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PHILADELPHIA. At a special meeting of the board of managers of the Philadelphia and Reading Rail-Road Company, held on Saturday, June 1st, 1861, the resignation of Asa Whitney, Esq., president of the road, was accepted, to take effect on the 15th July next. The adoption of Mr. Whitney's resignation of the presidency was followed by his being elected a manager, and CHARLES E. Smith, Esq., one of the present managers, was unanimously elected president of the road, to succeed Mr. Whitney. At the same meeting Mr. Steele resigned his offices of vice-president and manager, to take effect on the 1st of September 1861, and was unanimously elected chief engineer of the company, to take effect from that date.
RAILWAYS IN AUSTRALASIA. There are eight railways radiating from Melbourne in different directions, from three stations. The Suburban, a competing line with part of the Brighton, has been opened to Prahran and East St. Kilda. This railway has another branch to Hawthorne. The following is a list of those now in operation : Melbourne, St. Kilda and Brighton, 8 miles ; Melbourne and Sandridge, 2}; Melbourne and Williamstown, 9; Melbourne and Geelong, 47; Melbourne and Sunbury, 24 ; Melbourne and Essenden, 4}; the Suburban, two branches, 7: total, 102 miles. The Sandhurst will be opened to Woodend, about 22 miles beyond Sunbury, in March or April. The practicability of street tramways is under discussion in the City Council, and locomotives on common roads are actually in use in New South Wales.
TRAFFIC THROUGH FRANCE. The remarkable increase in the flow of traffic through France this year, which was noticed recently, still continues. The last weekly return of the Paris, Lyons and Mediterranean line exhibits the immense increase (on only two additional miles) of £20,085, and since the commencement of the year the augmentation has been no less than £130,000, while on the London and North Western—thanks to the "unrestricted competition " which prevails in England—the advance has barely amounted to £10,000. The increased traffic on the great French arterial line has been mainly derived from merchandise, which figures in the last weekly return for £63,799, while passengers yielded the comparatively small sum of £19,837. From this it would appear that the commercial resources of the south of France are being much more actively developed than hitherto.
RAIL-ROAD BRIDGES. The directors of the New-York Central Rail-Road have commenced the construction of a new bridge over the Tonawanda Creek, at Batavia. The Batavia Times states that the new structure will be a wrought iron trussed girder bridge of one hundred and twenty-four feet span, embracing the double track between two girders. The trusses consist of frames stiffened and strengthened by lattice work, and when viewed in sections as they now lie in a detached and bulky form, impress us favorably as to their capacity of sustaining an immense strain. The total weight of iron used in its manufacture is 205 tons, and the bridge is capable of sustaining a weight of about twelve hundred and fifty tons, a strain five times greater than can be brought to bear upon it by any passing train.
OCEAN TELEGRAPHS. The Geographical Society, popular and very prosperous, (for at each of its fortnightly meetings a score of members are added to the 1,400 already enrolled,) met recently. The main subject discussed was the North Atlantic electric cable. We may offer a few observations on this subject. The discussion arose out of papers read at the preceding meeting by the persons who conducted the survey by land and sea from Scotland to Labrador, and when we say that those persons were Sir LEOPOLD M'CLINTOCK, Captain Allan Young and Dr. Rae, it is the same as saying that it was performed with skill and intrepidity. But the practicability of connecting the Old and New World by an electric cable is a very different matter from a survey. Schemes as feasible, and even a good deal more so, have totally failed; but the reader shall judge for himself when we enumerate a few of them. First, then, the great Atlantic cable has been a great failure, and has cost the subscribers, as far as we understand, £450,000; the pounds and cable are equally at the bottom of the Atlantic. The next attempt was a greater, because a more costly failure. This was the Red Sea and Indian affair. It was to have brought the Nile and the Indus almost within hail of each other, although the distance between them was little short of 1,700 miles. For this adventure the government has given a guarantee of 44 per cent. on a million sterling for half a century, or, in other terms, the nation is for that long time to pay an annuity of £45,000 without receiving the smallest consideration in return. It never conveyed even a single message throughout, so that, as far as the nation is concerned, the million sovereigns might as well have been consigned to the sea that swallowed up Pharaoh, his horses, his chariots and his horsemen. In the able debate which took place in the House of Commons, an honorable member naively and drolly ascribed the failure "to certain occult causes at the bottom of the sea, which could not be provided against.” Our next speculation was meant to connect England with Spain by Falmouth and Gibraltar, and the government bargained in this case for a first-rate cable at the cost of some £400,000, but the Atlantic being deemed too deep for it, it was transferred to Rangoon and Singapore, a distance of 1,200 miles, embracing the best part of the Bay of Bengal and the whole of the Straits of Malacca, among a hundred isles, islets and coral reefs. The ship bearing it was wrecked in Plymouth harbor, when the cable was discovered to be damaged by the corrosion of the iron and the decomposition of the gutta percha. It was not, therefore, deemed good enough for the Indian Ocean, and it is now destined to connect Malta with Alexandria ; all the cables of the Mediterranean, whether English or French, having already failed. If we include the cable which was to have connected Malta with Spezzia, through Sardinia and Corsica, and that which was to have connected Malta with Corfu, both of which have failed, we have spent not less than two millions in experimenting upon oceanic cables. But we are not the only people who have failed in the matter of long cables. The cable that was to have connected Algeria with France will not work, although it embraces but the breadth of the Mediterranean. The Dutch laid down a cable between Batavia and Singapore about six months ago. The distance is 660 miles, and it conveyed, like the great Atlantic cable, a few messages, when it stopped. Ships' anchors and coral reefs were
fatal to it; it has broken a score of times, and has been finally given up as a hopeless project. Such, then, being the result of our experience of oceanic electric cables, what chance of success can there be with a cable that proposes to bring the Old and New World together by the route of Scotland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and Labrador, over seas infested by icebergs, and along ice-bound coasts? We fear none whatever. The distance is little short of that across the South Atlantic. There are sea-gaps of 800 and of 500 miles, and the inhospitable land is rather an hindrance than an advantage. We are, then, decidedly of opinion that a North Atlantic cable is a hopeless project that will not be, and ought not to be, attempted. The government, goaded on by the press and the public, has been already severely bitten, and will assuredly not guarantee a farthing. Without its guarantee there will as assuredly be no subscribers. Until some great discovery is made which no man at present even dreams of, our electric cables must be confined to the narrow seas, and the wafting of “sighs from India to the Pole” must be still an achievement known only in the domain of poetry.-Examiner.
THE RUSSIAN TELEGRAPH FROM CHINA TO EUROPE.
It is an established fact that mercantile houses of long standing in the East are very conservative in their ways, and view with little favor the innovations caused by steam and electricity. Lieutenant Waghorn, the pioneer of the overland route to India, found small acceptance when he visited Canton in 1838, and proposed to British merchants the formation of the line afterwards made by the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company; and had Chinese affairs remained as they were—had there been no opium war, no Hong Kong under British rule—it is more than probable that we should not to this hour have had a line of mail between this and Suez. Bearing this conservatism in mind, it seems problematical whether the proposed line of telegraph between China and Russian Europe is not deemed by leading merchants here a nuisance rather than a good. This telegraph way, according to late advices, is making rapid progress and is already complete over some 600 miles to the eastward of Moscow, viz., to Perm, on the border of Siberia, say to long. 55 deg. E. and lat. 58 deg. N. From Perm the line will cross the Uralian Mountains to Ickaterinberg, and thence to Toumain on the left bank of the Irtysch. From Toumain the line is to run to Omsk, a fortified town the importance of which may be judged by the circumstance of its having a garrison of 4,000 men. From Omsk the line will proceed to and through Tomsk and on to Krasnoyarsk. This place is only 500 miles northwest of Kiakhta, to reach which, however, the wire will pass through Irkutsk, the capital of Eastern Siberia. From Kiakhta, (Mai-matsin, in China,) it is proposed to carry the line over the Yablanovoi Mountains to Cheta, to which place steamers already run from Nicalouski, on the Amoor. The line will not follow the line of the Amoor River, however, but across to Nestchmisk, and then down the Shilka River to Ourstrelka, a point just 6,000 miles from Moscow. How long it will take to construct the whole line we are not in a position to say ; two or three years perhaps. Once constructed, however, the terminus on this side will become a place of note, and prove a leading instrument in the steady march of civilization in the East.— Friend of China.
THE MALTA AND ALEXANDRIA TELEGRAPH. Messrs. Ford and Laws, electric telegraph engineers, returned from the coast of Barbary, in the Mohawk, last week, whither they had proceeded in that vessel for the purpose of selecting a landing-place for the electric cable about to be laid between Malta and Alexandria. The points at which it has now been determined to land the cable are Bengasi and Tripoli. In Malta it will be landed at Marsasirocco, (St. George's Creek,) and arrangements for this purpose are being made. The land line will pass between Casal Asciak and Casal Zeitun by Casal Tarscien and Casal Paola, through Marsa, into the town. The wire will be raised on the newly-invented iron tripod supporters, and not on wooden poles, as in the case of the Corfu and Sicily lines. The cable, on board of three or four ships, may be expected here about the end of the month.-Malta Times.
NEW SUBMARINE TELEGRAPH CABLE. The renewed concession of the French government to the Submarine Telegraph Company having stipulated that a third cable should be laid for more direct communication with Lyons, Bordeaux, Toulon, Genoa and the Mediterranean, the Asia screw steamship took on board 81 miles of cable for that purpose, and with Mr. Henley, the contractor for laying it, proceeded to Dieppe. The shore end having been successfully laid, the Asia returned to Beachy Head, making 584 miles, and the cable was carried ashore without accident at Birling Gap, about a mile to the westward of Beachy Head. This cable constitutes an addition of 60 miles to 806 already laid by this company.
THE AMERICAN TARIFF IN ENGLAND. A feeling akin to consternation pervaded a portion of the iron trade on 'Change at Wolverhampton on the 6th of March, at the intelligence that the new American tariff bill had, in all probability, become law. Should this bill become law, it will prove most disastrous to the iron trade of Great Britain, inasmuch as scarcely any iron of British make can, with such a duty as that proposed, find any sale in the American markets. On bars, the principal description sent out, the increased duty would be more than a guinea a ton; on hoops, chiefly used by the southern States for baling their cotton, £2 6s.; on boiler plates, £1 14s. ; and on all kinds of sheet iron, £1 17s. The increase on hardware will be in the same proportion. On best cast and sheer steel the proposed increase would be 92 per cent. ; second quality, 120; extra, (axe temper,) 81; table blade, 136 ; common hoe and fork, 167; round machinery, 154; best German, 216; second quality, 241; best sheet, (cast,) 54; hoe and shovel, (cast) 142; best quality blister, 103 ; second ditto, 211; gin saw steel, (best) 874, and second quality, 123 per cent.
FRENCH RAILWAYS. A bill has been presented to the legislative body authorizing the construction of 25 railways, of a total length of 823 miles, which are to cost
£14,692,000. Amongst the number is the Paris Girdle Railway on the left bank, to cost £880,000. The expenditure upon French railways up to the end of last year has been, by the State, £32,440,000, and by companies, £152,000,000, making a total of £184,440,000. On the 1st of January of the present year the State had contracted to pay the railway companies £7,870,000, and the companies had undertaken works for railways already conceded to cost £57,320,000; and for lines to be hereafter conceded to cost £12,000,000.
HORSE RAILWAYS IN NEW-YORK. In the official report of the New-York State Engineer and Surveyor, made to the legislature at its last session, are the following statistics respecting city railway companies. The figures are for the year ending September 30, 1860:
SCINDE (INDIA) RAILWAY. By advices from Kurrachee, dated 21st April, several heavy trains have passed over the railway with regularity and safety, some of them containing about 300 passengers. The line has also been used for the conveyance of troops, artillery carriages, military stores, and for Punjaub materials. The Parsees and other traders at Tattah, on the Indus, are forming branch establishments at the Joongshaei station, and the collector of the district is laying out the surrounding ground for building purposes. The Tattah traders also propose constructing, at their own expense, a branch or tramway to connect Joongshaei with Tattah. The company's steamer STANLEY was to leave the terminus at Kotree, on the Indus, for Mooltan, it being her first commercial trip, on 23d of April, taking first and second class passengers, with about 200 tons of cargo, receiving for the upward freight alone about £1,200. Cargo had been already collected at Mooltan for the return trip to Kotree.
ENGLISH ENTERPRISE IN INDIA. The Bombay Gazette, of February 2d, gives a description of a stupendous railway enterprise in progress near that place, called the “Bhore Ghaut Incline,” which, in other words, is an inclined railway on the Ghaut Mountains, believed to be the greatest undertaking of its kind in the world. This incline is an enormous mass of masonry, crowded upon an unhealthy, desolate and almost inaccessible mountain scarp. As showing the capabilities of English enterprise, it is specially noteworthy. On a recent excursion of the principal residents of Bombay to inspect these works, the chairman of the Bombay Committee of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway made a comparison with the celebrated Semring