Report of the Isthmian canal commission, 1899-1901 /

MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
Report of the Isthmian canal commission, 1899-1901 / Rear Admiral John G. Walker, United States navy, president
Series Title:
57th Cong., 1st sess. Senate, Doc. 54
Physical Description:
2 v in 1. : plates, maps, diagrs. ; 24 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Isthmian Canal Commission (U.S.)
Walker, John Grimes, 1835-1907
Publisher:
Govt. Print. Off.
Place of Publication:
Washington, D.C
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Panama Canal (Panama)   ( lcsh )
Nicaragua Canal (Nicaragua)   ( lcsh )
Genre:
federal government publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 05853862
lccn - 04001205
Classification:
lcc - TC773 .U5 1901
System ID:
AA00000269:00001

Full Text




















Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
Lyrasis Members and Sloan Foundation





s-i


I


~Th


4 xx


2K~
f xv@~

*
4


1s







4


a




Jil:






































I















































a





4



























































t






57TH CONGRESS,
1st Session.


SENATE.


DOCUMENT


OF THE


IS'


CA AL


899


-1


COMMISSION,


901.


REAR-AMIRAL JOHN


WALKER,


UNITED STATES NAVY,
President.


HON.
:Mn.


ALFRFED


SAMUEL PASCO.


GEORGE S. MORISON.


LAuT. CoT. OSWALD


ERNST,


NOBLE,


Co. PETER C. HAINS,
Corpa of Engineers, U. S. Army.


Corp.o af.&gin.rs, U & Army.


WILLIAM


H. BURR,


C. E.


L WI
LEWIS


HAUI~E,


PROB. EMORY


R. JOHNSON.


LlMT, COMMANDER SIDNEY


A. STAUNTON,


UNmTED STATES NAVY,
Seoreary.


4
I)


i~ i** j


4


4<
Si
~.* ,


tp~, t.~






3g~


4


t ~















Th !T


To ke ongres of the
I fransmit herewith


United States:


report,


with appendices


in thr pe


parts, of


the isTthm ian Canal Commission


established under section 4 of the river


and harbor act, approved March 3, 1899, of its investigations made in


pursuance of section 3 of said act.


THEODORE ROOSEVELT.


WHmT


HOUSE,


December4,1901.


DEPARTMENT


Oommi


OF STATE,


Washington, November 30, 1901.
I have the honor to transmit the Report of the Isthmian Canal
ssion, with appendices in three parts, all in duplicate, accompa-


day


by one set


been


maps, profiles,


delivered


this


and


Department


illustrations,
by Rear-A


which
Ldmiral


have this


John


Walker, president of the Commission.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,


JOHN


The PREDwNT.


HAY.


W





H







*A N NA: A AN A l

*: .:.* *' yI'



': i .* 1 *ifiCONTfl~ TEN 1^TS.--/^l, '
.. : .**: i m E-k E * .J (I I *k.* *:.;.:4


ctions of act approved March 3, 189
Co. m ss n - .. -.... .............
Letter of appointment and instructions
Organization of the Commission by con
Chapters:
1. Introduction..................
2. Ittory of interoceanic projects
3. Dimensions and unit prices ..--
4. Other possible routes --.----..
5. Panama route..............._.
6. Naaragua route ... -. -.. --. .. ..-


), authorizing the appointment of the


af a a- ar a -*MI a -k a a5 *
to commissioners
mllttees.. .......


and communications


wa -w- a - w-w-- a -
o a a a a ai .a.a -
o- as W- ---J--f-. .--


a - a a a --
. . . . 1 -*- I->*- *


a a e a a w a -: a a a aHa a a -- at 0* - -< B
- r .a - - *. a a a a a- a a a- *- - . . .a
as e a --...... .......a.e a... .


- a a a


- -. --- a a --


Earthquakes, volcanoes, climate, health..... - -
Rights, privileges, and franchises ..........
Industrial and commercial value of canal -.
Military value .-. -.- -.-.. . -..... ..... ... ....
Cost of maintenance and operation --..-- -..... ..
Conclusions -.. - -..- ------ ----.


5 a a i 0 -i -- 1-- .--.----- --. -
- a a a 0 a a a a a a-a- a.--. a


. -m. -
- a a -


9
11
12

13
20
63
69
80
104
167
172
243
252
255
257


APPENDICES.


A. Study of locks for Nicaragua and Panama routes, by Mr. S. H. Woodard.
B. Historical notes relative to the Universal Interoceanic Canal Company, 1880-
1894, prior to the organization of the new company.
0. List of documents furnished to the Commission by the New Panama Canal
Company.
D. Report on the hydrography of the Panama canal route, by Mr. A. P. Davis,
chief hydrographer.
E. Waste weir dimensions and discharges for Lake Bohio.
F. Description of alternative location for canal between Gatun and Bohio.
G. Discussion of the time required for transit through an Isthmian canal by the
two routes.
H. Discharge of the cantlized San Juan liver.
I. Report of hydrographic investigations in Nicaragua, by Mr. A. P. Davis, chief
hydrographer.
7. Surveys from the Upper San Juan to the Indio River, by Mr. A. B. Nichols,
division glr.i n


Treaty


between ~e agua and the United States, 1867, Dickenson-Ayon.
j & :- .. i- *-****** a a. .k & ^ -. --


. *<*





CONTENTS.


R. Contract between Nicaragua and the Nicaragua Canal Association.
S. Act of Congress incorporating tfe Maritime Canal Company of Nicaragua.


T. Contract


between


Nicaragua and


Eyre and


Oragin, representing the Inter-


oceanic Canal Company.
Contract between Nicaragua and the Atlas Steamship Company.


Treaty between the United States and Costa Rica, July,
Treaty between Spain and Costa Rica, May, 1860.


1851.


X. Treaty between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, June, 1869.
Y. List of treaties made by Costa Rica with other countries.
Z. Contract between Costa Rica and Nicaragua Canal Association.


Protocol of agreement between the


United States and Costa Rica, December,


1900.


Treaty


between


United States and New Granada,


concluded December,


1846.


Treaties between France and New Granada, 1856, and France and Colombia,


1892.


Treaty between Spain and-Colombia, 1881.
List of treaties made by New Granada, or Colombia, with other countries.
Amended contract between Colombia and the Panama Railroad Company.


Contract between


Colombia and Interoceanic Canal


Association,


March 20,


1878.


(Wyse concession.)


HH.


Additional contract modifying that of May 20,


II. Contract granting extension
April 4, 1893.


to the Panama (


1878, December 10, 1890.
Canal Company in liquidation,


Contract granting further extension
pany, April 25, 1900.


of time to the New Panama Canal Com-


KK. Memorandum showing legal status of the New Panama Canal


Company


with


laws, decrees of court, and charter.
LL. Treaty negotiated by Mr. Hise between the United States and Nicaragua, June,
1849.


MM.


Contract between Nicaragua and the American Atlantic and Pacific Ship Canal


Company
Report on
Johnson.


August 27


1849.


industrial and


commercial


value of


canal


, by


Prof.


Emory


PLATES.


General map of the Central American isthmus, from
tura Bay, showing all the canal routes investigated.
an inch.


Tehuantepec to Buenaven-
Scale -nr, 40 miles to


2. General map of the Isthmus of Darien, from Panama to Atrato River, Republic


of Colombia, showing water courses and mountain ranges.


Scale 1z fl, 5


miles to an inch.
3. Map, Mandinga Harbor to mouth of Rio Chepo, Republic of Colombia, showing


proposed San Blas Canal route.


Scale zTUW.


4. Profile of possible canal route from Mandinga Harbor, Gulf of San Bias, to Bay




CONTENTS.


9. Panoramic view of
to Rio Mandinga
No. 1.


the Atlantic coast of the Isthmus of Darien, from Rio Mangle
, Gulf of San Bias. Taken from point near Point San Blas.


10. Panoramic view of the Atlantic cbast of the Isthmus of Darien, from Batones
Cay to Rio Ibl Uaken from a point near Puyadas Cays. No. 2.
11. Panoramic view of the Atlantic coast of the Isthmus of Itarien, from Batones OCy
to Rio Diablo. Taken from sloop going toward Ratones Cay. No. 8.
12. Panoramic view of the Atlantic coast of the Isthmus of Darien, from Piedras
Cays to Rio Play.. Taken from a point near Ratones Osay. No. 4.
1, "oramicr iew of the Atlantic coast of the Isthmus of Darien, from Rio Tres
Boas to Rio Pitgandi. Taken from a point near Limones Cays. No. 5.
14 Panoramic view of the At]antic cost of the Isthmus of Darien, frpm Caledonia


Hilsto Rio (rande. Taken from a point near mouth of Bio Tres Bas.
No. &
15. Panorami view of the Atlantic coast of the Isthmus of Darien, from Cape Tibu-
ron to Piedras Cays. Taken from points near Isla Pajaros and Isla Pinos.
No. 7.
16. Panoramic view of the Atlantic coast of the Isthmu of Darien, from Caledonia
Mountain to Sassardi Gap. Taken froma a point in front of Sassardi. No. 8.
17. Panoramic view of the Atlantic coast of the isthmus of Darien, showing the
Caledonia Gap. Taken from a point near Mla d'Oro. No. 9.
18. Panoramic view of the Atlantic coast of the Isthus of Darien, from Cape Tiburon
to Pt. Escoces. Taken from sloop off Pt. Cateto. No. 10.
19. Panoramic view of the Atlantic coast of the Isthmus of Darien, from Tutumate
SRiver t Pt. Tiburon. Taken from point near Piton Island. No. 11.
20. Panoramic view of the Atlantic coast of the Isthmus of Darien, from the Atrato


Flat to Piton Island. Taken from
21. General map of Panama route. Seal
S22. Profile of Panama route. Horizonta
28. Sheet of sections. Scale -n.
a. Colon Harbor.
b. Swamp silt.
c. Firm earth.
d. Lake Bohio. Drowned Chan
e. Culebra.
24. Plan of Bohio Locks. Scale 4, 4O'
25. Pedro Miguel and Mirafores Locks.


sloop off Point Choco. No.
le ry-A .
1 scale rl, vertical scale


nel.

to an inch.
Scale i, 80' to an inch.


21 &hio Dan
2. igante Sp
! _a No. 1.
44~ ~ap No: 2

~Et heet
30. Sheet
81. Sheet


8cales Ihy Ih,
illway. Scales 1-, 1.
General Map of Nicaragua Route. Scale n.
C anal ine and geeral topography through the
4 sheets.
1, Carriben Sea to Boca San Carlos.
2. Boca San Carlos to Lake Nicaraga.
3, an Carlos to Las Lajas.


canal region, scale


12.


in





CONTENTS.


Sheet 5.


Sheet
Sheet
Sheet
Sheet
Sheet
Sheet
Sheet
Sheet


Profile of N
Profile
Profile
Profile
Profile
Profile
Eight maps
Puerto


53. San JuanE
54. Greytow
55. Greytow
56. Greytow
57. Greytow
58. Greytow
59. Greytow
60. One sheet of
Two profiles


Rio San Francisco to Caflo
Conchuda cut-off and dam
La Lucha to Agua Fresea.
Agua Fresca to Santa Cruz


Machado.
sites.

cut-off.


9. Isla Sombrero de Cuero to Isla Grande.
0. Rio Chico to San Francisco cut-off.
1. Rio Medio Quesa to Lake Nicaragua.
2. Lake Nicaragua to Caflo Guachipilin.
3. Carlo Guachipilin to Pacific Ocean.
icaragua Route. Horizontal scale -s, vertical scale 7, in 5 sheets.
1. Caribbean Sea to Conchuda.


Conchuda to Lake
Profilenf canal on
Lake Nicaragua.
Lake Nicaragua to
Greytown Harbor,


Nicaragua.
adopted4 lines near Rio Sabalos, etc.

Pacific Ocean.
scale T1-.


Boca del Rio San Juan de Nicaragua, 1809.
Sde Nicaragua, by Geo. Peacock, 1832.
n Harbor, by Commander Nolloth, 1850.
n Harbor, by John Richards, 1853.
n Harbor, by John Scott, 1856.
n Harbor, by P. C. F. West, 1865.
n Harbor, by Lieut. Jas. M. Miller, 1872.
n Harbor, by officers of U1. S. S. Newport, 1898.
canal cross sections, scale TT.
of route from Upper San Juan River, near Machuca, to Indio.


61. 1. Machuca-Negro Line.
62. 2. La Cruz del Norte Line.
63. Map No. 4. Showing borings in Lake Nicaragua, scale zj .
64. Lock No. 1, scale 51.
65. Locks Nos. 2, 3, and 4, scale .
66. Locks Nos. 5, 6, 7, and 8, scale m.
67. Waste ways, Eastern Division, scale T1'W
68. Conchuda waste way, scale 1.
69. Conchuda Dam, scale TW.
70. Map of Central America and neighboring countries, showing location of volca-
noes, active and extinct. Scale mIoo, 100 miles to an inch.
71. Map of Panama Route, showing zones of mean annual rainfall, scale -Amw.


Map of
Map of
Map of
Map of
wind
Map of


Nicaragua, showing rainfall areas, 18{
Nicaragua, showing rainfall areas, 19(
the World, on Mercator projection, s]
Western Hemisphere, on Polyconic p
areas, etc.
Central Chile, showing resources and


)0. Scale -z, 8 miles to 1 inch.
)0. Same scale as 72.
showing routes for steam and sail.
rejection, showing routes, currents,

industries, on two sheets.


-a_








*


A ACT Makting appropriations for the construction, repair, and preservation of certain public
works on rivers and harbors, and for other purposes.
Be it fnaed by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America
in ClOgrea- assembled, That * *
S. 3. That the President of the United States of America be, and he is hereby,
authorized and empowered to make full and complete investigation of the Isthmus
of Panama with a view to the construction of a canal by the United States across the
same to connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans; that the President is authorized to
make investigation of any and all practicable routes for a canal across said Isthmus
of Panama, and particularly to investigate the two routes known respectively as
the Nicaraguan route and the Panama route, with a view to determining the most
.practicable and feasible route for such canal, together with the proximate and prob-
able cost of constructing a canal at each of two or more of said routes; and the Presi-
dent is further authorized to investigate and ascertain what rights, privileges, and
franchises, if any, may be held and owned by any corporations, associations, or indi-


viduals, and what work, if any,


has been done


by such corporations, associations, or


individuals in the construction of a canal at either or any of said routes, and particu-
larly at the so-called Nicaraguan and Panama routes, respectively; and likewise to
ascertain the cost of purchasing all of the rights, privileges, and franchises held and
owned by any such corporations, associations, and individuals in any and all of such
routes, particularly the said Nicaraguan route and the said Panama route; and like-
wise to ascertain the probable or proximate cost of constructing a suitable harbor at
each of the termini of said canal, with the probable annual cost of maintenance of
said harbors, respectively; and generally the President is authorized to make such
full and complete investigation as to determine the most feasible and practicable
route across said isthmus for a canal, together with the cost of constructing the same
and placing the same under the control, management, and ownership of the United
States.
SMc. 4. To enable the President to make the investigations and ascertainments
helrein provided for, he is hereby authorized to employ in said service any of the
| gegineers of the United States Army at his discretion, and likewise to employ any
n i vil life, at his discretion, and any other persons necessary to make such
investigation, and to fix the compensation of any and all of such engineers and other

SEC. 5. For the purpose of defraying the expenses necessary to be incurred in
making the investigations herein provided foi, there is hereby appropriated, out of
*iii'"'w . .. ^ i-..... -: a ::- .** *













*


T




:

**




--




*^
*















-*









































'









*








** .

*'








-



'*



















**











































**





*





t

















*


































f



1











































1











: *: '



Rear-Admiral Jo G. WALKER, U
Xew er of the Interoceanio C
section 3and 4 of/the ac
1899.
Sm: The Congress of the United
and the President, on the 3d of
making appropriations for the cons
of certain public works on riversan
the third, fourth, and sixth sections


DEPARTMENT OF
Washington,
. S. N., retired,
anal Commiasion
t of Congrees apj


States passed
March, 1899,
traction, ,epa
d harbors, and
of which rea<


I

1


STATE,
June 10, 1899.


appointed under
proved March 3,


at its recent session,
approved, "An act
r, and preservation
for other purposes,"
. as follows:


SBc. 3. That the President of the United States of America be, and he is hereby,
authorized and empowered to make full and complete investigation of the Isthmus
of Panama with a view to the construction of a canal by the United States across the
same to connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans; that the President is authorized to
make investigation of any and all practicable routes for a canal across said Isthmus
of Panama, and particularly to investigate the two routes known, respectively, as the
Nicaraguan route and the Panama route, with a view to determining the most prac-
ticable and feasible route for such canal, together with the proximate and probable
cost of constructing a canal at each of two or more of said routes; and the Presi-
dent is further authorized to investigate and ascertain what rights, privileges, and
franchtes, if any, may be held and owned by any corporations, associations, or indi-
viduals, and what work, if any, has been done by such corporations, associations, or
individuals in the construction of a canal at either or any of said routes, and particu-
larly at the so-called Nicaraguan and Panama routes, respectively; and likewise to
ascertain the cost of purchasing all of the rights, privileges, and franchises held and
owned by any such corporations, associations, and individuals in any and all of such
routes particularly the said Nicaraguan route and the said Panama route, and likewise
to certain the probable or proximate cost of constructing a suitable harbor at each
of the termini of said capial, with the probable annual cost of maintenance of said
harbors, respectively. And generally the President is authorized to make such full
and complete investigation as to determine the most feasible and practicable route
- said isthmus for a canal, together with the cost of constructing the same and
placing the same under the control, management, and ownership of the United States.
Sue. 4. To enable the President 4.make the investigations and ascertainments
nnt4An &tp tav Lv Lwwtt an4.rny/ *kfa a- nl's n o ani'aoi n


il





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


$OMIISSION.


provided for


You will be guided in the execution of the trust


thus confided to you by the provisions of


the act of Congress which I


have quoted above, and your eminence in your profession is a sufficient


guaranty of


energy and ability which


President is


sure you


will bring to the accomplishment of this task.


At the same time your


duties will not be


inquiry should


limited by the


suggest itself


terms


you


the act, but


in the


course of


if any line of
your work as


being of


interest or benefit, I am confident you will not fail to give it


whatever attention it may seem to deserve.


The President trusts that


the Commission will


fulfill


important duties


confided


them in


such a


manner that when their


report


is prepared it will embrace all


the elements required for his own guidance and for the final action of


Congress


upon


subject


location


and


construction


interoceanic canal.


I am


, sir,


with great respect,


your obedient servant,
JOHN


HAY.


ORGANIZATION


COMMISSION


BY COMMITTEES,


THE


PRESIDENT


BEING


OFFICIO


A MEMBER OF EACH


COMMITTEE.


For the investigation of the Nicaragua route:
Mr. Noble.
Mr. Burr.
Colonel Hains.
For the investigation of the Panama route:
Mr. Burr.
Mr. Morison.
Lieutenant-Colonel Ernst.
For the investigation of other possible routes:
Mr. Morison.
Mr. Noble.
Colonel Hains.


For the investigation of the industrial,


commercial, and military value of an inter-


oceanic canal:
Mr. Johnson.
Mr. Haupt.
Mr. Pasco.
For the investigation of rights, privileges, and franchises:
Mr. Pascoe.
Lieutenant-Colonel Ernst.




9
9
~ 4


DEPARTrMENT OF STATE,
ISTHMIAN CANAL COMMISSION,


Wsington, D.


L, ffNovember


16, 1901.


The lNnrsia or Tfn UNITED STATES.
Sin: he thmian canal Commission having completed the investi-
gations with which it was charged under the act of Congress approved


1899,


through


and


your


the Secretary


instructions


State


letter


thereunder,


of June


communicated


10, 1899,


honor to submit the following report


CHAPTER


INTRODUCTION.


Organsatlon of Comm s-
BISon.


The


Commission


Washington,


as president, on


was organized


with Rear-Admiral John (G.


15th day


June


city of
Walker


, 1899,


and


at a subsequent meeting, held on the 6th day of July, Lieut. Commander


Sidney


A. Staunton, of


the United States Navy,


was chosen as secre-


tary.


Law.


It at once entered


as a guide


sections o


upon
f the


duties, taking


act of


Congress


entitled


"An act making appropriations for the construction, repair,


and preservation of


certain


public works on


rivers and harbors, and


for other purposes," approved March 3, 1899, under which its members


were


Jatructi OWL


appointed, and also the instructions commu-


nicated to


them


by'the


Secretary of


State


letter of June 10, 1899.


T investigations


and


ascertainments


provided


itolved many diterent


lines of inquiry, and in order to promote the


progress of


C-Itt- ,


work


and procure


best


results


among several committees, each of
ake the lead in examinig the par


was


which


divided


was


ticular subject





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


OOflLtSSIOI~.


Subjects of InveStigation.

separate committee,


The


following


subjects


investigation


were


then determined upon, and each was referred to a
to be designated accordingly:


The Nicaragua route.
The Panama route.
Other possible routes.


The


industrial


commercial


and


military value


an interoceanic


canal.


Rights,


privileges, and franchises.


The president of


Commission was


made ex


officio a member of


each of these committees.


The two canal


routes to which the attention of the Commission was


Appointment
engineers.


chief


specially


directed


and Panama, and


for each,


by the
a chief


law were
engineer


to make his headquarters i


in Nicaragua
was appointed
n the country


and take the general control of
upon each line.


the field operations to


be inaugurated


After


considering


results


surveys


made


in the past, it was


judged best to limit


the explorations in the


search for


other


possible


routes


that


part


Colombia


known


as Darien,


extending


from


Panama to the Atrato River, and a third chief engineer was appointed
to direct the field work there.


Employment of
ants and laborers.


assist-


Competent assistants,


whose education and train-


ing had fitted them for the special work to be done,
were assigned to service under the chief engineers,


and laborers, boatmen, and
their services were required.


in Nicaragua,
5 in Panama,


other workmen were


employed


wherever


In all 20 working parties were organized


with 159 engineers and other assistants and 455 laborers;


with 20 engineers and


other


assistants


.and 41


laborers;


and 6 in Darien,


with 54 engineers and other assistants and 112 laborers,


making a


total force


about 850, the number varying from time


time according to the requirements of


the work.


Directions for the work.


The chief engineers were


these


working


parties,


directed,


with the aid


examine


geog-


raphy,


topography, hydrology, and other physical features of the dif-


ferent countries and to make a special study of the routes in Nicaragua


and Panama.


The


schemes


already


wa


planned


were


thoroughly





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


This


study


involved


examinations


terminal


harbors


and


approaches and the locations selected for dams, locks, and other aux-
iliary works; a series of bings to determine the nature of the sub-


surface material at the t for


locks and dams


and along the canal


lines, and a
flow, and of


continue of the


the lake


fluctuations


observations


in Nicaragua.
I 1 ap y


rainfall


and


stream


Attention was also


to be given to the suppy of rock, timber, and other materials in each


country available for purposes of


construction and maintenance.


The results of these examinations and observations and the data and
Material obtained were sent from time to time to the headquarters of
the Commission at Washington, where they were arranged and entered


upon the pints and


profiles


of the


canals, under the direction of the
t


committees, for examination and considerate
lusions and making their recommendations.


Visit to Paris.


ion in reaching their con-


On the 9th of August, 1899, the Commission left


New


York for Paris, where the New Panama Canal


ompaIny opened to its members its records, maps, plans, and profiles,


and the results of the surveys


made


and


data


collected by it and


the old Panama Canal


general, Mr. L.


Company.


Choron, the


chief


Mr. Maurice Hutin, the director-
engineer, and other officers of the


company


received


commissioners


with


great courtesy


and


were


ready at all times to assist them in making a study of this route in all


aspects.


special


meeting


Comit


Technique


was


also


called to give the commissioners such oral explanations as they might
desire, some of its members coming from distant parts of Europe for


the purpose.


Other
auoe


vMta


while


While in Europe the Commission also visited and


examined the Kiel


Sea


Canal


Canal in


Germany, the


North


Holland, and the Manchester Canal


and Liverpool


docks


England and


returned


New


York on the


29th of September.


Central


South America.


accordance


with


plan


investigation


determined upon, a visit was afterwards made by
the Commissioners to Central and South America.


The purposes of this visit


were


make


a personal inspection of the


entire canal lines in Nicaragua and Panama, examine the work already
done by the parties in the field, give instructions as to its continuance,
i i- - - I- n a I S




REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


left there, they passed over the canal


line


from


the mouth of the San


Juan


deemed


Brito


on the


suitable


Pacific


dams,


, stopping


locks,


and


locations


other auxiliary


selected


works, and at


other points


where


a careful


examination


was


desirable, and making


detours from the main line when necessary


. From Brito they returned


to the lake and


proceeded


Managua,


several interviews with President Zelaya,


capital,


with


where


they


reference


had
con-


Managua.


struction of a navigable canal through Nicaraguan


territory by the


United


States.


They


were cor-


dially welcomed by the President,


and he expressed himself favorably


with
from


reference to the proposed maritime communication.


Managua


Corinto


and


there


took


a steamer


They went
r Panama,


where they arrived on the 3d of March.


disturbed condition


* Panama.


dered


inadvisable


tempt to meet the President at Bogota,


State


Colombia


Commission
Department,


ren-
Sat-


request of this Commission, communicated with the Colombian author"


ties through the United States minister there and asked


that a


repre-


sentative


the Government be appointed to meet the commissioners


when they reached the country and


assistance relative to their


mission


give
as he


them


such


information


and


conveniently could.


cordance with this request Mr. J


Ford,


the consulting engineer of


was


Republic
assigned


technical


this


matters connected with the Panama Canal,


duty


met


them in this official capacity on


their arrival


Panama, courteously expressed


an entire willingness


to aid them in their investigations, and accompanied them from day to


day upon their visits to different points upon the canal


line


and


else-


where during their stay upon the isthmus.
Fifteen days were spent in the department of Panama, during which


an investigation of the route from


done


Nicaragua.


The


work


sea to


was


sea was


made


greatly facilitated


as had
by the


been
local


officers of the New Panama Canal Company,


who placed two houses in


Colon at


the service of


commissioners, furnished


a special


train


each day tc
permitted


)


take


them from


point


to


them to use their maps and


point
plans,


as the work
informed t


progressed,
iem as to the


work then going on,


accompanied them in their inspection of the line,


and


exhibited


them the


plant and


materials


purchased


by the old


- -


a k U *f a




REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


isthmus of the New


superintendent


Panama Canal Company, and to Col.


Panama


Railroad


Company,


R. Shaler,
courteous


attentions.


Visit of Mr. Morlson to
Darien.


wth full


the 16th of March


party on


twin the progress ofl
aUthority to give instructions


Mr. George S.
S. S. &orpton


the explorations


asto


Morison
to ascer-


Darien,


the continuance of


work according
The S eorpha.! ** '


to the conditions which he might find


the camps of
S~~ion had


upon


reaching


the different working parties.


been assigned


The


by the Navy Depart-


eu: hta aid in the search for other possible routes in Darien, and was


cpxwn~j4ed
~avy, wt1~o


Lieut.


Commander


Nathan


rendered valuable assistance


Sargent,


United


in the explorations


States


made


;section, and met the responsibilities which rested upon him eredita-
and successfully.


From Colon


tints Rita.


went


Sac Jose.


the majority of


in Costa


traip yas placed at


Rica.


their disposal


the commissioners


Here


a special


to convey them


to ap Jo the capi$l. During the yeek that the'
they conferred freely with President Iglesias upon


19p orpic canal and


far as


necessary, mi


case


t~e


the United


territory


States


should


v spent in this city
the subject of an
the Republic, as
desire to use the


4jip&~gpa


rqute.


ea1projet and
a$ cnpls hed.


The


Present


expres~4


manifested


tie hope


that


a deep
would


interest
be succe


in the
Sssfully


absence of Mr.


William L. Merry, envoy extraordinary and


mitistv" lepipotentiary, accredited to
e3:* *3 !,,a *3 *M ?'*k ** iJp l b i~ A U tU lfly*(^ d L/ to


Nicaragua as well as to


Costa


jca, the Commissian was greatly aided in accomplishing ths purposes
of its visits at San Jos6 by Mr. Rufus A. Lane, secretary of legation and


chnrg 6d'*gres, and at
States consul. The me


Managua by Mr. Chester


Donaldson, United


nbers of the Commission are also indebted to


these


gentlemen
,S *


many


personal


courtesies


which


were highly


*nmm and wnmtprties.

~e%4$ngto cu


After
mlSsion


e projects,


returning to the United


took


consideration


States, the Cornm-


certain


ques-


Ssraction, which had to be determined before
preparing the plans, and making the calcula-


ftic lon0 ,1 aofimono"C #nrv ^-barnnnn ^/iv~f 1 nvrlr/^b ofy r~0r~b T^0YnIfL anvti i4+a nnr-wl.





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


a canal can be completed;


also


cost


excavating


and


removing


vast quantities of earth and rock,


at different depths and under differ-


ent conditions,


by using


the most satisfactory methods and the latest


improvements and inventions in machinery


. The conclusions reached


were used in making the subsequent plans, computations, and estimates.


Other questions consid-
ered.


Besides


these questions


a preliminary char-


acter, which related to the engineering features of


the canals


there were others which had to be con-


sidered.


Among them were the treaty relations which the Republics,


within whose


boundaries these canal


routes are situated


hold


toward


the United States and other powers;


the grants and


concessions made


Sby them to corporations, associations, and individuals, and the cost of


purchasing those still in force;


the industrial and military value of an


interoceanic


canal;


cost


operation


and


maintenance


each


route;


also the


liability of


seismic and other


disturbances in the isth-


mian country and their


probable effect


upon a canal and


its auxiliary


works when completed and in operation.
A second visit was


Visit


of Mr. Noble to


Nicaragua.


made


Nicaragua


Alfred Noble to make some special


inspect


the work


parties


Mr.


examinations,


in the


field, and


give them such further information as he deemed proper.


York February


He left New


16, 1901, and returned March 26.


The different working parties were disbanded as they finished


their


work


laborers


were at


once


discharged


and


engineers


and


other assistants were


them


have


since


brought


been


back


employed


to the United


office


States,


work


where some
Washington


under the direction of


the Commission.


The field work was not cornm-


pleted till June,
from Nicaragua.


1901,


when the last detachment of


assistants returned


The results


Results.


final


conclusions of


these


investigations


and


the


the Commission are embraced


in different chapters of this report.


In order that these chapters may


not be


incumbered with matter which is useful


mainly for


reference,


verification


, and special study, many of the papers, documents, treaties,


concessions, grants, special reports, and


Appendixes.


text


attached


discussions mentioned


as appendixes


and


in the
appro-


privately designated so that easy reference may be





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


been done


and it is submitted


in connection


with


this report, accom-


panied by appropriate charts and diagrams.


Map., etc.

Charts of


sketches


and


The report


is also accompanied


by maps of


canal routes and the countries where they are loa-


the t atharbors,plans and
W- M KKKK h aS^K ^1 Kl^t harbors, :tK H*


views taken at different


points al


profiles of the projects,
ong and in the vicinity


of the canal lines
adescription anm
iM^ ^ ^."O ** .' K


t. of


uists, when
and Pacific oce:


n diagrams and other representations for purpose
explanation.
A chapter has also been included, giving ais-
tory of the early efforts to find a waterway to th


the transit routes used and established across the American


no strait could be found there connecting the Atlantic
ins, and of the different plans for establishing an arti-


fc al maritime communication.
tqji explorations and resea


riches


* past


have


developed


prjects which now exist, and it is believed that this account will add


the value and


completeness of the report and


be in


harmony with


thepurposes ofth investigation.
%* ii
KK 'liN ^^If ^^ ^M T"^** *^ r^ T^""^'*'^ ^ " ^'*" ^ ^^""1 TP "^ T~f^- --B^^^ T^ ^f:-^ T
il : '


N'* < : :
K ^ K.
*:/< *
!M
: /<


t
m< ~<


S*'






A


a


CHAPTER


HISTORY


INTEROCEANIC


PROJECTS AND


COMMUNICATIONS.


During the fifteenth century the


subject of


a maritime communica-


tion with the countries and people in the far East engaged the earnest


attention


many enterprising


thoughtful


men in the European


States bordering upon


Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean


in the belief
lands would
tions which


and expectation that a more direct


result


had


greatly increasing


for many


centuries


route to those distant


interchange


contributed


produc-


to the wealth of


Western


nations,


notwithstanding


difficulties


and


disadvantages


under which commercial intercourse had been maintained.


During


this


period


the art


navigation was


largely and


contin-


uously developed, the mariner's compass was evolved from the electric


needle


properties


which


had


long been known, rough instru-


ments were devised for ascertaining


and


determining the


position


vessels upon the great deep,


and the mariner began to venture beyond


sight


familiar


landmarks;


Portuguese


resolutely


pushed


forward their exploration


southward along and


near the west side of


Africa, new capes and


headlands


and


river mouths were passed, and


island


and groups of


islands distant from the coast


line were


discov-


ered


, some by those who were driven from their course, others by the


more


daring who


steered


from


land and


risked


a while the


dangers of the open sea.


The diffusion of


the geographic knowledge


thus gained and


the constant improvement in nautical appliances and


charts


inspired


increased


confidence


communication and its ultimate


in the


theory


discovery, and, in


Tof
the


the maritime
latter part of


century,


brave


navigators


and


seamen


voluntarily entered


upon


long voyages, through


untried


seas, in search of


new pathways, east-


ward and westward,


to India


China


and


the spice


islands


under the


patronage of enlightened monarchs,


who, in addition to their desire to


0Al0c0l 4-h0 .nnirnrnirnril ;nv+nro,4fa r# +'hair na rnnln1


a nil arnontnil





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


returned t
which this


Egypt,


Mediterranean.


otherbarlftoyages


rest is


But


the evidence


upon


scarcely more than tradi-


iat and they left no peranent impressions and were followed by no


practical


results.


But if there was a sea route to India eastward


it was surely in this


Potuguese exploratons
along the African est,


direction, and


their


the Portuguese had been persistent


efforts


explorations


discover


along


1486


thew


west coast of Afr


tended


to abo ut


twentieth


degree of


south


latitude.


In ca
In 1487


&n expedition was


sent out


John II, under the


tholemew Dis, to continue the explorations until


command of


southern


Bar-
point


of the continent should


be reached.


Near Cape


Voltas, on the south-


lbank


of Orange


River,


met


tempestuous


weather


and


was


driven far below the cape of which he was in search without seeing it.


When he regained the land he advanced easterly as far as


named Santa Cruz, near Algoa Bay,


a point


where he raised a stone cross, as


had


been


done at


other


points


along


Ii


that he claimed the country for his king.


he coast, in pro
The cape was


of of the fact
not seen till


he sailed homeward, and in memory of the trying circumstances under


which


had


gone


on the outward


vdyage


named


Cape of Good Hope di.s-
covered.


Stormy Cape,


that
Notwithstanding the


1


gateway to
it should 1
general re]j


)ut
th


King John
SEast was


be called


icing


i, in


full


belief
1 dJ
d i^


now open,


the Cape of


over the


Goo


4
5I


successful


tade by Dias, this hope was not realized till eleven years later.


that


directed
I Hope.
voyage
Vari-


ous causes delayed the sending out of another expedition, but at length


Pint


voyage


aro nd


Africa to India,


Vasco de


Gama


results


cable,


sailed with four vessels


already


proceed


obtained
3 eastern


and,


to follow


practi-
TWCH^IV


countries.


left Lisbon July 8, 1497, passed safely around the southernmost point
of Africa, crossed the Indian Ocean, touching at various points on his
way, and on the 17th of May, 1498, sighted the high land on the coast


of Indi.


Three days later he anchored his fleet before Calicut on the


Malibar coast.
SAugust or


After ar
September,


i eventful
1499, and


hn a and magnificent displays.


voyage
was re


Two of


~ceivi


returned
ed with


his vessels


Portugal


A


i distinguished
and more than


half of'his men


had been


lost,


but the


great


problem


opening a


uS


(
t





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


were


everywhere


lucrative


commerce


triumphant;
e with India,


her ships
China, and


opened
Lthe S


and


maintained a


pice Islands.


This


commerce stimulated her home industries and brought vast wealth


Kingdom, and


nearly half


a century she


enjoyed


wonderful


prosperity and power and held a foremost place among the nations of
SEurope.


Columbus.


But before the discovery of the eastern commu-
nication had been completed the studies of Colum-


bus had convinced him that the same countries could be more speedily


reached by sailing westward.


He had no


correct idea


size of


the world nor of the distance from Europe to the Asiatic coast and the


neighboring islands,


but supposed that it was several


thousand


miles


less than it afterwards proved to be.


He reached this conclusion from


the delineations upon


based upon


the rude


actual geographic


maps of
knowledge


the world


then


when it was


i in existence,
available, and


when it was wanting upon hearsay and imagination and conjecture.


When he embarked


, under the auspices


of Ferdinand and


Isabella,


at Palos on the 3d day of August,


1492


, upon the voyage which resulted


in the discovery of America, it was with the confident expectation that


a favorable
World or to


result
some


wouirid carry


island


him


to the


eastern


shores


in those regions which might


of the Old


lie across


track of his vessels.


He was therefore not disappointed when he dis-


covered island after island


but not the mainland, and


be believed that


by sailing


beyond


these


continent could


be found.


When


upon


his second voyage he passed along the southern coast of Cuba,


in 1494,


he announced that it was some part of the Old World far remote from


Europe,


and his


officers and


crew joined in certifying their


belief in


this opinion.


When he felt obliged to turn back,


he still believed that


if he could continue his voyage in the same direction some port would


the end


be reached whence he


could


communicate with


the Grand


Khan of Tartary, to whom Ferdinand had


given him letters.


On his


third voyage,
the Orinoco.
of the Asiatic


in 1498


, he discovered South America, near the delta of


He named it Tierra Firma and regarded it as another part


continent.


When he left


Spain in 1502,


on his


fourth


and


last voyage,


intention


was


still


farther westward


and


endeavor to find a strait that would lead to India.


He would thus com-


plete his great discovery and demonstrate the correctness of the theo-


A
I





REPORT


OF THE


18TH)! IAN


OANAL


COMMISSION.


were in the eastern part of the Old World and never fully realized the
extent and grandeur of his achievements.


The success of


Other expedltonr west-
ward for discovery.


z~> Thlr&>
prise am
additionala


Fe


i
I


Brazil, but
coast and
countries c


adventure.
discoveries,
.X XXXX XX X X K ^f


no strait wa


began
not


other


vied


rtpugal
Each


northward'
Is found


to be realize


belon


ci


these voyages aroused the activ-


nations
with


England,


Spain


this


returned


and southward,


0o


opened


France,


field


with


from


a way


these newly found islands and
n/ *


continent,


that


a new


and


enter-


world had been discovered.
w o l h a |:: :! K.* /1' .'* **>-


Balboa dl(
Darien
Darien I


covers the Pa-


known as Ca


view


was


Nunfez de
still del


confirmatory


afforded


Balboa, then


Oro.


The


proof in


support of this


September, 1513, by


governor of


Indians


had


XTasco


a province in


told him


gre t sea


beyond


expedition and


mountains, and


in search of


determined


He crossed


organize an


from Santa Maria de


la Antigua, the capital of his province, a city founded in 1509 or 1510,
near the Atrato River, to a point near Caledonia Bay, where Aca was
afterwards built thence he proceeded with a considerable force of
iards and Indians across the divide, and on the 25th day of the


Rot reached a high ridge above


gulf which


he named San Mi-


gael Advancing beyond his companions to a favorable elevation, he


athe first European


behold


the great ocean to the south,


which


aled the South Sea, from the direction in whi
The march was continued to the coast, and four days


Lch


he viewed


later he entered


the ^a d with great ceremony claimed
fEor"his royal master, the King of Spain.


by the right of


discovery


Before the news of thisgreat achievement reached the King, Balbba


had been superseded as.governor, through the efforts of
dey Pdro Arias do Avila, better known as Pedrarias.


boa hears from


-


- -- ~ a a -


"Ut,


L~m


diaus of sold southward. IU UI[ w iz ne ruUSWt
country to the south, abou
metals and he had planned the construction of
new sea, confident of his ability to discover this
8ettma ter of its eatth. The accomplishment


This


isthmus of


Lding


a fleet to navigate the
country and make him-
of these results twenty


Ii


expedition


which
d that
Easte


reports


Labrador to
thi Asiatice
^r :w'^- Tif *III --T'-''!'*w ^" x


Strong


bitter disappoin tment to him, for the Indians


enemies,


ras a
had


a rich


precious





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


Southern Sea and


captain-general


these


distinction


were to


enjoyed under the supervision


Pedrarias as


superior.


following


year


to enter upon the long


the adelantado obtained the consent


desired


voyage


and


established


governor
his head-


quarters on the north side of


point,


Caledonia


where he laid out the town of


Bay,


Acla.


The


former


expedition


starting
required


ships on the opposite side of the isthmus and he


undertook their


con-


struction.


Suitable trees were abundant only on the Atlantic side,


ceived the project of preparing all his materials


Transports material for
ships across Isthmus.


ing them
of Indian


point


over


mountain


to be put together


one


streams


there
range


mn


and he con-
I transport-


on the


at some
flowing


backs


navigable
into the


waters
called


South


Rio


Savana,


Sea.


las Balsas,


though


The


place


or River of
authorities


selected


was


on a river,


then


the Rafts, probably the same as


agreed.


Thousands


Indians were brought together from all directions, materials for


four


brigantines were prepared


and the


work


was


carried


forward


under


merciless


taskmasters,


Spaniards


and


negroes.


When


builders


began to put the timbers


worm-eaten


together, many


them


, and a new lot had to be prepared;


were


then a


found


tempest


arose,


and the deluging rains swept away the materials and buried them with


mud


in the swamps and


low grounds.


Balboa with unshaken


resolu-


tion sent out


the woodcutters again


and dispatched


parties for


fresh


supplies


provisions, and others to forage on the natives


satisfy


the immediate wants of


his force.


For


Toll and suffering of In*
dians.


months


customer


over


mountain


Indians


, through


heights,


continued


swamps,


ill fed


their


across


under


unac-


streams,


a tropical


sun, and if made desperate by their hardships and sufferings any tried
to escape bloodhounds were put on their tracks.


Bishop


Quevado


Transit of Isthmus.


testified
wretches


before


perished


Spanish


court


this work,


that


while


buy poor
Las Casas


says the deaths were nearer 2,000 in number.


But


undertaking was


accomplished, the


four


brigantines,


in separate


pieces,


were carried


from sea


to sea, put


together on the Balsas, and


Balboa selected


Isla Rica, the largest of


the Pearl


lands


as his ren-


S





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


Meanwh


e the search


a westward


waterway to the eastern side


continent


been


continued,


after


many


fruitless


Voyage of Magellan.


voyage of


Vasco


efforts


existence


Ferdinand Magellan
Gama around the


was


finally


demonstrated


twenty years after the famous


Cape of


Good Hope to India,


and the result was accomplished, as in the case of the eastern passage,


by sailing around


southern


point


continent


and


not by a


tmi connecting the two oceans farther north.


fa was a Portuguese


navigator in


service


Charles


fe successor of Ferdinand upon the Spanish throne.


He set sail from


Siar de lT
SI eoswer strait.


e vered


the


Barrameda


on the


20th


ships, reached the i
southerly along the


strait


which


still


bears


of September,


mouth
coast


name,


1519,


the La Plata,


Patagonia,
which sepa


with five


saiThd


and


rates


dis-
the


Wand of Terra del Fuego from the mainland.
belonged to a southern continent, and this


He supposed this island
view prevailed until 1616,


when


two


Dutch


navigators,


Van


Schoutiten


and


Maire,


found


the passage around Cape Horn.


Magellan successfully worked his way


though the strait and on the 28th of November, 1520, found the great


Be beyond,


which


he named the Pacific Ocean, on account of the fine


weather which he experienced there.
untinrinus and his provisions ran short,


His crews were discouraged and
. but with undaunted resolution


lie continued


his voyage


toward


the Asiatic coast, making additional


cveries on his way, until he reached the Philippine Islands.


There,


ot the island of Matan, near Zebu, he lost his life in an encounter with


tives on the 27th of April, 1521.


One vessel had been wrecked


on dhe eastern coast of Patagonia, another deserted the expedition and
sied homewrd after the western opening of the strait had been dis-
catredbut before its passage, add a third became unseaworthy and was
," '' t^: -/ . t i t .1'J i 1e-^ ^"


burned at the Moluccas.


The two remaining separated after the death of


Allan. The Ttnridi sailed for Panama and the Victory returned
omewa*rd around the Cape of Good Hope and reached San Lucar, the
pt fromwhichthe epeditionhad started three years before, on the 6th
tser, 1522, under the command of John Sebastian del CJano,
tiavibg on board only 18 of the 265- persons who had embarked with


Magellan. Espin
rhtun0onA tIn Sf0in


OS1t~
Ruo


captain


i7oart lqlp*r


the Trnidawd, and three
ini $. P~nr^tf~iA~icc iragaap1


of


men


rP~no unu.o





REPORT


TSHE


ISTHMIAN


OANAL


COflISSION.


the wishes of


those who sought a direct way thither by the discovery


a connecting strait along the coast line of the new continent.


Though all previous attempts had been baffled


the belief in the exist-


ence of such a strait was not entirely abandoned, and efforts to discover
it were still prosecuted, but they were mainly confined to the isthmian


section


, from Mexico to Darien,


where it had been developed that the


two oceans were least widely separated.


After Charles V


came to the throne of


Spain in


Charles V Is Interested In
discovery of interoceanic
communication.


1516


he took great


the South Sea and


interest


the discovery o


exploration of
f a connecting


strait.


He charged the governors of his American


provinces to have the entire coast line thoroughly examined and every


bay and river


mouth that offered a


possible solution of


problem


was entered and explored.


In 1523 the Emperor wrote from Valladolid


to Cortes to make careful search for the passage which would connect


the eastern and western shores of the New


thirds


route from Cadiz to Cathay.


World and shorten by two-


Gortes


, in replying, assured


him that his wishes would


diligently carried


out, and


that he had


great hopes of


King of
lord of


success, adding that such a discovery "would render the


Spain master of so many kingdoms that he might call himself
the world."


It was in accordance with this


G611 Gonzales sent to Pa-
cifle.


coast


necting with


Gonzales


Avila


succeed Balboa,
South Sea for the


Atlantic.


was


sent


policy that Gil


from


Spain


with instructions to search


western


opening of


had authority to


a strait


use the vessels


along


con-
that


Balboa had constructed, but Pedrarias refused to deliver them to him,


and in order to carry


royal


commands


took to pieces the


two caravels in which he and his followers crossed


Transports his vessels in
pieces across Isthmus.


ocean,


transported


along the route


used


them


across


isthmus


by Balboa, and rebuilt them


at the Balsas on the Pacific side.


These were lost, and he constructed


others with which he sailed northward along the toast from the Bay of


Panama


in January, 1522, until they were


found to


unseaworthy.


They were repaired and
Fonseca, but Gil Gonza]


n- */ jS ah i- j


1 LI


men


exploration was


les proceeded


and


discover


by land wi
ed Lake


continued to the Bay of


th 4 horses and
Nicaragua, which


*3*r**wr~I *en.a 1' *rnr. U .1


1kJ.-





REPORT


OF THE


1STHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


covered only a few leagues from


it was within the limits of


Pacific.


jurisdiction


Pedrarias


and at


once


claimed that
undertook its


Granada founded on
Lake Nicaragua.


conquest.
the shore


He established a city at Granada,


ake,
was


subjection.


and
at


reduced
first ri


near


the Indians
reported that


there


was


an opening


from


lake


South


Sea, but a


care-


ful examinat
a -connecting


ion of


the


channel.


surrounding
Among the


country failed


early


settlers


to
was


develop
Capt.


Such
Diego


Wiaeluica'u


expedition


Machuca,


who


1529,


undertook


a thorough


from Lake Nicaragua down exploration of Lake Nicaragua and its eastern out-
Sa Ju o at let. A felucca and brigantine were constructed on
its shores and were placed under his command with 200 men and some
ns. i land force kept within reach of his flotilla and he entered
^-.- -- rc e~k n Totrf/ e a s~ir oiK Qi n alC'kt3c"~iiif ir e ~n


t D Deaguadero
Rapids In the San Juan.


River,
sage.


now the


San


He found


Juan,


and attempted


pas-


navigation difficult in places


because of the rapids, and those in one part of the


river still


bear


his name.


Overcoming all difficulties, he reached the


Atlanftic, but was uncertain as to the locality,


and kept along the coast


with his vessels in a southeasterly direction till he reached the Spanish
settlement at Nombre de Dios. At a later period sea vessels passed
regularly up and down the river, making voyages between Granada


San pain, Cuba and Soith America.
a a as 1637, according to Thoma


This commerce was maintained


Is


Gage,


an English


monk,


who


tilted Nicaragua in
Spass ing the rapids.


that


year, but there were delays and difficulties


while efforts were being made to find
the two oceans which washed the shore


a maritime channel between


s of


Spanish provinces in


thenew world,theimportance of a
the isthmus by


tia.


and the


-ft


across


permanent communication across


land


after the discovery by


that a line of posts be est
Jan was carried out by his successor.


was


overlooked.


Soon


Balboa, Ferdinand ordered


abolished from sea to sea,
Ada was first selected


cit terminus, nt
to the east, and in


was


afterwards


1510 Nombre de


determined


that


Dios was founded and


port was Were est blished.
Sthe site of old Panama


After an examination of the


was


fixed


upon


as a


atius ble


place to establish a city upon the western side of the isthmus. A set-





REPORT


THE


ISTEMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


removed from their beds to make the passage over the mountains less


difficult.


The


way wa


only wide enough for


s paved,
riders a


and


according


nd beasts of


some


accounts was


burden, but Peter Martyr


says


that


Bello was


two carts
made the


could


pass


another


upon it.


In 1597 Porto


eastern port of entry instead of Nombre de Dios.


had


fresh w


was


a better
ater the


more


denounced
Spaniards.


harbor


was


year round,


healthy than
in memorial


easier of


was


Nombre


access,


nearer


Dios,


Spanish


was well


to Panama, an


which


supplied with
d the location


had frequently been


court as "the sepulher of


In 1534, or soon after that date,


a route by water for boats and light-


draft vessels was established from Nombre de Dios along the coast and


Chagres


obstruction


which


Cruces.


had


This


interfered


was
with


accomplished by
the navigation of


removing


river,


but the use of the paved way was not discontinued.
The value of this interoceanic communication increased every year.


After the conquest of


Pizarro vast quarititie


gold and


silver were


Commerce


across


lsth.-


mus.


brought from the mines


Peru


ried across the isthmus on the


king


Panama, car-
horses, kept


for that purpose, and transported from the eastern
terminus of the paved way in royal galleons to Spain.


As the Spanish colonies


and


provinces


increased


in population the


commerce and travel across the isthmus grew in importance.


At cer-


Fairs


at Cartagena,


Nombre de Dlos, and Porto
Bello.


tain times when


vessels were due from Spain fairs


were held at Cartagena and


later at


Porto


Bello,


Nombre de Dios, and


which were


attended


by the


merchants of the Spanish Main and


countries


bordering upon the


Pacific.
products


Caravan


from Panama crossed to the Atlantic terminus with


disposed


these


fairs.


With


proceeds


such


manufactured articles as were needed by the colonists and settlers were


purchased
recrossing


from


Spanish


isthmus,


ships


many


and


them


distributed


going


Peru


Panama


and


after


Central


America,
market.


where the abundance of gold assured


a ready and profitable


Prosperity of Panama.


The


commerce of the isthmus increased


century and


Panama


(


became a place of


luring
great


mercantile importance,


with a profitable


trade


extending to the Spice


w





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHIIIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


Another


early


transits


across


isthnmian


country


was


TehuAutepee.


Tehuantepec.


Charles


When


to search for


Cortes


was


instructed


the desired strait


he pro-


ceeded with his usual energy to carry out the wishes of the


Emperor


He had obtained from Montezuma in 1520 a description of the country
t te soqth, witha drawing of the guIf coast representing the bays and


rivers.


TJe indications at the month of the Coatzacoalcos appearing


favorable, he had it examined and, though


no .strait


was


discovered,


the isthmus presented advantages


for transit which he found service-


Cortes sent expeditions
In search of strait.


able in his subsequent operations.


When


had


completed the conquest of Mexico he sent out ves-
sels to explore the coast in all directions, along the


raon


aswe
the


l l


as the Gulf of


Moluccas, hoping


Mexico, and in


establish


1527


a direct


he sent an expedi-


trade


with


those


regions.
dance of


The forests of Tarifa, on the Atlantic slope,
timber suitable for shipbuilding, and it was


supplied abun-
transported to


each coast to be used in both seas.


With


timber


from this source he


copstrcted vessels on the coast near Tehuantepec


ip e Pacifc, the other
Me"ico reos the isthmus.
jlCO ..ip*M JAGII


materials


being


carried


The most important


expeditions
the Gulf of


result of


the coast-


wis explorations was the discovery of the Gulf of California and the


adjacent peninsula, but neither along the


whwe


upon


shore of


Pacific side did any channel


open


this gulf
a passage


nor else-


4tiantic.


But though


Gortes


failed


find


the strait, the course he


mred, up the Coatzacoaloos, across the dividing ridge, and down the


Traudt route.
4K K


Pacific slope to Tehuante


route of


communication


pec, became an important
between the Atlantic and


Pa9Wc,


A port and extensive works were established at the western


terminus, and a profitable trade was


opened


and


maintained with the


Spanish


provinces on the Pacific and with the countries and islands in
ro nce


and ar eastern part of Asia on the one side and with the Atlantic
ports and Spain on the other.


'Te


**
importance o
of tjze etatofs


f a


maritime


connection


to discover a natural


and


channel


discouraging


between


two


mt~ -~


Oceans suggested to many minds the idea of a ship..


S-!-f-^ .. ..a..al and the successful transits at the different
points mentioned and the relatively short distance across the isthmus





UE19OkT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


OANAL


COMMISSION


and that they ascertain the best and most convenient means of effecting
a communication between the navigable waters of


Survey
Panama.


ernor,
cable.


of Isthmus


met


Pascual


and


that


forming a


Andagoya,


river and


ocean and


in the execution of


reported


that such


no king, however powerful


junction of


the two


seas or


the difficulties


such a project.


a work


was


he might be,
furnishing I


The gov-
impracti-


was capable
ie means of


carrying out such an undertaking.
Charles abdicated the throne of Spain in 1555 and was succeeded by


Policy of Philip II.


his son


, Philip II, who reigned till 1598.


new monarch the policy of


Under the


kingdom changed,


the search for the strait was abandoned


number of ports through


which the gold


and


silver from


the mines of


his American


provincea<


flowed to Spain was


limited


, and the project


a ship


canal


between


two oceans, across the


cuted.


field


While


these


commerce


new
and


American
possessions


furnished


peninsula,
opened a


was no longer prose-


Constantly


inexhaustible


widening


supply


precious


tion


throu


why


seek for


continent


int


or construct
) the ocean


t


a maritime


communica-


beyond for other explora-


tions in the hope of new discoveries


Here was actual fruition.


Why


waste


effort


and


time


and


where all was uncertainty ?


money
Besides,


regions


still


more


remote,


an opening through the isthmus


would afford


rival


nation


favorable opportunities


to visit


the shores


of the


new


possessions,


gain


information


as to


their


resources


and


advantages,
also urged


and invite aggression and conquest in case of war.


that the opening of


a canal


through the


It was


isthmus would be


in opposition to the will of the Almighty,


who had placed this barrier


in the way of navigation between the two oceans, and they who should


attempt to remove


Atrato.


pleasure.


The


it would incur


Atrato


region


the Divine dis-


offered


-favorable


conditions


for a


transit


, particularly for the commerce between Peru


and the


Spanish main.


Some of


the south and near the Pacific coast,


tributaries take their rise far to
but the policy of Philip prevented


the establishment of a channel of communication there


, and the naviga-


tion of the river was forbidden under penalty of death.


This policy adopted by


his death.


The


subject


Philip II continued


a maritime


for two


connection


wa


centuries after
s an attractive





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


Paterson' colony at New
Caledonla.


The most notable


tion of


polie f
ttempt of William Patersoh
cLgdltJLU Vmpt ~liXluBL


two
Ring


event


oceans which


Philip


establish


was


a Scotch


relating to


the connec-


occurred while this


maintained


was the


colony in Darien.


In 1695 the Scotch Parliament passed an act authorizing the formation


Pt a company to
received the royal


trad from Scotland to Africa and the Indies. It
sanction June 26, 1695, and William III issued let-


ters patent to carry out the terms of the act


The company organized


une- a in
under this ath ity is generally known as the Darien Company, and in
July, 1808, it sent out an expedition from Edinburgh with three ships


and two tenders, having


1,200 men on board,


with the intention of set-


fling on the American isthmus.


of this scheme. He
t *Den section while
fTrom a knowledge of


William Paterson was the originator


had become acquainted with the advantages of the


enga


ged as a merchant in the
movements and exploits 4


West


Indies, and


)f the buccaneers.


The vessels arrived safely at Darien and anchored in a bay which they


called Caledonia


Bay, a


name


it still


retains.


The


colonists


entered


into friendly relations with the


Indians and bought lands from them.


They named the country Caledonia and established a settlement, which


they


called


harbora


New


\vhich


Edinburgh,


still


bears


on a small


name


peninsula,


which


Port Escoces.


formed


fort


was


built or the protection of the settlement,


which they named New St.


Andrews, and a channel was


cut across the


peninsula, so


that the sea


might encompass the city and fort.
SWhile no attempt was made to construct a canal or to open a commu-
tion with the South Sea, the patent under which the company was
organized authorized colonies to be planted in Asia, Africa, or America,
and Paterson's plan contemplated the ultimate establishment of settle-
mets and ports on both oceans, so as to open commercial connections


with all parts of the wild.


One of the first acts of the colonial gov-


rscsPturo'. pleas tor In-
beossanic communscatio.m

of religion. The


ernmient was to declare


freedom of


trade to those


of all nations who might be concerned with them,


anid full and


success


this


free liberty of


first


conscience in matters


colony would


have


been


fol-


.Ipwed
transi


by efforts
t route wou


to establ
ld then


ish


others on the


Pacific side,


have been opened, but


with which a


the colonists became


dIscouiirapd .


P. aRInnlv nf


*n-rvilionna


tofloAo


aont


* E.


nAth




REPORT


OF THE


ISTHUIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


tunes,


Spain


protested


that


territory


was


being invaded,


and a


military force was


sent


drive


them


from


the country.


The


few


survivors at


length capitulated


and after the loss of


more than 2,000


lives and


the expenditure of


vast


sums of


money the company aban-


doned


the promising scheme which


Paterson


planned


and


mau-


gurated.
During this period


communication


between


the two seas was main-


trained at


locations


already


mentioned.


Panama declined


importance much of


business was


transferred


Nicaragua.


The


Transit routes.


shortest
Darien


distance
section.


from


The


ocean


general


to ocean was in the


course marked


Balboa was followed by the buccaneers in some of


against the Spanish settlements and


their incursions


posts in the seventeenth century.


Captain Sharp crossed here when he made his successful attack in 1680


upon


Villa


Maria on the


Tuyra


River,


no continuous transit was


Indians hostile to Span-
lards.


ever


maintained


, probably


and persistent hostility of


Spaniards.
they were warring against their


They


special


aided


because


the
the


Indians toward


buccaneers


erce
the


because


enemies and not because they


wanted white men to enter their borders.


The Indians in this section


were
tions


never


ubdued,


though


forts


strongholds


mission


were from time to time established on Caledonia Bay and at other


points on the Atlantic side and


on the
t


rivers emptying


into


the Gulf


of San Miguel.


They had secret passes through the mountains, caves


in which their canoes could


safely concealed,


trails


from


their vil-


lages by which they could pass freely from point to point,


and a system


of signals
approach
successful


by which


their


raids


they


enemies;


upon


could


with


Spanish


give


these


notice


movements


advantages


they


often


settlements, slaughtered


and


made


gar-


, and destroyed their works.
Under the administration


Arlza's road In Darien.


a determined


effort


who


became


was made


governor
bring the


Indians


Andres de
province ii


under


Ariza,
1774,


subjection


to the Spanish.
of the isthmus


Military posts were again


Puerto


Principi


on the


established


Savana


River,


on both sides


was


fortified


garrisoned, and


a train


the mouth of the La Paz


was


thence


the Chucunaque,


which was afterwards known as Ariza'


near
road.


-U


1 ii A ii S .1 lii UU


-^Uhk aw


11


risons





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


Spaniards became satisfied that their supremacy yielded them no advan-


ta~es


commensurate


with


cost,


and


1790


Spaniards abandon their
military posts.


entered into
ether areed
they aeed


*hdraw from the country.


a treaty with the


abandon


their


Indiana, by which


military posts


and


haminaston of Tehuan-
w e^-..ji ~ -kcWL^ro tt^uk.K


through the American


Toward the


latter part


tere was a revival


maritime


sthmu


the eighteenth century


interest


communication
s. Some pieces


in the subject of


between


anciei


the two oceans
nt bronze can-


ndn in the castle of San Juan d'Ulloa, at
acc identi ally discovered in 171 to havq


Vera Cruz, in


been


cast


Mexico,


were


in Manila, in the


Philipphe Islands.


It seemed improbable that


they had


been


trans-


ptiher by water around either co
dial intercourse with the islands had been
uehantepec. The subject was investiga


ntinent, as the only commer-


through the Pacific


ted and it


was


port


satisfactorily


p oved
isthmus


records and traditions among the


that


cannot


n had


inhabitants of


been t sported from Tehuantepec to


the mouth of the Cosatzacoaleos by the route established in the days of


Corte. .


This transit had


long been abandoned, but the remembrance


of it former


importance


had


been


preserved,


though


lapse


of theu


the


difficulties


and


obstructions attending


passage


had


been forgottoxi.


The


viceroy


Mexico,


hope


that


it would


aord a favorable location for a canal, determined to have the country


examined, so as to ascertain


opening a maritime communication


topography and


between


engineers, Augustin-Cramer and Miguel del


the practicability of
two oceans, and two


Corral,


were directed to


survey the isthmus and report the result of their investigations.


They


made


an exploration


Coatzacoalcos


and found that its source


was not near Tehuantepec, as they had


Report of Cramer.


been


any river have a channel


Instead


a river


flowing


communication


i1'11


suppose; nor ala
into each ocean.


they


found


range of mountains of considerable height between


the headwaters of


th streams emptying into opposite seas.


In one place


they reported


and that
was pract


form


mountains formed a groun p
a valley existed, through wi
i/g7 w


Ei
>1


rather


than a continuous chain,


which a canal


small


dimensions


cable connecting two rivers on opposite slopes, which would


a continuous communication across the isthmus.


r


t





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMLAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


mountains intervened between


lakes


and


the ocean which, in


opinion, made their connection impracticable.


Notwithstanding


this


under the patronage of


report, a
the Crown


company


was


afterwards


project,


formed


and


route selected was from Lake Nicaragua along the Sanoa River to the


Gulf of Nicoya.


The royal fleet in the Pacific was directed to aid this


by further surveys,


no further progress was


project was


made


never


construction of


commenced and
an interoceanic


communication.
When Galisteo'


party set out. in


1779


they were


accompanied


in a


private


capacity


British


agents


Belize,


and


territory


claimed in the name of the Mosquito Indians.


After their return they


made favorable


declared that


representation


country they had visited, and


the canal project was entirely feasible.


This manifesta-


tion


interest


subject


was


followed


by an


invasion


of Nicaragua


by British forces.


from Jamaica.


country early in 1780, after Spain had declared war


against Great


under


Admiral


Britain.


command


Horatio


Nelson


The invading expedition,


of Captain
, then a post


Poison,
captain,


was in


charge of


naval


operations.


Nelson


, in his dispatches,


states the


general


purpose


expedition


as follows


"In


order


give


facility to the great object of government I intend to possess the Lake


of Nicaragua,


which for the present may be looked upon as the inland


Gibraltar of


Spanish America.


commands the only water pass


between
to insure


oceans, its situation must ever render it a principal post


passage to the


Southern Ocean


, and by" our possession of


Spanish America is divided in two.


Plan of campaign.


The plan of the campaign was to enter the mouth


the San Juan River,


capture Fort San Juan, at


Castillo


Viejo,


take possession of


all other


fortified


positions


on the


river and lakes


, occupy the cities of Granada


and


Leon


, then push on


Realejo,


by the seizure of


which they would complete their control


province


and


lines


communication


between


two


oceans.


The


attacking party went up the San Juan in boats and met with no


resistance till a small island


named Sah Bartolom6


an outpost


of the


enemy


, was reached.


This was soon captured,


and


two days later Fort


work


undertake the


Invasion





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


son's ship,


the Hinchinbrook, 200 in number, 87


fell sick in one night,


only 10 were living soon after the return of the expedition to Jamaica,
d Nelson himself was in such an enfeebled condition that his life was


saved only by carefuld nursing.


Tr of 118 etwen
England and Spain.


This terminated the effort to weaken the Spanish


power
1788,


Central America, and


which


terminated


war,


the t
Great


reaty of
Britain


reij q ished whatever territorial


rights


may have claimed there.


While the privilege of cutting wood


for dyeing was


granted


to Eng-


fish settlers, it was only to


exercised


in a part


Honduras with


certain specified


boundaries,


within which


the woodcutters, then


dis-


perused through the country


months.


The British


were


agreed


required
demolish


retire within


their


eighteen


fortifications within


this district and to instruct


their


settlers


build


no new


ones, and


they recognized and declared Spain'


rights of sovereignty.


Owing to


delays


in the


retirement


the woodcutters


within


agreed limits by the time


specified, new complications


arose


between


the two powers and the negotiations which followed resulted in another


Tresty of 1786.


treaty which was


By the


signed at London in July


1786.


new convention the district allotted to the


w clutters was enlarged and their privileges were increased, but they


were not t6 establish any


plantation of


sugar, coffee,


cocoa, or other


like article, or any manufacture


by means of


mills or other machines


except sawmills for preparing their timber for use.


The reason given


for this restriction was that "all the lands in question being indispu-
tably acknowledged to belong of right to the Crown of Spain, no settle-


ment of that


kind


or the


population


which


would


follow


could


allowed."


In another article all the restrictions specified in the treaty


of 1783


for the entire preservation of the


right of the Spanish sover-


eighty over the country were confirmed.


Another article


related


the Mosquito country, in which England had exercised a protectorate


over the Indians and had assisted them


in resisting the authority of


Spain.


Spain


w~s


pledged,


motives


humanity,


exercise any severity against the Mosquitos on account of their former
connection with the English, and his Britannic Majesty agreed to pro-


hibit


his subjects


from


furnishing


arms


or military


supplies


indians,


**





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


quito flag


there


, and changed


its name


from


San


Juan to Greytown.


Treaty


between


Great


Britain and Guatemala of
1859 as to Belize.


In 1859 a treaty was made


between Great


Britain


and Guatemala by which the title of the former to
the settlements made in and near the Bay of Hon-


duras,


known


as Belize,


was


recognized


and


boundaries


were


Treaty


between


Great


Britain and Nicaragua of


defined.
Britain an


In 1860 a treaty was made between Great


Nicaragua


by which the


protectorate


1860


as to Mosquito


dians.


over


Mosquitos was to cease in three months,


territory occupied


them


was


under


the sovereignty of


Nicaragua,


no farther south than


river


its boundaries were


Rama, and


defined, extending


Greytown was declared a


free port.


But the Indians were to have the right of self-government,


and
and


Nicaragua was


pledged


interfere with


to respect


them


, provided


their customs and


they were not


regulations
inconsistent


with the sovereign rights of the Republic.


It was also


provided


that


Nicaragua


$5,000


should


annually to


promote


years,
their


pay


improvement


Mosquito


and


authorities


provide


for the


maintenance of the government they were to establish


for themselves


within their district.


another


article


it was


declared


the con-


Mosquito Indians incor-


porated Into


Republic of


Nicaragua In 1894.


tracing parties that


strued


so as


any time


in the


the treaty was not to be con-


prevent
future


Mosquito


from agreeing


Indians


to absolute


incorporation


into


Republic


Nicaragua,


on the


same


footing


and


subject


to the


same


laws


as other


citizens.


This


solution


of a


long-existing


cause


irritation


disturbance


was


reached


November, 1894,


when a convention of the tribes assembled under the


direction of their chief and agreed that their territory should
a department of the Republic.


become


close of


eighteenth


century


Spain


Situation at the close of
the-18th century.


kept


the two ocean


intercourse


continued


entire
Apart


with


maintain


isthmian
; the old
western


country, bi
transits had


ports


sovereignty


fallen


over


Cordilleras still
into disuse and


American


provinces


was maintained almost entirely by way of Cape Horn and the Cape of


Good


Hope;


the chief exception being at


Tehuantepec,


where a com-


munication across the isthmus had once more been opened.





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


a single


mountain


, plain,


or cit
or city


from


Granada


Mexico


which


the elevation above the sea was known.


It was even a matter of doubt


whether an uninterrupted chain of mountains existed in the provinces
of Veragua and Nicaragua.


The


pub


intere


cations


Humboldt were


commercial


extensively


nations


read


world in


this


revived
subject.


The Spanish Cortes was aroused to action and in April, 1814, passed a


formal


decree


for the


construction


a canal


through the peninsula


f6r vessels of the largest


size and provided for the formation of a corn-


pany to undertake the enterprise,


but it


no results


and Spain's


J "I.*
Q JUAUAAu.. HMLjm. jUk^- :lMMJ:-Mt.jBm::^^::-^K. .-^h-jk. .JMM :^Juj.:juk: .Ji^L. J1 JK
*^*^*kL-A^B^^bL ^r^BL-'^^B^H^B^^'^B *^*:.-::4^f^k:: '** *H-"^K if ^fc f. 4
:r 1 K ii ** I ^I'l'Ji^ I'l I ^ff41^
^F^"' ^K"W'" "^T^ *^^^ "^^F Tff^^1^^??^^ *flft ?ft"" ^^ ^aTl^Bi^y
*j^k *^fcii iK:
"ffW ^^y w


to obtain


glory of


opening


this great highway for


the commerce of the world


terminated in 1823,


when the last


O tl andSl south American provinces succeeded in establishing their
dependence.


Republic
formed.


of ColombIa


The


States


New


Ecuador united


Colombia,


with


Granada


1819


Simon


, Venezuela,


and


forming the Republic


Bolivar


President.


This continued


1831, when they


separated


into


three independent


republics.


Formation


Republic


of Federal


oft".


United


1823


Nicaragua,


Gautemala,


and


Costo


San
Rica


Salvador,
, having


Honduras,
successfully


America.s
Americs.


Central


resisted the efforts of Iturbide to extend the power


Mexico


over


them,


established


the


Federal


Republic of the United'Provinces of Central America.


The governmental changes wrought by these


successful revolutions


and the
revival


formation of


interest


these


new


confederations


interoceanic


were


communication.


followed


Aaron


Palmer, of New


York


and his associates


made


proposal


the new


Republic of


Central America with a view to the construction of


such


a work,


which were favorably


taken Don Antonio


regarded.


Jos4 Canfaz, the envoy


But before any action was
extraordinary representing


the Republic at


the Government of
dteased a letter


Washington,


was


instructed


the United States to the subject.


Mr.


Clay, then


Secretary of


the attention of
He accordingly


State


on the


day


February,


1825,


assuring


him


that


nothing


would


more


Republic
America m


of Cenira


oaken


proposi-


grateful


to "the Republic of the Centre of Amer-


ica" than the cooperation of the American


A'


A


I


people


- -- - - - * fl flfltfltfl** .-ht ~fl fl~ fl .flflfl.fl U fl~ %% t.n . n~ nar~ a. -




- -~ ~ *4 --


REPORT


OF THE


ISTEMIAK


CANAL


COMMISSION.


he was prepared to do what he


represented


could on


the part
business.


Mr.


Republic he
Clay made a


Response


of Secretary


favorable response to this communication, assuring
the minister that the importance of uniting the two


seas


canal


navigation


was


fully


realized and


that


President


had determined to instruct the charge d'affaires of


United


States to investigate with


greatest care


facilities


which
firmed


Nicaragua


offered.


preference which


He added


was


that


believed


this
this


investigation


route


con-


would be necessary to consult Congress as to the nature and extent of


the cooperation which


should


be given


toward the completion of


work.


Instructions to minister.


addressed
informed


Mr.


that


The


given


Williams,
President


.1 /


however,


letter


in which


was
was


put in possession of such


information upon


the subject


as would


serve


to guide


judg-


ment of the constituted authorities of the United States in determining


their interests and duties in regard


to it.


The matter was afterwards


referred


to in


the official correspondence with the Department,


but it


does not appear that the desired information was ever furnished.


Congress of Panama.


When it was proposed to hold a congress of dif-


ferent


nations at


Panama


1826, and President


Adams


appointed


commissioners to represent the United


States,


they were advised in their letter of instructions that a cut or canal for


purpose


navigation somewhere through the


isthmus that connects


the two Americas, to unite the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, would form
a proper subject of consideration at the congress when it should assem-
ble. The opinion was also expressed that, if the work should ever be


executed


, the benefits of it ought


exclusively appropriated


to any one


nation


should


extended


parts of


globe


upon the payment of just compensation or reasonable tolls.


But


without


waiting


governmental


action


on the


part


United States


, the Republic of


Central America


, on the 16th of June,


1826


decreed


that proposals should


received


for the right to con-


struct an interoceanic canal


, accepted


terms offered


Aaron


Palmer and his associates and entered into a contract with them.


The


arrangement


possessed, it


proposed
until Fe1


instructions
ruarv. 1826


were not,
when a


;he charge
desired to


d'affaires,


bl




REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


with interest at the rate of 10 per cent per annum, and for seven years


after such reimbursement the company of


construction was to receive


half of
repairs


the ni
being


proceeds of


deducted.


The


the canal, the expense of


navigation


and


passage


canal was to be common to all friendly and neutral nations,


exclusive


privilege.


Report


145,


The contract can


House


be seen


Representatives,


collection and


through the
without any
)v reference


Congress,


full


Thirtieth


second session, pages 362-367.


Mr. Palmer next


attempted


organize


a company


undertake


the construction of a canal under this contract, to be called the Central


American and


United States Atlantic and


Pacific


Central


American


and


United States Atlantic and
Pacific Canal Company. *


Canal Company, with a capital stock of $5,000,000.


With


this
thla


purpose


in view, in


October,


1826, he


assigned the contract


in trust to De


Witt Clinton


and four others, to be held by them until an act of incorporation could


obtained


for the


proposed


company.


December


went


London, furnished with


letters of


introduction to the American min-


ister


other


influential


persons, issued


a prospectus, and


for ten


months endeavored to secure the aid of capitalists there in disposing of


the stock, but was


unsuccessful and the contract was never executed.


The


Central


American Republic


afterwards


entered


into


negotia-


Contract with a Nether-
lands Company.


tions with


construction


basis


a company in


a canal across


an agreement


was


Netherlands
s Nicaragua,


adopted


byt


for the
and a
he two


Houses


Congress


September and


December, 1830.


When


Administration


at Washington


heard


that


such


a contract had been


made or was about


made, Mr. Edward


Livingston, then Secre-


tary of


State, directed


United


States


minister


Guatemala


ascertain the facts and to signify to the


Government


that the United


States would


consider


themselves as entitled to the same advantages,


in passing through the canal


or using the terminals, as were accorded


to other nations.


The effort, however, ended in failure


and the proj-


ect was abandoned.


After this failure the Congress of the Republic of Central America
again turned to the United States and offered to grant to the Govern-


ment the right


to construct a canal.


response


further negotiatIons of
Central American Repub-


to this action the Senate, on March 3,1835, passed


.~. , 4 -U





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


OANAL


COMMISSION.


President


Jackson


acted


upon


this


resolution


sending


Mr.


Charles


Biddle


visit


Nicaragua and


Panama,


with instructions


examine


different


routes


communication


Mr. Riddle sent to Cen-
tral America and Colom-
bia.


that


had


been


railroad, making


route


contemplated,


whether by canal or


such observations


would


enable


and


him


inquiries
procure


copious and accurate information in regard to the practicability of the


different


projects,


and


procure


such


public


documents


as were


obtainable


relating


different plans, and


copies of


all laws and


contracts made


ence
and


and entered


construction


estimates of


cost of


into


such


any of the


by the two Governments with refer-


a communication, and any surveys


projects


that could


procured.


But the mission led to no satisfactory results, and on January 9, 1837,


a message wa
dient at that


s


sent


Senate


the effect


that it was


not expe-


time to enter into negotiations with foreign governments


with reference to a transisthmian connection.


January, 1838, Aaron


Memorial of Aaron Clark
to Congress urging action
with reference to canal.


York,


and


a few


other


Clark, mayor of


influential


citizens


New
pre-


sented the subject to the House of Representatives


in a memorial,


tance of


a navigable waterway


urging


between


he great
Atlantic


national


impor-


Pacific, and


recommending that negotiations be opened with New Granada and Cen-
tral America and the great powers of Europe for the purpose of enter-


ing into a general agreemei
as a preliminary step, that


for the


competent


promotion
engineers


of this object, and,


sent to the


sth-


mlan


country to


make


explorations


and


surveys, so as


determine


the most eligible route and the cost of constructing such a work.


This memorial was. referred to the


Committee on Roads and Canals


and


IMIr,


to an


interesting


Mercer


import of Committee on
Soads and Canals, 1839.


March


third
322.


valuable
2, 1839, in


session, and


The


value


report,


which was


the Twenty-fifth
designated as H.


a canal was


but no action was recommended


presented
Congress,
E Report


fully recognized,
, except to request


President


Oliben


or continue


negotiations with


foreign


nations


according to the terms of the former Senate resolution and in harmony


with


wishes


memorialists.


The


resolution favoring


this


action was at once adopted.





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMTAN


CANAL


COMiWISSION.


considered by Congress,


efforts


were


being


made to


obtain


con-


Examination of routes.
from time to time
from time to time


cessions from


States through whose territory


the canal routes extended, examinations were made
to determine the feasibility and cost of the differ-


at projects.


In 1824 the


Mexican Government and


the State


Tehuantepec by Orbegso
at ar1w ,


of Vera Cruz each appointed a commission to make


a reconnaissance of


isthmus of


Tehuantepep,


former


under


supervision


Juan


Orbegoso, the


latter


under Tadeo Ortiz.


* Their reports contain much valuable information


relating to the geography, topography,


productions, and resources of


the country.


But their examination


demonstrated that great difficul-


ties opposed the construction of a navigable canal through the isthmus,
and they reported that the only available expedient to be adopted was
a rriage road from the navigable waters of the Coatzacoalcos River
to the lagoons on the south coast. This they considered both easy and


advantageous.


The report of Orbegoso is found in House Report 322,


Twenty-fifth Congress, third session.


A survey of


Nicaragua


route was


made


earagus, by John Balyur.Mr.


E lish company in


1826


rohn Baily,
to explore


who


had


been


the country and


sent


negotiate for a


cbdoession.


Failing in his main purpose, he had


remained in Central


America, and


in 1837 was employed


by President


Morazin


deter-


mine Ahe


best


location for


a canal.


The


route


that


favored was


from San Juan, now Greytown, to Lake Nicaragua, across the lake to
the Lajas, and thence to San Juan del Sur on the Pacific.


The harbor of Greytown presented


"as many conveniences as would


be required;"


it could "be entered


all seasons


and in


all weathers


without


water, and


risk:"


there


furnished
ras no da


good


anchorage in


nger within it.


5 fathom


San Juan del Sur offered


similar advantages as a


Pacific


terminus,


with a depth of


10 fathoms.


He proposed to
reuk require the


tha


San Juan


removal


through


the rocks at


entire


length.


This


rapids, the closing


the~ orado so as to divert its waters through the channel of the San


Juan to Greytown Harbor, and the deepening of
Jc lg


this part of


the San


He stated


that


four principal


rapids were within a space of


-# -


w





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


OOMMISSIOn.


above the


level of


Pacific at low water at San


Juan


Sur, and


he accepted the conclusions


reached by others


that


Pacific at low


water


was


the mouth of


6 feet


6 inches


lower than


the Lajas was 28,408 yards


Atlantic.


in length


line


summit


from
level


was 487 feet above the lake, and the canal was to be navigable for ships


of 1,200 tons burden,


with a depth of 18 feet of water.


ing the line in a few places it could be shortened 2,000


Lajas could be made available for 5,460 yards.


By straighten-
yards and the


He proposed an alter


native plan which would reduce the summit level to 122 feet above the
lake, and the connection of two of his stations by a tunnel 3,833 yards
long. He pointed out the difficulties of the work, and in case it should


not be regarded as an advisable project


suggested the consideration of


a route through the Tipitapa and Lake Managua to the port of Realejo,


but could not speak of the feasibility of


it had not been surveyed.


this route with confidence


had, however, traveled over the coun-


try between Lake Managua and the ocean,


regarded


it as worthy


of examination.


Panama, by J.


A. Lloyd.


In November, 1827, Mr. J
commission from President


. A. Lloyd received a
Bolivar to survey the


Isthmus of Panama, in order to ascertain the most eligible line of com-


munication across it


whether


by road or canal.


At this time neither


the relative height of the two oceans nor the


height


mountain


range between them had been accurately determined,


and the geographic


features of the


isthmus were


seasons in exploring


Panama


Bruja, a


imperfectly understood.


country and


place


on the


carried I
Chagres


line


He spent two
f levels from


River about


miles


above its mouth.


He reported that the mean


height of


Pacific at


Panama was 3.52 feet higher than that of the Atlantic at Chagres.


recommended a new line


across


isthmus


instead


those


from Porto Bello and Chagres by Cruces to Panama,


beginning at the


Bay of


Limon


, thence to the Chagres by a canal and up the river to a


favorable situation on the south bank of the Trinidad River, and thence


by a railroad to Panama or Chorrera, the


latter


being


minus, but the former being preferable as a better port,


the nearer ter-
and the capital


of the State


where its


trade was


already centered.


He made no ree-


ommendation in favor of a canal, but said that if


a time should arrive


when a project of a water communication across the isthmus might be





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


torial boundaries it was located


Thi


Republic, in 1838, granted to a


Makes grant to a French


a Pauama.-


Fren ruat many
construction of n


a concession,


nacadamized


authorizing


the


roads, railroads, or


anise aross the isthmus with the Pacific terminus


The company spent several years in making explorations


and communicated the results to the


French Government through M.


Salomon


, the leading spirit in the enterprise,


in the hope of secur-


that a depression in the


passage only 11.28
the sea at Panama.


ingits aid in constructing the proposed work.
Reut of exploratIons :.:*T *


Results of explorations
of Panama route.
the average level of


These results presented


mountain range offered a


meters,


about 37


feet,


above


The representations were of


character so surprising that it was


decided


to send an


officer to the


spot to study the subject, and in September, 1843, M. Guizot, minister


foreign affairs,
investigate the


instructed Napoleon Garella to


question


the junction


proceed to


both


seas


Panama
cutting


through


isthmus, and


report


means


effecting


obstacles to be overcome, and the cost of such an enterprise.


Examimned by Garella.


favored


a canal


as the only means


cornm-


munication adequate to the demands of commerce,


and, as the
hi labors 1


representative of


this object.


a great commercial


nation


He preferred to establish


directed


the Atlantic ter-


minus at the


Bay of


Limon rather than at the mouth of the Chagres,


following the recommendation


made by


Lloyd;


a connection with the


river was to be made somewhat below t
low depression, making a sea level canal


he mouth of the Gatun.


practicable within


The


a reason-


able


limit of


cost, could


not be found, and he


proposed


to cross the


but he also estimated for a cut through the ridge instead


The bottom of the tunnel


the ocean;


99 meters, nearly 325 feet, below the summit, and the level


a tunnel.


the


water 48


meters, nearly


158 feet, above


the ocean at


extreme


high tide on the Pacifc at Panama.


The summit level was to be reached


by 18 Lacks on


the Atlantic


slope and 16 on the Pacific,


with a guard


lookat each extremity to protect the entrance.


The supply of water


was:to be


furn ished


by two


lateral


canals


from


the Chagres.


The


Patio terminAs wasto be in the small


bay of


Vaca de


Monte, about


the project in an attractive way, and it was stated


divide through a tunnel 5,350 meters,


a little more than 3imiles, long,


was to be 41 meters, about 134j feet, above





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISBSION.


sels of 1,200 tons burden, 198} feet long, with extreme breadth of beam


45 feet and


a maximum


draft when


loaded of


feet, giving a


depth of 23 feet.


Garella'


report


found


House


Report


, Twenty-fifth Con-


gress, third session.


It disappointed


expectations


that


had been


raised


by the


projectors


no further


steps were


taken


matter


and the concession was forfeited.


Increased Importance of
maritime communication.


About the middle of the century a succession of


great events vastly increased


maritime


connection


between


the
the


importance of a


two


oceans


the United States.


line


west


The dispute with Great Britain,


Rocky


Mountains,


was


settled


as to the boundary
bv the Buchanan-


Packenham treaty in


1846


and


in August,


1848


an act


Congress


was passed under which Oregon became an organized Territory


. The


war with Mexico was


commenced


the Guadalupe-Hidalgo treaty,


early in


1846


and


which closed it in 1848


by the terms of
. California was


ceded to the United States.


Before the treaty had


been


ratified gold


was discovered there


and


a few months many thousands


from the


eastern part of the country were seeking a way to the mining regions.


To avoid the hardships and delays of


the journey across the plains or


the voyage around the


continent,


lines of


steamers and


packets were


established from


New


York to Chagres and San


Juan del Norte and


from


Panama


Francisco, some of


latter


touching


Pacific


ports


Nicaragua.


For


a while


those


traveling


these


routes had to make


arrangements for crossing the isthmus


after their


arrival


there,


were


often


subjected


serious


personal


incon-


veniences and suffering as well as to exorbitant charges.
The requirements of travel and commerce demanded better methods
of transportation between the Eastern States and the Pacific coast, but


there
these


were


other


sections


reasons


into


closer


a more


public


communication.


character


The


bringing


establishment


and


maintenance of


army posts and


naval


stations


newly acquired


and settled regions in the Far West, the extension of mail facilities to
the inhabitants, and the discharge of other governmental functions, all


required


a connection


in the


shortest


time


and at the least distance


that was possible and practicable.


wnas n manifest that


The importance of this connection


the Government was aroused to action before all





REPORT


BesoltuUous relating to


nteroceanic
tionis come
g"reS.


communica-


before


OF THE


The


ISTHMIAN


increased


communication


N
Congress.


CANAL


importance
brought the


joint


COMMISSION.


int~roceanic


subject
was ii


resolution


also


atrodu


before
Loed in


the House of Representatives during the Thirtieth


Congress, authorizing the survey of


certain routes for a canal or rail-


Referred to select corn-.


alMs..


road


between


two oceans


which


with


other


papers of a like character was referred to a select


committee of which Mr. John A. Rockwell was made chairman.


eort ockwell co-
mitte..


uked


the


The committee did
what extent, if any,


should be


importance o


rendered


a communication


not
the


feel
aid <


these
from


prepared


to say to


Government


projects, but recog-


ocean


ocean, and


presented such


information as was available


in relation


pal routes to which public attention had been directed.


to the princi-
The superior


hnportance of


a ship canal was


recognized, but it was suggested that


until one could be constructed a railroad would be valuable for earlier
use and as an auxiliary to a canal.
The passage of the joint resolution was recommended with an amend'


maten authorizing surveys from some point on the Gulf


Mexico to


the Pacific Ocean


, in addition to the surveys


resolution.
eI report of this committee was


provided for in the


joint


made to the House February 20,


1849, in the second session of this Congress, and is numbered 145.


lemoral of projectors of
Panama railroad.


same


John


session


L. Stephens, and


William


Henry Chaunc


Aspinwall,
y, who, as


will appear a little farther on, had undertaken the
ucounsructrn of the Panania railroad, presented a memorial, asking that
the Secretary of the Navy be empowered to enter into a contract with


them


transportation


over their


road,


when


completed, for a


periodof twentyyears, of naval and army supplies, troops, munitions


of war, the United States mails,


and public agents or officials, at a rate


not eiceeding the amount then specified by law to be paid for the trans-
'"~~Lv rpol onf condi- bF.


portation of the mails alone
Hell'?^fV'OTkTil~ /n


from


txon kat they commence within


New


one


York toc


year, and


SLiverpool, on condi-
complete within three


years their
referred in t
Affairs. and


proposed rofa
he House of


a report


was


across


Representatives
made recommi


isthmus.


The


memorial


was


the Committee on Naval


ending that


they be


granted





REPORT


THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


Advantages of Nicaragua
route.


The advantages


an interoceanic


which


cana


this
I bee


country offered


n


known for centu-


ries,


negotiation


and


a treaty with


desire


Nicaragua


secu
Mr.


re them
Elija I


ise


, charge


d'affaires of the United States, in June,


Hlise treaty.


term


Republic


1849.


undertook to confer upon


the United States


, or a company


its citizens


, the exclusive right to


construct


through


territory


canals


, turnpikes,


railways,


or any


other kind of


roads, so as to


open


a passage


communication


land or water, or both, for the transit and passage of ships or vehicles,


or both


between


Caribbean


Pacific


Ocean.


The


terms of the treaty were most liberal, and in return the United States


was to aid and protect Nicaragua in all defensive wars,


Navy and


available


means


and


resources


both


the Army and
countries to be


used


,if necessary


to defend


the territories of


the latter or to recover


such as might have been seized or occupied by force.


sented
United


to these terms


States


because it was desired


in resisting


policy


which


to secure


Great


Nicaragua con-
the aid of the


Britain


was


then


pursuing


Central America,


with the apparent intention of securing


permanent


control of


lower waters of


the San Juan


under a


claim


already mentioned,


that the boundarie


of the Mosquito district


extended


to and


included the mouth of


that river,


where at this time


the Mosquito flag was maintained under


British protection.


Hise succeeded by Squier.


tration at Washington.


Mr.


Hise


had exceeded his authority in making


this treaty and it was not approved by the Adinins-


He was afterwards recalled and was succeeded


Squier,


who negotiated another


treaty upon the subject


Contract
Atlantic and


of American,
Pacific Ship


a contract


Atlantic


for
the


facilitating
Pacific, by


transit


means


from
a ship


Canal Company with Nic-
aragua.


canal or railroad


Atlantic


in the interest of


Pacific


Ship


Canal


the American,


Company,


corn-


posed of Cornelius


Vanderbilt


, Joseph L.


White


Nathaniel H


Wolfe,


and their associates.


These


two


treaties were


never


ratified,


they were


subjects


Clayton-Bulwer treaty.


conference and discussion during the


negotiations


which led to the Clayton-Bulwer treaty of July


1850.


By this


it was agreed,


4-
amon~r
%


other


things,


that


two con-





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISBIOIL


This provision was understood to be in
f I JB l : ~m. /S'iH : f


for which


WjmrS W oKrset withu
bus Compey.


August, 1849.


cquier


the interest of


had


obtained


the company


a contract


By its terms the State had granted


period


eighty-five


years,


p mounted from


the completion and opening


of the work to public use,


the


exclusive


right


and


privilege


excavating


ship


canal


VOSMOI


izes, from


Grey Town, or


any other feasible point


the Atlantic,
Tamorinda,


San


means


River,


and


lhe port
Juan d<


San


Li~ke


Juan


Managua,


Realejo,


Sur, or


River,
or any


Gulf


any


other


Lake
other


Amapala


point


Nicaragua,


waters


or Fonseca,


on the


the
its


within


Pacific,
Tipitapa
jurisdic-


tion.


The contract also


cdnstruet rail


or carriage


gave to the


roads


and


company the
bridges, and


exclusive


to establish


right


steam-


boats and other vessels on the rivers and lakes as accessories to and in


furtherance of


execution


the canal


project.


And


the con-


struction of the canal or any part of


it should


be found to be imprac-


ticable, then
some other


company was


communication


authorized


between


to establi


a railroad


two oceans within


time


limited and subject to the same terms and conditions.


Canal confany incorpo-
rated In Nicaragua.


Subsequently in


incorporated
prevent any


March


, 1850, the company was


Republic


embarrassments


Nicaragua to
development


and prosecution of its enterprise.


I new arrangement was
the contract relating to


made
steam


August,


navigation


1851


, by which the part


upon the waters


State was separated from that relating to the canal.


This was desired


by the co many so


as to establish


a transit route


across the


isthmus


connecting with steamship lines at the terminal


ports.


It was accom-


polished


Organization of


a new


Acces-


sory Transit Company.


charter, authorizing the
company with the same


organization
membership,


another


but distinct


and separate, to be known as the Accessory Tran-


sit Company,


with


understanding,


however,


that


neither


party was


relieved


from


performance of


obligations imposed by the former contract and charter.


Transit route established
by accessory company.


The


year,


accessory


availed


company,


itself


of the


during t]
privileges


following


new


contract and established a transportation line from





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHM1AtI~T


CANAL


GOEXISSIOK


was finally terminated by the disturbed conditions which resulted from


the expeditions of

Central Amer can Transit
Company.


Walker into Central America.


At a later date the


transit route was reopened for a short


time under


a new charter in the name of the Central American
Transit Company.


The American Atlantic


Pacific Ship Canal Company


also


took


preliminary steps for the accomplishmentof the larger matters involved


in its contract.


Though there had been before this time many explora-


tions


, reconnoissances, and examinations


this


country with a view


to the location and excavation of a ship canal, it does


not appear that


any thorough


and


complete survey


had


ever


been attempted, and if


any had ever been


made there


was


no record


existence


or of


any


basis


even


roughest estimate of


the cost of such a work


upon any of the proposed lines through Nicaragua.


mined that there should be a careful


instrumental


to ocean and that a line of location should


It was now deter-
survey from ocean


be determined upon.


cot


Colonel Chllds appointed
to survey canal route.


Orville


Childs, of Philadelphia,


as chief engineer


take


charge


was appointed


this


work


August,


The results of thi


in connection


1850, and he completed it in March, 1852.


survey are given in another chapter of this report,


with the engineering features of the Nicaragua route.
At the request of the company the report of the


Report ul
Colonel Abert


bmltted


and Lieu-


tenant-Colonel Turnbull.


survey and
Fillmore to


location


was


submitted


Abert and


President


Lieut.


Col.


Turnbull


United


States topographical


engineers,


for their inspection and opinion,


and on the 20th of March, 1852, they


reported that the plan proposed by Colonel Childs was practicable,
recommended some changes and modifications.


In view of the joint agreement to protect such a


c*~,nal


entered


into


by the United


States


and


Great


Britain


it was


deemed


advisable


invite the British Government to submit the Childs report to engineers


well-known


skill


and


experience,


and


Submitte
engineers


British


by request


American minister.


request of Abbott Lawrence, the American minis-


Lord


Malmesbury


Edward Aldrich, of


- James


Walker,


eminent


civil


designated


the royal


engineer,


Lieut.


engineers,
make th4


and


Col.
Mr.


desired


examination.


I




REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


increase of


the depth to 20 feet,


of the locks to 300 feet.


the breadth to 50 feet, and the length


These dimensions thev said


would render the


navigation more


increased


expense


efficient
e would


for the


general


unimportant


purpose
when


trade


compared


, and
with


advantages.
Value of Chllds report.


the constru
vef hi r ZUC
KK uson s
K^ K ne K K


action of
1o hasb


Nothing


further


Atlantic and Pacific
a maritime canal, b


ever


since


been


was
Ship


done
Canal


American


Company toward


ut the value of the Childs sur-


recognized, and


reached by him have served as a


basis for the


results


and


operations


~uanra
flJ$3.s, Rat


otract of companies
ononpert rm -


No pr
tion of


ogress having been
the canal, it was claim]


made in the construe-
med by the President


of Nicaragua that the undertaking had been aban-


doned


and


that the company had


failed


make


he annual payments due under its contract, and the decree was made


on the


18th


tracts made


day of
with lt


February, 1856, revoking and annulling the con-


he ship


canal


company and


accessory


transit


o pany. and all the privileges contained
incoporation, and dissolving and abolish
r decreed that all the company pro
S 1" "" '1 1- 1 -


qf anch amount as might


h


therein, and
inr the comn


C


rt. t1r~L.


also the act of


ipames.


It was


perty be seized to secure the


oe ane me t otew


be ascertained


board appointed
cBmpany denied


to make a thorough examination


the right


Government


affairs.


to annul the con-


and withdraw the charter, and various attempts were made from


an3 rea
p 0K KK:;t-:KKK K 'K


time to settle their differences, but .the decrees were


firmed and no work was ever done
whih Colonel Childs had prepared.
"Cornel G


After the Nicaraguan (
to American Atlantic and
*rican


governmentt


by the


had declared


Pacific Ship Canal


renewed


company upon the

the concession to


Company terminated,


Ii naed


of
thai


noncompliance


it was


with


still entitled


terms,


to the


and


while


company


privileges it contained, Nica-


.ragua and Costa Rica united, in ME
Mon to elix .Belly, a citizen of Fra
dmoft f -the San iuan, by way of


A


iy, 1858, in granting a like conces.
nce, to construct a canal from the
the river and Lake Nicaragua, to


This concession was to be executed by a company which he


was B oOrg
fip tfr pjf.


ranize. The neutrality of the canal was to be maintained by
nnwsr" in arnnnv with the nolier of the Clayton-Bulwer


P4


*J


'* *'**


l


i





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


OANAL


COMMISSION.


these


powers to exercise a permanent armed


intervention would


give


serious


cause of


dissatisfaction to all


others.


But


no effort was


made to carry the obnoxious clause into effect, for the company failed


to execute its project


concession was


annulled.


In October,.


1868, the two Republics entered into a contract with Michel Chevalier,


another citizen of France


, with the same purpose in view.


They also


entered into a treaty with one another in'the following year, in support


of the contract, which is presented more fully in the chapter on


privileges,
trained in


"Rights,


and franchises," and some articles from the treaty are con-


Appendix


This effort


secure


the construction


canal also failed, and the contract was forfeited.


Before


treaty


with


New


Granada


already


New Granada makes con-
tractwith French Company
for railroad at Panama.


referr
May,


ed


had


been


ratified,


1847, had granted to the


that


Republic,


Panama Company,


an association


Frenchmen


represented


one


Mateo Kline


, the exclusive privilege of building a railroad between the


two oceans across


isthmus


ninety-nine


years,


counted


from the day of the completion and opening of the road to public use.
The company failed to carry out this contract and it was declared for-
feited.


New contract with Amer-
ican Company.


Subsequently, in December, 1848,


ment transferred the privileges


tract


with some


modifications


of the
which


Kl


wil


Govern-
ine con-
l appear


in another chapter of this report,


to Aspinwall, Stephens,


and Chaun-


cey,


who,


with their associates, organized the


Panama Railroad com-
pleted In 1855.


pany,


which


road


Panama
was c


Railroad Corn-


constructed


and


opened to public use early in 1855 from Aspminwall,


or Colon


to Panama


a distance of 47*


miles.


But this railroad


, valuable and useful as it promised to be, was only


a forward movement.


remained.


The barrier was more easily passed,


but it still


The desire for a maritime canal was increased rather


than


New examinations of dif-
ferent canal routes.


abated, and further examinations and surveys were


diligently prosecuted at different


isthmian


advantages and possibilities of


country


different


ascertain


routes


locations


and
and


develop
schemes


that


had been from time to time proposed.
The Government and people of the United State


, Great Britain, and


!~'




REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


There were traditions and reports of
in the mountain range and of passage


CANAL COMMIT

the existence of


es


for canoes used by the Indians


Swished


*to er fi :om sea


to sea.


So when the difficulties


of the Nicaragua and Panama canal
Survey and the survey for t
and:survey


erected


transit,


to this


r1e


routes were made known by the


he


"n in the hone of
yo n X ...j AK -


A


railroad,
finding


public attention was


a shorter


and


easier


where a sea-level canal might be excavated.


Three general


lines were examined-the San


Blas,


Caledonia Bay,


and


the


Atrato.


They


derived


their


names


in each


case


from


Atlantic
courses


terminus, 1
d different


there


were


rivers, and, in


variations


case


E each, following the
Atrato, reaching the


Pafci at different


points from the Gulf


San Miguel to the mouth


of 'the San Juan at Chirambira Bay, more than 300 miles farther south.


These examinations were


made in some cases at


unit."


Saes Govern-


meant aids in the examina-
tios.


the expense of


private individuals and companies,


Government


was


sometimes


extended through


the Navy Department, and par-


ties of


officers and men


from the United


States vessels


on the coasts


of the isthmus explored the country to determine whether any practi-


cable and


desirable canal


routes existed there.


The country was also


visited by other exploring parties from Great Britain and France.


General results.


Some


stated and


the result
considered


:s of these


another


examinations are


chapter


of this


report.


It is sufficient to say here that they added greatly to the topo-


graphic and
expectations


geographic


of those who


be found where a canal


knowledge


had


could


these


anticipated
be construe


that
d at


regions


and


that


an easy route would
comparatively little


cost were not realized, though


some of


the reports were so favorable


as to


encourage


further


investigation.


Accounts


some


these


expeditions are


made


to be found


ii'


Secretary of the


Sthe r
Navy


report on the
bv Lieut. I.


isthmus of Darien,
G. Strain in 1854,


published during the Thirty-third Congress, second session,
du.... r ing.. ^ *^^^^* secon sess n,


SDoeo .No. 1, and irk the report of Lieut. John T.
th reor of


States


Navy,


published


during


Forty-seventh


Sullivan,
Congress,


5 Senate
United
second


Sion, a House Ex. Doe. No. 107.


Bea. rnaeq i export of
resmaults of examinations In
n -.


In March, 1866, a resolution was adopted by the


Senate, requesting


Secretary of


Navy to


srow. 51

low depressions


Is


t




REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


OANAL COMMISSBBION.


the resolution was understood to be to obtain a basis for a continu-


ance of


the examination of


the routes not already sufficiently known,


without any useless expenditure of money upon schemes already found
to be infeasible and unpromising.


Report of Admiral Davis.


In response to the resolution, Secretary Welles,


inm the


following


July,


transmitted


report


Rear-Admiral Charles


Davis


which was


printed as Senate Execu-


tive


Document


during the


first


session


Thirty-ninth


Congress.


It was


accompanied with a


general


map of the American


isthmus and maps and profiles of


different


routes


included in the


investigations made under the resolution.


The report enumerates


country


19 canal and 7 road projects in


extending from Tehuantepec to the Atrato.


the isthmian


It excludes from


further consideration


projects


Tehuantepec


and


Honduras


possessing


little


merit


as practicable canal


lines.


With reference to


the eight routes in Nicaragua, Admiral Davis says:


"It may be safely asserted that


no enterprise,


presenting such for-


midable


difficulties,


will


ever


undertaken


with


even


our


present


knowledge


American


isthmuses.


Still


likely to


entered upon while such strong and well-founded hopes are entertained


by the promoters of


finding elsewhere


union of


a very much


easier


Atlantic


and


, cheaper, and


Pacific


more


oceans of


practicable


route for a canal in every way suited


to the present demands of


corn-


merce and navigation."
In speaking of the project of connecting the Upper Atrato with the


San Juan


, he says:


"The examination of the headwaters of the Atrato, of the interven-


watershed, and


the headwaters of the San


Juan


satisfactorily


proved that nature forbid


us altogether to entertain an idea of a union


of the two oceans in this direction."
He gives a general description of the other lines in Panama, Darien,
and the Atrato valley, and favors further examinations for the reason


that


, according to his statement,


"there does not exist in the libraries


of the world the means of determining,


even approximately, the most


practicable


route


a ship canal


across


isthmus."


further


says,


"The


Isthmus of Darien has not


been


satisfactorily explored,"


and afterwards adds


"It i


to the Isthmus of Darien that we are first


S1..I. .- ...it .^ .r .P it.----------------.-----------l.~ .. -.--. ----- 1 I





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


as Chief of the Bureau of Navigation,


was authorized


to


send opt expeditions for this purpose.


organize and
In March,


Cosress authorlzeN fur-


her explo


able in


c a1 a


rations.


1872,


a further


it
explorations & &in
formatibin hearing the
.cross the 4merican contir
:* ym e*: ::*:. J^.a n A ~
tero ^B---^--/: -^fi^


resolution


of a commission


waS


adopted


to study the results


From other reliable sources all avail-
racticability of the construction of a


tent.


The President appointed on this


and Cbmmodore
ti~ 1teNafy.
Th &lrrmtxiissioners
Ait been made before


Inte roceani Canal Commission


reys, Chief of
P. Patterson,
Daniel Ammen


considered
their app


Engineers,


Gen.


Hum-


United States Army;


Superintendent of the Coast Sur-
, Chief of the Bureau of Naviga-


results


ointmentt


investigations which


and those still


min progress,


aid under their directions further explorations and examinations were


made


isthmian


country


wherever


they


regarded


additional


information as necessary to enable them
the law.


to carry out


the purposes of


~*ummtspos.


Capt. R.


. Shufeldt,


United States Navy, hadlin


been placed in charge of an expedition to Tehuan-


tpee in the fall of 1870; he reached the Atlantic terminus of the route
aly in November and completed his examination in the latter part of


following April.


level


and


transit


line was


run from


Salina


Crus, on the Pacific, to thedividing ridge at Tarifa, and was continued
b there to the junction of the Upper Coatzacoalcos, or Corte River,
with the Blaneo.


Te iant of sufficient force and


the season


of the


year prevented


the running of the line from Tarifa to the Atlantic, but the party had
the results of former surveys for railroad purposes and careful obser-


vations


frequent


made


journey


those employed


along


route,


expedition,


them


during


in reaching


their
their


inclusion.


The


canal


line,


which was recommended in


the report of the expe-


edition commenced


at the head


navigation in the Coatzacoalcos,


the island of Tacamichipa, th
utfizifig it whenever desirable,


ence


through


valley


rive,


to the dividing ridge at Tarifa, thence


descending through Tarifa Pass, probably by the valley of the Chicapa,





REPORT


Captain


THE


Shufeldt entered


ISTHMIAN


upon


OANAL COMMISSION.

work, maintaining that "with


the advantages of


modern


science


a canal


can be built anywhere, in-


evolving only the question of


expense, provided water can be found to


But


when


reported


result


survey,


and


con-


sidered the difficulties and expense of executing the plan, he expressed


the opinion


that it "can only be deemed


practicable to


extent of


its political and commercial necessity, measured by the progress of the


age."


The


report was


printed as Senate Executive Document No. 6,


in the second session of the Forty-second Congress.


Nicaragua.


examine


April


mand


was


Commander


Navy,


he Nicaragua
in attempting


then


assumed


was


route


Crosman


placed


1872


in charge


but was


effect a landing
v Commander


United


States


of an expedition to
drowned on the 12th


Greytown.


Chester


The


Hatfield,


cornm-


United


States Navy,


the officer next in rank,


who began a survey on the west


side


Lake


season.


Nicaragua,


and


October, 1872, he


continued


was


work


relieved


until


Commander


e rainy
Edward


Lull,


Lull survey.


United


reorganized


States Nai
November,


the expedition


and


a survey


was
the


entire route from Greytown to Brito was completed during the follow-


mg year.
engineer.


Mr.


Menocal served in this expedition as chief


An account of


this survey will


appear in another


civil


chapter


this


report.


It follow


the Childs


route


, except


that on the west


side of


the lake it crosses the divide


farther to the north and follows


the valley of


the Medio to the lake


, making a shorter line,


but requir-


ing deeper cutting at the divide.
The Hatfield and Lull report was printed as Senate Executive Docu-


ment No. 57


in the first session of


the Forty-third Congress.


McFarland report.


The


Interoceanic


Canal


Commission


had


also


before them a report on the Nicaragua route made


by Maj.


Walter McFarland, Corps of Engineers,


United States Army,


who


was


detailed


examinations.


War


went


over


passes in March, 1874, and


including a rough estimate of


Department to aid
ae country through


made a favorable


the cost of


report


canal 26


in making
which the


upon


feet


these
canal
route,


deep at $140,


000,000.


The


report


was


printed


Senate


Executive


Document


No. 46, in the second sessionrof


the Fifty-second Congress.




REPORT


TUE


ISTHMIAN
*^ ^ **


CANAL


COMMISSION.


from the Bay of Limon to


the Chagres, ascending


nte Obispo to the divide and descending the P
ofte Rio Grande o thle Bay of Panama.
eal of the Pana"a ailroad, and the plan of
oK KKe ta ak Xra aria. XX K K^ ^ T^B


valley and


pacificc


atope


that


by the


It follows the pa-


construction,


with


e variations, has ben adopted in most of the subseque.
The report was printed as Senate Executive Document No.


at surveys.
75, in the


third session of the Forty-fifth Congress, and the project is more fully
described in another chapter of this report.


The


Interoceanic


Canal


Commission


had


before


surveys


which


had


Darien and


been


made


the Atrato


various


Valley and


routes


further exami-


nations


were


made


parts of


these


regions


Captain


Lull


and


Saul ad MNFarlfnd.


Major McFarland, the results of which are printed


the volumes


already referred


to, in connection


with their reports upon the Panama and Nicaragua routes.


Prior


Seifridge.


this,


Commander


Selfridge,


United States Navy, was engaged for many months


in 1870-1873 in exploring this part of the isthmian country.


He was


first
1870,


placed


command


an expedition


junior officers of


by Secre
Navy and


t


ary Robeson in
others from the


Coast Survey and a number of skilled assistants, besides a large guard


of marines,


and


was


directed


make a


survey


isthmus


Darien to ascertain the point at which to cut a canal from the Atlantic


to the


Pacific Ocean.


Two vessels were placed


under


immediate


command


and


Pacific side.
was sent out


a third
A similar


was


detailed


undei


cooperate
Sthe same


with


him


on the
officers


to continue the work in the following year, and under a


later order
April, 1873.
of 1870 and


from


Navy Department


1871, and was


in command of


work was


due of


completed


vessels on the


Atlantic side.


The


parties


working


under


these


orders


made


tentative


surveys


from San Blas Bay t- the


headwaters of the Chepo, from


Caledonia


Day to the


Morfi, and from the same vicinity on the eastern coast to


the Scubti across the divide; also the Depuydt route and that of
Cocarica and Tuyra rivers.


The repot of these surveyswas printed as House Mis.
a* .&' /.


: tk~ 4L~ .~Anfl itt a "Un,.4~r. nn nnw. ii inn Cd


Darien,


with a corps of


expedition


principal


Commander Lull assisted in the work of the expeditions


Doc. No. 113





REPORT


THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMXISBION.


lake and


through


Grande to


construction and


offers fewer difficult
points of view than


the valleys of
Brito, on the


maintenance of
ies from engine
any one of the


Medio


Pacific


and


the Rio


coast, possesses, both


a canal, greater
ering, commercial


other routes


advantages and
, and economic
n to be practi-


cable by surveys sufficient in detail to enable a judgment to be formed
of their respective merits."


This


report was


not transmitted to


Congress till April,


1879,


when


it was called for by a resolution of the Senate.


ate Ex. Doc. No.


It was printed as Sen-


15 in the first session of the Forty-sixth Congress.


While


Interoceanic


Canal


Commission was examining into the


merits of


the different canal routes a provisional company was organ-


ized


France for the purpose of


inaugurating a scheme for the con-


nection


the Atlantic


and


Pacific


oceans


a navigable


waterway


Colombia grants conces-
sion to L. N. B. Wyse.


across
Wyse,
visited


American


as the


isthmus.


Lieut.


representative of this organization,


the Republic of


Colombia


to examine the


isthmian section there and, if practicable,


to negotiate a favorable con-


cession as


a basis for


their plans.


May, 1876, he


entered


into a


contract


with


Colombian


Government


which


was


afterwards


May, 1878, modified


and


extended so as to give to the promoters the


exclusive privilege, for ninety-nine years,


of constructing and operat-


a canal


across


territory


Republic,


between


two


oceans,


without any restrictive stipulations of any kind, provided that


the company of


rims


in which


privileges
which the


execution selected a route


Panama


amicable


new


canal


Railroad


arrangement


company


could


Company


must


occupy


in that part of


already
made


with


territory


the isth-
exclusive


under
which


these privileges existed.


Under this


latter contract


general route of the proposed


canal


was


determined by an
others. t<


international
be assembled


congress of


later


engineers and


than


1881.


International


Scientific


Congress at Paris In 1879.


accordance with


Scientific


this


Congress"


provision an


was


assembled


"International


Paris


May, 1879,


and


a decision was reached


that. the best


line for a man-


time canal across the American isthmus was from the Gulf of


Limon


the Bay of


Panama.


account of


this


congress will


appear





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


ing features of the different plans upon which they have operated, will
appear in another chapter of this report.
The report of the Interoceanic Canal Commission was generally
accepted with reference & te feasibility of the proposed cani routes
in te Tehuantepec, arien, and Atrato regions, and no further sur-
*_ --s -A -J : *- -
___ -N :A'-'. ':** rI* / t'I . 1 ti 2 A I.-y HA


e ra made under the authority of the United


assue solet Yk astr
XRR tot *Iap raiway.,


Stat e.


But


endeavored


when


Mr.


carry


James


out his


Eads, in


project


1881,


a s


railwy, he :


recogidsed the advantages of the Tehuantepec transit for


his paes and obtained a charter
authorizin him to use this route.


from the Government of


His plan


Mexico


for transporting vessels


Srom


oc~sn


to ocean


had


many advocates,


who


believed


that such a


communi ':r:l:cato i


was entirely practicable, and


could


be constructed at


lss cost than


a maritime


canal


by any of the


routes that


have been


consideredd.


The


plan


was


brought


before


Congress


in an effort


secure


governmental aid, but without


success, and


since the death of


Mt Eads in


1887, no


further


efforts


have


been


made


carry


project into executi'
NiCaragua Menocal sur-
vey.-
4a^.


The Nicaragua route was again surveyed in 1885,


under an krder of the


Mr.


Menocal.


Secretary of


report


Navy,


recom-


wended a plan which is stated in the chapter of this report on the Nica-
ragua route.
The report of this survey was pri t d as Senate Ex. Doe. No. 99 in
th irat session.of the Forty-nminth Congress.


frost ziengetatl with
Ile awagu Ia 1884.


In December, 1884, a treaty had been negotiated
between the United States and Nicaragua, author-
izing the construction of a canal by the former over


the territory of the latter, to be owned by the two contracting parties.


It is more
appears a

It rhbiL


particularly referred to in another


SAppendix


December,


188&


still pending in the Senate,


part of
I, while


this report and


treaty was


it was withdrawn from


further consideration by the Chief Executive,


who


perpetual alli
of the territory


stated as a reason for his action that it proposed a


since with Nicaragua and the
nce.,


yof


that


State, contrary to


protection of
the declared


the integrity
policy of the


:**




REPORT


OF THE


ISTHML4i~T


CANAL


COMMISSION.


A company of execution was organized,


under the name of The Marl-


Maritime Canal Company.


time
and


Canal
operate


Company


canal under


Nicaragua, to


construct


these contracts, and it


was


incorporated by Congress in February, 1889.


The


features


project adopted


by this company, the work


accomplished,


subsequent


organized in connection with it,


failure
and the


construction


action of


company


the Government of


Nicaragua


in declaring its contract


forfeited


terminated


because


lack


fulfillment


most


essential


clauses are


stated


another chapter of this report.


Propositions to aid the company were


before Congress for several


years,


through an arrangement by which


the Government


was


become a stockholder and


an indorser of the


company's
was passed


bonds, and


by the


a bill for


Senate


accomplishment of


January, 1895,


failed


this purpose
n the House


Representatives.


Another


, retaining


company


organiza-


tion, but eliminating the private or individual stockholders,


was passed


by the Senate in January, 1899,
by the House before the close of


but no


final


action


was taken upon it


the Congress.


While


the former


bill was


pending in the House


an amendment to


the sundry civil appropriation


was adopted


in the Senate


for the


purpose


ascertaining


feasibility, permanence, and


cost of


construction


and


Nicaragua Canal Board.


completion


canal


contemplated route.


neers


was


provided


President-one from the Corps of


for,


Engineeers of


through
A board


Nicaragua


three


engi-


'e appointed by the
the Army, one from


the e
tions


engineers or
to be made


Navy, and


by the


one


Secretary of


from
State


civil


Under


regular


with the approval of


President,


this


board


was


to visit


and


personally inspect


route,


examine and consider the plan


, profiles, sections, prisms, and specifi-


cations for


various


parts, and


report to the President.


In case it


should


be ascertained that any


deviation from the


general


ine of


proposed


route was desirable


the board was directed so to state in its


findings and conclusions.


The bil
2.1895.


l


was


passed with


this amendment and


The President appointed Lieut.


was approved March


William Ludlow, Corps


Engineers,


United


States


United


States


Navy, and


Army;


Alfred


Civil Engineer


Noble


civil


engineer, to


Endicott,
constitute


*k;~ knn'..r1


; ~I' nn ~ A no4 n'rtn e~A n a +k~ T%414nn ~n nno ('Is no1


*Et jk A4 *r5b ** N




pH:'hhIIIIIIwmi;0~III~I!:n A 55 r AA1:A 4 'S V


REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


fixed in the law, and with the limited means appropriated for the
hment of its work, to make a full and thorough examination
ite route and obtain the nece ssary data for the formation of a final


project of
that there


a canal, and in the report a recommendation was


be further


explorations


and


+observations


included


so as to collect


Sthe information


and


data


regarded as essential


to the comprehension


fundamental


features


canal


problem,


which


should


decide the final location and cost of the work.


In aceordanee


with


the views


board, there was


included


the sundry civil appropriation
^ rr I


act,


which was approved June 4, 1897,


an appropriktion to continue the


surveys and examinations in Nicara-


gua, authorized by the former act, under which the Ludlow Board had


been appointed.


By this


latter


President was empowered


icaraguas Canal Conmmls-
aton.


appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the


Senate, a


commission


to consist


one


engineer


from the Corps of Engineers of the United States
Army, one officer of the Navy, from the active or retired list, and one


engineer from civil life.


This Commission was to have all the powers


and duties conferred


upon


the former


board and was to report


upon


the proper route for a canal in Nicaragua and


the feasibility and cost


of the


work,


with


view


making


complete


plans for


con-


struction of such a canal as was contemplated.


Pursuant to


this


authority, the


President


appointed Rear-Admiral


John G.
Engineer


Walker,
*s. United


United
SStates


States
Army


Navy,
.and


Col. Peter C.
Prof. Lewis


Hains,
M. Ha


r


Corps of
rot. civil


I


eng neer, to


constitute


the Commission,


which was designated


as the


Nicaragua Canal Commission,
dent. The Commission perfo
its report to the President Ms


II
N,


Admiral Walker being named as presi-
med the duties assigned to it and made
v 9. 1899; it includes the results of the


/


latest investigations made of
the present Commission. A


this


route


prior


limited number of


a the appointment of
copies of this report,


including an atlas which was


under the


direction


of the


prepared


accompany it,


present Commission


was


printed


information


but it has not yet been published as a Congressional document.
This brings the history of the transits of the American isthmus and


of the efforts to discover or construct a


navigable waterway from the


Atlanti to the


Pacific


to the close of


nineteenth century.


Four


hnndtfT~rfd wnrla bauMmrnTnAa;


a4 -*~ f -tr~r~M


Trr/h'nn ~ki -wr 1r-t-riFi





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


Nor has any line of


transportation by land or sea been developed in


either hemisphere that has furnished the advantages expected from the
desired waterway.
The passages to the Orient around the Cape of Good Hope, through


the Strait of


Magellan and around Cape


desire for a direct line of


Horn


have


not satisfied


communication eastward or westward.


the
The


passage north of the American continent, discovered in 1851, and that


north of


Asia, first made in 1879,


were valuable only as contributions


geographic
ice seldom


knowledge,


permits


for they are


a continuous


through
voyage.


arctic regions where


Line


transconti-


nental


railroad


connecting Atlantic


and


Pacific ports have facilitated


travel and commercial


intercourse


they have


not filled


place


of a ship canal.
upon a new line,


The reopening of the ancient communication, mainly
between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean


oceanic


completion
connection


Suez


westward


Canal


less


1869


made


importance


inter


people


Europe,
demand


little


that


American


effect on the American continent.


isthmus


opened


navigation


The


from


is each year becoming more imperative.


The extension of


our


territory


Philippines


include


made


this


Le Hawaiian
connection


Islands


most


and


desirable


afterwards


for the


proper


exercise of governmental functions wherever they are to be discharged.


The preparatory work has


been


practically


completed.


nations and surveys, made under the authority of


the Uni


The exam-
ted States.


have


furnished


accurate


knowledge


geography,


topography,


and other physical features of


the isthmian country


and dispelled the


exaggerations


and fictions which were


brought


back many years


ago


from


some


sections


by credulous


travelers and


unreliable


explorers.


The comparative


merits of


the different routes are better understood


than ever before


, and those involving engineering difficulties and cost


disproportionate to their value have been eliminated.


The two remaining


routes-the Nicaragua


carefully studied by the present Commission,


and Panama-have been
and this report will con-


tain a statement of


advantages


and disadvantages of


each and


approximate estimate of their costs,
mission as to which, in view of all


and also the judgment of the Cornm-


facts, is


more


practicable


and feasible route.




REPORT


OF THE


permit the occupation of


ISTHMIAN


their


territory


CAN

y b


AL


COMMISSION.


Another power for these
&


puposea; but their great desire to see the two oceans thus connected
ad their willingness to promote such an enterprise has, it is believed,


modified their views and policy to such an extent


o enter into negotiations with


that they are ready


the treaty-making power for the ocou-


nation oi
provided


their
they


territory
receive s


United


atisfactory


States


assurance


for
that


canal
their


purposes,
rights of


sovereignty will be retspcited.


When


these


international


questions are definitely


settled and Con-


gress has enacted the necessary legislation, the removal of the barrier


between thew two oceans and the opening of the


long-desired maritime


passageto the ships and navies of the world can be accomplished.
UaiOa~y Lli S~~a UU iaiVt~oU-itIA WUAU OfliUU ai~^U~A~lli~AC4













CHAPTER

DIMENSIONS AND


III.

UNIT PRICES.


In fixing the dimensions of the canal, it is necessary to consider care-


fully the dimensions


of. the


ships which will


the prevailing as


as the


developments


large,


exceptional


of the


types- of


near future.
work will


he present day,
If the dimension


augmented


and


probable


are too


unnecessarily


small


, the canal will not fulfill its intended purpose.


The


greater


part of


ships of moderate size.


the world'


Lloyd'
ad"


s commerce
Register for


by sea is


1900-1901


carried on by


contains the


names and


dimension


of 16.264


steam


vessels of


Dimensions of ships now
In use.


all kinds, of which about 8,900 are more than 200


feet long on the keel.


This number may be taken


as approximately the number of cargo


vessels.


Only


seagoing


ships have as great a beam as 50 feet,


and only about 800 would require


a lock more than 400 feet


employed


fast


mainly on the


passenger ships


long.
North


adapted


Until


Atlantic


any


recently the larger ships were


route
other


and


trade.


largest were


The


of large freight ships with more or less passenger accommodations has


Recent Increase In ship
dimensions.


now become a marked feature of


of ship


were


building.


the development


In the years 1897 to 1900 there


in service on


North


Atlantic


route


several ships of thi,
beam, and drawing,


type,


about


feet long over all, 63 to 65 feet


when fully loaded, 30 to 32 feet.


These were fol-


lowed by the


White Star ship Celtic, recently built, said to be 698 feet


8 inches long over


ships of


all, and


feet 4- inches beam.
Being introduced, 1


On other routes
> largest now in


use being the


White Star ships of the Afric


class, built for the British


colonial service via the Cape of


Good Hope,


which are


about 550 feet


long


between


perpendiculars,


64 feet


beam


and


have a


load draft of


- -- a -w a


well


the cost of the


adopted


building


similar dimensions




REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


routes and for freight
lai
Dethi of ranal.


- r-------------- -


^"gmenswon1
nage woul
ho longer


which can be quickly


ge ship is


handled at the p t he


more economy


ical carrier
,11arrmr ^b AJI


gives


These hip an importance in determining canal
much greater than their relative number or aggregate ton-


d indicate.
exceptional


ship drawing 32j


feet in salt water,


draw nearly 1 foot more in fresh
lane13aAyJ ot

which is


water,


s Id requires for *f~ vigation not less


than 35 feet of


water in the


canal.
nels.


SThis dep h is


therefore fixed as the minimum


in all the chan-


fixng


the width of


into account the
J~ Ull^4VI.JIl lthe


locks and


prism


fast passenger ships


it is not


North


necessary to
Atlantic r


take
uites.


Such a Crade is not likely to develop through


the Isthmus.


. Limiting


inq iry to


freight


or combined


freight


and passenger ships like


Sommeai ships.
I:Bea ot commercial ships.


those mentioned, it will be noted that the maximum


beam


73 to 76


feet is found


in very few ships;


excepting these,


a numerous


the greatest is


011158.


canIal


63 to65 feet,


were


which


intended


is found in
commercial


quite
uses


only, it might be questioned whether
the extreme beam of 75 feet or more,
tIe extreme4 be am1.^" tt


dimensions should


be fixed


with the added cost of construe-


n and minor disadvantages, but the imperative requirement that the
caqa shall afford a passage for the largest war ships makes it necessary
a 1 1a1l


Beam of war ships.
ke those o fl


to provide for a beam


canaiderably greater.


The


broadest ships building for the United States Navy


WYrgiia class which
W/ (g nifw caKS V-~U~


have a beam of


76 feet and 2-


The broadest battle ship afloat is the Italian ship Regina Mfar-


g*jW vreeintly launched, which has a beam of 78.2 feet. While the
incrae t in bean of war ships has for some years been less rapid than


withId of ioes.


that of commercial ships, it is unmistakable.


For


convenience inm operating the locks the width should


e or 3 feet greater than the beam of the ship.
ole fixed at 84 feet with a view to provide for
I team of shq t
i** beam. ... *, g *


The width is there-
some further increase


of war are shorter than commercial ships of


like


of lock


Pfor any war


chamber


now afloat or building.


600 feet would be suf-
In order to make the


canal practicable for the largest existing commercial ships, and alsoto
provide considerable increase in size, the only additional expense
.ro .efo a cnse..e mrase -n *ze,


L




REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN CANAL COMMISSION.


had originally a bottom width of


22 meters (72 feet 2 inches).


It had


meters


(209


been
make


intended,


this


between


feet


widtl


when
a44


the work was


meters


(144


projected,


feet


inches)


the Bitter Lakes and the Mediterranean,
inches) between the Bitter Lakes and the


Red Sea,


but the resources of


the company proved insufficient to carry


the work


on this plan.


The width


finally adopted proved incmoon-


veniently small,


and it has since been increased to about 115 feet.


the same time the depth has been increased from 26 feet 3 inches to 27


feet 10 inches.


The ratio of


present width to depth is about 4:1.


the Manchester Canal the depth is 26 feet,


but i


to be increased to 28


feet.


When this is done the bottom width


will be about 114 feet, and


ratio


width


depth will also be about 4:1.


The Amsterdam


Canal


is at present 36 meters (118


feet 1 inch) wide at the bottom and


meters


feet


inches) deep,


giving


a ratio of


width to depth


4:2.


These


Bottom width


dimensions


of prism


to be increased to 50 meters (164 feet)


width and 9.8 meters (32 feet 2 inches) depth,


a ratio


The


bottom


width


with
feet,


which has been adopted by the Commission for the


canal sections


Isthmian routes, gives a ratio of


width to depth


which


slightly


greater than


Suez,


Manchester, and


Amsterdam canals
Canal will give.


Prism dimensions of Klel
Canal.


ratio of


, and considerably less than the enlarged Amsterdam


Mention should be made of the Kiel Canal, which
has the bottom width first given to the Suez Canal,


72 feet


width to depth of


, and has a depth of 29.5 feet, giving a
This has not been taken into account


in the preceding


comparison, for


reason


that the width is clearly


shown
Suez.


insufficient


The Kiel Canal was


commercial


built


purposes


experience at


primarily for an outlet to the North


Sea for the German
warships rather than
commercial ships of


vessels


passing


navy, and is adapted for the possible transfer of


for
large


the
SIZ(


convenience of


traverse


about


e


in 1899 was


commercial ones.


The
tons,


Few


average tonnage of


which


may be


cornm-


pared


with


average


nearly 4,000


tons


ships


passing


through the Suez Canal during the same year.


Prism In soft earth and


The side


Si'


lopes


the isthmian


t .* I


SJ


- -n -t-- ~. - 4- .- ~ fl 4- -t fl~ fl I *~ 4--


canal
_~. L


sections
.a l- ^W A3


Prism dimensions of for-
eign canals.


Sof


adopted.


4:3,




!~K.


REPORT


such lerme,
wou d inter


OF THE


the berme


sect


ISTHM


being


bottom


[IAN CANAL
such width t


canal


COl


hat
the


EMISSION. 65

the extended slopes


foot of


vertical


pita


In several p1e a slope of


1 on 1 is used, as


the Culebra


0bi on account of the perliart nature of the material, and in places


on the Nicaragua route where


rock is underlaid by clay


material is liable to disintegrate in water, as in


Where the


Culebra


Cut, or


where the rook ia shattered or deficient in hardness, as in many places
on the Nicaragua route, retaining walls are provided, taking the place
of the vertical sides of rock cuts.


Channels in open water.


greater.


Where


channels


excavated


inm open


water


and the sides will be submerged, the width is made


In Panama Bay the bottom width is to be 200 feet, with side


slopes of 1 on 3, but at


mean tide the width 35


feet


below water will


be 260 feet and at high tide 320 feet.


In the San Juan River the exca-


vated channel will be 250 feet wide at bottom with side slopes of


1, and


in Lake


Nicaragua 300


feet with side slopes of


1 on


2 .in


1 on
firm


clay and 1 on 6 in overlying mud.


In the artificial harbors at


Colon


and Greytown it will


be 500


feet with


turning


places 800


The entrance to Brito Harbor will also be 500 feet wide


bor itself, on account of its restricted length,


feet wide.
t the har-


will be 800 feet wide.


The channel widths above given are for straight sections.


On curves


of less than 12,000 feet radius, in channels less than 500 feet wide, the


Widening on curves.


width is increased at the rate of 1 foot for each 200


feet


reduction of radius, the widening on a curve


6,000


feet radius


being


feet.


This


is an arbitrary allowance.


It is the same as the allowance in Kiel Canal for a radius of 5,000 feet;


less than in


the Kiel


Canal


radii


under


5,000


feet


and


more for


radii over 5.000 feet.


Description of locks.
the side walls.


As already started, the


locks are to


have a clear


length of 740 feet and a width of 84 feet between
The depth over the head wall and over the miter sills


at the lower end of the locks,


which fix


the available depth for ships,


is to be 35 feet, the same as in the prism of the canal.


The miter sills


at the head of the


locks are


placed 1 foot


lower, the slightly greater


safety thus afforded for these sills being secured by merely exchanging


1 foot in


height of


gate


1 foot


height


of miter


sill wall and


without appreciable cost.


In order to give


the required clear length,


U, U -. ~U -. a -. I


__...:__ -_


m





REPORT


Guard gates.


OF THE


with


ordinary


ISTHMIAN


least


CANAL


COMMISSIO.


possible delay, guard


miter form


are placed


gates of the


both


ends of


every lock


or flight of locks, those at


the foot opening downstream.


When repairs to the lock are needed, these gates can be closed and the


lock


pumped


cofferdams


or the


immediately,
uncertainties


thus


avoiding


delay


attending


caisson


building


gates.


This provision


the St.
strated
walls.


is not usual,


Marys Falls canals,


there.


These


and its


gates


Ls been adopted for all the locks of
utility has been frequently demon-


supported


by extensions tf


lock


The extreme length of the masonry is 1,031.5 feet for a single


lock and 1,829.5 for a flight of two locks.
While these locks provide for the passage of the largest ships antici-


pated in the


near future


it is realized


that


the larger part of the sea


traffic of the present day is carried on by much smaller ships.


Smaller


locks


than those


adopted


could be operated


more quickly


and would
part of th
width of 1I


ships. It is
introduction


effect a material


traffic and
Stocks can


practicable,


aggregate


reduce


saving


amount of


time


water


reduced without


however


intermediate


gates,


, to provide


whereby


greater


consumed.


excluding


horter


two


smaller


lock


The


t large
by the


chambers


can be obtained and some of the advantages secured of having a small


lock


small


ships.


By the


arrangement


shown


in the


plans


whole chamber


can


used


intermediate


gates


remaining open;


by using these gates in connection with the


ber is provided having


a clear length of


upper lock gates, a cham-
feet, and by using them


in connection with the lower lock gate


, a chamber is provided having


a clear
in use.


length of 400 feet,


With


two


sufficient for most of


the freight ships now


locks combined in a flight, only one of the smaller


chambers


in each


lock


is available, the


intermediate


gates


being


placed that either the full length of the 400-foot chamber can be used.


may be found


expedient


in construction to


make the length of


reduced chamber 450 feet.
All the locks on both routes will have rock foun-


Foundations of locks on


rock.


dations.


The


rock


varies


greatly


soft and partially disintegrated.


from


hard


The poorest will


carry safely the


imposed


load,


but will


permit slow seepage for con-


siderable


distances, and will


offer


little


resistance


abrasion.


The





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


~<~


notable example, the great mass of masonry being concrete, granite
being used only for quoins, copings, and exposed angles, and brick
Spurned to the point of incipient vitrification for facing the walls above


low water and for culvert linings. The moi
Isthmus is particularly favorable for concrete.
Ifl~t elcks of e'reat


CuIfl~ IlMap.


water in the culverts will


st,


est


warm

lift t


reach


climate of the


velocity


50 to 60 feet per


second, which woul severely test any masonry, even of the best brick


o ut t e.o


Even in locks of the smaller


lifts some kind of protee-


t for the surfaces of the culverts will


probably be necessary.


a bsis for estimates a lining of cast iron of a minimum thickness of 1


W~iS


provided


where


extreme


head


water


culverts


eceods 800 feet and a lining of vitrified brick for smaller heads.


Lock gates.


The gates are designed of


miter form.


They are based


steel of the ordinary
on actual designs of


gates


nearly


equal


dimensions


prepared


under


direction


the United States Board of Engineers on Deep


Waterways.


Designing the


looks


the varying


height


of rock


at each


of the


slk sites has been taken into account.


The details of the studies con-


SceriMng the stability of


the walls, as well as of


loss of water


age, etc., are given in Appendix A. .
n order to facilitate the movement of ships into the locks, as well as


*Alrad nl.


f ong


afford


a safe


place


awaiting lockage, a


provided on


one


side of


ships


vertical


approach


walupl
wall


canal at each end of


while
1,200
every


xlo or l ht.
Unit prices have been fixed by agreement of all the members of th%


alt pces.


Commission, on


ferences


opinion


principle that, wl
or circumstances


atever
may c


dif-


~xist,


they are not enough to interfere with


a fair and


close comparison of


th different route.


These prices are as follows:


Removal of hard rock, per cubic yard -
Reoval of soft rock, per cubic yard - -


Removal of earth


Removal of


Removal of rock,


- --
----


, not handled by dredge, per cubic yard


dredgable material, per cubic yard


under water, per cubic yard -


Embankments and back filling.


ner cubic vard_


- - - -


4.75
. 60


- i





REPORT


OF THE


ISTUXIAX


CANAL


COMMISSION.


Brick in culvert lining, per cubic yard


$15.00


metal


locks,


exclusive of


machinery and' culvert


linings, per pound ----..
All metal in sluices, per pound.- -


- a a - - -
- - -- - - -


S- j- -
- -


.075
.075


Cast iron in culvert lining


Allowance for each


per pound


lock chamber


----- - .04


50, 000. 00


Additional allowance


for each group of locks


for power


100,000.00


plant - - - --. .- - - -


, per M. B.


Sheet piling in spillways, per M. B. M .. -
Bearing piles in spillways, per linear foot .


100. 00
75.00


-- ---------- .50


Average


price


pneumatic


work for the


Bohio


Dam,


below elevation


-30,


per cubic yard.


Caisson work for the Conchuda Dam, in place, per cubic
yard -... ..


29.50


20.00


Single-track railroad, complete,


with


switches,


stations,


and rolling stock,


per mile of


main line --


75,000. 00


It has been determined to add 20 per cent to the estimates of the cost
of construction to cover expenses that will be incurred for engineering,


*
Contingencies, etc.


police, sanitation, and general contingencies.


prices


based


efficient


organization


The
and


thorough


equipment,


with


understanding


that


while


work


be vigorously handled


unnecessary


and


plant will


duplication


large,


it would


machinery


it will


be so


The


driven


cost


be distributed


over


as to call for
te equipment
a very large


work.


for operating machin-


Price of timber in locks


would












CHAPTER


Iv.


OTEER POSSIBLE ROUTES.


The


American


isthmus,


most extensive


General description
American Hmius.


longitude and


meaning, is about 1,400 miles long, extending from


seventy-seventh


from


It embraces that portion of


eighth to eighteenth


ninety-fifth


parallel


the Republic of Colombia


which


meridian
latitude.
lies west


of the Atrato River in South America, the whole of


the five republics


which are grouped together as Central America, and so much of Mex-


ico as lies east of Tehuantepec.
is from southeast to northwest.


The general direction of the isthmus


For the eastern


miles


the width


this


barely 30


miles


isthmus


miles


near


is comparatively
to a maximum of
boundary between


small,


varying from a minimum of


miles.


It then widens to


Nicaragua and Honduras, narrows


to about


miles


opposite the Bay of


Honduras,


widen


again into


great


peninsula


of Yucatan, and


finally narrows


120 miles at


Tehuantepec.


glance


a map


indicates


that


only


possible


routes for an interoceanic canal must be at Tehuantepec,


Honduras, or within


at the Bay of


the eastern 600 miles.


Telluitepgec route.


as convenience


sibility from


approach


United States ports on both


ad ace
sides


~es -


the continent are concerned, Tehuantepec is
Practically the whole length of the isthmus


by far the


eliminated


best


on


location.
the dis-


tance


Pacific


ports,


and


while


distance


from


New


York


practically the
the mouth of


sam
the


e


ports


Mississippi


on the Atlantic side of the isthmus,


River is


only


about half


as far


from


Tehuantepec


as from


the


Atrato.


For


these


reasons


Tehuantepec


was selected by Capt. James B. Eads as


location


for


a ship


rail-


way across the isthmus.


If a ship railway is to be built it is probably


the best location.


The duties


this Commission


, however, are


con-


fined


finding


a route


a canal


between


the two oceans.


The







70 R

$200,000,00
estimate.


EI

)0,


UT


while


OF THE

e the c


ISTHMLILN


anal


would


CANAL C.

probably


OMMISSIOS.


least


this


Attractiveas the Tehuantepec route is from its geographical


location, it must be discarded as impracticable for a canal.


Bay of Honduras.
as Tehuantepec


be 400 miles


The next point is at the head of the Bay of Hon-
duras. This location would be nearly as accessible


on the Atlantic side, but


farther


from


north


Pacific


the Pacific
ports. The


terminus would
passage of the


isthmus here by a canal, or even by a


railroad


moderate grades, is


out of the question;
from consideration.


it is a


mountain region which


must


be dismissed


There remains the 600-mile stretch at the east-


Narrow eastern portion of
isthmus.


ern end of the isthmus,


within the limits of which


several routes have


been


proposed.


At the west-


limit


this


stretch


Lake


Nicaragua.


The


features of


Nicaragua route are thoroughly considered


in another chapter of this


report,


and nothing more need be said of it


agua to the promontory which


terminates in


here. From Lake Nicar-
Mariato Point and Cape


Mala, and which forms the western boundary of the Gulf of


Panama,


the isthmus, though


narrow, is


traversed


by a high


range


moun-


tains


, which prohibits its consideration as a location for a canal.


Gulf of Panama measures about 120 miles


headlands


known


as Cape


Mala


and


from
Pifias


The


east to west between


Point,


which practi-


cally form


southern


limit


about


miles


from


a line


necting


limit


these


two


points
closely


sweeps around this gulf on


tion


a half


circle;


northern


with


a curve


narrowest


extremity


100-fathom


which forms a


part


The


curve.


rough
whole


southern


The isthmus
approxima-
isthmus lies


north of the center of the Gulf of Panama.


The Atrato River
north latitude, flow


, rising near the fifth degree of
s northward about 300 miles at


a comparatively short distance from the Pacific and parallel to it,


thus


forming what


resembles an extension of


the Isthmus


southward;


the eastern


boundary of


this extension is not


the ocean.


The Atrato


is a silt-bearing


river


having


a considerable


fall,


and


itself


adapted


use of


ocean-going


craft,


without


large expenditures


for improvement and maintenance.


With the exception of Nicaragua


and Tehuantepec, all the routes which have been proposed for an isth-
a|n 4- 1 .. 1 I t4 T. 1 A


double


corresponds


Atrato River.




REPORT OF

tion. The old city c


THE


18THMIAN


Panama


was


CANAL


founded


COMMISSION.


1517


The


Spanish


crossing was by a paved
Poto hello, on the AtlI


road


i tic


from


side,


Nombre de
Panama,


Dios, and later from


n the Pacific.


Porto


Bolio Harbor was discovered and named by Columbus in 1502 and the
twn of Porto Bello was founded min 1584, The Panama Railroad was
ilt tny years ago ndur this ancient crossing, and its location is prae-


tialyidenticial with that selected for a canal.


Panama


route


is treated in full detail in another chapter of this report, nothing further
need besaid of it here.


&boat 70 miles.


The distance from the mouth of the Atrato River
to tide water on the Pacific at the nearest point is
Anything like a direct passage is entirely out of the


qaestin, mad it is manifestly impossible to find a canal


mouth of the Atrato to the


Pacific which will


less


line
than


from the
100 miles


long, if the improvements on the Atrato are considered a


part of


canal; the lines which have been suggested for this purpose


are


gen-


rally much longer.


While it is not impossible that a practicable line


p which to construct a canal can


Atrato


found with


Valley, the necessary length of the line,


terminus


together with the diffi-


eulties which would attend


a terminus


bearing river, are enough to show that in use
eithethe Panama or the Nicaragua location.


mouth of
it would b


a large


silt-


inferior


Limits of field work.


the search for other possible routes the field


work of this Commission


has been confined to the


regionlying


between


Panama


route


and


Atrato


River,


geiuding the routes which would utilize this


river.


Throughout the


prtiiof the Isthmus thus explored the continental divide, which else-
where lies near the Pacific, lies close to the Atlantic coast, and there are


intermediate valleys separated from the Pacific coast by ranges of


less


importance.


The


Chepo River


enters the


Gulf


of Panama 30


miles


at of the oty of Panama, coming from the east and draining a valley


nearly TO70 miles long.
.. *' / a


On the easterly side of the Gulf of Panama lies


*e~ Gultt


water


of San Miguel,


halfway


across


which is an excellent harbor, carrying


Isthmus.


The


Savana


River


enters


tide
this


gult from the north and the Tayra River from the southeast, while the


Chucunaque,


heading near the


Chepo and flowing


southeasterly, is


tributary of the Tuyra.


The continental divide on this section of the


to+)imuic ;a fhnro4!nra #b0 A;~AA0 b0f~~0~ 4-ka P Imnon Qnn on r.nn4h~


I





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


San Bias route.


The San Blas route was explored under the direc-


tion of


Mr. Frederick M.


Kelley in 1857, and was


subsequently examined by the United States Darien expedition, under


command


Commander


Thomas


Oliver


Selfridge,


United


States


Pacific,
Mamoni


Navy,


was


rivers


1870.


carried


The


with


across


Kelley


level


and


summit


examination,


transit


starting
ie Chepo


from


the


and


a point on the Carti, following


the valleys


these


streams.


The


Self ridge


surveys, starting


from


the Atlantic side were carried with level and


transit up the Mandinga


River, across


divide


while


divide, and up


barometrical


Nercalagua


reconnaissances


were


River
made


nearly to the
LI the Carti


River overlapping the Kelley survey.


This is the narrowest place on


the isthmus, it being less


than 31


miles from


shore


line


share line


and only
water in
as good
San Bias


about


two-thirds


the Chepo
as that at


River.
Panama


this


distance from


Furthermore,


while


Mandinga


at the northern end of the route


Pacific
Harbor,


Atlantic to tide
harbor is quite
in the Gulf of


is all that could be desired.


The


difficulty


line


in the


height


summit


to cross


which tunnel


from


8 to


10 miles in length were proposed.


Caledonia route.


The Caledonia route has the distinction of being


location


where


isthmus was


first


crossed


white


men.


1513


Balboa


from Caledonia Bay and crossed by


started


with


a tiresome


band


march


>f followers
San Miguel


Bav
~ *


Nearly


two


hundred


years


later,


chose this location for his Scotch colony of


in 1698


New


yjrifl.


Edinburgh,


Paterson
which by


occupying
trade of t


line


Pacific


transit across


and


East.


isthmus was


The


bay,


which


control


would


northern terminus of the canal, is still known as Caledonia Bay


the promontory at the southern end of the bay


while


near where he founded


his town,
have long


is called


since


Point


Escoces.


disappeared


All vestige


it would


Paterson'


work


hard to find any spot in


America


where there


fewer signs of


the work of


white man.


Caledonia Bay is a beautiful body


of water separated from the Car-


ibbean Sea by a series of coral keys and furnishing fairly good anchor


ages at both


ends,


though


the intermediate


portion


is shallow


route for a canal in this location would be from Caledonia Bay


. The
to San


Miguel
1 *1


Bay. As
1


a s U A.4 n t. - ~ ~. n


seen


S


from


I S


sea,


Caledonia


St


gap


is a very
i t A


- ~ -~ -. - ~ ~ ~ na t a t t r. a r~ rt ~ #t A'.





REPORT I

eiwedition in 1870.
e summit on this
'rtde only 2 miles
ffe northern tribu
whose examination


OF THE

It was


ISTHEIAN


claimed


line was not
wide a level
arv of the


was


more


G


CANAL


than 150


plain extended
lulf of San Mi


gue


continued completely


height of
SI 'r


that from a


Savana River,


Mr.


across


Gisborne,


the isthmus,


reaffirmed


this


claim.


Strain'


examination and


subsequent ones


ailedto find any suokrcondition.


mM. trae~d.


All the examinations of which there is sufficient


information


give


them


any


authentic


value


were made on the


method of
llaw the'


this way.


principle


examination
use of better


The claim


made


following


when


> streams.
tinie and


results can


some of


While


this


means do not


obtained


these routes, especially


in the


neighborhood


Caledonia


Bay,


were


such


that


substantiated


they would


better than any others.


It became necessary either to


fid these locations or to disprove their existence.


The proof derived


from


negative


examinations


character;


the several


not


valleys


be conclusive


must


until


always I
s shown


every
traced


stream


been


continuously,


explored.


positive


proof


however,


would


divide


substituted


could


nega-


tire proof.-


The Commission therefore organized a force for the pur-


pose


tracing the


at first proposed to


divid
trace


e


and


determining


continuity.


this divide continuously from


was


Chagres


Atrato.


This


been


done,


divide


been


traced from


Chagres


San


Bias


and


enough


beyond


cover all routes that


have been


suggested


this


location.


ban traced in both directions from Caledonia Bay far enough to cover


locations


which


have


range has been examined from


been


suggested


the coast


there.


The


continuously from


mountain
San Bias


to te Atrato.


The results of these surveys and this examination are


emh ied


the maps and


sketches


which


accompany


this


report.


WMhile they have not been absolutely complete, they have proved con-
ively that no low summit exists within the limits by which a canal


c would approach either


San


Bias


Bay


or Caledonia


Bay.


Any


canal terminating at either of these harbors will involve the construe-


tion of a tunneL.


There is a bare


possibility that


some


low summit


may exist


in the portion of


the range which was onlv examined from


COMMISSION.


that the


feet and


is permissible
ones, conclusive


that





REPORT


THE


113F1!ItMIAN


OANAL


this elevation was determined by actual leveling


was then followed down


COM MISSI o.

. The Chagres River


to the Panama Railroad, thus connecting this


survey with the Panama route.


The ridge has
latitude 8 45' NI


been continuously traced
., longitude 77C 38' W., t


from


o the


Carreto


summit,


Sassardi summit, lati-


tude


58'N


., longitude 77


vicinity of Caledonia Bay.


S52' W., covering the entire divide in the
The lowest summit within this limit is the


Caledonia gap,


elevations


with


an elevation


respectively


observed within these limits.


, 740,


681 feet.


827,


994,


Five other gaps,


1,098


feet,


with
were


' All of these elevations were determined


by actual leveling.


Observations from the sea


Between .the limit of


these


two


actual


s


there is a distance of 81 miles in an air line


urveys
where


the divide has not been traced.


There


also a distance of


about


mile


from the Carreto summit southeast to the Atrato where no actual


surveys


have


been


made.


Through


these


distances


divide


been carefully reconnoitered from the sea, the elevations of the higher


peaks being ascertained as well


as those


visible gaps, and


distances


being


determined


observation


made


with two sextants.


While
results


summit


this


method


such


existing


as to


within


examination


show that


these


is not


there


limits;


absolutely conclusive, the


is no probability of


this


improbability


any low
further


increased by the general character of the watershed of the country


Examination from Pacific


All this summit examination was made from the


side.


Atlantic


side.


addition


this, a


survey


was


made up the Chucunaque and the Chucurti rivers which was not quite


connected with the


threatening


been


supplied


work


attitude


from


done


from


ie Indians.
Selfridge


Atlantic


The


gap


survey


side, owing to
2 or 3 miles


1870.


These


surveys


were extended up the


Lara rivers


Tuyra and Aputi rivers and up the


, besides running a survey from the mouth of


Savana and


Lara


an easterly course to the Chucunaque.


The exploration


of other


possible


routes,


while


entirely com-


plete,


have


shown


that


is practicable


follow the divide in this


section of


the isthmus and that this is the method of


is applicable to the isthmus.


The good health of the field


exploring which


parties has


~' -~ - 4. ,. n


L*US''AtFS I (I*1* I *ISLI ~ *hJ ItS US.. aSItLa *Ai.ISI#S*


1 u avnantnfnionllr ii n bha lhrr






appear tL


REPORT

o exist.


OF THE


The


ISTEMIAN


surveys, however


N' AL


have


COMMISSION.


shown


that there


possible tunnel location on the San Bias route and at least three on the
Caledonia route. Each of these four locations, though involving a
tuneT, provides for a sea-level canal.


Stannel.


With a view to
v^aii^ iew


a canal


tunnel


determine the approximate cost


a section of


tunnel was worked


out and this section is shown


depth of 35 feet, for a width of 10
th water line, ad r a height of


fig. 1.


This section


0 feet at the bottom


provides for a
. of 117 feet on


115 feet from the water surface to


the iatmadosof


the lining.


The estimate is made on


basis of


entire tunnel


being lined with


concrete


5 feet


thick.


The quantities


and estimated cost of a single foot of this tunnel are as. follows:


676.2 cubic yards excavation


at $5.


$3,381


8&7 cubic yards concrete, at $10


Total -, _.-. -


. .. .. 887


4, 268


This corresponds to $22,535,040 per mile. In the estimates the tun-
nel has been assumed to cost $22,500,000 per mile.


Tunnel tide level, San Bias


The


location


which


seems


promise


best


such a canal is shown


in pl. 3 accompanying


this


we-
Oiirti,


The line starting from


passes


through


a tunnel


Mandinga Harbor follows up the Rio


miles


long,


and


descends


by the


va lley of the Chorrah to the Chepo.


Open excavations are maintained


both


sides of the


tunnel


a maximum depth


400 feet.


The


total length of


the line of canal is 37 miles, and


the length from tide-


water to tidewater 21 miles.


There has been no actual examination of


the valleyy of the Chorrah


because of


revolution existing


time


the attempt


was


made.


A profile of


this


location


is shown


4, and


following


such a canal


isa


rough


absence of


estimate


any means of


possible


cost of


classification the soft-


rock


price


been adopted as a fair average for all dry excavation


ouLnide of the tunnel.


166,000,000 cubic yards excavation, at 80 cents
9 ,O00,00 cubic yards dredging, at 20 cents ___
hearing


$132


,800, 000


7,800,000


500,000


4.2 miles tunnel, at $22 500 000


Tide ock ....-


- - -- - - - - -- - -


94,500,000
4,000,000
4 Tip / \r


pl.




REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAIT


CANAL


COMMISSION.


the divide, all of


them


striking the


same


point on the


Savana


River


near the mouth of the Lara, the approaches on the Atlantic side being


through the


three valleys of


the Caledonia, the Aglaseniqua, and


Sassardi.


The distance from Caledonia Bay to the mouth of the Lara


varies from 32 miles by the Sassardi route to 36 miles by the Caledonia


route.


The


Sassardi


route


has not, however,


been explored through


its whole


length, and it is quite


possible that an actual


survey would


make


it as


long


as the Caledonia


route.


Each


line would


require a


tunnel.


Sassardi


route


is tken,


length


this


tunnel,


assuming open cuts to be used to a depth of 400 feet at each end,would


be about 1.6 miles.


On either of the


other two


.the


tunnel would


about 2 miles


longer,


while


approaches


on the


south


side


would


be much heavier.
Caledonia Bay


range


feet


is virtually
or more.


tideless.


This


San


heavy


tide


Miguel


causes


Bay


a tidal


currents


Savana River strong enough to be a serious menace to navigation, and


it would be necessary to build a tide


lock


and


dam near the mouth of


the Savana.


The distance from the mouth of the Lara to the tide lock


about


miles


upper


portion


which


in a narrow


river


which would


require


enlargement


a canal.


This makes the total


length of


canal navigation


from Caledonia Bay to the


tide lock about


50 miles.
The locations of these three canal routes are given in plate 5 accom-


paying this report. Ap1
in plate 6, and from these


proximate profiles of each location are given


the following estimates of


the possible cost


of such canals have been


made.


The more extended


the character


examination of


material which


the country gives


been


an indication


used in making a rough


classification into hard rock and earth.

Sa&sardi location.


80,000,000 cubic yards hard rock,


$1.15


-

137,000,000 cubic yards earth, at 45 cents
9,000,000 cubic yards dredging, at 20 cents


61,650,000
1,800,000


4,000,000 cubic yards submerged rock,
Clearig .- - .. .. - - -


1.6 miles tunnel
*U All~l.^ /UL11H3


at $22,500,000


at $4.75


19,000,
1,000,


36, 000,000





REPORT


OF THE


IBTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


Aglaseniqua location.


66,000,000 cubic yards hard rock, at $1.15.. --.....--.
....100,Q0000 cubic yards earth, at 45 cents --.-- ----
9,000 000 cubic yards drdging, at 20 cents --- --
4,000,000 cubic yards submerged rock, at $4.75 --.....-- .- --


3.6 miles tunnel, at $22,500,000
Tide lock and dam .. __. ___
40 miles railroad, at $75,000 ..(


Total - -- -- - -


20 per cent engineering, contingencies, etc.


$75, 900,000
49, 500, 000
1,800,000
19,000,000
1,000,000
81,000,000
5,000,000
3,000,000


- 236,200,000
- 47,240,000


Total


283,440,000


CaOedonia location.


77,000,000 cubic yards hard rock, at $1.15 -
129,000,000 cubic yards earth, at 45 cents -
9,000,000 cubic yards dredging, at 20 cents


---- -- -- a
- - - - - -


4,000,000 cubic yards submerged rock, at $4.75
hearing -- -_ -. .. ... - - - -
4 miles tunnel, at $22,500,000_ ._ .-- ----
Tide lock and dam ....---... --. ---


44 miles railroad, at $75,000_


TJotal ----


20 per cent engineering, contingencies, etc


- - n a -. -
- - - -


Total - ..- -- - ...


$88,550,000
58,050,000
1,800,000
19,000,000
1,000,000
90,000,000
5,000,000
3,300,000

266,700,000
53,340,000

320,040,000


These estimates are made


without


the careful examination which is


necessary


accurate


figures.


These esmatesmnimum regarded as minimum estimates;
atstat .


rial has


been


assumed


They


may


favorable


tunnels and


mate-


favorable


materitil


excavation


body of the canal;


fact, these esti-


mates represent the


best possible


results


which


can be looked for on


either of the four locations.


If borings either on the divide or in the


mu





"T 5 REPORT O

would be the curves.


F THE


IBTEMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


The tunnels would be as absolute restrictions on


depth and width as the locks of Nicaragua or Panama.


*
Harbors the only advan-
tage over Panama.


A tide-level canal at Panama would be without a


tunnel.
canals


The
would


only
have


advantage


over


which any of these


tide-level


canal


Panama would be in the superiority of their Atlantic harbors, Mandinga


Harbor


San Bias


Bay


and


Caledonia


Bay, both


being very


much


superior to the harbor at Colon.


The advantage of the harbors would


not be enough to overcome the disadvantage of the tunnel.


Darlen routes within lim-
Its of Panama concession.


work


would


The


only


either of


would


reason


these locations in


that


untrammeled


the
by


constructing


preference to


territory is


vested


entirely


rights


a canal


Panama


wild


and


occupation.


This advantage is more apparent


plications


involved


obtaining


than real.


right


Many of tl
o complete


legal


cornm-


Panama


Canal would interfere equally with the construction of


a canal at San


Bias or Caledonia.


The


Wyse concession, under which all the French


operations


Panama


have


been


conducted,


confers


the


exclusive


privilege


for excavation


and


construction


a maritime canal


across


the territory of
Pacific oceans; E
ous Atrato lines


Republic of Colombia


possible routes east of


between


the Atlantic and


Panama, including the vari-


, come within the limits of the Republic of


Colombia.


The contract of 1867, under which the Panama Railroad now holds its
concession, gives to that company the exclusive right of isthmian tran-


sit west of


a line connecting Cape Tiburon on the Atlantic with Point


Garachine on the


Pacific;


the San Blas and the Caledonia routes


both


fall west of this line.


of these places un
the Wyse and the ]
Maps and other drawings.


No canal can therefore be constructed at either


less some arrangement is


made with the


holders of


Panama Railroad concessions.
The results of the surveys made under the direc-


tion


Commission


this


portion


isthmus have been embodied in a series of maps and other plans which


accompany


this report.


They


embrace a general


map


covering


entire isthmus and the Gulf of Panama, pl.


2; two maps on a larger scale


covering, respectively, the San Bias, pls. 3 and 4, and the Caledonia and


San Miguel regions,


two maps on same scale as the last showing


the coast and elevation observed from the sea, pls.


7 and 8,


besides 12


;


I
i

I





REPORT OF THE ISTHMIAN CANAL COMMISSION.


C
ft


Fig.1.












CHAPTER


THE PANAMA ROUTE.


The natural attraction


the Panama route lie


in the combination


of a very narrow isthmus with a low summit.


mus is less than 36 miles
San Blas, the narrowest p


300 feet above


tide water


The width of


in a straight line, only 5 miles
lace, while the original summi
, which, though, higher than


more


the isth
than at


t was less than
the Nicaragua


summit


is less than


half


height of


any other


summit which has


General description.


miles


near the


been investigated.


isthmus


Pacific


side, and


Furthermore


is limited
e Chagres


to a


,the high portion


width


about


River affords access by


canoe navigation from


When


steamship


lines


steamers discharged


their


the Atlantic to within


California
passengers


were


16 miles


first


opened


mouth


the Pacific.
the Atlantic


Chagres,


whence they were conveyed up that river in canoes to Las Cruces and


thence


overland


Panama,


where


they took


Pacific


steamer.


When the Panama Railroad was


built


the early fifties, its Atlantic


terminus was fixed at the Bay of Limon,


7 miles


east of


the mouth of


the Chagres.


The road followed the valley of the Chagres to Obispo,


a few miles below


Las Cruces


and thence


crossed through


the lowest


gap


Panama.


This


location


is almost


identical


with


that


subse-


quently adopted for the canal.


(See pl. 21.)


The


terminus
terminus.


isthmus
railroad


being


here


runs


or canal


about


nearly


from


miles


The Atlantic port


east


and


northwest


farther


Colon


and


At Colon the mean tidal range is about 1 foot


west, but
) southeast


east


than


the Pacific port


at Panama


a course
e Pacific
Atlantic
Panama.
is about


20 feet.
demands <


The harbors are not of the first class.


A


a limited


commerce


Colon would be necessary


Colon


Harbor is that


it is


heretofore.


They have served the


Some


if the canal should be buil


exposed


northerss."


improvements at
t. The defect of
When these are


1 W 1 5 9 a a IPWSM &




REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIA N


CANAL


COMMISSION.


a bottom width


60 to


feet.


The


ocks were


450 feet between miter sills and width 65 feet. He
level at 124 feet above tide level and proposed to use


have


fixed


a length
summit


locks on each


side.
dam


To supply the


built


summit


across


level water was


Chagres River at a


impounded


ite not far


by a


from the


one


subsequently


selected by the new French company at Albajuela,


om which


a feeder of complicated


character


would


lead


to tli


canal.


He estimated the cost of this canal at $94,511,360.


In the year 1876 an association entitled
du Canal Interoceanique" was organize


" Societe Civile Internationale


d


in Paris,


with Gen. Etienne


Tirr as president, to


make surveys and


explorations for


a ship canal


aItoas theisthmus of Panama.


LatL.: N. B.


An expedition under


Wyse, an officer of the


French


navy,


the direction of
was sent to the


The Wyse concession.


Isthmus.


In May, 1878, Lieutenant


Wyse.in the


name of the association obtained a concession from


the Colombian Government, commonly known as the


'V3


In May, 1879, an international congress, composed of


rse concession.
135 delegates


from various nations, including the United States,


Great


Britain


and


Germany, but the majority of whom were French, was convened in Paris
nadr the auspices of Ferdinand de Lesseps to consider the question of
Iu.I- iyl erJ~~^UlJ SUlJwi.U JtCitli J UJt~Uo i\ U CfAlI


best location


and


plan


for a canal


across


the American isthmus.


After.a session of two weeks, the congress decided that the canal should


be located


on the


The old company.
the 6tiinized


iaie
Lesaps


Panama
without


route, and


locks.


should


be at


Immediately


sea level and


after


adjourn-


ment of the congress, the Panama Canal Company


under


Universelle d
as president.


a general


Canal


law of


France with


Interoc4anique,"


purchased


Wyse


with


title "Corn-


Ferdinand


concession


from


firt-named company, paying therefore 10,000,000 francs.


to float the stock of this company in August, 1879,


An attempt


failed, but a second


attmpty made in


December,


w Red t 600000 shares of


1880,


was


fully


500 francs each.


successful.


The


It was all sold.


issue
The


next two years were devoted to surveys and examinations and prelim-


inary


work


upon


inaugurated in


asea a-veli


feet,


canal


canal.


Early
having


involving


Operations


part of 18
a depth o
excawation


83.


upon


The


29.5


a large


plan


feet


estimated


scale


adopted


and


Wi


bottom


157,000,000


were
is for
width
cubic





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


valley


Culebra


a small


and


Panama Bay


thence


tributary,


cuts


descends


through tl
the valley


continental


of the


Its total length from 30 feet depth


divide


Grande
Atlantic


feet


depth


in the Pacific is about 47 miles.


Its location is such as


to give easy curvature everywhere.


To secure


this, it was


necessary


select


a point


crossing the divide where the height was some-


what greater than that of


the lowest pass.


The


maximum


height


the center line in the Culebra cut is about 333 feet above the sea.


control the floods of the Chagres,


various schemes were proposed, the


most


prominent


being


construction


a dam


Gamboa


impound the


water


upper


river


and


excavation


inde-


pendent channel


the sea.


The dam was afterwards decided to be


impracticable,


and


problem


remained


unsolved.


The


cost


was


estimated by de Lesseps in 1


880 at $127,600,000, and the time required


eight
1887.


years.
The


Work under this plan continued until the latter part


fact


had


that


time


become


evident


which


had


time


been


evident


well


informed,


that


canal
time


could


and


money


completed


then


available.


level with


provisional


resources of


change


plan


was


accordingly


made,


under which


final


completion


level


was


deferred


a future time, and


the opening


a canal


navigation


was


hastened


by the


introduction


locks.


This


being considered


a temporary expedient, the


summit


level was


supplied with water from the Chagres River by pumps.


this plan was pushed with vigor until 1889,


Work under


when the company becom-


ing bankrupt it was dissolved


by a judgment of


the Tribunal Civil de


Seine


dated


February


4, 1889


and


a liquidator was appointed by


that court to take charge of its affairs.


In the appointment of
view the completion of


the liquidator the court kept


canal


and


it authorized


prominently in


him


to cede to a


new association all or part of the assets, to make or ratify agreements


Liquidation.


with


contractors


continuation


which


works


for
and


their object
to borrow


money for that purpose.


The


liquidator


reduced


the force gradually


and finally suspended the works May


1889.


He then proceeded to


satisfy himself that the canal project was feasible, a question about which


the failure of the company had caused grave doubts.


He appointed a




REPORT


OF THE


IBTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


would probably suffice


finishing


canal


It estimated the cost


completion at $112,500,000 for the works,


which it


thought should


be increased to $174,600,000


tration


financing.


(900,000,000


found


much


francs) to
difficulty


include


adminis-


estimating


value of the work done and of


the plant,


but gave as a rough approx-


imation


one-half


estimated


cost


completing


canal,


$87,300,000


(450,000,000


francs).


It called


this


an "intuitive


esti-


mate.
ments
for it.


More weight has been attached to this estimate in recent doom-


the New Panama Canal


Company


than


authors


claimed


The
Wyse


time


within


concesslon


which


having nearly


canal was
r expired,


Completed
liquidator


under the
sought and


obtained from the Colombian


Government an extension of ten years.


The law of Colombia


granting this
1~~~~~~ L Jll Ul


extension


dated December 26,


1890.
upon


edition


It provided


the canal


having


that a new


resumed


been


on or


company should


before


fulfilled, a second


be formed and


February 28, 1898.


extension


was


work


This con-
sought and


obtained April 4, 1893.


It provided that the term of ten years granted


by the extension of 1890 should


begin


run


later than October


31, 1894.


By an agreement dated April 26,


1900, the


time


was


still


further extended to October 31, 1910.


The validity of


the last exten-


sion has been called in question.


Full copies of the concession and its


various extensions will be found in Appendices GOG,
*


HH, II, JJ.


The liquidator found himself laboring under special legal difficulties,
from which he obtained relief by the special law of the French Chainm-


br, dated July
the organization


with a ce
hundred
cash, and


capital


S


1893.


of a
tock


thousand


new
of


shares


(See Appendix


T


company


650,000
had b


50,000 shares were


ba Government


on the


shares


een


given


compliance


of te concession, dated December


(K.)
20th,
S100


finally
October


francs


subscribed


as full-paid stock to


with
26.


the
1890.


terms
Thus


eaci
paid


secured
, 1894,
o. Six
for in


the Colom-
Sextension


cash


capital


of the company was 60;,000 000 francs, or $11,640,000, a


sum deemed


sufficient for the


connected


with


prosecution


persons,


provisional
:he failure


and


made


conviction


t difficult


operations contemplated.


company,
Lesseps an


The scandals


which
I other


to secure even that amount.


had


prominent
Suits had


* .. S I


3





84

those to


REPORT 01

be obtained


F THE


mTnm ~x


CANAL


COMMISSION.


was to


be subscribed


*
by~


the liquidator.


The stock was subscribed as follows,


viZ :


Eifel -


Credit Lyonnais
Societe Generale


a 10, 000, 000


Credit Industriel et Commercial
Administrators of the old compal


Artigue,


--V------ --------------
[I - - -- - -. . -


Sonderegger & Co


Baratoux, Letellier & Co --


Jacob heirs -.-.


Couvreux, Hersent & Co -----------
Various persons to the number of sixty,


4,000,000
4,000,000
2,000,000
7,885,000
2,200,000
2,200,000
750,000


500,000


who had profited


by syndicates created by the old company


Hugo Oberndorffer -
Public subscription -
The liquidator -


Total
fourth


- - - -- a -- - - -. - - -- -
- - - a - - -- - - a -- -- - -


3, 285,700
3,800,000
3,484,300


_ - - - --- -- a--- - -. ,- --- - J O15, 895 000


----------------------a- -a ------- 60,000,000


report of


liquidator to


court, dated


November


1895


, pages 8, 9, and 13.


The old company and the liquidator had raised


and bonds the sum of $246,706,431.68.


this money had a face value of


The securities


$435,559,332.80.


stock


issued to raise


The number of per-


sons


holding them


is estimated at-over


200,000.'1


There


have


been


Expenditure and results.


isthmus an


enormous


excavated


There had been


quantity of


about


purchased
machinery


72,000,000


and
and


cubic


yards.


transported to the


other


estimated cost of $29,000,000.
Railroad-about 68,500 of th<


Nearly all of the stock of the Panama


70,000


shares existing-also


had


been


purchased at a cost of about $18,094,000.


A general statement of the


receipts


and


expenditures


and


further


details


history of


enterprise down to the formation


new company, furnished


Maurice


Hutin,


director-general


New


Panama


Canal


Company,


will be found in Appendix B.


The new company.


The new company took
.erty immediately after its


possession of
organization


prop-
1894-


by public subscription,


Francs.


by the sale of


plant, at an




REPORT


OF THE


ISTIIMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


tribute to the enterprise if completed under any plan.


By the middle


of 1895 a force of about 2,000 men had
has progressed continuously since that


been


collected, and


time with a


force


the work


reported as


varying


between


1,900


3,600


men.


According


annual


reports of


the company, the amount of


material


taken out was about


485,000


cubic


1,200,000 i
cubic yards
$7,000,000,


yards


1898
n all.


and


1895


about


915,000
1,210,000


1896,
1899,


1,225,000
or about


The amount expended to June 30, 1899, wa


1897,


5,000,000


about


besides about $1,284,000 advanced to the Panama Railroad


Company for building a pier at La Boca.


The company'


pany and


charter


liquidator of


provided


a special


r the appointment by the cornm-
engineering commission of five


members to report upon the work done and upon the conclusions to be
drawn therefrom, this report to be rendered when the amounts expended


by the


new company


should


have


reached about one-half its capital.


The


report


was


inst


stockholders was then to be


Ie public and
ohe .o Afinally


a special


meeting


determine whether


of the
or not


the canal should be


this


report


completed and to provide ways and means.


and


special


meeting


arrived


1898.


The
the


meantime the


company


had


called


to its aid


a technical


committee


composed of


fourteen engineers,


European


and


American


some


them among the


most eminent


their profession.


After a study of


data


available


tions


cons


and of
dered


such 'additional sthrveys and


necessary


made,


this


examina-


committee


rendered an elaborate report dated November 16, 1898.


It was repro-


duced in Senate document No. 188, Fifty-sixth Congress, first session,


pages 43-88.


This report was referred to the above-mentioned statu-


tory commission of five,
to ry o ss4:^T *"^^^^-^^^*^h^^^ m n^^^B^ ^"^ Bf'^^* ^HW: t1^


which


reported


in 1899 that the canal could


be built according to that project within the limits of time and money
estimated. The 'special meeting of stockholders was called inmmedi-


4


dtely after the


regular annual


meeting


December 30, 1899.


Itis


understood that the liquidator


who is one of the largest stockholders,


refused to take part in it, and that no conclusions were


reached


asto


the expediency of


completing the canal or as to


providing ways


and


means.


The engineering questions had been solved to the satisfaction


of the company, but the


financial questions had


been made extremely


difficult


, if not insoluble,


by the appearance of the United States Gov


- l g -- a


a a a -


. _/__ ^A-*. A__s - - -- - -_ _ -- -. .- -- I ] | | r11


n .


M


*





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


level to have its bottom 68 feet above


the sea and to be supplied with


water by a feeder leading from an artificial reservoir to be constructed


at Alhajueala, in the Upper


Chagres


Valley;


the asceAit on the Pacific


side to be


likewise


by four


locks, of which


two


middle


ones


combined in a flight.


The canal is to have a depth of


29.5 feet and a


bottom


width


about


feet


with


an increased


width in


certain


specified parts.
Sthe old company


Its general location
. The dimensions of


is the


the lock


same as that adopted


chambers are 738 feet


in length, 82 feet in width,


and 32 feet 10 inches in depth in the clear;


lifts


to vary from


feet to


feet,


according


location


and


stage of water.


The cost was estimated at $101,850,000 for the works,


which does not include administration or financing.


While this is the


plan recommended by the French engineers, they worked out in detail


a second plan,


which is an extension or modification of the foregoing,


which


they


seemed


prefer


itself,


but which


they feared would


require more time to execute.


The limits of


their concession and the


heavy cost of


financing


consideration of time.


them


Under


this


attach very


second


plan


great weight


upper


level


the
was


omitted


, the cut through


the continental


divide


being deepened


until


bottom was 32 feet above the sea


Lake


Bohio was made


the sum-


level


and was fed


directly by the Chagres;


one flight of locks on


the Atlantic side and one lock on the Pacific were omitted;


the feeder


from Alhajuela was omitted,


the dam


that


place was retained.


The estimated


cost


completing


the canal


under this


plan was


much
work


greater than that for the other,


done


several


years


under


being about $105,500,000.


first


plan


would


equally


available under the second plan,


and the company contemplates revert-


to the second


plan


the experience of the first


few years shows


that time will


permit.


In both plans the dam at Bohio converted


river between that point and Obispo into a lake of such dimensions as


not to be seriously affected
diversion channels were to
from this lake to the sea.


by the partial
be constructed


floods admitted to
on both sides of


With a carefully designed system of


while


the canal


luices


and controlling work


the violence of the floods was to be checked


impounding the water both above the Alhajuela dam and Lake Bohio,
so as to keep the flow below the Bohio dam within the capacity of the
two diversion channels.





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


the Isthmus is now much more complete than is usual before the inaug


duration


an engineering


enterprise


in a new


country.


The


canal


company spared no trouble or expense in laying


mission.


The


most


important


maps,


drawings, and


t all before the Cornm-


documents were


lithographed or printed and systematically arranged for the use of the


Commission, copies


being


furnished


for each


member.


Ninny


other


documents were supplied


n manuscript.


many of them elaborate studies,


In all some 340 documents,


were furnished.


A list of them will


found: i


Appendix
A:dix


These


supplied


essentially


data


required for the prepa ration of
infonmatidn was desired as to t


dam at ohio must


h


be built, and


plans and esl
e foundation


timates, though


upon


as to the area of


which


the Chagres


further


great
River


d ai X e basin.
part of this Co
this, in vestigation
levels,. measuremr


graphic
sonal o


This additional information was obtained by the field
missiono. It was necessary also for the purpose of


ito
ients


observations


observation


verify
of di


French


stances,


made by


enable


this


data.


borings,


Independent


soundings,


and


its own parties, supplemented


Commission


state


that


lines


hydro-
by per-
he data


furnished by the canal company are essentially correct.
The circumstances under which the Commission


Plan forth United States
differs from that for a com-
mercial corporation.


approaches the study of a plan for the canal differ
from those of the French engineers in two impor-


tant particulars.


The question of the time required


fr completion is of less vital importance, since a new concession from
the Colombian Government must be obtained in any event, and since the
cost of financing would be much diminished if the United States should


Provide


funds, that question would


which is otherwise


preferable.


not be decisive against a plan


In a plan prepared for a government


seeking the permanent development of its
receive its returns in an indirect way and


possessions, and content to


at a future


time, the canal


must


have


dimensions which will


permit


passage


largest


ships now afloat or likely to be constructed. For a time such ships
may be exceptional and the canal revenue derived from them may be
small. A lnian oreoared for a commercial corporation investing capi-


& I-


t a -


from


which


immediate


direct


revenue


desired


would


probably exclude such exceptional


hips,


and the dimensions given the


canal-at


least in the


beginnin--would


ti-inn


fnrrn~r


t'tJ A ti .J&S t~AAtJ LA S LA t*~a ~ a ~ aas ~- a


v ~A





REPORT


OF THE


ISTUMJIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


its course.


flows


through


a mountainous


country, in


which


average annual rainfall is about 130 inches.


A maximum rainfall has


been


observed


over


6 inches


twelve


hours.


discharge at


Bohio varies


from


a minimum


about


350 cubic feet to a possible


maximum


136,000


cubic


feet


second.


The


excessive rainfall


and the precipitous


character.


slopes


On December 1


of the valley give to the river a torrential
, 1890, it rose at Gamboa 23 feet in sixteen


Hours,


discharge,


which


was about


9,000 cubic feet per seepnd at


the beginning of the rise, increasing in the same time to


six or seven


times that volume.
definite record, bu


This i


the most violent change of which there is


t similar changes


somewhat less violence are not


uncommon.


The admission of a stream of this character to the canal


would


create


conditions


intolerable


navigation


unless


sufficient


section of prism be provided


reduce the current to an unobjection-


able velocity.


Sea-level plan rejected.


a sea-level


canal itself


canal


must be made of


constructed,


either


such dimensions that


maximum floods, modified to some extent by a reservoir in the Upper


Chagres, could


pass down its


channel without


injury


channels must be provided to carry off these floods.


, or independent
As the canal lies


in the, lowest


part of


valley,


construction


such


channels


would be a matter of serious difficulty


, and the simplest solution would


be to make


the canal


prism


large


enough


to take


discharge


itself.
canal,


This would have the advantage,


in which


navigation


under


also


ordinary


, of furnishing a very large


circumstances


would


exceptionally easy


It would


involve a cross


section


from


Obispo to


the Atlantic, having an


water line
quantity c


area of


least 15,000 square


, which would give a bottom width of


excavation


required


such


feet below the


about 400 feet.


a canal


been


computed, and is found to be about 266,228,000 cubic yards.


The


roughly
The cost


of such a canal


flores


, including a dam at Alhajuela and


, near the Pacific end, is estimated at not less than


a tide lock at Mira-


$240,000,000.


construction


would


probably


take


least


twenty


years.


This


Commission concurs with the various French commissions which have


preceded it since


the failure of the old company in


rejecting


the sea-


level


plan.


While such


a plan would be


physically practicable,


and


might be adopted if no other solution


were available, the difficulties of





REPORT


Tilt


ISTUMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


of about 8,000 tons each, an annual traffic of about 10,000,000 ton


be accommodated,


the opening of the canal.


which is greater than


the amount to be expected at


Ten lockages will require


35,127,960


cubic


feet


day,


or 406


cubic


feet


second,


assuming


that


four


these lockages are for the full-


ize lock and


x of them for the reduced


size,


using


assumed


intermediate


inches


gates.
month.


proposed hereafter is 38.5 square miles,


The


The
or 1


loss


from


area


evaporation


lake


to be


,073,318,400 square feet.


The


loss


from


evaporation


over


area


536.659.21)1)


cubic


feet


in a month


or 207


cubic


feet


per second.


The loss from leakage at


the lock gates


s estimated


250 cubic feet


per second.


To this has


been added 200 cubic feet per second for power and other contingencies.
Adding these amounts together, the total amount required to opea


the canal


for a traffic of


10,000,000


tons


annum


found


1,063, or, in round numbers, 1,070, cubic feet persecond.


The average


annual


discharge of


the Ch gres is


far in excess of this,


being


about


8,200 cubic feet per second, but there is a well-defined dry season when


the daily discharge is often less.


A deficiency during the months of Feb-


ruary, March, and April is tobe apprehended and must be provided for,


tough it does not always occur.


For use during these months some of


the surplus waters of the other months must be stored.


The minimum


*average
that for


discharge at


March,


1891


Bohio for any
when it was (


month covered


cubic


feet per


by the


records is


second, or 470


cubic feet less than the amount


required.


water enough be stored


upply this deficiency


supposing


it to exist


continuously for three


months, provision will
any that hs ever been


made


against a


known or is


state of


C


likely to occur.


ffairs
A


worse than
deficiency of


470 cubic feet per second for ninety days gives an aggregate deficiency
of 3,654,T70,000 cubic feet, for which storage room must be provided.
In a lake having an area of 38.5 square miles it corresponds to a depth
of Z4 feet.


Flood discharge of the
Chaares.


The greatest flood which has occurred since the


occupation


road


known


November


height


18, 1879.


which


(which


greatest


isthmus


covers
which


measurement


reached


Bohio


a period


ever


"'La
iss


the P
of fifty


occurred


made


tated


anama


Rail-


years), and


was


that


volume, but


upon


authority
aLj


S.- -


- a, us~ t. 5' . a U nfl C a a U


I





ItnpotttT


THE


ISItffMIAN


CANAL


COIWMISSIOII.


nad been flowing at


the later dates


as in


1879


it would


have reached


the same


height.


Inasmuch


as the


size


waterway


was


much


increased subsequently to 1879 by the excavations of the old company,


this assumption gives a result which is certainly not too low.


In this,


as in all other cases of doubt, the assumptions have been made such as


to err on the safe side
there are records are


if at all.


The


those of 1885,


other


greatest


floods


which


with a height at Bohio 33.8 feet;


1888 with height 34.


height


feet.


7 feet;


The


1890
Stwo


with
were


height 32.1 feet, and 1893 with


measured, the


maximum


dis-


charge in 1890 being 74,998 cubic feet per second,


and in 1893


48,975


cubic feet.


Thus


exceeds 75,000 cubic


appears
feet neD


that


second


floods
are of


in which


rare occurrence


discharge
e. If the


works be


so designed


that such


a flood


would


produce


no currents


which


would


interfere


with


navigation,


and


that a


flood


140,000


cubic feet per second,


while it might temporarily


suspend navigation,


would not


injure


structure


canal


, ample provision will be


made for the flood control of the Chagres.


No location


suitable for a


dam


exists


on the


Chagres


River below


Bohio, and


while


this


location


is not


without


difficulties


great


advantage


that about


3 miles


southwest


dam, near


head of


Lake Bohlo.


gres,


the Rio Gigante,


a tributary


there exists an excellent site for


Cha-


a spillway,


by which the discharge from the lake can be kept well away from the


dam and accessory works,


and may be


made


extremely large without


inconvenience


either


canal


itself


or to the country below the


lake.


The height of


this spillway would regulate the height and area


the lake.


After careful consideration of the requirements for flood


control and for


of the effect


storage


upon


against deficiency in the


the amount


excavation


dry season


required


, and also
the canal


through


continental


divide


Commission


decided


this


fixed
38.5
3.5 i


height


weir


square


2.000


miles,
weir f


feet
feet


above
long.


mean


The


1,073,318,400


ormula,


tide


and


area of


square


computed


make the spillway a


lake


feet.


that


this


Using


with a


height is
coefficient


depth


feet over its crest the weir will discharge 78,260 cubic feet per second.


reaching


elevation


area of


lake


will be


enlarged


Thnnft 4-2 FnnarA milps


will


imnound


over


oo0o00.000 cubic


. \





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


velocity of
not exceed


will


cause


currents


feet
lake


second.


narrowest


Floods


may


to rise above elevation


part


occur,


lake


however


would
which


From the data avail-


able it is not possible to compute with precision the exact height which
a flood may hereafter attain, but the extreme possible effect of a flood
discharging 140,000 cubic feet per second for a prolonged period would


be to raise the water over the


spillway to 92.5 feet.


All great floods


are of short duration


, and such a flood is absolutely without precedent,


beng as imprb as any other convulsion of


nature.


The crest of


the dam ha however, been placed at 100 and the top of the- lock walls
and gates atQ 4 to make them entirely safe from overflow by even such


flood,


the


ill effect


of which


would


limited


temporary


obstmction of


navigation


by swi(t currents in


the lake, where the velocity might
extreme conditions the lake might


reach


narrowest


5 feet per second.


be lowered


for operating the canal during the dry months.


part of
Under


to 82 to provide water
The excavations will


be so, adjusted as to "ive a depth of 35 feet at that level.
This provision for the storage of water for use in the


Feature Increase of water
supply.


dry season is


ample for a traffic of 10,000,000 tons per annum


in vessels


the size


now in


common


use.


will be equally ample for a much larger tonnage


if, as seems probable,


size of vessels continues to


increase.


For


example, the number of vessels which passed


was 3,441, against 3,389 in 1890, whi
1,99 ,238, against 9,74 ,129 in 1890.


le the gross


SSuez Canal in 1900
tonnage in 1900 was


The number of vessels


in 1900


was


less


than


1898,


while


total


tonnage


was


greater.


~The


anna


flow


of the


Chagres and


topography


country


favorable however, to a very large increase of


found desirable in the future
Alhajuela with a capacity for


e.


reservoir


storing


the supply


can


that be


constructed


an additional volume of water


four times that now provided for daily consumption.


MIppossi ot overtow.


~The


overflow


Lake


Bohio


... . through -the Gigante spillway int
Swamp thence through natural and artificial channels


River


below (atun, and


thence


through


that river


will


V
Lb


discharge


Pena


Blanca


to the Chagres
the sea, being


kept out of the canal in the lowlands by levees where necessary.


The canal, as thus


projected; may be


described


S -WT*S*. U~** ** *~I-n* U EUS~ES.SES -.


m.. m -- n ml i-- --DEE





REPORT


THI~1


ISTHMIAN


dAr{kt


COMMISSION.


Entrance and harbor at
Colon.


harbor.


increased


Near


to 800


to a point 2.39 miles


For
shore


ie apex
feet for


bout a mile


line,


forming
Le second


a length of


from deep water in


this wide channel


a narrow


curve


the bay.


inside


well-protected


bottom


feet, to provide


width


a turning


basin.


The estimated cost of this entrance and harbor is $8,057,707,


of which $1,936,991 is for work outside the jetty.
maintenance is estimated at $30,000.


From the inner end of


the harbor the


The annual cost of


bottom width of


the canal is


150 feet, the side slopes of 1 on 3 being retained for 1.86 miles through


the swamp, after which
earth
Colon to Bohlo.
of :


they are reduced to the standard


used in firm


h, and are kept at that standard for a distance


~2.56


miles


farther


Bohio


locks.


The


length of this level measured from the inner end of the harbor is 14.42


miles.


Its estimated cost is $11,099,839, including $151,347 for levees


to exclude flood waters and $299,000 for the lower approach, 1,200 feet
long, to the lock.


At Bohio is located a double flight of locks,


having a total lift vary-


from


feet at


the minimum


level of


lake to


90 feet at the


maximum,


Bohlo locks.


41 to 45 to each lock


locks are
company.


, the normal lift being 85 feet.


on the
They


location adopted


shown


on P


by the
1. 24


These
French


and


type adopted for


both


Nicaragua and


Panama canals


and


described


double


elsewhere i
locks, four


this


lock


report.
chambers


The estimated cost of this flight


in all,


$11,567,275, including


excavation.


Above


locks


Bohio dam and


the canal


known


as Lake


enters the


Bohio.


artificial


For


lake formed


the first 7


miles


by the
it is a


broad


, deep


body


of water, affording


room for


anchorage, as well as


Lake Bohlo.


navigation.


are necessary.


Beyond


this


some


light excavations


At the upper end the channel will


be enlarged


given


to provide for


a minimum


section


the flood


discharge of


42,000 square


feet.


the Chagres, being
The length of the


channel


Lake


Bohio


12.68


miles


from


locks


point


where the canal leaves the Chagres.


The section extends ninety-three


hundredths


a mile


farther,


point


where


enters


through the divide.


The estimated


cost of


this section is


$2,952,154,


I





REPORT


OF THE


IBTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


The


Pedro


summit cut


Miguel


locks.


7.91
The


miles


long


highest


from


point


the Obispo


about


5 miles


gates to the


from


Obispo gates, where the bottom of the canal at the axis is 286 feet below
IP" .*|^:r- : iir a it^.A ^ it 1 nm i.fy n


Calebra cat.


cte


natural


famous


surface


Culebra


cut,


ground.


though


i-il's


name


often


been applied only to the mile of heaviest work. There is a little
very hard rock atheastern end of this section, and the western two


miles are


ordinary


materials.


The


remainder


consists


a hard


in" dated clay,


with some


softer material at the top and some strata


and dikes of hard


rock.


fixing


the price it has been rated as soft


r0ok but it must be given slop s equivalent to those
W behn estimated on the basis of a bottom wi


with~5 sildopes of 1 on 1.


While the cut


earth.


dth


would probably nz


This
f leet,
be fin-


sed with this uniform


lope, this furnishes as correct a basis of esti-


mate


HiS CHili


now


be arrived


The


entire


cut will


'lined with


Sasonrty walls,


finishing


elevation


2 feet


above


high


water,


these walls having nearly vertical faces and furnishing benches 38 feet
wide on either side of the casual, on one of which the Panama Railroad


will be laid,
the other.


while it is probable that a service track will


be placed on


Much


~has


been


said about


instability


Culebra cut;


oint of


fact,


there


a clay


upper


portion


deep cut


which lows readily, when saturated,


Thoroughly


drained;


probably


but which will give


nine-tenths


little


material


trouble
would


naturally be classed as hard clay of stable character;
natu/


somewhat, apd the surface might rex


it would weather


re some repairing with concrete


h ~bad p oeps, a


practice common in deep cuttings


in Europe.


This


clay disintegrates rapidly i7 water, and for this reason the canal prism


should be confined between masonry walls.


With the provision made


broad


benches o


each side, on which any slight slides would


rested, it is bel ved that no trouble will
Mihated cost of the 02 miles of heavy wor
7 entire .91 miles bkt een the Obispo gates
locis, $4,414,460, including the upper appro


experienced.


The


k is $41,940,480, and of


and the


ach


Pedro Miguel


these


locks.


*d probably take dight years to excavate this section of the canal.


The iimout of


excavation in thi sectioni is 43,237,200 cubic yards.


The concentfatik of


so 1ak tn i1iount of


excavation


in so small a





REPORT


OF THE


ISTHMIAN


CANAL


COMMISSION.


vation.


cost


been


estimated at 80 cents per cubic yard;


bad


management might easily increase this to a dollar, and it is not impos-


sible


that


with


a carefully


considered


equipment


cost


might be


reduced to 60 cents.


The


Pedro


Miguel


Pedro Miguel locks.


locks


locks
feet.


(see


pl. 25)


aggregate


will
lift


similar to


varying


front


the
i 54


Bohio


There is an excellent rock foundation here.


The


estimated


cost


these


locks


, including


adjacent


dam,


$9,081,321.


Pedro Miguel level.


A level 1.33


miles long extends from the Pedro


Miguel locks to the last lock, which is at Miraflores.


The normal elevation of the surface of the water is 28.


cost of this section is $1,192,286


The estimated


including $388,880 for lock approaches


at each end.


Mirafiores lock.


Miraflores


end
lock


this


(see


level
25),


will
with


from 18 feet at high tide to 38 feet at mean low tide.


rock foundation for this lock.


located


a lift varying
There is a good


A spillway will be required to regulate


the height of


this level.


The estimated cost of


this lock and spillway


is $5,781,401.
For 4.12 miles beyond the Miraflores lock the canal extends through


a low
sional


swamp
rock is


country


found


through


here


which


Rio Grande runs.


Occa-


, but the material is generally very soft and


Pacific maritime section.


the canal has been estimated for a bottom width of


feet with


slopes


on 3.


This brings the


canal to a point known as La B a where the Panama Railroad Cornm-
pany has constructed a large an substantial wharf. A dredged chan-


nel 200


feet wide with


slopes


on 3 will


extend


from this point


4.41


miles


this dredged


6-fathom


channel


line in Panama Bay


through


flats which


The first 2 miles of
bare at low water,


where
cost of


there is a considerable


this


section


from


amount of


submerged


rock.


The total


lock to deep water is estimated at $12,-


427,971,


which


$1,464,513


for work


outside of


Boca.


The


cost of


maintenance of


this


channel


included in that


the canal.


No separate estimate for maintaining a harbor at Panama is submitted,
because it is a natural roadstead, not requiring expenditure.


S*.. a


The Bohio dam is the most


sin-un n-nt


important structure