel Maury, Lima Peru, Saturday 12 June
My Dear Mother
I seem always to be writing to you and never getting anything back but I suppose in time I shall hear from you; it is now just upon 6 weeks since I left and as yet have not heard anything of you – the mail is due early next week and then I must get a letter – I sent you a note from here last week by New York just to tell you of our safe arrival but I very much doubt whether it will ever reach you, so may repeat what I said in it.
Our ship the “Shannon” got something wrong with her engines and had to stop at Jamaica so the wretched passengers who were going on were turned over into the “Belize” a miserable little steamer which would have carried about 10 comfortably so as there were 45 of us and the thermometer was about 85º to 90º you could may imagine it was not a particularly pleasant trip but luckily the sea was as smooth as a lake and the misery was over in 3 days when we reached Colon – of all the awful places that I have seen Colon (or Aspinwell) beats everything.
It is only one row of miserable tumble-down houses built on a swamp, by some horrible smelling ponds, all the street and surroundings covered with the accumulated rubbish, dead dogs and filth of 20 years – no wonder it has the worst possible character in every way – The only 2 nice things in it were the humming birds flying about the swamp and a beautiful statue of Columbus, bought by the ex-empress of the French at the Paris exhibition and presented to this beautiful town where it is exhibited in a little wooden paling on the ground between the sea and the swamp and seems chiefly used as a dawdling place for all the dirtiest old natives in Colon – However, we had only to stop there a few hours and then were started off across isthmus by train the line39 goes right through the swamp and we had a fine chance of seeing a regular tropical jungle, as thick as a hedge everywhere, all palms and coconut trees, bananas and all sorts of green trees – the railway itself is nearly flat and there is nothing remarkable about it, except the fearful cost of life in making it.
We got to Panama just as it was going to get dark, consequently in about 10 minutes it was dark and we saw very little of the place – we just had dinner & went on board the S.S. Islay which was waiting to take us on to Callao (we were 2 days late). So we escaped any chance of getting ague on the isthmus and once more got into comfortable quarters, for the ship turned out to be first rate – built on the American plan, with cabins all along the span deck (upper deck) so that it is like having a veranda running all round them and the doors opening outwards into this veranda makes the cabins as cool as possible.
By this time our party of fellow passengers was reduced to about 10, so we had plenty of room – and I got along pretty well, being by this time now about used to sea dullness.
Of course we had fine weather all the way and kept coasting along generally in sight of land but the coast is dreary in the extreme, generally an unbroken line of burnt up low hills, with now and then glimpses of higher mountains behind, nothing but sand and burnt rock all along – about the time we crossed the line it began to get cool again, which seemed odd, but it was so – by the time we got near Callao it was quite cool and we could really sleep under a blanket again – you have no idea what an enjoyment that is after tossing about with nothing but sleeping cloths on – We got to Callao early on Wednesday the 2nd June, 30 and a half days from Southampton and at last we could go on shore for good.
We soon made up our minds to go straight on to Lima; Callao has a fine bay with a large trade and shipping any amount but is itself the queerest looking place imaginable, houses all shapes and colours (mostly bright blue and yellow) and is in fact nothing but a port and as dull as dull can be where everything is odd looking – so we just called on a friend of Lambert’s and then went up by train to Lima
To give you an idea of the way money goes here we followed the usual plan here of getting a man to take our luggage up right from the ship to the hotel at Lima, for this we only had to pay 10 soles = 35 shillings! A sole = 3s-6d here goes for just about a shilling in England, consequently everyone spends about twice what he ought to do & grumbles continually – luckily we are above all such considerations.
So here we are in the Hotel Maury, Lima, and glad we are to be in a room again and able to unpack a bit: the hotel itself is an odd sort of place – we have two rooms opening into one another with an enclosed balcony outside the further one overhanging the street; as neither of the rooms has a proper window they are as dark as pitch and everything (dressing, reading, etc) has to be done in the balcony. All the houses here seem to be built on this plan, at least as to the larger enclosed balconies, but many of them are quite splendid, built round large court yards full of tropical plants.
The city is quite a large place and in itself is well laid out & clean enough but the suburbs are the most awful places for smells and dirt. The natives seem not to have the smallest idea of cleanliness or healthiness – yet everybody says it is a healthy place. The weather is as queer as everything else, clear and pleasant but always over-cast; and at night and in the morning very fine Scotch mist comes down: scarcely enough to wet anything so that you see houses papered outside with ordinary wall paper and all the roofs are flat and the houses built of mud (of course painted and decorated to any extent) – But I have got some photographs which will show you all this.
None of the waiters and people talk a word of anything but Spanish and we have great struggles to get on, but we manage somehow though we shall never be able to talk much while we are here I am afraid – I called on the party Mr DeLegri40 to whom I had a letter, and found him pleasant enough but not able to talk much English apparently: I have not seen him again but we are to go on an expedition to a “hacienda” (country house) some day.
We all had to go and have an interview with the Minister of the Interior, as the government had got some idea that the cable was all a hoax – he was most affable, talked very good English and promised to do everything and anything he could for us – Lambert and I were introduced to him as come out to represent the highest scientific knowledge of England! – he seemed impressed. They ought to give us an order apiece after that. L and I are to interview the President (of the Republic)41 some day soon, just to have a talk with him – We are to have grand doings at the landing of the shore end; the President is to haul it ashore by a string himself with the army and nation in attendance and there are to be dinners given by him to us and by Gray to him and all sorts of festivities – But as yet the the ships don’t arrive and when they will do so we can’t tell, though we expect them every day, and are anxious to get to work.
Lima is all very well for a day or two but it becomes dull in the extreme after a week – every walk takes you in about 20 min into the suburbs where the roads are all ankle deep sand and the smells are really too awful, and except walking there is nothing else to do – riding costs £1 per half day and the theatre is not exciting when all the dialogue is in Spanish.
Tomorrow we are going up the sight of the place, the railway that they are making over the Andes, more than 15,000 feet high: we are going up with the head man of the line in a special train and I expect it will be a very fine sight. Sunday is the great day here of course.
As for our future I cannot say anything for certain yet: we shall get to work as soon as possible and do it as quick as we can – we are pretty sure to leave here before the next mail so how I shall next write remains to be seen. I can’t see how we are to be away for more than 6 months, if so long, if all goes well – I only wish we were at work. I can’t help getting low now and then as long as there is so much time to be killed, nothing to do but dawdle about – but I have got on better than I expected and try to keep going as much as possible – I am very glad that I came, as I said before; at any rate I am much better in health and every way than when I was in England.
Ever yours E W E
39 Construction on the Panama Railroad began in 1850 and the first revenue train ran over the full length (47.6 miles) on January 28, 1855. It runs across the Isthmus of Panama from Colon (Atlantic) to Balboa (Pacific, near Panama City).
40 Probably Marco Aurelio Denegri Valega who was mayor of Lima (1874-1875), or possibly his father Pietro Antonio De Negri.
41 Manuel Pardo, President of Peru (1872–1876).
Hotel Maury – Lima 26 June
My Dear Father
Still at the same address you see, waiting for the ships and very tired I am of it. We expect the “International” tomorrow or the next day, but of the Dacia we have no news42 so that when she will arrive and let us get to work it is impossible to tell. As you may suppose this delay is most annoying, all the time we are here being entirely wasted and (as Lima is as dull as anyplace could be) also very hard to get through.
At last 10 days ago I got letters from you – the French mail on the day after the others – you can’t imagine how glad I was of them, coming so long a time to such a distance – and you are such splendid letter writers you seemed to tell me everything all the little incidents and bits of news are so interesting here.
Ben’s letter is certainly encouraging quite as much so as I expected and with him on the spot to look after matters, nothing will be lost by my absence now, it is lucky it is in his hands. The more I think of it the more it seems a desirable thing to get.
I am making up my mind more and more to let this be my last expedition of this kind and so it is nearly certain that I shall have to take a new line – you seem to have been having a pretty busy time with all your guests and doings but by this time that will all be over and your summer plans coming to a fixture. I am glad to hear Anna Dowson is going with you – she will enjoy it no doubt.
And now to my own doings – I have not much to tell you – for e have not really been doing much only just hanging on here waiting for the ships.
The day after I wrote the last time we went up the Oroya railway which is being made over the Andes to the head waters of the Amazon; we went a party of eight on a private engine belonging to the engineer of the line and saw everything to great advantage and a most wonderful sight it is – The line is not nearly finished yet, but we went up as far as possible to a height of 11,800 feet in a distance of 76 miles; so you can imagine what the grade must be – in many places 1 in 25 – and all the way it goes through the most splendid mountain scenery of the wildest and most ruggedest kind, precipices in some places , thousands of feet high all round so that you bolt out of a tunnel in one across a bridge into a tunnel in the opposite one – altogether as a piece of engineering it is unequalled anywhere = as a speculation of course it will be a failure like every thing else in this bankrupt country.
Oroya Railway Viaduct, from Engineering, 11 May 1872
Image courtesy of
Library and Archives Canada
It is a curious thing that going up to this height here affects almost everybody, mainly so that they bleed at ears and nose and some so that they die in a few hours: I felt nothing sitting still going up, but directly I got out at the top and tried to walk a few steps I was as giddy as possible and so was Lambert – and yet at the same height in Switzerland I never felt anything. Coming down was very fine, the little engine rattling along down the tremendous incline with all steam off and brakes on and except for killing one dog we got to the bottom without any accident. We were so pleased with the line and the bright clear air in the mountains instead of the thick cold fog here that we went up again next day (Lambert and I) & slept at a place about 8000 feet up, coming down the day after with one of the chiefs new to the line on a hand car (i.e. just a tray on four wheels with a hand brake) which is the most perfect way of travelling on such a road where it is steep down hill all the way and you go bursting along 40 miles an hour on this brilliant little open car.
Down here in Lima it is anything but nice weather, never actually raining, but always overcast and generally a Scotch mist forming so that we have only once seen the sun since we came here – and it is so cool I have got on my thickest clothes and wish I had brought some more. Such weather makes it even duller waiting here so long – for there is absolutely nothing to do in the town and the suburbs are quite unbearable owing to the filthy habits of the people living in them.
We know several people by this time and manage to get through the evenings tolerably; twice we have been to the theatre but our knowledge of Spanish only enables us to catch a word here or there – not enough to make it very amusing.
We heard at the end of last week that the International would not be in for 10 days so we all four went up the mountain railway again to a place Chosica about 3000 feet up and stopped there for 3 days, much more pleasant than Lima. We explored one of the old Inca burial places that Hutchinson43 talked so much about in his book (this valley is full of their old towns and remains of their cultivated terraces). We found plenty of skulls and skeletons (some with the flesh still on, ugh!) but nothing at all tempting to bring away.
And now we are back here again waiting on and killing time as well as we can – I have done all my books and am waiting anxiously for the box that I have got on the ships, meanwhile the Pall Malls44 were very welcome and your letters have been read and read.
I have been rather seedy the last week and did not know what was the matter exactly but at last it has taken the form of a bad cold in my head, which does not matter and will soon go; but for the last few days I have not been inclined to do much and am glad to be getting right again. Altogether a change would be agreeable, 2 months of constant living in close quarters with 3 people you don’t care about is rather wearisome and you can hardly imagine how welcome a change will be.
Yours ever E.W.E.
42 They arrived at Callao on June 28 (International) and July 4 (Dacia) – see annex. Callao is the port for Lima which is situated
about six miles in the interior.
43 In October 1870, Thomas Hutchinson was appointed Consul at Callao, producing Two Years in Peru in London in 1873. The two
volume book is a compilation of Hutchinson’s trips and archaeological explorations in the Andean country . This suggests the ruins are pre-Incan.
44 The Enfield Chronicles for the middle of 1875 report: "Percy Lawford married Anne Aikin; J E Grieves married Marrianne Rigby; Louey Aikin married John Thomson.
45 The Pall Mall Gazette was an evening newspaper founded in London on 7 February 1865.
Lima 11 July
This is I hope the last letter I shall have to write with that address on it – for both our ships have come in some days ago and tomorrow we start; so i write this and leave it for the next mail, which will not leave for a few days yet.
It will be a shabby letter I am afraid for we have been very busy the last few days testing the cable (which is all right) and now we have a great deal to do before going on board this evening. Your second letters arrived all right a week ago and of course were very welcome; Polly’s wedding seems to have been a great success – there will be quite a lot of new houses opened by the time I get back by all these couples46: how queer it seems as to the Lilly, it does not matter in the least having missed her for there is nothing that you could have sent me that I am of want of as far as I know: I have just got a fresh stock of books and things by my box in the Dacia.
You seem to be getting along very well; by this time you will be in Scotland47, I wonder when you will go and what the party will be: I expect only Anna Dowson, especially if you have fixed to travel about.
Your enclosures I have got – the introduction may possibly be of use as Caldera is the last place we go to, the end of the cable, so we are pretty sure to come across the Consul.
Heard from Anne too this mail and quite meant to have answered it now but am afraid I shan’t have time – if not tell her I am ever so much obliged for it and will write as soon as I can – they sound splendidly happy.
We have been doing very little since I wrote last: until the ships came in we had nothing to do but hang on here as before – by this time we know a few people and managed to get on a little better, but it is an awfully slow place; one would give anything even for an English kind of sunshine – it is most depressing this perpetual damp foggy cloud always hanging about, sometimes wet, sometimes dry, but never clearing away for more than a few minutes a week.
It is the most curious climate altogether, here are we only 12 degrees south of the equator, wearing the same clothes as in the winter in England and apparently nearly all this difference from the climate of other places about the latitude is caused by a bitter local cloud not 20 miles across and of course by the sea being near.
The wonder is that there is not more ague and so on, and there is some certainly but very little; the place altogether is not unhealthy for the tropics though there is a great deal of smallpox and some fever.
When I wrote last I was very seedy with a cold which I thought at one time was going to turn out something more – but I took a few doses of quinine and am all right again now – and tomorrow we leave after being her already nearly 6 weeks.
The first ship, the International, got here 12 days ago after a voyage of 99 days, having been delayed by breaking her screw and having to stop and change it – the Dacia arrived last Monday after being delayed 10 days by very bad weather in the Straits. So now we are all ready for a start and tomorrow morning we land the shore end at Chorillos and probably the next day begin laying the deep sea cable – How long it will take now to finish the work it is impossible to say – as everything depends on luck in the weather – this coast being so much exposed that a heavy surf is often running making the landings of shore ends impossible – but with moderate luck and if we have no accidents in laying, we might get it done in a month but most likely it will take 6 weeks more – then six weeks more ought to see me home again – so I expect to see you again in 3 months or 4 at the outside.
The coast all the way down is said to be as barren and uninteresting as it can be and the places we stop at are poor, dirty little towns – so there won’t be much to see and the sooner we get to the end the better.
The whole country is in a most wretchedly poverty-stricken almost bankrupt state and how Gray can expect to make a successful speculation of this cable is beyond me – but that is his affair: certainly so much English money would never have been put in Peruvian bonds if people knew more of what is going on here – We have been getting to know all the fellows on the ships – none of whom we knew much before: they seem pretty much the same sort as those I have written before – rough enough – not quite the sort one would choose to be shut up with for 6 weeks and it is lucky it is not for longer.
Gray will probably telegraph home on the completion of the cable to Caldera, and if he does a copy of the telegram will be sent to you, so you may then expect to see me 7 or 8 weeks after that according as we catch the mail. But go on writing to Lima, all our letters will be forwarded to us, and if any arrive after we leave they shall be sent back.
I know I have heaps of things to tell you but I am so hurried now they have all gone out of my head. I wonder if you will hear anything more from Ben before I get back: I don’t expect it but if you do I quite think still of doing all I can to get such a place as that48; at any rate of giving up this sort of thing – I don’t know whether I am at all fitted for any other line, but I can’t stand living so much with such a lot of brutes as one is thrown amongst in this work: their whole way of thinking and talking is perfectly disgusting to me and yet one must be more or less friendly with them – I feel how much I owe to both of you when I see how much of brutes some many men become when left to themselves: just now perhaps all this forces itself more on me, but I am quite resolved to have as little of such compulsory intimacy as possible I the future – but don’t think I am altogether miserable here; I am used to the ways and manage to get along very well, especially when there is work – but send me all the news you can from England it is what I look forward to all along. Now I must stop or I can’t get my work done.
Ever yours E.W.E.
47 The Enfield Chronicles report 'July 28. We two and Anna Dowson (sister of his father) went to Scotland . Walter (not identified) joined us.
48 Benjamin Dowson is recorded as a lawyer resident in Nottingham.
S. S. Dacia at sea between Iquique49 and Caldera, 16 August 1875
My Dear Mother and Father
Another mail day is getting near and we have rather a slack time just now so I will make a start on another letter.
We have finished three out of the four sections and now we are going down to Caldera now southern most port , to get the cable out of the Lily (which is lying there) out of the ship for the last section and then as soon as we have got it on board we shall start off back laying cable to Iquique and I shall be able to set out almost at once for Lima and home. We shall be in Caldera early tomorrow and probably it will take 8 or 10 days to turn over the cable from one ship to the other, during which time Lambert and I mean, if possible, to make a trip to Valparaiso and perhaps San Santiago and back, but we cannot be sure yet whether we shall be able to manage it – laying the cable back will take another week and getting back to Lima a fortnight, say, and from there home a month or 5 weeks, so if all goes well you may see one at the end of October.
So far all the work has gone off quite successfully, but it is done in an awfully dilatory slack kind of manner – there has been altogether a want of arrangements and foresight as well as of a proper head to take charge of affairs so that no end of time has been cut to waste and the whole thing has become almost playing at cable laying and a job that ought to have been easily completed in a month will take over two.
This is itself very annoying and the time is not made more pleasant by the men one has to live with, who are very poor specimens indeed so that I shall be wonderfully glad to get away from them – but the job can’t last much longer thank goodness and then –
At Iquique we lay for about a week – but I only went on shore once to se anything – for there is absolutely nothing to see – it is a most miserable place though more prosperous in a business way that the last one or two we have been.
It is the principal port for export of nitrate of soda and there is a railway running up into the country to the great tract of land where it is found and where the saltpetre works are – I wanted very much to go up and see these works but it s a three days trip and we could not get the time then – perhaps on the way back we may be able to manage it.
There are some 100 or so English there, mostly young simple men and a very poor lot apparently. All down the coast there is an awful amount of hard drinking and Iquique seems about the worst place of all – it is the ruin of almost all who come out here – the only sights of the place are the great herds of mules which bring the nitrate down from the mountain (the railway no being able to bring nearly all).They come down in thousands and the roads which are all sand, of course, consequently have been cut up into the most fearful state, not improved by the filthy habits of the natives. Even when the mules die, as they do all along the track in scores, the people are too lazy to pull the bodies out of the way, so even in the streets of the town you see them lying till they are cleaned by the birds and broken up.
There is not a drop of water in the place except what is condensed artificially and of course not a leaf or a blade of grass within miles, so that every thing has to be imported; can you imagine a more uninviting spot even to visit, let alone live in?
However, we were received with the best welcome they could give us and no doubt the cable will do a little to improve the place and make it a trifle less of a purgatory.
As far as one can see the whole country is going to smash as hard as it can – their finances are in the most critical state to say the least of it – that they could ever recover seems almost an impossibility – as it is all the energy and enterprise of the country comes from the foreigners resident there.
How this cable is ever going to pay for itself I can’t imagine.
I got your letter of the 1st of July at Iquique a week ago and also one from Arthur50 - by the way I was very very glad to see that Charlie Davies had got another scholarship apparently a good one – what a career he is having and seems likely to have – Arthur too nearly got one I saw, he would be very much disappointed I suppose.
I am very sorry to hear that I did miss the mail – I was not sure at the time whether I had or not, but I think you will find this is the only one.
Mr Gray sent a telegram home last week of our progress and no doubt you had a copy sent you and will have been glad of such new news. He will send another when we have finished.
E W E
49 Iquique, Chile
50 Probably the 8th child of Richard and Caroline Taylor.
From the Enfield Chronicles Oct 29 1875: E.W.E. back from Peru
As far as our records are concerned this is the last letter that Ernest William Enfield wrote concerning his short (3 year) life as a cable engineer. Apart from the intrinsic interest from a historical perspective, it is also interesting from the social angle. As a new graduate he entered the Great Eastern full of hope and ambition – he was most fortunate to have been mentored by Henry Charles Forde during his first 2 years, while North America was relatively civilised. The last year was quite different – being left to his own devices with little to do for long periods of time, coupled with poor management as well as the nature of the environment and character of the workforce, led him to quit this profession forever at the end of 1875.
Annex I: Collaborative information is presented in the following book, from which the attached material has been extracted: Pioneer Telegraphy in Chile 1852 – 1876, Robert L. Thompson, Stanford University Press, 1948.
In January 1874 the Chilean Government passed a decree to allow a Cable to be laid along the coast of the Republic and establish an office in either Caldera or Coquimbo. In May 1874 it was reported in the press that the Dacia and the International were fitting out and would soon sail from England, but the ships were help up till March 1875. They arrived at Callao on June 28 (International) and July 4 (Dacia). The cable that put Peru in touch with Europe began at Chorrillos , once under way progress was steady. Two days out Matthew Gray wired from the International that they were averaging five miles an hour. On the 24 July the cable was landed at Mollendo. Later her cargo was transferred to the Dacia that then proceeded to Caldera and the cable was landed on Sept 3 1875.
Annex II: Edward Enfield
|| May 15: Born
||Entered the Mint as an apprentice
||Having fulfilled his apprenticeship he became a member of the Company of Moniers
||The Mint put is state of defence due to the Chartist disturbance
||October 3: Married Nora Taylor
||After the birth of Ernest and the death of his wife he went to live with Mr and Mrs Taylor at Shefffield House, while (a different) Mr and Mrs Taylor came to live at Little Campden House to care for Ernest.
||A Commission was appointed for examining the Mint, as a result of which EE and all the other moniers resigned and he was granted a pension. From then on he gave his time to works of education and philanthropy. He was a member of the council and committee of management of University College, London (president of the senate from 1878), and of the council of University Hall, Gordon Square. From 1867 he acted as treasurer, and was the guiding spirit, of the University College Hospital; most of the sanitary and structural improvements in the hospital were under his supervision.
||April 21: Died