Page:1902 Encyclopædia Britannica - Volume 26 - AUS-CHI.pdf/599

This page needs to be proofread.


CANALS

AND

The plan adopted by the company involves two levels above the sea-level (see Map)—one of them an artificial lake to be created by a dam at Bohio, to be reached from the Atlantic by a flight of two locks, and the other, the summit-level, to be reached by another flight of two locks from the preceding. The summit-level is to have its surface at high water 102 feet above the sea, and to be supplied with water by a feeder leading from an artificial reservoir to be constructed at Alajuela in the upper Chagres valley; the ascent on the Pacific side to be likewise by four locks. The canal was to have a depth of 29| feet and a bottom width of about 98 feet, with an increased width in certain specified parts. Its general plan was the same as that adopted by the old company. The locks were to be double, or twin locks, the chambers to have a serviceable length in the clear of 738 feet, with a width of 82 feet and a depth of 32 feet 10 inches, with lifts varying from 20 to 33 feet, according to situation and stage of water. The time required to build the canal was estimated at ten years, and its cost at 525,000,000 francs for the works, not including administration and financing. The old Panama Canal Company began its work without adequate knowledge of the physical conditions of the isthmus. It inaugurated at an early day some of the surveys and examinations required to supply the deficiency, and some of these it maintained as long as it continued to exist. Additional surveys were made by the liquidator, and very extended surveys and observations have been made by the new company. The information concerning all that relates to the topography, hydrography, and geology of the isthmus, as well as the cost of work, is now much more complete than is usual before the inauguration of an engineering enterprise in a new country, and estimates of cost are proportionately more trustworthy. The occupation of the Panama route by Europeans, and the prospect of a canal there under foreign control, was not a pleasing Ua s ec ac e scheme P t l to the people of the United States. The favour with which the Nicaragua route had been considered since 1876 began to assume a partisan character, and the movement to construct a canal on that line to assume a practical shape. In 1884 a Treaty, known as the Frelinghuysen-Zarala Treaty, was negotiated with Nicaragua, by the terms of which the United States Government was to build the canal without cost to Nicaragua, and after completion it was to be owned and managed jointly by the two Governments. The Treaty was submitted to the United States Senate, and in the vote for ratification, 29th January 1885, received thirty-two votes in its favour against twentythree. The necessary two-thirds vote not having been obtained, the Treaty was not ratified, and a change of administration occurring soon afterwards, it was withdrawn from further consideration. This failure led to the formation in New York by private citizens in 1886 of the Nicaragua Canal Association, for the purpose of obtaining the necessary concessions, making surveys, laying out the route, and organizing such corporations as should be required to construct the canal. They obtained a concession from Nicaragua in April

INLAND

NAVIGATION

549

MAPS OF THE NICARAGUA AND PANAMA CANALS.

AMERICA]