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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/157

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AS the difficulties connected with the Panama enterprise, from at least certain points of view, increase, its advocates dwell even more than hitherto upon the way in which like difficulties were over-come at Suez. Probably no more pointed or liberal recognition of these has appeared than one contained in a speech of Mr. Gladstone in the House of Commons, July 23, 1883. Speaking for the ministry, he said:

"We think it our duty to do justice, as far as lies in our power, to this great canal company, and to its sagacious and energetic projectors. I say that they have claims upon us—claims to respect and honor; for they have conferred a vast benefit upon mankind, and have conferred it by enormous labors, and in the midst of great dangers, under unparalleled difficulties—difficulties which were, unhappily, in some respects due to the unfortunate action of this country in former times."

It is not to be inferred, however, that if such obstacles were successfully overcome, a similar success is to attend the efforts at Panama. Should some sanguine advocate of the enterprise aver that the stockholders were to be as richly rewarded as those of Suez, and within as short a time, we should listen to the prediction with no every-day skepticism, and should insist upon drawing our own conclusions. Many would as readily accept the wonders of the Arabian Nights as trust to estimates of this description. It will not answer to carry too far a similarity, though its existence is not to be denied, between the completed undertaking and the one De Lesseps has now in hand.

But if, from a financial point of view especially, the prospects of the undertaking are not as bright as its advocates might desire, it is