"If you'll only just promise you'll none of you laugh
I'll be after explaining the French telegraph!
A machine that's endowed with such wonderful pow'r
It writes, reads and sends news 50 miles in an hour.
Then there's watchwords, a spy-glass, an index on hand
And many things more that none of us understand,
But which, like the nose on your face, will be clear
When we have as usual improved on them here.
Adieu, penny posts! mails and coaches, Adieu!
Your Occupation's gone, 'tis all over wid you.
In your place telegraphs on our houses we'll view
To tell time, conduct lightning, dry shirts and send news."
(from Charles Dibdin's Production, Great News or a Trip to the Antipodes c. 1794)
The Romance of the Putney Heath Telegraph John Skelley