National Geographic : 1896 Feb
THE PANAMA CANAL ROUTE railway locomotives and other machinery, track, barges, steam vessels, pontoons and locks, houses, shops, etc., for the comple tion of the work is on the ground, and this alone represents a large proportion of the money expended by the old company. This plant is not undergoing the ruinous decay that has been represented in this country, but, on the contrary, it is kept in scrupulously good order and will be available for the completion of the work. The old Panama Company was responsible for nearly $266,000,000, of which it spent $150,000,000 upon the plant and construction and criminally distributed nearly $100,000,000 among the dishonest parties who brought the company into dis repute. In the hands of the courts, however, there still remains some $20,000,000 awaiting the reorganization of the company. That the present commission does not consider the route im practicable is attested by the fact that they have kept the work progressing, about 2,000 laborers having been employed upon the construction of the canal during the past year. When, in Feb ruary, 1895, I took the photograph reproduced as an illustration to this article I counted five locomotives at work carrying away the excavations from the Culebra summit. No available news comes to this country from France concern ing the operations of the canal. The Outlook, however, in a recent issue, makes the following statement: "It was announced recently that the French company in charge of the work on the Panama canal is now collecting 2,000 more men from Jamaica and other West Indian islands to add to the 1,800 now at work, and that it is intended eventually to increase the force to 6,000 men. The New York Evening Post declared that it had received information which it considered trustworthy that the money to finish the work on the present plan has all been furnished, and that nothing can prevent the opening of the canal at the appointed time, except accidents and obstacles not now anticipated. The managers even expect that the work will be completed in six years. This is quite in line with the report made by Sir Henry Tyler, the late president of the Grand Trunk railway, who has been visit ing Panama. He says that it is proposed to construct two large dams, one across the Upper Chagres and one on the Lower Chagres river. Two lakes will thus be formed, the upper one supplying water to the higher portion of the canal, while the lower one will be mainly used to furnish water for the navigation of the lower part. Ten locks will be built, en abling the canal to reach a height of 170 feet above the sea level. Sir Henry holds that there is no insuperable difficulty in the completion of the canal in six years, at a cost of $100,000,000, by utilizing the work already done for a distance of sixteen miles from Colon and four miles from Panama."