[Daniel H. Craig]
[The Boston Daily Mail, 26 January 1850]
Also see: Daniel Craig's letter, May 1851
The Associated Press: New Policy
for Handling Telegraphed News
In 1852, Alexander Jones wrote:
"The war was a very fierce one; many pamphlets appeared on both sides, including one by Mr. Craig in his defence against Smith's charges."
The publication Jones referred to, "including one by Mr. Craig in his defence," was a 29-page printed pamphlet, which is reproduced whole below. Craig's pamphlet is of great value to communications historians, because it contains many details, hard to find elsewhere, of the early days of the electric telegraph in North America.
Associated Press has to use special trains
This gentleman refused to allow steamers' news from Halifax (news brought to Halifax from Europe on steamships) to go over his telegraph line between Portland and Boston, for the Associated Press, unless they dismissed Mr. Craig, then acting as their Halifax agent. The telegraph route between Halifax and Boston passed through Portland, Maine. At that time there was only one telegraph line between Portland and Boston; F.O.J. Smith owned it and he was able to refuse the use of his line by anyone he chose.
This led to a rupture, by which the press of Boston became divided. The Associated Press retained Mr. Craig, each time a steamship brought news to Halifax from Europe, to charter a special locomotive express – a special train consisting only of one engine, running on the railway with top priority, meaning that all opposing trains (trains running in the opposite direction) had to clear the track by switching to a siding – at an enormous expense with each steamer's news, from Portland to Boston, there being no telegraph between these two points except that owned by Smith.
From Boston it went to New York by the Bain telegraph line. The Association also, by its encouragement, caused a company to extend the Bain line from Boston to Portland, where it connected with the lines extending thence to Halifax, and which were beyond the control of Smith.
The war was a very fierce one; many pamphlets appeared on both sides, including one by Mr. Craig in his defence against Smith's charges. The latter left no stone unturned. Among other efforts to thwart the Association, it is said that he endeavored to get control of one of the links on the Halifax line east of Portland. He also appealed to the Provincial Legislature of New Brunswick, and protested against the management of the Halifax line by its superintendent; but all without avail.
His success in putting the newspaper press by the ears was not only less difficult, but more complete. At one time Smith refused to receive and transmit private messages handed in by merchants and others for Halifax, or to let anything come over his line from Halifax...
Adapted from page 140, Historical Sketch of the Electric Telegraph, by Alexander Jones, published by George E. Putnam, New York, 1852.
• # The Cast
• # Title Page
• # Mar. 16th 1848: Letter from D.H. Craig to the N.S.E.T. Commissioners
• # Dec. 11th 1849: Letter from F.O.J. Smith to L.R. Darrow
• # Dec. 31st 1849: Letter from F.O.J. Smith to Hudson & Raymond
• # Jan. 24th 1850: New York Associated Press, statement To The Public:
That the public may not be misled in this matter, the Associated Press
deem it proper to make the following statement of facts...
(Signed by a formidable array of powerful men)
James Gordon Bennett
Erastus Brooks, and others.
• # Dec. 21st 1849: Telegram from F.O.J. Smith to Hudson & Raymond
• # Jan. 4th 1850: Letter from L.R. Darrow to Hudson & Raymond
• # Jan. 26th 1850: Clipping from the Boston Daily Mail
• # Jan. 29th 1850: Clipping from the Boston Daily Mail
• # Mar. 12th 1850: Telegram from D.H. Craig to James Eddy
• # Mar. 12th 1850: Telegram from James Eddy to D.H. Craig
• # Mar. 12th 1850: Certificate signed by John A. Raymond
• # Dec 6th, 1849: Certificate issued by F.O.J. Smith
• # Dec. 14th, 1849: Letter from D.H. Craig to John T. Smith
• # May 13th, 1848: Excerpts from letter from F.O.J. Smith to H.J. Raymond
• # Dec. 29th, 1849: Letter from Raymond & Hudson
to Superintendents of Telegraph Lines between Halifax and New York
• # Jan. 3rd 1850: Letter from Hudson & Andrews to E.B. Forster
• # Feb. 9th, 1849: Excerpts from L.R. Darrow's contract with Associated Press
• # Feb. 15th, 1849: Excerpts from F.O.J. Smith's letter to New York Associated Press
• # Feb. 18th, 1849: Excerpt from New York Associated Press letter to F.O.J. Smith
• # Epilogue
• # Notes
• # Dec 22nd, 1849: John Smith's advertisement, N.B. Courier
Note: Craig's pamphlet was printed in one colour (black on white).|
To assist the reader in sorting out the numerous letters, telegrams,
and other documents quoted by Craig, I have used colours below
to clearly identify the transitions from one document to another.
ICS (29 August 2001)
To L.R. Darrow, Esq.,
Superintendent New Brunswick Telegraph, St. John:
By the contract which I have with the New York Associated Press,
extending from New York to Portland, and concurred in by the Maine
Telegraph Line to Calais, it is provided, that all despatches for the press,
or any portion of the press, or for private persons, that reach the office
prior to the despatch of the Associated Press, shall be promptly
forwarded, each in its turn, up to the moment of the coming in of the
Associated despatch, and then, and then only, does the Line give
We have never deemed it the legitimate business of the Telegraph
to suspend the working of the line, for any price or person, to enable a
despatch not in, to have precedence, or to gain advantage, whether for
the press or private persons.
When the lines were extended east of Portland, it was understood,
that the same rules and principles of governing the business of the Telegraph,
should be adopted by the terminal as well as intermediate offices.
Without this, there is an end to all legitimate and all harmonious
business between different lines.
I think there is but one rule for your line to adopt, and that is, to send
whose ever and whatever despatch over your line, that first reached it from
the Halifax Line, up to the time when the latter line notifies you of the
reception of the Associated Press despatch.
To Messrs. HUDSON & RAYMOND, New York:
I have waited without any new information from you on the subject
of my last letter. I have now all the evidence I can ask, of Craig's reckless
system of business over the telegraph. Until he totally abandons the use
of carrier pigeons, I shall refuse transmitting any despatches from him,
over either the Portland, or the Boston and New York Line of Telegraph.
It is a decision, of both self-defence and public policy, from which I shall
not recede. If the Associated Press will employ an agent of his — in utter
disregard of the interests and responsibilities of our telegraph lines, they
mustexpect counter measures of defence will be adopted.
They will be by me, at least.
THE EUROPEAN NEWS — TO THE PUBLIC
Mr. F.O.J. Smith, the President of the New York and Boston Telegraph line, and owner of the Boston and Portland line, has caused to be published two letters, written by him, one to the Committee of the New York Associated Press, and the other to the Commissioners of the Nova Scotia Telegraph line. The first demands of the Associated Press, the immediate dismissal of their agent at Halifax, because he owned a few carrier pigeons, or the alternate of having all their Telegraphic messages from that point stopped at Portland, although three different Telegraph lines intervene between his line and Mr. Craig's operations. The letter to the Nova Scotia Commissioners — Government officers — demands the instant discharge of the Chief Operator in their employ; but the penalty, in this case, of a refusal to comply with the demand, is not stated.
That the public may not be misled in this matter, the Associated Press deem it proper to make the following statement of facts, not with a view to parade their arrangements before their readers, but in order that they may understand the power of the magnetic or electric telegraph in the hands of one man, or a set of men, upon the commercial transactions of the country.
About a year ago, the Journal of Commerce, Courier and Enquirer, Herald, Sun, Tribune, and Express, through their Committee, in an interview with Mr. L.R. Darrow, the Superintendent of the Saint John Line, then nearly finished, arranged to run an express, on the arrival of each steamer at Halifax, from that point to Saint John, New Brunswick, the eastern terminus of the Telegraph at that time, on condition of having the privilege of transmitting a despatch of three thousand words to Boston and New York, leaving copies if wanted, at the intermediate towns and cities. The press were granted the exclusive use of the wires from the moment their despatch was offered until it was finished. This was deemed necessary to warrant the vast outlay anticipated, and as a protection to the public. Other parties, however, were not shut out from the use of the wires. If they could anticipate our agent at the telegraph office, their messages were sent through to their destination.
The arrangement thus made with Mr. Darrow extended from New York to Saint John, and to Halifax when the line reached that city, and was based, in regard to price, &c, upon a previous contract of a year's standing with Mr. F.O.J. Smith, for the transmission of the steamers' news from Boston to New York. After the papers were signed, Mr. Smith, for certain reasons, refused to be a party to it, and a separate agreement was, therefore, made with him for the use of the lines under his control. In all these arrangements, however, the names and character of the agents to be employed by the press, were not mentioned. There were two competitors for the agency; and the "superior activity" of the man, and the recommendation of two or three editors in Boston, in the Association, induced us to employ Mr. Craig, the present agent.
The Associated Press, previous to the new enterprise, had employed the express steamer Buena Vista to run from Halifax to Boston; and at the time of effecting the arrangement with Mr. Darrow, five of the associated newspapers had the steamer Newsboy employed in cruising off Sandy Hook, for the European steamers. The news brought by the Buena Vista cost nearly $1,000 each time it was transmitted to New York, and the expenses of the Newsboy were at the rate of over $20,000 per annum, which were cheerfully paid by the Courier and Enquirer, Herald, Journal of Commerce, Sun, and Express, the owners of the steamer at that time. After the overland express from Halifax to Saint John was established, the Newsboy was withdrawn, but the cost of getting the European news increased. An examination of the bills of the last year exhibited the enormous expenditure, in that short space of time of $29,700, most of which went into the pockets of the telegraph companies.
These few facts are merely stated en passant. They have, perhaps, very little to do with the principles at issue with Mr. F.O.J. Smith, who seeks to dictate to the merchants and others what agents in New Orleans, Liverpool, or Halifax, they shall employ to do their business. These facts, however, will serve to illustrate the position in which we are placed.
There was no difficulty with Mr. F.O.J. Smith during the time the Buena Vista brought the news to Boston hours and hours in advance of the English steamer. He interposed no objection then to the transmission of her news over his wires to New York. There was no difficulty with Mr. F.O.J. Smith when the Newsboy brought the foreign news ahead of the steamer to this port. He interposed no objection then to the despatch of the news, by telegraph, to Boston. There was no difficulty with Mr. F.O.J. Smith when our overland express reached Saint John one and two days advance of the arrival of the European steamer at this port. He interposed no objection then to the transmission of the news to New York, although, as he well knows, it was the easiest thing in the world to fly a flock of carrier-pigeons across the Bay of Fundy, hours ahead of the express. It was not until the wires were carried to Halifax, that our agent became so very obnoxious to Mr. F.O.J. Smith. It was then that the press were given to understand that another agent must be employed.
We were informed that our agent would use the facilities of the Associated Press to prey upon the mercantile community, and that the wires would be cut in the rear of each American market to which the pigeon would be dispatched. We were advised to employ another agent, who had been kindly selected for us in Boston. This new agent was indeed sent to Halifax, endorsed in the advertising columns of two Boston newspapers, by Mr. F.O.J. Smith, as possessing superior facilities over his lines; and one of the messages of this agent was actually forced upon us, to the exclusion of our own, by F.O.J. Smith; and it was the arrival of this agent at Halifax, with his "superior facilities," that caused the appearance of the carrier pigeons. The Committee of the Associated Press, to all the charges against our own agent, and to the suggestion to employ another, informed Mr. F.O.J. Smith that the Press could not injure a man's character by discharging him on the mere suspicion of another; but that if the charges against the obnoxious agent could be proved, he would not for another moment remain in our employ. The charges continued to be made; but no proof was furnished.
About the middle of last month Mr. F.O.J. Smith wrote to the Associated Press, that as the evening papers of Boston were not connected with us in the reception of the news, he would consider our arrangements at an end. In reply, a circular was addressed by the Committee, on the 29th ultimo to the superintendents of the several telegraph lines between New York and Halifax, that a new contract was necessary, and that any paper securing its share of the cost of getting the steamers' news, could have a copy of the same. This was sent to Mr. F.O.J. Smith, as the Superintendent of the line reaching from New York to Portland. Before, however, it could reach him, he sent the following telegraphic dispatch to the Committee:
After the reception of our circular, he reiterated his demand for the immediate dismissal of our agent. And yet, not a carrier pigeon has been used; the beautiful and innocent doves remaining billing and cooing in their cote, and have not, to our knowledge or belief, flapped a wing for the Associated Press or any other party, since Mr. Craig has been acting as our agent. Such an answer was wholly unexpected. We could not believe that any man having control of such a powerful element of communication from distant points would presume to dictate to the public the agents to be employed in sending messages over the wires. Although denying the right of Mr. F.O.J. Smith in thus dictating to us, we made inquiries into "Craig's reckless system of business;" and all that we could ascertain, was, that a man named Anderson, once in his employ, was detected in Saint John in the act of cutting the wires. How far Mr. Craig was connected with this Anderson, in this affair, is to be seen in the following letter from Mr. L.R. Darrow, the Superintendent of the Saint John [New Brunswick] and Calais [Maine] telegraph line:
Such is our statement. But, after all, it has very little to do with the principle in dispute between Mr. F.O.J. Smith (the owner of the line from Portland to Boston, the President of the line from Boston to New York, and the reputed owner of one-forth of Morse's patent) and the Associated Press of Boston and New York. That is a matter of some importance to the community, who are daily sending important and confidential messages over the wires, with the expectation of their safely reaching their destination. It is, therefore, fortunate that the outrageous demand of Mr. F.O.J. Smith is made at this early day, and before the telegraphic system becomes a monopoly. It will be the means of opening the eyes of the commercial community, from one end of the Union to the other. It may prevent such a powerful element of communication from falling into the hands of grasping, corrupt and tyrannical men; and, if so, we shall be happy to have been the cause of thus saving the public.
Meanwhile, however, the merchants, and, indeed, the whole community, should be on their guard. Our efforts to obtain the news will continue. We have expended upwards of $50,000 in the last two years to give the earliest and the latest intelligence from Europe, and we shall not hesitate to expend an equal amount in the nest two years for the same purpose. But between us and the news there are three hundred and fifty miles of telegraph wire, over which the press are not permitted to send a message, unless we consent to employ the agents selected for us by the manager of that line. The commercial community are, therefore, for the present, at the mercy of the speculators.
We now leave this matter. Those who are acquainted with the newspaper press of this city, or country, cannot fail to see that the separate and distinct interests embraced in our Association are quite sufficient for the protection of the public.
Gerard Hallock, Journal of Commerce
Greeley & McElrath, Tribune
Geo H. Andrews, Courier & Enquirer
Beach Brothers, New York Sun
J. & E. Brooks, New York Express
James Gordon Bennett, New York Herald
New York, January 24, 1850
The name "Beach & Brothers" in the above image is an 1850 typesetting error.
This should read "Beach Brothers", referring to the brothers Alfred Ely Beach and
Moses Sperry Beach, who were co-publishers of the New York Sun newspaper.
Mr. Francis Ormand Jonathan Smith, (we like to give a man the full
benefit of his good name) the Manager of the Old Telegraph Monopoly,
having got through with his first lesson in sprouts, feels as bad as a
whipped schoolboy. He has caused to be published two letters, in
which he attempts to justify himself for refusing to permit the despatch
for the Associated Press of New York and Boston to come over the
Portland line of telegraph — thus subjecting the Associated Press to
the trouble and expense of running a (special train) Express with the
Steamer's news from Portland to Boston. His first justification is, that
he will not permit despatches to be sent over his line by any one who
employs carrier pigeons! Wonderful Mr. Smith! Has not any man as
good a right to send news by carrier pigeons as you have to sent it by
lightning? — Most certainly; and a better right too; for there is no
monopoly in pigeons; — any man may purchase pigeons and train
them, whereas you claim a monopoly of lightning, by reason of letters
patent to Professor Morse. You might as well declare that no man
shall use your lightning who runs an engine or draws a handcart.
Your objection to Mr. Craig, the Agent of the Associated Press, is not
that he has used carrier pigeons. That is merely a pretext. He has
upset some of your schemes of monopoly; he knows your tricks
"like a book;" you know that he is able and faithful to his trust; and
you are determined to get him off the track, by fair means or foul.
By a perverted use of a private letter, you attempted to injure him with
his employers; and failing in that your declare that no message from
him or to him shall go over your wires! Imperious Mr. Smith!
A great time we shall have when Mr. Smith succeeds in a
monopoly of lightning, and in compelling every one to submit to
his dictation in regard to the Agent employed to transmit news.
Mr. Craig is acknowledged on all hands to be the most competent
man to make up a synopsis of the foreign news ever employed in
that department; and he is to be turned adrift because he once
used carrier pigeons, and declared in a private letter that he would
sell the news thus obtained to any one who would pay him the
highest price — just as he would a "string of onions." And where,
we ask, is the wrong in this? Has not Mr. Craig, when obtaining
news by means of his own pigeons, as good a right to go into the
market with his wares as Mr. Smith has to demand pay for his
lightning? Mr. Craig did not set himself up as a common carrier;
he ran his "pigeon expresses" on his own hook, and had as good
a right so to do as any man would have to run a Steamer to
England for the purpose of expressing the news. It is a perfectly
legal and legitimate business; and Mr. Smith, who sets himself up
as a common carrier of news, under rules of his own making, has
no more right to exclude the despatches of Mr. Craig than he has
to exclude those of a man who follows the example of Gov. Briggs,
and so far sets fashion at defiance as to appear in the streets
minus a dickey.
We repeat, the appeal and complaint of Mr. Smith is mere
pretext for covering his designs in regard to the foreign news
east of Boston. — Between Boston and New York there is now
a very healthy competition, and Mr. Smith can no longer play his
antics upon the business community here. But he controls the
wires from Boston to Portland, and he is now attempting to
control them all the way to Halifax, and to place creatures of
his own in the news department at the latter place, in order to
have a monopoly of the trade, and an opportunity to speculate
on the news by means of cyphers in advance of the regular
despatch. Those who recollect the exposures we made of the
dishonorable practices of the Telegraph Monopoly of Mr. Smith,
in its incipient business as a "common carrier of news," will smile
at the "high and honorable ground" attributed to him by the
Evening Transcript. We are aware that the Transcript feels
rather sore about these days, — but we did not suppose it was
so far diseased as to attribute anything "high and honorable"
to F.O.J. Smith. It has sung a very different tune in regard to
that redoubtable personage; and it may have occasion to do
so again before a year expires.
The fact is, Mr. Smith, instead of exposing any delinquency
on the part of Mr. Craig, only exposes his own desire to have all
the appliances connected with the Telegraph in his own hands.
He wishes to get rid of the "outsiders," and have everything in
his own hands; and a beautiful monopoly it will be, when a
personage so notoriously tricky as Mr. Smith can control the
telegraph wires, and have the benefit of all the commercial news
which arrives at Halifax at least thirty-six hours in advance of the
regular merchants of Boston and New York!
"One of these lines, to which you refer, receives your messages, not because it elects to do so; but because its charter compels it to receive such messages, regardless of their origin, their character, or their consequences."In reference to the New Brunswick Line, Smith continues:
"It is so far from acting under any sense of independent judgment, in suffering the Craig agency to monopolize the wires of that line, it acts from an almost discreditable surveillance to an agency which it fears more than it respects or has reason to confide in."In answer to the slander upon the New Brunswick line, contained in the above extract, happily you are too well aware of the materials of which the Superintendency of that Line is composed, to believe that anything human or divine could inspire any such humiliating feelings as Smith describes.
To James Eddy, Esq.,
Superintendent Maine Telegraph, Bangor
If you were untrammelled by your charter, would
you refuse to allow the Associated Press the advantages
they now possess in the use of your line?
To: D.H. Craig, Esq.
Under the circumstances, allow me to decline
answering your interrogatory.
This is to certify, that I officiated as Operator in the
transmission of the foreign news despatches to the
Associated Press during nearly all the time the news
was received by Mr. D.H. Craig's express at Saint John
and Sackville, and I have no hesitation in saying that,
to the best of my knowledge and belief the despatch
was never delayed one moment from any inattention
on his part, — so far from it, he always evenced the
utmost desire to have it go through the instant the
Express arrived. From my recollection of the Express,
I should say that the news was in the Telegraph office
in a majority of cases so that it reached Boston between
twelve o'clock at night and twelve o'clock in the day.
I should say, also, that the news was much more
frequently detained between Bangor and Boston
than it was between Saint John and Bangor.
"To All Persons Interested — The establishment of a reliable
commercial agency at Halifax, N.S., to act conjointly with the
Telegraph as the joint conduits of private and newspaper corres-
pondence between merchants on opposite sides of the Atlantic, is
indispensable to the safety of merchants, and most needed for the
reputation of the Telegraph."
To: John T. Smith, Esq.:
DEAR SIR,— Certain of your friends in Boston, as I have reason
to know, are not only exerting themselves to benefit you, but they are
doing so under the apprehension, apparently, that it is absolutely
necessary that I should be sacrificed, and fairly hooted from the field
to make room for you. And, to effect their purposes, they have
resorted, among other expedients, to a system of the most outrageous,
mean, and contemptible falsehoods — falsehoods so base that a
common highwayman or the midnight assassin would blush to be the
author of, — to parties here, who are presumes to occupy positions
that enable them to exert a controlling influence to my disadvantage.
I am very reluctant to believe that these things are being done at the
instigation of yourself, but the degree of intimacy that is known to exist
between you and the base scoundrels of whom I complain, forces upon
me very unpleasant suspicions, of which I would gladly be relieved.
Fair, legitimate opposition I expect from you, and am perfectly
willing to encounter. Indeed, I should feel little disposed to find fault
if you wished to carry opposition a trifle beyond this point, — but I
submit, if it is not a little too bad, that you should seek to bolster up
your position and credit for fidelity and faithfulness, by certificates
from parties who are so notorious in every species of rascality, as is
at least one of the persons who seems willing to evince his friendly
feelings towards you, by publishing to the world that he is not less a
big ass, than he is known to be, a big Roman, unmitigated scoundrel.
Now, sir, you and your friends may say, do, or attempt to do
whatever you or they please; but there is one fixed fact that will
always remain, and that is, that you will find me here — and neither
F.O.J. Smith, any portion of the public press, yourself for friends,
nor the devil himself, shall ever drive me from any position that I may
see fit to assume. I am now here as the agent of the New York
associated Press, — a position which I have labored with my whole
heart to fill in an acceptable manner, and in the faithful discharge of
which, since last February, is found the only real cause that certain
telegraph gentry now have for their contemptible flings at me. Whilst
the committee of the New York Press see fit to confide their business
to me, I shall not willingly nor knowingly disappoint their reasonable
expectations, — among the very first of which, is strict fidelity and
superior activity. Of the first of these requisites, I am sole master, and
am sure that I never have been or shall be deficient of the second.
I have only to say, that I will cheerfully resign the field to you when
you prove your ability to serve them with more general success
than I have done, or may hereafter do.
I observe, that you and your friends are laboring to make much
capital out of the fact, that I was formerly engaged in expressing the
news into Boston for speculative purposes, and also, out of the further
fact, that I have now placed my carriers over the telegraph office in
this city. My good fellow, you and your willing tools, are wasting your
powder upon this subject, and, to show you the insincerity of at least
two of your friends, who are making fools of themselves by trying to
frighten grown-up children by the terrible sound of carrier pigeon
expresses, it may be well to say to you, that one of them only
declined to join me in this "defrauding the public" operation, a year
or two ago, "because" as he said to me, "of my (his) position," but
wished me "entire success in your (my) legitimate and spirited
enterprise." Your other friend, who now affects such a holy horror of
all speculations, (except, I suppose, when, as formerly, he has a
chance to swindle a few hard-earned dollars from some poor,
ignorant, John Bull skipper,) was a direct applicant, on two different
occasions, for the use of the foreign news, for speculative purposes,
when I was in a position, at Boston, to gratify his wishes.
That I have my pigeons here is very true. I have never sought,
nor desired any secrecy about the matter, nor do I wish to disguise
the fact, that I intend to make my birds available, for procuring
foreign news from every steamer that passes within one hundred
miles of the coast of Nova Scotia. But this is a personal and private
enterprise, and in the results of which, the press and the public will
fully and fairly participate, if they choose to pay me a quid pro quo;
if not, I shall assume it as a right to sell my news, as I would a string
of onions, i.e., to the highest bidder. Neither do I wish to disguise
the fact, that I intend to make my pigeons a means, whereby I may
successfully compete with you, and finally drive you into retirement
from the transatlantic general telegraphic business — a business
that I consider you to have unfairly entered upon — and I tell you,
candidly, that I intend, and further, I will not fail, to beat you in
placing the despatch for the press first in the telegraph office; and
by the same process, I will also place on file, in the office, copies of
all the commercial despatches that may be confided to my agents
in England, for transmission to the United States, so that they will be
first in order, after the despatch for the press shall have gone forward.
Now, if you wish to renew your exertions, by letters and otherwise,
to and with the officers of the steamers, in order to defeat, if possible,
my intentions, I have not the least disposition to find fault. You shall
be quite welcome to throw all the stumbling blocks of that kind in my
way that you please, and I shall regard them now, as formerly, only as
being thrown in to create for me a little pleasurable excitement, in
planning and executive the dull details of my operations.
Neither do I care a straw what amount of "exclusiveness" you
secure, on paper or otherwise, from F.O.J. Smith, or other
superintendents; but if my communications, placed on file here in
advance of yours, do not also go into the hands of the parties to
whom they may be addressed; in advance of yours, I now give you
and all your friends, in or out of telegraph offices, distinct assurance
that no communications shall pass over the telegraph to Boston, after
the news to the Associated Press shall have gone forward, until after
the arrival there of the steamers; nor shall any despatches of mine,
placed first in the office at Boston, be set aside, or passed over with
impunity to make room for yours. I ask no monopoly, except what I
can legitimately command by my own hands and my own activity,
and I never again will submit to any. If you and F.O.J. Smith do not
comprehend the full force of these words, you may both of you live
long enough to get examples that will divest your minds of all doubt.
In conclusion, I beg to assure you that I entertain not the least
unkind feelings towards you personally, and shall really be glad to
have you return here. We shall all die without your presence.
To: F.O.J. Smith,
... "The Journal of Commerce, Express, Courier and Enquirer,
Herald, Sun, and Tribune of this city, have agreed to procure foreign
news by telegraph from Boston in common, and have appointed a
committee to make arrangements with you for its transmission.
"Acting in behalf of that Committee of the Association, I beg to
propose that you give us, from the moment our despatch shall be
received at the telegraph office in Boston, the use of all the wires
that may be in working order, for the uninterrupted transmission
of all the news we may wish to receive.
"Upon what terms will you secure to us, for one year from the
present date, the use of the telegraph as specified above?" ...
To: H.J. Raymond,
... "I will contract the service of the Telegraph in respect
to foreign news on this line, to the proprietors of the papers
you name, for one year from this date, on the following terms.
"To give their despatch, on each arrival of a foreign steamer,
priority on any one wire which may be in order for work through
to New York, and on all other wires that shall be worked through
to New York, from the time the Despatch shall be delivered at the
Boston office, until its transmission shall have been completed.
"You shall have the exclusive right to admit and to dismiss
other parties to, and from the benefits of the arrangement, on
giving the President of the Association, for the time being, written
notice of the admission and discontinuance of each, as it shall occur.
"If you give other parties, private individuals, reporters, or
presses, the use of news before put into public circulation in
good faith, payment shall be made, as for a copy of the excess
over 3000 words, be the same more or less, by each party so
furnished, at the usual newspaper rates of transmission.
"I will accord to you the desired authority to prevent any
part of the news from leaving the office at New York until you
choose to send it out." ...
To the Superintendents of the Telegraph Lines between
Halifax and New York,
GENTLEMEN, — Acting as a Committee of the New York
Associated Press in connection with the morning papers of
Boston and the Press of Philadelphia, Baltimore, and other
Southern and Western cities, we are desirous of making
arrangements for the receipt of foreign news from the steamers
touching at Halifax, that may prove satisfactory to the public
and to the parties directly concerned. We beg leave, therefore,
to submit to you the following propositions: —
1. We will agree to have a despatch of at least 3000 words
for each steamer delivered at the Halifax station, for transmission
to us — and to pay for its transmission the following sums. For the
line from Halifax to Sackville (New Brunswick), $75; from Sackville
to Calais (Maine), $125; from Calais to Portland (Maine), $125;
from Portland to Boston, $50; from Boston to New York, $100, —
making in all $475. Provided the despatch shall be forwarded
without interruption from the time of its receipt, by day or night,
until its transmission is completed.
2. If no despatch is delivered at the Halifax station by our
agent, the stipulated sum shall be paid nevertheless, — except
when the telegraph shall not be in working order, at any point
between Halifax and Boston. And in that case, he shall have
the option to send the desptach over part of the line or not; and
the tranmission of the despatch shall not be paid for on any line
over which it is not sent.
3. If only part of the despatch is sent over any line in
consequence of the inability of the line to send the whole,
payments shall be made pro rata for the part sent, and
for no more.
4. Any excess over 3000 words in the despatch,
shall be paid for at the same rate.
5. The quotations of cotton, corn, flour, consols, and
American stocks, shall be published by the papers interested
in the arrangement, immediately on their receipt, — if it be at
any time in the day before 3 o'clock P.M.
6. The time of the delivery of the Despatch at the Halifax
station, shall be announced to the papers at once.
7. Any failure to transmit the news within a reasonable
time after its reception, shall constitute ground for a reduction
of the sum to be paid, — the amount of such reduction to be at
the rate of ten per cent for every hour of such unreasonable delay.
8. Payments shall be made by drafts on the Committee at
three days sight.
9. Any newspaper shall be admitted to this arrangement,
on paying, or securing payment of its proper proportion of the
expenses involved, and on agreeing to abide by such regulations
as the Association may find it necessary to make for the protection
of the parties to the arrangement.
You will oblige by stating, before the 15th day of January, 1850,
whether you are willing, on behalf of the lines under your charge, to
assent to this arrangement. If we do not receive your assent before
that date, our agent at Halifax has instructions to send very brief
summaries of the foreign news, on the usual terms of your private
To: E.B. Forster, Esq.
Committee of the Boston Associated Press
We duly received your Letter of the 31st ult. [Dec. 31st, 1849],
and delayed an answer, in order to ascertain as fully as possible,
the wants of the Boston Press. We think we now understand them.
We have no desire to exclude any Paper from whatever
arrangements we have made, or may make, to receive their foreign
news over the wires from Halifax, and in our Letters to the
Superintendents of the several Telegraph Lines between New York
and Halifax, we have stated that any paper paying its share of the
expenses, such as tolls, boats, horses, &c., can join the Association,
and if the Evening Papers of your city wish to partake of the
advantages we are supposed to enjoy, they can do so.
All we desire of them is to conform to our Rules and Regulations,
which are very few and very fair.
It is our intention to announce on our Bulletin, the arrival of the
Steamers at Halifax, the moment it is known to us, and to announce
as publicly, the prices of Cotton, Corn, Flour, Consols, American
Stocks, &c.; to publish in our afternoon editions, the commercial
news and the leading political points of the intelligence, and to
publish the remainder of the news, if there happens to be any,
in our Morning Editions.
These are all the Rules and Regulations we have respecting
the foreign news, and we think they are fair and just.
The cost of getting the foreign news from Halifax, is, as you
are aware, very great. It is a regular outlay, to be borne by the
New York Papers, if no others join them in the enterprise. We
feel sure, however, that the Boston Journals will continue to be a
party to the arrangements. They now pay us $100 per Steamer,
and we propose to adhere to that price — they taking as many
Papers in Boston as they please into the Association. We believe
that the Evening Papers will see that this is fair to them, and much
better than any arrangement they can make. It is however, for
them to decide — we make the offer.
To show you that we have no wish to exclude Papers, we will
here mention, that within the last two weeks we have added two
New York City Journals to our Association, and our arrangement
with the Press of Philadelphia is, that the news shall be offered
to all alike.
With the hope that this will be satisfactory to you and
To: E.B. Forster, Esq.
Committee of the Boston Associated Press
"That it is fully understood and agreed, by and
between the parties hereto, that the foreign despatch
for the Public Press, furnished by the said Raymond
and Hudson, or other agents of the Papers above
named, presented at the office of the telegraph at
Saint John shall have priority over all other
despatches, (except that of the Government) from
the time it is delivered at said office, until the whole
message shall have been transmitted to Boston.
"The said Raymond and Hudson, or their agents,
shall have permission to exclude from the telegraph
offices, all persons not necessarily engaged in the
transmission of the messages, during the time their
despatch is being transmitted. But it is expressly
understood that the news so transmitted, shall be
placed before the public by such newspapers as
shall have arranged to receive such despatch, as
soon as is practicable, and that such news shall
not be made known, sold, or in any way used by
them, so as to be made the basis of speculation
by private individuals or otherwise, to the public
injury, while the news is withheld by them from
"This I am ready to do, — to consider your existing contract
for the press between Boston and New York, elongated to Portland,
in terms and duration, varied only so as to allow Boston papers to
come in by paying their share of expenses, and adding fifty dollars
for the first three thousand words to the price of the contract, the
distance being from Boston to Portland, very precisely one-half as
much as the distance over our line, as now constructed, from
Boston to New York — reserving the right to a copy, or synopsis
of the news at Portland station. For all over three thousand words,
there shall be added a pro rata price of one-half of charges on such
excess, between Boston and New York. These are the terms
I authorized Mr. Darrow to make, and carry through the entire lines,
— and these I am confident will prove most satisfactory in practice
to all parties concerned."
To: F.O.J. Smith
DEAR SIR, — I received your Letter of the 15h inst., and
have consulted with Mr. Hudson in regard to its contents,
— we acting on behalf of the Associated Press of New York.
We understand you to offer to transmit, from Portland to
New York, without interruption, from the time of its receipt
at the telegraph office in Portland, until it shall be finished,
whatever summary of the foreign news may be prepared for
us, — for the sum of $150 for 3000 words or less; — the
Boston Papers to have the use of the Despatch on paying to
us their share of the expenses of procuring it, and we receive
nothing for the use of the news at Portland. The same
regulations which have hitherto prevailed between Boston
and New York, under our Contract with you, are to be
adopted between Portland and New York.
"So in Boston; the only papers that now yield to this
dictation of terms by the New York Associated Press, are
morning papers, exclusively, and publish no evening edition."
— See F.O.J. Smith's Pamphlet, Page 9.
"Two of the morning papers, which send terms to us,
publish evening editions at the same time we do."
— See F.O.J. Smith's Pamphlet, Page 26.
To: the Honourable J. Howe, G.R. Young & W. Murdoch:
GENTLEMEN: — Your note is received, and in reply to your enquiry
would say, the Boston Associated Press have, by consent of New York
Associated Press, exactly the same right to control the news in Boston,
that the New York Press have in New York. And both Associations are
pledged to give all the material points of the news to the whole public,
immediately on their receipt of their copy from the telegraph office.
And this they do, invariably, when the news reaches them in business
hours. The evening papers of Boston have been invited to join the
Boston Association, repeatedly, with the privilege of publishing,
exclusively, the entire despatch, when received previous to the close
of business hours, (which is the hour that they go to press), and all this
for the paltry sum of $40, which is not one fourteenth part of the ordinary
expense of every despatch to the Associated Press.
"By turning to that letter again, you will see, that it proves so much, the wonder is, you had not deemed the truth of it questionable, on the face of it.
"It asserts, that the Boston evening papers have been offered, not only the privilege of participating in the news of the New York Associated Press, provided they would pay "a ratable proportion of the cost," — but, provided, they would pay a sum "which is not one fourteenth part of the average expense of every despatch."
"It is not true, what Mr. Craig says in his letter to you of the 14th ult., that the Associated Press in Boston have "the same right to control the news in Boston, that the New York Press have in New York."
"It is not true, that the Boston Press have a right to publish the news, at any hour of the day or evening, without the consent of the New York Press; and, it is true, that the New York Press can publish it any hour of the day or evening, without the consent of the Boston Press.
Note by ICS:|
Several lines are missing here,
(page 28 of the original).
"We are dependant, almost wholly, on your decision; and if you determine to adopt the rules you speak of, we shall be obliged to bow to your decision, and to do so, we are satisfied, will be death to this line. There is no alternative that we can see. And for myself, I beg my friend, that you will take into consideration, that I have expended a very large sum from my own purse on this line, and if the measures you object to in your letter, are not sustained, I shall lose the whole sum, together with my services for two years, as the stock will not be worth one penny, under the circumstances you seem disposed to place it in." —
(See Smith's Pamphlet, page 21)
"Of one thing, sir, we feel certain. That whether you cut us off at Portland as you propose, or we accede to your demands, as a company we are equally ruined. Our stocks would not be worth one fraction either way, and we shall have the satisfaction of knowing that the dicta of a single individual has done this for us."The above facts, it is believed, apply with far greater force to the Maine Line than to the New Brunswick Line, and though I am well aware that the Nova Scotia Line, being the property of the Government, can afford to discard all considerations of profit, yet, who will say that because your Line is placed above the want to dividends, that you should not have some respect for the necessities of those Lines with which yours is connected, and which are less favored by fortune that yours is? Certain it is, that if there had not been a confident reliance upon the patronage of the Press, by those who invested their money, the Lines between Nova Scotia and Boston would not have been built, and of course your Line, even if it had been constructed, would have been, practically, of no avail.
I have the honor to remain,
Your obedient servant,
Agent New York and Boston Associated Press
The people mentioned in Craig's letter
to the Nova Scotia Electric Telegraph Commissioners:
• George H. Andrews, New York
New York Courier & Enquirer newspaper
Management Committee, New York Associated Press
Member of the New York State Senate
• Alexander Bain (1811-1877)
Telegraph Equipment inventor
• Beach Brothers, New York Sun, newspaper
In 1848, Moses Sperry Beach and Alfred Ely Beach
took over the New York Sun from their father, Moses Y. Beach
• Alfred Ely Beach (1826-1896), New York
Owner, Scientific American
In 1870 built the first New York subway line
• Moses Yale Beach (1800-1868), New York
Owner, New York Sun newspaper
• James Gordon Bennett (1795-1872) New York
Owner, New York Herald newspaper
• George Nixon Briggs (1796-1861)
U.S. Congress 1831-1843
Governor of Massachusetts 1844-1851
• Erastus Brooks, New York
Editor of the Wiscasset, Maine, Yankee newspaper
Editor of the New York Express newspaper
Member of the New York State Senate, 1854-57
• James Brooks, New York (brother of Erastus Brooks)
Editor of the Portland, Maine, Advertiser newspaper
New York Express newspaper
• Daniel H. Craig, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Agent, New York and Boston Associated Presses
• L.R. Darrow, Saint John, New Brunswick
Superintendent, New Brunswick Electric Telegraph Company
• E.S. Dyer, Halifax
• James Eddy, Bangor, Maine
Superintendent, Maine Telegraph
• E.B. Forster, Boston
Management Committee, Boston Associated Press
• Frederick Newton Gisborne (1824-1892) Halifax, Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia Electric Telegraph Superintendent, 1849-51
• Horace Greeley (1811-1872) New York
Half-owner of the New York Tribune newspaper
• Gerard Hallock, New York
Co-owner, and for 33 years editor, the New York Journal of Commerce newspaper
First President of the New York Associated Press
• Royal Earl House (1814-1895)
Telegraph Equipment inventor
1846: For his teletype printer, House developed the first inked ribbon
• Joseph Howe (1804-1873) Halifax
Commissioner, Nova Scotia Electric Telegraph
Premier of Nova Scotia, 1860-1863
• Frederic Hudson, New York
Assistant to James Gordon Bennett
Managing Editor, New York Herald newspaper
Management Committee, New York Associated Press
Author, History of Journalism in the United States
• Alexander Jones, New York
First General Manager, New York Associated Press
Author, Historical Sketch of the Electric Telegraph, April 1852
• Thomas McElrath, New York
Half-owner of the New York Tribune newspaper
• Samuel Finley Breese Morse,
Co-founder (1827) of the New York Journal of Commerce newspaper
Telegraph Equipment inventor
• William Murdoch (1800-1866) Nova Scotia
Commissioner, Nova Scotia Electric Telegraph Company
• Henry Jarvis Raymond (1820-1869), New York
Managing Editor, New York Courier & Enquirer newspaper
Management Committee, New York Associated Press
Co-founder and the first editor of the New York Times (first issue 18 Sep. 1851)
• John A. Raymond, Sackville, New Brunswick
Telegraph Operator, Sackville Office of the New Brunswick Electric Telegraph
• Colonel Charles O. Rogers ( ? -1869) Boston
Proprietor of the Boston Journal newspaper
• Francis Ormand Jonathan Smith (1806-1876) Portland and Boston
Member of the Maine house of representatives, 1831
Member of the Maine State senate in 1833 and served as its president
Elected to the 23rd, 24th, and 25th Congresses (1833-39)
Chairman, Committee on Commerce (25th Congress)
President, New York and Boston Telegraph Company
Owner, Boston and Portland Telegraph Company
• John T. Smith, Boston
Hudson & Smith, Commercial Agents, Boston
• James Watson Webb (1802-1884) New York
owner/editor, New York Courier and Enquirer, 1829-61
U.S. ambassador to Brazil (appointed by A. Lincoln), 1861-69
(J.W.Webb is the man who, famously, assulted J.G. Bennett on a New York street on 19 Jan. 1837.)
• George Renny Young (1802-1853) Pictou, Nova Scotia
Commissioner, Nova Scotia Electric Telegraph Company
MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) for Pictou County, 1843-51
Member of the Executive Council (Nova Scotia cabinet), 1848-51
Twenty Years and Nine Days
18 July 1846 - 27 July 1866
Horace Greeley, Erastus Brooks, and Fred Hudson were pallbearers
at the funeral of James Gordon Bennett in New York, in June 1872. Bennett,
Brooks, Greeley, and Hudson, and most of those named in Craig's 1850 letter to
the Nova Scotia Electric Telegraph Commissioners, were at the center of this
communications revolution — which was for them, given the world they grew
up in, much more wrenching and challenging than any that has occurred since.
They were there, in the thick of the New York newspaper turmoil, and
at the center of a rapidly-developing communications technology, during the
most far-reaching and shattering communications revolution the world has
This astonishing era began on 18 July 1846, when the first electric
telegraph line between New York and Boston was completed and carried
the first messages ever to travel between these cities at a speed faster
than a horse could gallop.
Before this date, the fastest possible methods of transmtting news
(and any information) took at least thirteen days, nearly two weeks, to bring
news from London to New York.
The era ended on 27 July 1866, when the transatlantic telegraph cable
was completed between Ireland and Newfoundland, forever closing the last
gap in the new telecommunications system working at the speed of electricity
all the way between London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Prague, and Moscow,
and New York, Boston, Montreal, Philadelphia, Washington, New Orleans,
and San Francisco.
Nova Scotia was a crucial piece of the geographic jigsaw. All plans,
made with a view to build telegraph lines to carry news and important
government and commercial messages between Europe and North America,
had to include Nova Scotia. This electric telegraph, for 28 years (1866 to
1894, when a cable was laid direct to New York, bypassing Nova Scotia)
the only telecommunications link between Europe and North America,
was carried across Nova Scotia by a single iron wire suspended at the top
of a line of wooden poles – through Amherst, New Glasgow and Antigonish
(east of Antigonish the original 1855 telegraph line went through
Port Hastings and Ingonish to Aspy Bay, while a later branch went
to Hazel Hill and Canso).
ICS, 13 July 1999, rev. 17 April 2011
NotesNote 1: In 1848, Dr. Alexander Jones, a graduate in medicine whose early interest in communications had lured him into journalism, became the first general manager of the newly-formed New York Associated Press. Jones opened a simple office at the top of a long, dim flight of stairs at the northwest corner of Broadway and Liberty Street, in New York. This served as the headquarters of The Associated Press for more than two decades. At first the entire New York staff consisted of Jones and one assistant. Jones gave The Associated Press all his energy and ability, but was seriously overworked and submitted his resignation on May 19, 1851. Jones' replacement as general manager was Daniel H. Craig.
This source is surprisingly and disappointingly brief. As just one example of this unfortunate brevity, it mentions the names of only three of the New York publishers or their newspapers who were involved in the formation of the NYAP in 1848, a remarkable oversight. However, I can find nothing better now (November 2006) online.
When practical telegraphic communication was solved by Henry, Morse, and others, further advances in various directions were made. Efforts to increase the rapidity in sending messages soon grew into practical success, and in 1848 Bain's Chemical Telegraph was brought out. (U. S. Patents No. 5,957, Dec 5, 1848, and No. 6,328, April 17, 1849.) This employed perforated strips of paper to effect automatic transmission by contact made through the perforations in place of the key, while a chemically prepared paper at the opposite end of the line was discolored by the electrical impulses to form the record. This was the pioneer of the automatic system which by later improvements is able to send over a thousand words a minute...
Source: The Progress of Invention in the 19th Century by Edward W. Byrn, Munn and Co., Publishers, Scientific American Office, New York, 1900
Found on the Internet at http://www.islandnet.com/~ianc/dm/20/204.html
In 1842, Alexander Bain proposed a facsimile telegraph. Historians normally associate Bain's ideas with the modern day facsimile (fax) machine. However, it is his concept of scanning an image — breaking it up into small parts for transmission — that is at the heart of today's television transmission.
Source: SMPTE: Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, Toronto Section
Found on the Internet at http://www.smpte.org/sections/yyz/pastmeet/cifs.htm
The undersigned have leased the office on the lower floor of Somerset
House, corner of Granville and Prince Street, Halifax (same building with
Magnetic Telegraph) for a MAGNETIC TELEGRAPHIC COMMERCIAL EXPRESS.
We respectfully offer our services to the Commercial community.
Our connections are already made in England, France, United States and
British Provinces. Reference given to the best Commercial Houses in Liverpool,
London, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, Savannah, Mobile,
and New Orleans, for the prompt and faithful execution of all business entrusted to
H. & S. have arranged with the Hon. Francis O.J. Smith, President of the
New York, Boston and Portland Telegraph Line, that all communications addressed
through Hudson & Smith to meet the Steamers at Halifax, shall have the preference.
Refer in Halifax to Hon. Joseph Howe, Wm. Young, Esq, Hon. Geo. R. Young,
William Murdock, Esq. [Menta?] B. Wier & Co., and to all the Officers of the
Royal Mail Steamers.
Hudson & Smith, Merchants Exchange, Boston, Mass.
Halifax, Dec 8, 1849
New Brunswick Courier, Saint John
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