National Geographic : 1906 Feb
VOL. XVII, No. 2 WASHINGTON FEBRUARY, 1906 M A D . ,, MA®AZMB THE PANAMA CANAL* BY HON. THEODORE P. SHONTS CHAIRMAN OF THE ISTHMIAN CANAL COMMISSION An article by Mr Shonts was published in the December, 1905, number of this Magazine, describing the sanitary revolution on the Isthmus and the enor mous purchases of supplies, 61 steam shovels, etc. The present paper explains the experiments with foreign labor, the arrangements for equal transportation facilities, and other questions not previously described. Iris a pleasure to speak of the Pana ma Canal in the home of Secretary Taft, and to an assemblage of his neighbors and friends. He is a son of Cincinnati and of Ohio in whom the whole country takes pride, for his services on the bench, in the Philip pines, and in the government at Washington have brought honor, not only to his native city and state, but to the American name before the world. I consider it a high privilege to be asso ciated with him under the direction of President Roosevelt in the conduct of the most stupendous enterprise to which this nation has ever put its hand. He brings to this task the broad intellectual grasp, the calm, clear judgment, the com plete patriotic devotion, and the inflexi ble, uncompromising, and outspoken hon esty that are the distinguishing traits of his public career. The value to the country of the services of such a man in its government cannot be overestimated. When the canal shall have been com pleted-as completed it surely will be no small share of the credit for the great achievement will be due to his wise coun sel, inspiriting cooperation, and unflag ging faith in the ability of the American people to solve any problem with which they are confronted. I am here tonight to talk, as I have said, not of an experiment, but of an as sured success. We are not merely going to build the Panama Canal-we are building it. Preparation is a part, and a most important part, of the work of con struction. When that shall have been fully and thoroughly accomplished, a great step forward will have been taken. You cannot erect a house until you have laid the foundation. You cannot run a railway until you have laid the tracks. You cannot build a chimney by placing the top bricks first. These are trite tru- * An address to the Commercial Club, Cincinnati, Ohio, January 20, 1906.