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INLAND NAVIGATION [amebica citizens of Great Britain, and also from citizens of the lines, and sheds. The outer part of the breakwater is United States, made overtures to the United States for formed of large concrete blocks weighing 2500 to 3000 tons each, in order better to resist the heavy seas on this exposed aid in constructing a canal, but they resulted in nothing. coast; the upper courses are blocks of 50 tons each. By In 1830 a concession was granted to a Dutch corporation an ingenious arrangement the largest blocks, which are under the special patronage of the King of the Nether241 feet thick and 26 feet in height, are made hollow in lands to construct a canal through Nicaragua, but the revolution and the separation of Belgium from Holland iron caissons ^ when set hard, they are floated out and sunk soon followed, and the scheme fell through. Since that in their position in the breakwater, the central portion of date numerous concessions have been granted to citizens the block being then filled by concrete lowered down by the United States, France, and Belgium, both for the means of cranes and skips. The harbour formed by the of Nicaragua and the Panama lines, but with the exception breakwater will be about 270 acres in area. From it an entrance channel extends to the sea lock, which is 840 feet of the concession of 1878 for Panama and that of 1887 Nicaragua, no work of construction has been done long between the caissons that here take the place of for under any of them. ordinary gates; the lock is 79 feet wide at the bottom, Knowledge of the topography of the isthmus was exand several vessels of moderate size can be locked through tremely vague until the great increase of travel due to the at the same time. The caissons, which run on wheels into discovery of gold in California in 1849 rendered improved recesses in the lock walls, weigh 479 tons each, and they communications a necessity. A railroad at Panama and have the advantage of being able to maintain the level of a canal at Nicaragua were both projected. Instrumental the water in the canal either above or below the tide out- surveys for the former in 1849, and for the latter in 1850, side ; to effect this with ordinary lock gates, double pairs were made by American engineers, and, with some small of gates would have been required. The docks which are exceptions, were the first really accurate surveys, made up being constructed at Bruges are provided with railway lines, to that time, though numerous exploring expeditions had sheds, and cranes, and have communications with the been undertaken, some under Government auspices and Ostend and other canals. The commercial success of the others under private enterprise, some furnishing valuable canal has yet to be proved. It will have to contend with information and others simply adding to the confusion neighbouring ports, but it is expected that this enterprise, already existing. But they resulted in geographical knowwhich is being carried out at the joint cost of the State ledge sufficient to eliminate from consideration all but the and local bodies, will restore the past prosperity of Bruges. following routes:—!. Nicaragua; 2. Panama; 3. San Proposed Paumben Canal—This scheme, referred to in Bias; 4. Caledonia Bay; 5. Darien; 6. Atrato River, of the 9th edition of this work, has not been proceeded with. which last there were four variants, the Tuyra, the (e. l. w.) Truando, the Napipi, and the Bojaya. In 1866, in Ship Canals in America. response to an inquiry from Congress, Admiral Charles Isthmian Canal Schemes.—he crossed the Atlantic, H. Davis, U.S. Navy, reported that “there does not exist in the libraries of the world the means of determining the object Columbus had in view was to find a western even approximately the most practicable route for a ship passage from Europe to Cathay. It was with the greatest canal across the American isthmus.” To clear up the reluctance, and only after a generation of unremitting toil subject the United States Government sent out, between that the explorers who succeeded him became convinced that 1870 and 1875, a series of expeditions under officers of the American continent was continuous, and formed a barrier the Navy, by whom all of the above routes were examined. of enormous extent to the passage of vessels. The question The result was to show that the only lines by which a of cutting a canal through this barrier at some suitable point tunnel could be avoided were the Panama and the Nicarwas immediately raised. In 1550 the Portuguese navi- agua lines; and in 1876 a United States Commission gator Antonio Galvao published a book to demonstrate reported, after careful consideration of all the data that a canal could be cut at Tehuantepec, Nicaragua, collected, that the Nicaragua route possessed greater Panama, or Darien, and in 1551 the Spanish historian advantages and offered fewer difficulties than any other. Gomara submitted a memorial to Philip II. urging in Whether they would have so reported if they had possessed forcible language that the work be undertaken without the information now available may be doubted, but delay. But the project was opposed by the Spanish all that day the Nicaragua line has been the favourite Government, who had now concluded that a monopoly of from in American public opinion. At Panama the isthmus , is communication with their possessions in the new world narrower than at any other point except San Bias, its was of more importance than a passage by sea to Cathay. width in a straight line being only 35 miles, and the height It even discouraged the improvement of the communicathe continental divide is only 300 feet, which is higher tions by land. To seek or make known any better route of than the Nicaragua summit, but less than half the height than the one from Porto Bello to Panama was forbidden on any other route. At Nicaragua the distance is greater, under penalty of death. Geographical research was being about 156 miles in a straight line, but more than stifled. For more than two centuries no serious steps one-third is covered by Lake Nicaragua, a sheet of fresh were taken towards the construction of the canal, if excep- water with an area of about 3000 square miles and a tion be made of the disastrous attempt at colonization at maximum depth of over 200 feet, the surface being about Caledonia Bay by the Scots under Paterson in 1698. In 1771 the Spanish Government, having changed its policy, 105 feet above sea-level. Lake Nicaragua is connected ordered a survey for a canal at Tehuantepec, and finding with the Atlantic by a navigable river, the San Juan, and is separated from the Pacific by the continental divide, that line impracticable, ordered surveys in 1779 at Nicar- which is about 160 feet above sea-level. For a consideragua but political disturbances in Europe soon prevented able portion of its length the San Juan forms, the boundary further action. In 1808 the isthmus was examined by between Nicaragua and Costa Rica. At Nicaragua on y Alexander von Humboldt, who pointed out the lines which a canal with locks can be considered. At Panama a seahe considered worthy of study. After the .Central level canal is a physical if not a financial possibility. American Republics acquired their independence in 1823 By the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850 with Great there was a decided increase of interest in the canal Britain, by the Treaty of 1846 with New Granada (Colquestion. In 1825 the Republic of the Centre, m con- ombia), Article XXXV., and by the Treaty of 1867 with sequence of receiving applications for concessions from 546

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