National Geographic : 1902 Nov
GEOGRAPHIC NOTES U. S. SIGNAL CORPS T HE phenomenal progress of the U. S. Signal Corps in binding to gether and unifying the distant posses sions of the United States, the Philip pine Islands and Alaska, is strikingly emphasized by figures given in the re port of Gen. A. W. Greely, U. S. A., for the last fiscal year. During the year the telegraph system in the Phil ippines was increased by 2,600 miles. There are now 6,434 miles of telegraph and cable lines in the islands. Of this aggregate 1,326 miles are submarine cable lines and 6,434 land lines. Every mile of these lines has been laid by the Signal Corps in four years. Perhaps even more remarkable than the splendid work in the Philippines are the achieve ments of the corps in Alaska, where in two seasons 1,12.1 miles of land lines and submarine cables have been laid. This work not only included the sur veying and the construction of the line, but also meant the transportation of hundreds of tons of material, instru ments, etc., over distances varying from 4,000 to 7,000 miles. "The toil and hardship experienced cannot be fairly appreciated by any one unfamiliar with Alaskan trails. Suffice it to say that every pound of forage, tentage, etc., wire, insulators, or line material has to be moved by pack animals over a trail so rough that an animal can hardly travel fifteen miles a day." A message from Fort St. Michael, opposite Nome, can now be wired to Skagwa) by an all-American line, and from Skagway forwarded by the Canadian line be tween Dawson and Ashcroft to the United States. During the year the Signal Corps turned over to the Cuban Government 3,500 miles of wire and equipment, which General Greely's men had put in during the American occupation. Of this work General Greely says : "It is unquestioned that on occupy ing Cuba the American army found a few dilapidated telegraph lines, oper ated by antiquated methods, with tariff rates increasing in proportion to the length of the message, without free de livery, and with grave uncertainties as to espionage, secrecy, and delivery. This system, bad as it was, served only the western half of the island. In leav ing Cuba there was turned over to the government a system of 3,500 miles, extending from San y Martinez, in the west, to Cape May, in the extreme east, with every seaport or town of importance electrically connected. The present in struments are of the best modern types, the transmission speedy and reliable, and the tariff rates exceedingly low, while the certainty of delivery and in violability of messages are beyond ques tion." DAVID CHARLES BELL. DR DAVID CHARLES BELL, one of the first members of the National Geographic Society, died at his home in Washington, October 28, 1902, in his eighty-sixth year. Dr Bell was a noted educator and Shake spearean scholar. Among his writings are : A "Reader's Shakespeare," in three volumes ; " The Theory of Elocu tion"; " Modern Reader and Speaker," and "The Standard Elocutionist." His " Speaker" for nearly fifty years has been a standard work in the colleges and universities of England and Amer ica. Twenty editions of the volume have been published. Mr Bell was born in St. Andrews, Scotland, in 1817. After some years of study at the Uni versity of Edinburgh, he became pro fessor of English literature at Dublin University. In 1875 he came to Amer ica, first settling in Canada, and later, in 1883, moving to Washington, D. C.