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America]

CANALS

AND

INLAND

NAVIGATION

547 Nicaragua, Article XV., the United States has guaranteed were devoted to surveys and examinations and preliminary that the canal shall be neutral, and, furthermore, that it work upon the canal. The plan adopted was for a seashall be used and enjoyed upon equal terms by the citizens evel canal having a depth of 29^ feet and bottom width of both countries in each case. Nicaragua guaranteed by of 72 feet, involving excavation estimated at 157,000,000 her Treaty of 1859 with France that the citizens of both cubic yards. The cost was estimated by Lesseps in 1880 countries should use the canal upon equal terms, and at 658,000,000 francs, and the time required at eight France guaranteed its neutrality. Nicaragua guaranteed years. The terminus on the Atlantic side was fixed by by her Treaty of 1858 with Belgium and of 1850 with the anchorage at Colon, and that on the Pacific side by Spain, that the citizens of those countries should enjoy the anchorage at Panama. Leaving Colon (see Map) the same advantages as are granted to the most favoured the canal passes through low ground by a direct line for a nations. Costa Rica granted by her Treaty of 1850 with distance of 6 miles to Gatun, where it intersects the Spain free transit upon the same terms as for her own valley of the Chagres river; passes up that valley for a citizens. All of these treaties are still in force. Colombia distance of 21 miles to Obispo, where it leaves the has not made special treaties with nations other than the Chagres and ascends the valley of a tributary, the CumachoUnited States, but in addition to the Treaty of 1846 just cuts through the watershed at Culebra, and thence descends mentioned, she is committed in the law of concession to by the valley of the Rio Grande to Panama Bay. Its the principle that the canal shall be neutral. A modifica- total length from deep water in the Atlantic to deep tion of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty being necessary to water in the Pacific is about 47 miles. It is laid out in enable the United States to build the canal, a Treaty such a way as to give easy curvature everywhere; the making such modifications, but preserving the principle of sharpest curve, of which there is but one, has a radius of neutrality, known as the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty, was 6200 feet, four others have a radius of 8200 feet, and all negotiated with Great Britain in 1900; it was amended others have a radius of 9800 feet or more. To secure this by the United States Senate, and the amendments not it was necessary to select a point for crossing the watershed proving acceptable to Great Britain, the Treaty lapsed in where the height was somewhat greater than that of the March 1901; but a new Treaty was negotiated in the lowest pass. The maximum height on Culebra Cut is autumn, and accepted in December by the U.S. Senate. about 328 feet above sea-level. The harbours at Colon Many elaborate investigations of the probable traffic and Panama are not first-class, but are sufficiently good and resulting revenue of a canal have been made. The for the terminus of a canal where the stay of vessels is most recent and most trustworthy are those of the new short. The line is essentially the same as that followed Panama Canal Company and those of the Isthmian Canal by the Panama railroad, the concession for which granted Commission. The Commission’s estimates are slightly in a monopoly of that route; the Wyse Concession, therefore, excess of those of the Company, but being of later date, was applicable only upon condition that the canal company rather confirm than controvert the accuracy of both. The could come to an amicable agreement with the railroad Commission found that the amount of shipping which company. would have used the canal if open in the year 1898-99 The principal difficulties to be encountered in carrying was 5,736,456 tons net register, and that the probable out this plan consist in the enormous dimensions of the amount for 1909 would be about 7,000,000 tons. cut to be made at Culebra, and in the control of the Chagres The completion of the Suez Canal in 1869, and its sub- river, the valley of which is occupied by the canal for so sequent success as a commercial enterprise, drew attention large a pa,rt of its length. This stream is of torrential more forcibly than ever to the American isthmus. The character, its discharge varying from a minimum of about citizens of France, who had gained money and fame in 350 cubic feet to a maximum of over 100,000 cubic feet per that enterprise, were especially eager to embark in a new second. It rose at Gamboa 1st December 1890, 18f feet one of similar character. In the year 1876 an association in twelve hours, its volume increasing from 15,600 cubic entitled “ Societe Civile Internationale du Canal Inter- feet to 57,800 cubic feet per second at the same time; oceanique ” was organized in Paris to make surveys and and similar violent changes are not uncommon. To admit explorations for a ship canal. An expedition under the a stream of this character to the canal would be an direction of Lieutenant L. N. B. Wyse, an officer of the intolerable nuisance to navigation unless space could be French Navy, was sent to the isthmus to examine the provided for its waters to spread out. For a canal with Panama line. In May 1878 Lieutenant Wyse, in the locks the remedy is simple, but for a sea-level canal the name of the association, obtained a concession from the problem is much more difficult, and no satisfactory solution Colombian Government, commonly known as the Wyse of the question was ever reached under the Lesseps plan. Concession. This is the concession under which work Work under this plan continued until the latter part of upon the Panama Canal has been prosecuted. Its first 1887, the management being characterized by a degree of holders did no work of construction. extravagance and corruption that have had few if any In May 1879 an International Congress composed of equals in the history of the world. By that time it had 135 delegates from various nations—some from Great become evident that the canal could not be completed at Pirst Britain, United States, and Germany, but the the sea-level with the resources of time and money then Panama majority fr°m France—was convened in Paris available. The plan was accordingly changed to one Company. under the auspices of Ferdinand de Lesseps, to including locks, and work was pushed on with vigour consider the best situation for, and the plan of, a until 1889, when the company, becoming bankrupt, was canal. After a session of two weeks the Congress decided dissolved by a judgment of the Tribunal Civil de la Seine, that the canal should be at the sea-level, and at Panama. dated 4th February 1889, a liquidator being appointed by Immediately after the adjournment of the Congress the the court to take charge of its affairs. One of the more Panama Canal Company was organized under a general important duties assigned to this official was to keep the law of France, with Lesseps as president, and it purchased property together and the concession alive, with a view to the Wyse concession from the company which held it at the formation of a new company for the completion of the the price of ten million francs. An attempt to float this canal. He gradually reduced the number of men employed, company in August 1879 failed, but a second attempt, and finally suspended the works on 15th May 1889. He made in December 1880, was fully successful, 600,000 then proceeded to satisfy himself that the canal project shares of 500 francs each being sold. The next two years was feasible, a question about which the failure of the