Punch,  19 (1850), 120.

The Sub-Marine Telegraph. Protection for the Electric Eel

Gymnotus Electricus


Letter, Spoof; Afterword


Telegraphy, Commerce, Natural History, Imperialism, Cruelty

    Speaking on behalf of the 'sub-marine population' who live on the 'exertion of electric power', the gymnotus seeks protection from the Dover-Calais submarine electric telegraph, which is the result of 'the grasping spirit of Commerce perverting to its own purposes the might of unfeeling Science'. Insists that telegraphs will eventually 'annihilate our vocation' and, stressing its inability to produce the same amount of electricity as 'mercantile companies', asks Punch to request Britannia to protect those of her subjects 'on whom the stability of her Empire most essentially depends'. Punch points out that protection is supplied by gutta-percha insulation of the cable and the difficulty of receiving a shock from the invention.

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