• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Dedication
 Panama chronology
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Foreword
 The land divided - The world...
 The life cost
 The Spanish in Panama
 The Panama railroad
 The French in Panama
 The Americans in Panama
 The Roosevelt impetus
 Taking the canal zone
 The geography of Panama
 Getting under way
 The canal under Wallace
 The canal under Stevens
 The canal under Goethals
 Locks and dams
 The Culebra cut
 Labor
 Commissary - Quarters - Subsis...
 Civil administration
 The society of the charges
 The trade outlook
 Settling our account with...
 The Monroe doctrine






Title: The Americans in Panama
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00074065/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Americans in Panama
Physical Description: xiii, 258 p. : front., plates, ports., maps (1 fold.) ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Scott, William Rufus, 1886-
Publisher: Statler
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: 1912
 Subjects
Subject: Panama Canal (Panama)   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by William R. Scott.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00074065
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000602335
oclc - 23349535
notis - ADD1361

Table of Contents
    Frontispiece
        Page i
    Title Page
        Page ii
        Page iii
    Dedication
        Page iv
    Panama chronology
        Page v
        Page vi
    Table of Contents
        Page vii
        Page viii
    List of Illustrations
        Page ix
        Page x
    Foreword
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
    The land divided - The world united
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    The life cost
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 10a
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    The Spanish in Panama
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
    The Panama railroad
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
    The French in Panama
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
    The Americans in Panama
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
    The Roosevelt impetus
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 54a
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
    Taking the canal zone
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
    The geography of Panama
        Page 76
        Page 76a
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
    Getting under way
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
    The canal under Wallace
        Page 92
        Page 92a
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 100a
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
    The canal under Stevens
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 114a
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
    The canal under Goethals
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 130a
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 146a
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
    Locks and dams
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 158a
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 164a
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
    The Culebra cut
        Page 172
        Page 172a
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 180a
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
    Labor
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 190a
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
    Commissary - Quarters - Subsistence
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 204a
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
    Civil administration
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 214a
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
    The society of the charges
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 222a
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
    The trade outlook
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
    Settling our account with Colombia
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
    The Monroe doctrine
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
Full Text
























-4-


Photographed at Gorgona in the Dry Season.
THE CHAGRES RIVER-GREATEST FACTOR IN THE CANAL.






THE AMERICANS

IN PANAMA




By
WILLIAM R. SCOTT






ILLUSTRATED






NEW YORK
THE STATLER PUBLISHING COMPANY
501 FIFTH AVENUE
1912



































COPYRIGHT, 1912, BY

WILLIAM R. SCOTT


































THE TROW PRESS
NBW YORK























TO

MY MOTHER









PANAMA CHRONOLOGY

1501. Bastides discovers Panama.
1502. Columbus explores coast of Panama.
1509. Spanish settle at Nombre de Dios.
1513. Balboa discovers the Pacific.
1519. City of Panama is founded.
1532. Pizarro leaves Panama to conquer Peru.
1584. Town of Porto Bello founded.
1668. Morgan's pirates capture Porto Bello.
1671. Morgan burns city of Panama.
1698. Scotch colony perishes in Panama.
1739. English destroy forts at Porto Bello.
1821. Panama revolts from Spain.
1850. Construction of Panama Railroad begun.
1855. First train crosses the Isthmus.
1880. French begin attempt to dig a canal
1889. French canal company bankrupt.
1894. New French company resumes operations.
1903. Republic of Panama is established.
r1904. United States begins building a canal
) 1905. Stevens succeeds Wallace as Chief Engineer.
L1906. Lock type of canal is authorized.
1907. Lieut.-Col Goethals becomes Chief Engineer.
1908. Maximum annual excavation recorded.
212 1909. Concrete work is begun in the locks.
1910. Canal is half done as to excavation.
1911. Locks and Gatun Dam half done.
1912. New Panama Railroad is finished.
S1913. First ship passes through the canal
1914. Canal open to commerce of the world.
191& San Francisco Exposition.










CONTENTS
CHAPTER PAGE
I.-THE LAND DIVIDED-THE WORLD UNITED I
II.-THE LIFE COST OF THE CANAL 9
III.-THE SPANISH IN PANAMA 21
IV.-THE PANAMA RAILROAD 30
V.-THE FRENCH IN PANAMA 39
VI.-THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA 46
VII.-THE ROOSEVELT IMPETUS 52
VIII.-TAKING THE CANAL ZONE 58
IX.-THE GEOGRAPHY OF PANAMA 76
X.--ETTING UNDER WAY. 86
XI.-THE CANAL UNDER WALLACE .92
XII.-THE CANAL UNDER STEVENS IO8
XIII.-THE CANAL UNDER GOETHALS. 125
XIV.-LOCKS AND DAMS. 157
XV.-THE CULEBRA CUT 172
XVI.-LABOR 185
XVII.-COMMISSARY--QUARTERS-SUBSISTENCE 200
XVIII.--CIVIL ADMINISTRATION. 211
XIX.-THE SOCIETY OF THE CHAGRES 218
XX.-THE TRADE OUTLOOK 226
XXI.-SETTLING OUR ACCOUNT WITH COLOMBIA 238
XXII.-THE MONROE DOCTRINE 249












LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


The Chagres River

Col. W. C. Gorgas
President Roosevelt
Map of Isthmus of Panama
John F. Wallace .
President Taft .
John F. Stevens .
Col. Geo. W. Goethals
Assistant and Division Engineers
Profile Map of the Canal
Entrance to a Lock
Interior of a Lock
The Culebra Cut .
Deepest Part of the Cut
Old and New Machinery
Quarters for American Employees
Governors of the Canal Zone
Gatun Lake .
Map of Trade Routes .


Frontispiece
FACING PAGE
II

S55
. 76

93
. 93

115

131
147
57
S o59
65

S 173

. 181
S 191
5 .
15.
S223
227


S. Employee's Check Number


Cover Design.









FOREWORD


VERACITY to the facts concerning the Panama
Canal requires that a writer not merely view
the object which he describes, but that he actually
become a part of the mechanism that is giving it form.
He may thus practically illuminate observation with
experience, and so vivify the object in his own
thought, that his attempt to present it to others will
be a close approximation of the truth.
In the five months the author spent in Panama, he
was for slightly more than three months an employee
of the Isthmian Canal Commission, living the routine
life of a canal employee. He discovered that, had
he followed the usual method of coming into the
Canal Zone on one steamer, taking notes, and leav-
ing on the next steamer, he would have missed many
fundamental facts, which absolutely must be known
if a really trustworthy account of the greatest task
of the age is desired.
The Panama Canal is not the monument of any one
individual American, nor of any select few individual
Americans. In generations to come, the canal, like
the skyscrapers of our cities, will be viewed as a
manifestation of the building genius of the American
people, just as the Pyramids of Egypt are not re-
xi






FOREWORD


membered so much as the work of a given Rameses
as a manifestation of the big building instinct of the
entire race.
This book is unjust to the generality of Ameri-
cans who have helped to make the canal a success.
Some day the government will authorize a history of
the canal that will give the proper prominence to the
rank and file as well as to the subordinate officials.
But the treatment here undertaken, through the neces-
sity for condensation, touches only the men who have
affected the canal in the broadest way.
The average American layman desires an authori-
tative history of the project, but he particularly de-
sires a nontechnical review, and decidedly one which
distinguishes events from mere incidents, so that he
may not be burdened with a mass of details which
make it difficult for the essential facts to be kept in
mind and at the tongue's end for immediate and in-
telligent conversation.
Those who prefer a more exhaustive treatment
must look to the formidable annual reports of the
Isthmian Canal Commission, to the files of the Canal
Record, the speeches of Col. Goethals, and to a bibli-
ography that already is extensive and is growing at
a lusty rate.
Central America and the islands of the Caribbean
Sea afford a rich field for historical writing of the





FOREWORD


most intensely interesting character, but one volume
cannot adequately cover so much ground. The scope
of this book is limited to the Isthmus of Panama,
covering a period of four hundred and ten years.
Only so much of the history of the Isthmus under
the Spanish, and during the construction of the Pan-
ama Railroad and the French attempt to dig a canal,
is given as was necessary to lend a perspective to the
work of the Americans.
W. R. S.
PADUCAH, KENTUCKY, October, 19zz.









THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


CHAPTER I

THE LAND DIVIDED-THE WORLD UNITED

AMERICANS, your dream of an interoceanic
A canal is near to realization!
Where the Spanish scoffed and the French failed,
the Americans have triumphed. South America, like
Africa, soon will become an island, and the heroic
searching after a passage to the Spice Islands, by
Columbus, will reach fruition in 1913, by the hands
of a nation, not of the world which he knew, but of
that very new world which he discovered!
The Panama Canal has its broadest significance in
the prodigious transformations it will make in the
world's geography. It is a literal fulfillment of the
Scriptural promise to man that he should have domin-
ion over all the earth.
There is poetic justice in the snatching of this vast
enterprise from the parental hands of Europe by the
lusty offspring of the Western Hemisphere. We
thereby vindicate our slogan of America for Ameri-
cans, because we have demonstrated our sufficiency
in the face of the largest demand upon man's engineer-
ing acumen.
If it should have been said in 1904 that in nine
years we would have removed more than 200,000,000





THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


cubic yards of earth and rock, laid 5,000,000 cubic
yards of concrete, made dams and fills of more than
50,000,000 cubic yards, relocated the Panama Rail-
road, spent less than $3oo,ooo,ooo, and put the first
ship through from the Atlantic to the Pacific, Europe
would have smiled at our youthful temerity! Yet,
in 1913, we will have done precisely that.
To-day there is no reason for revising the state-
ment by Theodore Shonts that: "The physical con-
struction of the Panama Canal is, all things consid-
ered, the greatest task of modern times. It is in the
highest degree exceptional in magnitude, complexity,
and cost."
The American-Panama Canal has risen phoenix-
like out of the ruins of the French enterprise. For
four centuries events have been shaping at Panama
to make our final attempt successful. When we be-
gan, crude as the conditions were, the sting of the
Isthmus, except its diseases, had been drawn. There
was a beaten road from ocean to ocean, on every hand
were landmarks to warn our footsteps from perilous
paths, the lives that had been lost, the money that
had been spent, all served to make our task achiev-
able. We justly may be proud of our deeds, but we
should not forget.
It may be asserted that the exigencies of world
convenience justified the manner by which we ac-
quired the Canal Zone; but in declining thus far to
make reparation to Colombia we are violating the
/essential ethics of Americanism. Certainly the Amer-
ican people cannot afford to dedicate their crowning
2





LAND DIVIDED


achievement in this age with one single nation enter-
taining a sense of wrong because of it!
The canal entered upon its last phase with the an-
nouncement by Chief Engineer Goethals that the first
ship would go through in September, 1913. Thence-
forward a definite goal was seen, and, despite the
slides in the mountain cut, or any other obstacles, that
program will be kept. Not a sign of slackness, but
rather stimulated activities have followed the bring-
ing of the end of the task in sight. In 1912 all rec-
ords for excavation and concrete work were smashed!
During the first two years and a half the canal was
in its first phase. It was the period of pioneering,
preparation, and adjustment. Two Chief Engineers
were tried, from the ranks of civil life, accomplishing
the main preliminaries to canal construction before
their departure. Both were men of unquestioned in-
tegrity and of impressive ability, but neither was the
one of destiny to complete the task.
The second phase of the canal was from the be-
ginning of 1907 to the spring of 1912. During these
six years the heart of the task was accomplished.
President Roosevelt had found the man who was to
take the organization built up by the men from the
ranks of private industry and hurl it against the
natural obstacles that stood in the way of success.
Col. Goethals was to take the blue-prints, and a head
full of theories, and work them out into the locks,
dams, and cuts in concrete mold to-day.
The third and last phase, as noted, began in 1912 (A
when the Chief Engineer set a date for the substan-






THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


tial completion of the canal. rt is distinguished by
the gradual dispersion of the army of workers, by the
reverse process of the first two years, and by the
creation of a permanent operating force with the de-
tail finishing work that attends every large project.
The East has furnished the canal with its Chief
Engineers -Wallace from Massachusetts, Stevens
from Maine, Goethals from New York. But every
State in the Union has furnished the rank and file,
as well as every nation in the world.
Standing out distinctly from the construction phase
of the enterprise is the figure of Col. Gorgas, the
Chief Sanitary Officer, now, as in the critical days
of 1905, quiet, alert, confident. The last days of the
canal find a perfect mechanism of his creation record-
ing his ideas with dispatch and precision, receiving
the plaudits of this and secure in the admiration of
succeeding generations.
With the long ascent behind, standing upon the
crest of the work of construction, looking down-
grade at the early completion of the canal, one fact
is emphasized in the minds of all laymen and engi-
neers who view the project with open eyes. It is this.
A sea-level canal, if not an impossibility, would have
beenaidefinite number of years in building and
would have cost an indefinitely greater number of
millions. The precipitation of more than 20,000,000
cubic yards of extraneous material into the Culebra
cut, by slides, rivets that fact in the minds of all
observers.
The locks may grow too small, the Gatun dam may
4





LAND DIVIDED


break, a caving in of the foundations of the colossal
structures may occur, and other convulsions of nature
may disable the canal, but nothing can rob the Amer-
icans of a wonderful achievement, nor will the work
have been without glory and justification, no matter
what the future holds. We still could rejoice in the
sheer courage, persistence, and indomitable ability
that have wrought the work in Panama.
Just as the Civil War developed Grant, and the
Spanish-American War Dewey and Schley, so has
the Panama Canal developed Goethals. He justly is
celebrated in the periodical and daily press and in
books as a splendid embodiment of Americanism-the
ideal combination of ability and integrity.
It is true, of course, that the completion of the
canal substantially fourteen months before the esti-
mated date, January I, 1915, and the saving of $20,-
ooo,ooo in the estimated cost, may mean simply that
both items were overestimated in 19o8 by Col. Goeth-
als; but the tremendous increase in necessary exca-
vation, due to slides and changes in plans, more than
offsets this consideration and forces the acknowledg-
ment that the savings in time and money represent
the increased efficiency his own preeminent abilities
have been able to produce.
A perspective view of the whole enterprise shows J .
that Theodore Roosevelt, by his individual actions, on
at least three occasions, vitally affected the canal and
its successful consummation. When he cut the Gor-
dian knot of diplomacy and took the Canal Zone, he //
made the first long stride toward interoceanic com-





THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


munication. When he threw his weight into the scale
/2 for a lock type canal, he decided the most critical
question that ever arose in the career of the enter-
prise. The third time his judgment prevented a great
mistake was when the project definitely was taken
from the possibility of private construction and placed
in the hands exclusively of government supervision.
There were lesser decisions of great moment, not-
ably the order for widening the locks and the Culebra
cut, and his whole connection with the project was
such as to rank as the most brilliant phase of his
administrations.
Before ten years have passed the American people
will realize that the canal would have been cheap at
twice the cost. The estimated cost, $375,000,000, is
an impressive figure, but this age is moving fast. As
great as the enterprise is, it is not probable that, in the
item of cost at least, it will long remain the record
achievement. But it is probable that when the record
is broken, it will be the Americans who break it.
To July I, 1912, the canal had cost, fifteen months
before its completion, $260,ooo,ooo. This was divided
as follows: Canal Zone, $Io,ooo,ooo; French purchase,
$40,ooo,00o; engineering and construction, $152,-
ooo,ooo; general expenditures, $36,000,000; sanita-
tion, $15,000,000; civil administration, $5,500,000;
fortifications, $I,ooo,ooo.
The canal was half done as to excavation and cost
in 1910. The toll in human lives, approximately 6,ooo
by 1914, for a period of nine and three quarter years,
is impressive only for its cheapness. It is estimated
6






LAND DIVIDED


that the building of the Panama Railroad, in 1850-55,
cost that number of lives, and for the Americans to
build the world's greatest enterprise in ten years
at so low a life cost constitutes for the tropics a pro-
foundly admirable achievement. Whether the gov-
ernment has been economical in the physical construc-
tion of the canal may be questioned, but it has been
positively parsimonious in the expenditure of human
life on the project.
It would be fitting for the first ship to pass through
the canal on September 25, 1913, or just four hun-
dred years to the day from the discovery of the Pa-
cific by Balboa. Thousands of Americans may de-
sire to go through the canal on their way to San
Francisco's Exposition, a really delightful cruise from
New York of eighteen days, but if they do, it will
be in foreign ships, because we have no vessels that
could handle the traffic. It will be a vivid object les-
son of our pitiful lack of a merchant marine.
Less than Ioo,ooo Americans will have seen the
canal in course of construction out of a population
of 9o,ooo,ooo. President Roosevelt truly said that a
trip to see this great project in the building was more
profitable than a trip to Europe. But at the San
Francisco Exposition some compensation will be
found for a failure to see the canal by an exhibit of
every kind of machinery used by the French and the
Americans in the thirty-five years of construction, or
from 188o to 1915. When the government finally
sold off the old French machinery that had littered
the Canal Zone for three decades the best specimen
7






THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


of each kind of apparatus was reserved for this
graphic exhibit.
Panama now becomes the farthest outpost of
Americanism in Latin America. The peoples of that
continent have profited immeasurably by the prac-
tical demonstrations in sanitation, civil government,
and engineering construction. They have learned,
and so has the rest of the world, that the tropics are
not necessarily deadly, that order can be maintained,
not only among a homogeneous population, but among
the heterogeneous races that have thronged the
Isthmus, and they have seen that no natural obstacle
is insuperable before the intelligence of man. The
canal should be a means of cementing these lessons,
of disabusing mutual prejudices between the Amer-
icans to the North and the Americans to the South.
The American conquest of Latin America should be
more through uplifting ideals than through bald com-
mercialism leading to discord and unbrotherly rela-
tions.










CHAPTER II


THE LIFE COST

MEASURED in money, the Panama Canal was
to cost $375,000,000. This is impressive, but
there is another item of cost more important, namely,
"The Life Cost," or the cost, in human lives, of dig-
ging the canal.
Contemplating the record of the Isthmus for un-
healthfulness, it could not but be anticipated, in 1904,
when the Americans took charge, that this cost would
be heavy. That it should be surprisingly low consti-
tutes a more significant achievement than any saving
in the money or time cost of the project.
On July I, 1912, the Americans had been eight
years in the actual work of building the canal. In
that period of eight years there were:

Deaths from disease.......... 4,146
Deaths from violence........ 995

Total deaths............ 5,141

Another full year before the passage of the first
ship, and eighteen months before the practical and
continuous operation of the completed canal, will
bring that total of deaths, estimating on the average
of previous years and not considering unprecedented






THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


increases, to less than 6,000 by January I, 1914
The Sanitary Department makes the following report
for the eight-year period ending July I, 1912:

Year No. of Employees Dea hs Rate per 1,ooo
1904......... 6,213 82 13.26
1905.......... 16,512 427 25.86
1906.......... 26,547 1,105 41.73
1907 ......... 39,238 1,131 28.74
1908.......... 43,891 571 13.01
1909......... 47,167 502 10.64
1910......... 50,802 558 10.88
1911.......... 48,876 539 11.02
1912 (July)... 48,000 226 io.60

The foregoing figures not only cover those actually
at work on the canal, but as well include those who,
while not regularly employed, are the wards of the
Commission when idle. From 1907 onward health
has been normal on the Isthmus, within the Canal
Zone, with a death rate, among the Americans, fre-
quently lower than in large centers of population in
the United States.
President. Roosevelt selected Col. William Craw-
ford Gorgas to clean up the Isthmus because of his
record in sanitary work in Cuba and elsewhere.
Chief Engineer Wallace doubted his capacity, and so
did Secretary of War Taft, but, by 1906, the latter
was ready to acknowledge his mistake. Col. Gorgas
is a Southern man, a native of Alabama, and so natu-
rally quiet and reserved in demeanor and deportment
IO

































4























Copyright by Harris d Eicing.
COL. W. C. GORGAS.





LIFE COST


that men accustomed to measure a man by bluster
and self-assertiveness make the mistake of assuming
that he is not strong. His manner and methods sug-
gest Gen. Robert E. Lee.
There were two prime needs, as Col. Gorgas
viewed the Isthmus in 1904, in any campaign for im-
proved health conditions. One was to make the Isth-
mus clean and the other was to kill the mosquitoes
which he considered a means of propagating disease.
Practically everything done by the health department
has been along these main lines of theory.
The United States profited by the mistakes of the
French to the extent of reserving, in the treaty with
the Republic of Panama, the exclusive right to con-
trol the sanitation of Panama and Colon. So, in
1904, the engineers immediately went to work on a
sewer, waterworks, and street-paving plan that would
make of these two characteristically filthy Central
American cities, clean, decent, sanitary places of
abode.
The native population dumped all garbage, and mat-
ter usually consigned to sewers, into the streets.
These streets were mud holes which, with the admix-
ture of refuse, made a condition inconceivably dirty
and naturally unhealthful. The Americans made a
reservoir in the mountains a dozen miles away for
the water supply of Panama, dug sewers and forced
the native houses to connect with them, and then
paved the streets with brick. A system of garbage
collection was organized, and the city was cleared
of all rubbish. To-day the tourist sees some evidence





THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


of slovenly living, but conditions generally are sur-
prisingly smart.
The second part of the program-killing the mos-
quitoes-was accomplished principally by the use of
crude oil. Every stagnant pool of water, and most of
the running streams-except rivers-were treated
with oil, and the rank grass and tropical growth was
kept cut by hundreds of scythemen. As a further war
measure all houses were screened, the amount spent
on this item alone amounting to a sum between $750,-
ooo and $I,ooo,ooo.
Having cleaned up within, rigid quarantine regula-
tions were made to keep out persons who might be
brought in a diseased condition from other ports.
Vaccination of every person who enters the Canal
Zone is compulsory, unless a good scar can be shown.
In 1905 a ship load of natives from Martinique, im-
ported to work on the canal, refused to land because
they thought vaccination was a plan to brand them
so they could never return to their home. They were
forced out at the point of the bayonet and vaccinated.
It was before these plans had been matured that the
first and only epidemic of yellow fever occurred in
the Canal Zone. In April, 1905, an employee in the
Administration building in Panama became sick with
the fever, and from then on to September the Canal
Zone was in the throes of a fear that was featured
by the wholesale departure of employees. The news-
papers gave the epidemic wide and oftentimes errone-
ous publicity, with the consequence that the govern-
ment had to pay for the fear of the Isthmus thus






LIFE COST


created, in greatly increased salaries and gratuities, to
secure American employees.
By October, 1905, Col. Gorgas had mastered the
epidemic, and, although isolated cases have occurred
since, yellow fever was permanently banished as the
bugbear of Panama. From July I, 1904, to Novem-
ber I, 1905, 44 employees succumbed to this disease.
While the epidemic raged, from April to September,
1905, there were 37 deaths among employees, mainly
among Americans, with whom the epidemic started.
There was a siege with smallpox and the plague,
but they, too, were eradicated in so far as epidemics
are concerned, and malaria, pneumonia, and tubercu-
losis remain as the most frequent attributed causes of
death. Quinine has been bought by the ton for the
Canal Zone dispensaries and hospitals. In 1908 each
employee averaged about an ounce of quinine, and
they were advised to take three grains daily.
The French had left hospital buildings in Colon
and on the side of Ancon hill, just outside of Pan-
ama. The Americans renovated these and added to
them until the present vast facilities came into form.
They sometimes have more than 1,200 patients. A
large asylum for the insane also is maintained. Hos-
pital cars are attached to the passenger trains to bring
in patients to the Ancon and Colon hospitals each day.
In every town or settlement there is a dispensary with
a physician in charge and a sanitary officer to inspect
conditions of living. There are about 24 employees
out of every thousand constantly sick.
For the Canal Zone, Panama and Colon, in 1905
13






THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


the death rate was 49-94 per I,ooo. In 1911 it was
21.46, or cut down more than one half. In 1906 the
death rate among the Americans from disease was
5.36, and in 1911 it was 2.82. In 1908 and 191o there
were more Americans killed in accidents or died from
violence than died from disease.
lit necessarily follows, from an engineering task of
this magnitude, where vast quantities of explosives
are handled, where there is a considerable railroad
mileage and other hazardous features of construction,
that the death rate from violence or accidents would
be large.
Every month since the American occupation began
in May, 1904, there has been an average of Io em-
ployees killed or have died from external causes. The
total to July I, 1912, was 995, and by the time the
canal is completed, barring unusual catastrophes, the
deaths from this cause will be around I,Ioo. Under
the head of violence are included deaths by drowning,
suicide, dynamite explosions, railroad accidents, poi-
sonings, homicides, electric shocks, burns, lightning,
and accidental traumatism of various kinds.
Scores of deaths have resulted from the practice of
the native employees in using the railroad tracks as
public highways. There have been bad collisions
and wrecks with fatalities, and dynamite has claimed
about one tenth of the victims of external violence.
In the handling of 25,259 tons of dynamite, or 50,-
517,650 pounds, to July I, 1912, the following princi-
pal accidents have occurred:
December 12, 1908, at Bas Obispo, premature ex-
14





LIFE COST


plosion of twenty-two tons in the Culebra cut, 26
killed and 40 injured.
October o1, 1908, at Mindi, 7 killed and Io in-
jured, premature explosion. Dredging in Pacific en-
trance.
October 8, 1908, at Empire, in the Culebra cut, 5
killed and 8 injured, premature explosion.
August 30, 19Io, at Ancon quarry, 4 killed.
July 19, 1911, at Ancon quarry, 4 killed, 2 in-
jured.
January o1, 19o9, at Paraiso, 2 killed, o1 injured.
July 25, 1909, on Panama Railroad, 4 killed, 9
injured.
May 22, 1908, in Chagres division, 2 killed, prema-
ture explosion of twenty-six tons, caused by light-
ning.
Forty deaths from dynamite explosions are noted
for the year 1908, the largest number for any one
year of canal construction, and this does not take
into account several individual fatalities. Chief En-
gineer Goethals issued stringent regulations to govern
the handling of the dynamite, but it was in such com-
mon use that the employees naturally became careless.
An instance is afforded by two employees who
knocked an iron pipe against a railroad track to dis-
lodge some dynamite. They were angels in less than
two seconds after the first blow. The worst acci-
dent, at Bas Obispo, has not been explained.
Most of the accidents have occurred since the work-
ing force has been in excess of 20,000 men. When
the number killed outside the line of duty is sub-
15






THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


tracted from the total deaths by violence, it will be
found that the actual building of the canal has been
attended by a normal percentage of such fatalities
--certainly no larger than in any private construc-
tion of the same character or approximating the same
magnitude. The largest number of deaths by violence
among employees in one year was in 1909, when 178
were killed, and this was equaled again in 1911. The
following table shows the number of American em-
ployees, the total death rate, and the relation of
deaths from disease to deaths by violence from 1906
to 1911, inclusive:
YEAR No. of Death Rate By Violence
Empl'y's Per z,ooo Disease
1906..... 3,264 8.14 5.36
1907..... 5,000 8.14 5.36
1908..... 5,126 8.19 3.70 4.49
1909 ..... 5,300 5.56 3.23 2.33
1910..... 5,573 5.35 2.43 2.92
1911..... 6,163 5.14 2.82 2.32

Col. Gorgas found, in the early years of canal
work, that the Americans and Europeans were three
times as healthy as the natives of the tropics, who,
as Chief Engineer Stevens noted in 1905, "are sup-
posed to be immune from everything, but who, as a
matter of fact, are subject to almost everything."
This somewhat upsets the theory that northern races
cannot live readily in tropical climates.
Several of the annual reports of the Sanitary De-
partment have noted the remarkably few diseases
16






LIFE COST


peculiar to men, such as alcoholism, etc. Mr. Tracy
Robinson, in his book of personal reminiscences,
"Fifty Years at Panama," speaks authoritatively on
the use of liquor in the tropics as follows:
"Many foreigners have fallen victims to
fear rather than fever; while many others
have wrought their own destruction by
drink, which is the greatest curse of man-
kind in all lands, but more especially in hot
countries. It has killed, directly and indi-
rectly, more than the entire list of diseases
put together; for it induces by its derange-
ment of the vital forces, every ill to which
flesh is heir. Candor compels me to state
that I have tried both abstinence and moder-
ate indulgence; and when it is said that
strong drink is necessary in the tropics to
tone the system up, or for any good purpose
under heaven, I say emphatically, it is not
so! It is absolutely best to let it entirely
alone. My fifty years' experience gives me
authority to write as I do."

Allowance must be made, in considering the favor-
able health showing on the Isthmus, to the fact
that the employees in one sense are picked men.
They must be in sound condition when employed and
usually in the prime of life. Another thing that has
kept the death rate down among the Americans has
been the practice of returning to the United States
many patients who apparently had not long to live.
17





THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


Thus their deaths were not a charge against the Canal
Zone.
It cannot be assumed that all the deaths from dis-
ease in the Canal Zone were from causes that origi-
nated there. The diseases peculiar to the tropics have
not claimed as many victims among the Americans as
the diseases peculiar to the northern climates. But
there has been a steady improvement, as may be
noted in a fall in the death rate among the Americans,
from 8.14 per I,ooo in 1907 to 5.14 per I,ooo in 1911.
An incident in the sanitary government of the Isth-
mus was an Executive Order by President Taft, ef-
fective on December 12, 19II, which prohibited the
practice of any system of therapeutics or healing that
the Sanitary Department, the allopathic school, should
rule against. The President, upon its possible appli-
cation to create a monopoly of healing in the Canal
Zone being pointed out to him, revoked the order on
January I, 1912.
Employees are not permitted to remain in their
homes or quarters when sick, but must go to the
Colon or Ancon hospital, unless the district physi-
cian expressly rules otherwise. The hospital grounds
at Ancon are beautiful, and convalescent patients are
sent to Taboga Island, ten miles out in Panama Bay,
for final treatment. A dairy with 125 cows supplies
fresh milk to the Ancon hospital.
At first Col. Gorgas was not a member of the Isth-
mian Canal Commission. But the extraordinary abil-
ity he displayed resulted in the separation of the Sani-
tary Department from the jurisdiction of the Gov-






LIFE COST


ernor of the Canal Zone, and on February 28, 1907,
Col. Gorgas was made a member of the Commission,
with the Department of Sanitation having equal dig-
nity with other grand divisions of the work. He is
the only official of the highest rank who has been with
the canal project from its earliest days to the present.
The cost of the sanitary conquest of the Isthmus,
to July I, 1912, was the somewhat impressive total
of $15,ooo,ooo. Here, as in the pay and treatment of
employees, the government has sought results without
regard to the expense. For the remaining days of
the canal the cost of sanitation will be approximately
$2,500,oo0, or $17,500,000 in all by January I, 1914,
which amount is nearly $3,000,000 less than the cost
estimated for the department in 19o8.
The first grand lesson from the life cost of the
Panama Canal is that the tropics no longer offer in-
superable obstacles to the health of northern races.
For all South and Central America the work of the
Americans in Panama teaches the imperative neces-
sity of a literal belief in the old adage: Cleanliness
is next to Godliness." At every single point where
disease has dominated the situation, it has been found
that filth abounded. Guayaquil, in Ecuador, some-
times is quarantined half the year, and it is a signifi-
cant fact that this has been one of the dirtiest ports in
South America. Any people who are willing to live
indecently will pay the penalty in a high death rate.
When the ordinary cleanliness to which the Ameri-
can, or the European, is accustomed is observed in
the tropics, and if intoxicants are not permitted to
19





THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


dominate the individual life, there will not be the
slightest difficulty in living near the Equator. The
ultimate crowding of North America will force pop-
ulation into Central and South America, and among
the world benefits of the Panama Canal none is more
flattering to the Americans than just this lesson that
he who will live decently may live healthfully.










CHAPTER III


THE SPANISH IN PANAMA

HISTORIANS have noted that certain members
of the vegetable and mineral kingdoms have
played a vital part in the discovery and colonization
of the Americas.
Columbus, the master spirit of his age, had the
noble, imaginative conception of the earth's rotundity
which he wished to demonstrate to mankind, but his
immediate impulse was to find the shortest passage
to the East Indies, where the spies so much prized
on the dining tables of Europe could be obtained and
brought back more expeditiously than by the long trip
around the Cape of Good Hope.
To the North, more than a hundred years later,
tobacco was the main product that held the English
colonists to Virginia in the face of hostile savages
and exile from home. Smoking spread over Europe
like an epidemic, making the rewards from the culti-
vation of the weed immediate and profitable from the
start.
The members of the mineral kingdom which held
the venturesome mariners to their new found lands,
despite every discouragement, human and natural,
were gold and silver. No sooner had these precious
metals crossed the European vision than their first
love, spices, faded completely out of the imagination.
21






THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


Thenceforth, the Spaniards and the Portuguese ran-
sacked an isthmus, a continent, and the islands of the
sea with frenzied and appalling barbarities and with
splendid success.
Thus spices, tobacco, gold, and silver have been
the unheroic causes of epochal movements in the
human family. Columbus kept his vision above the
sordid greed for gold to the last. On the fourth at-
tempt he made to find a passage to the East Indies
he cruised along the Isthmian coast from September,
1502, to January, 1503, entering and naming the har-
bor of Porto Bello on November 2, 1502, and visiting
Nombre de Dios on November 9th, in what is now
the Republic of Panama.
Columbus, however, was not the discoverer of Pan-
ama, as a Spaniard, named Rodrigo de Bastides, had
preceded him to this coast, in 1501, so th period
of the Spanish in Panama dates from that year. Ba-
stides visited Nombre de Dios, where eight years later
the first Spanish settlement on the Isthmus was
planted, in 1509, as a base for the search for gold. *
Vasco Nunez de Balboa had been with Bastides
on his trip of exploration and he became the head
of the new colony at Panama. It had been desig-
nated "The Castle of Gold" by the King of Spain
because of the plentiful quantities of that metal found
among the natives. For a few years the mountains
with their dense jungle growth stood as a barrier to
explorations farther inland, but the stories of the
marvelous wealth of the inhabitants on the other
side, told to Balboa by the Indians, so excitedctis
22





SPANISH


cupidity that, in 1513, he gathered a band of 190 men
and started across.
When they approached the summit of a mountain
which, the 'Indian guide said, would afford a view of
the new sea, Balboa ordered his men to halt while
he alone took the first view. There, in the heart of
the Isthmian jungle, four hundred years ago, with
what must have been a feeling of awe even to his
hardened nature, Balboa discovered the Pacific, on
September 25, 1513. Calling his men to him, they
had a religious ceremony, claiming all they surveyed
as the dominions of His Majesty, the King of Spain.
Four days later, after traversing the distance to this
sea from the mountain, he waded out into the water
and reaffirmed his sovereign's title.
Gold he found in abundance, and pearls of fabu-
lous size and value. After five months' absence, he
returned to Nombre de Dios by a more direct course,
and spread the news which was to turn Central and
South America into a slaughter house, through the
mad traffic that debauched Spain, made pirates of
England's navigators, and reduced the original popu-
lation to wretched slavery.
Balboa found that he had been succeeded as Gov-
ernor at Nombre de Dios by a soldier named Pedra-
rias. Between them a hatred sprang up which, in
1517, resulted in the untimely and unjust execution
of Balboa on trumped up charges. Prior to this, Bal-
boa had made other trips to the Pacific, carrying
across with incredible labor the parts of ships which
were rebuilt in the Pacific. In 1911 the Americans
23





THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


found a cannon of immense weight about halfway
across, which evidently had been abandoned by Bal-
boa, and an anchor of great size also has been found.
Pedrarias, in 1515, had sent exploring parties to
the Pacific side to select a site for a settlement on that
coast. The San Francisco Exposition, therefore, in
1915, will be exactly four hundred years after this
event. It was not until i519 that the settlement was
started, and the founding of the city of Panama dates
historically from that year.
With the founding of a town on the Pacific side
began the interoceanic traffic which ever since has
emphasized the need of easier and swifter communi-
cation between the Atlantic and Pacific. The site of
the city was about twelve miles from the present city
of Panama, and a few miles inland. At a huge ex-
pense of labor and life a paved road was constructed
from Nombre de Dios to Panama, portions of which
may be seen in the Canal Zone to-day. Another
route across the Isthmus followed the Chagres River
as far as it was navigable to a point near the Ameri-
can town of Gorgona, from there the trip being
across the mountains to Panama.
It may be noted that Panama was founded a full
one hundred years before the landing of the Pilgrims
at Plymouth. Nombre de Dios was a town ninety-
eight years before the first English settlement in North
America, at Jamestown, in I607. Saint Augustine,
Florida, the oldest town in North America, was not
founded until forty-six years after Panama. Indeed,
Panama is the oldest part of continental America.
24





SPANISH


Francisco Pizarro, a pupil of the Balboa school,
heard tales about an indescribably rich country south
of Panama. He organized an expedition, which left
Panama in 1532, and effected the conquest of Peru,
which Prescott has immortalized in literature. His-
tory does not afford a more daring, a more barbarous,
and scarcely a more richly rewarded conquest, nor
does Europe or Mexico present a more interesting
prehistoric civilization than the land of the Incas.
After nearly a century at Nombre de Dios, the
Spanish, in the year 1584, found Porto Bello a health-
ier site for a settlement, and moved bag and baggage
to that incomparable port. In leaving Nombre de
Dios, it is worth recording that Sir Francis Drake,
the great Englishman who had "singed the King of
Spain's beard," who had plundered the Spanish Main
from boyhood, and had circumnavigated the globe,
claiming California for his Queen, died on board ship
and was buried at sea off Nombre de Dios in 1596.
Porto Bello at once became the depot of Spanish
treasure, accumulated from Peru or other South and
Central American countries, and brought across the
Isthmus from Panama with incredible hardship.
From this port the Spanish galleons ran the gauntlet
of English pirates to Spain. Drake had been one of
the most intrepid of this crew. Henry Morgan, a
century later, was another. The English allowed the
Spanish to perform all the arduous labor and fighting
involved in acquiring the gold and silver, then hov-
ered around the West Indies and took it from them,
or died in the attempt.





THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


In 1668, Henry Morgan collected a motley crew of
sea vagabonds with the object of capturing Porto
Bello. The operations of the English buccaneers usu-
ally were plain piracy, but they justified themselves
in their own minds by the quarrelsome state of the
relations between England and Spain, and a still
deeper motive was the implacable warfare between
Protestant and Catholic. Morgan, as unprincipled a
soldier as ever fought, was knighted for his piracies
in Panama.
Porto Bello was captured after a fight not sur-
passed in history for inhumanities. The treasure they
found here whetted their lust for gold, with the re-
sult that, three years later, a still bolder enterprise,
that of traversing the Isthmus and taking Panama,
was planned. In 1671 Morgan started up the Cha-
gres River with I,600 men, and, after abandoning
that stream, they struck out overland to Panama.
Nine days were consumed in the journey with hard-
ships from hunger and the labor of penetrating the
jungle, the like of which have not been exceeded by
soldiers anywhere.
When they did get in sight of Panama they were
so weak that a more resolute foe easily could have
annihilated the army of invasion. The Spanish and
natives kept within their fortifications and their first
offensive move was to attempt to stampede two thou-
sand bulls upon Morgan's men, who promptly quit
fighting to slaughter enough of the animals to satisfy
their hunger. Thus what mighthave been a formidable





SPANISH


defensive act, if successfully managed, was turned to
vital advantage by the enemy.
A desperate defense was unavailing. The city was
captured, but found to be barren of treasure, as the
Spanish had loaded a ship with their gold and silver
before the attack began, and the ship could not be
found. It was an unwise move, because the infuriated
pirates proceeded to torture the people, and to mur-
der hundreds, finally burning Panama to the ground.
To-day tourists go out to see a tower and other ruins
of the famous old city of Panama.
Panama was rebuilt on a short promontory in the
Pacific, and although captured again by the pirates
in 1680 has remained on the new site to this time.
Many vicissitudes attended the career of the Span-
iards for the following century and a half, the chief
ruffle on their calm being an effort by William Pater-
son, a wealthy Englishman, to found a colony of
Scotchmen in the Darien region on the Atlantic coast,
east of Porto Bello. The first colony of 1,200 came
in 1698 and perished from disease or fighting, and
a second company of .1,300 followed the same course,
being expelled or killed by the Spanish, so that not
more than thirty ever returned to Scotland. It was
a lamentable failure of English colonizing south of
the American colonies, and was not followed by other
experiments in Panama.
During all the stirring years in Panama the Span-
ish had swarmed over Mexico, Central America, and
South America. Yet, early in the nineteenth century
the great colonial empire began crumbling away.





THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


Province after province revolted from Spain. The
explanation is that the Spanish never looked on Amer-
ica as anything other than a place to extract gold
and silver. This attitude enabled them to secure the
most wealth in the shortest time, but the methods
employed, and the treatment of the natives, laid the
foundation in unstable elements. In North America
regular agricultural and commercial pursuits caused
English civilization to take deep root, but, in justice
to Spain, it at least is true that she maintained her
authority over her colonies as long as England did
over hers.
Panama, in 1821, caught the spirit of revolt, and
accomplished her freedom from Spain in a bloodless
revolution. It then joined the Confederation of New
Granada, the Colombia of to-day, under Simon Boli-
var, South America's great soldier and statesman.
Here ended the career of the Spanish in Panama.
Easily the most impressive fact in all the Western
Hemisphere is the achievement of the Spanish in dis-
possessing a whole continent of its original tongues
and substituting therefore their own language. With
the exception of some Portuguese colonies, the lan-
guage of the Castiles is the language from the Rio
Grande to Patagonia. The customs also are Spanish
I and so is the religion. The explanation of this truly
remarkable fact is that the Spaniard absolutely re-
fused to adapt himself to the native tongues, cus-
toms, or religion, forcing them to conform to his.
But the chief credit for this achievement belongs to
the missionaries of the Catholic Church, men no less





SPANISH


daring than the conquerors with whom they went
hand in hand, planting missions and churches in the
jungle. These indomitable priests taught the native
children to speak Spanish, and in the course of cen-
turies it became the continental language.
What will be the future of English in Latin Amer-
ica ? It is not a wild prophecy to assert that in another
generation Spanish will be decadent and English
everywhere ascendent. Already the higher social and
business circles are acquiring English. In every cen-
ter of population it is making rapid headway, though
it must be many years before the mass of the peo-
ple make it their own. The South American youth
is not dreaming of Europe, but of the giant young
republic to the North. He wants to see its skyscrap-
ers, its dazzling luxury in every phase of life. Its
politics fascinates and amazes him. It seems a land
literally rolling in wealth, the land of opportunity and
the land where he may learn the arts with which to
make a career in his own country. The Americans
are as loath to adapt themselves to Spanish customs
and dialects as the Spaniards were to the original.
Every year Americans find it less difficult to get about
anywhere in Latin America. English ultimately will
triumph from Alaska to Magellan Straits, and the
canal will speed the day.









CHAPTER IV


THE PANAMA RAILROAD

KENTUCKY'S great statesman, Henry Clay, as
Secretary of State in 1825 and as Senator in
1835, was interested farsightedly in plans for speed-
ier communication at the Isthmus between the two
oceans. The independence of Panama from Spain by
a bloodless revolution in 1821 had placed the Isth-
mus in a new position for other European govern-
ments, or the United States, to negotiate terms for
concessions. The American people were jealous of
foreign activities, but not aggressively active them-
selves in concrete efforts toward a canal.
De Witt Clinton, prominently connected with the
Erie Canal, headed a company that sought government
aid in its plans for a canal in Central America, but
though Clay encouraged the idea nothing definite re-
sulted. The year following, or in 1826, Simon Boli-
var, South America's great soldier and statesman,
invited the United States, among other American re-
publics, to an international conference in Panama
with the object of forming a union for the promotion
and defense of all American interests.
While nothing significant came of this congress, it
is noteworthy as the first attempt to form what is
now the Pan-American Union, or the Bureau of
American Republics, at Washington. It assembled on





RAILROAD


June 22, 1826, but the United States representatives
did not arrive in time to participate.
Panama had become a part of the confederation of
New Granada after independence from Spain, and
thenceforth lived the regular life of a turbulent prov-
ince of what to-day is known as Colombia. All the
commerce between the coasts drifted across the Isth-
mus at that point. Little effort had been made to
improve the passage, so that swifter and easier com-
munication was the dream of every seaman or trav-
eler.
Clay introduced a resolution in the Senate in 1835
authorizing President Jackson to appoint a commis-
sioner to investigate the feasibility of a rail or water
route at the Isthmus. Charles Biddle undertook the
mission and secured a concession at Bogota, the capi-
tal of New Grenada, but he died before making a re-
port. President Van Buren interested himself in the
project, but little came of American plans for the next
ten years.
The ever alert French, in 1847, after securing a
concession to build a railroad, allowed it to lapse. It
is significant that this French failure was followed, as
in the case of trying to dig a canal, by a successful at-
tempt by the Americans.
Three Americans, William H. Aspinwall, John L.
Stephens and Henry Chauncey, of New York, taking
advantage of the opening made by the French failure,
obtained a concession from the Bogota government
in 1849 for building a railroad across the Isthmus at
Panama, with the important provision that no canal
31






THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


could be constructed there without the company's con-
sent.
Their concession was for a period of forty-nine
years after the completion of the railroad, but Colom-
bia reserved the right, twenty years after its comple-
tion, to purchase the road for $5,ooo,ooo. The
unprecedented prosperity of the road immediately upon
the beginning of its operation made this latter pro-
vision a bad stroke, as in 1875 Colombia could take
it over at the fixed valuation. The company began to
seek an extension of the life of the concession, with
Colombia, unfortunately for it, holding the whip hand.
Negotiations were concluded in 1867 whereby a
ninety-nine year concession was obtained, but the
terms were very hard. A cash bonus of $I,ooo,ooo
had to be paid to Colombia, with an annual payment
of $250,000 and the company agreed to extend the
railroad out into the Pacific Ocean to some islands
where deep water would enable large ships to dock.
Luckily for the American promoters, the discovery
of gold in California in 1849 came just as they were
seeking to float their company. The Isthmian route to
California at once became heavily traveled and the
eyes of the whole world, particularly of the United
States, were again fastened upon Panama.
Our government in 1846 had concluded a treaty
with Colombia which provided for the joint construc-
tion of a canal in Panama, and the stimulated interest
in the Isthmian route in 1849 made this appear a
fortuitous treaty, because it excluded any European
power from that territory. A controversy arose be-
32





RAILROAD


tween the United States and England over the Nica-
raguan canal route, culminating in a treaty between
the two governments known as the Clayton-Bulwer
treaty of 1850. This treaty provided substantially the
same as the Colombian treaty of 1846, that in the
event of the construction of any canal in Central Amer-
ica, Great Britain and the United States guaranteed its
neutrality and use on equal terms to all the world.
The addition of the territories of Oregon and Cali-
fornia to the United States still further emphasized
the need of quick communication between the Atlantic
and Pacific. The Panama Railroad, therefore, took
hold upon the popular imagination.
Aspinwall and his associates pushed the construc-
tion of the road under James L. Baldwin, an Amer-
ican civil engineer of uncommon ability. Labor of
a desirable kind was not obtainable. Many nation-
alities were tried, with a tragic failure on the part of
the Chinese, who seemed unable to face the terrors
of the jungle. Hundreds committed suicide, and dis-
ease and accidents claimed other hundreds. The life
cost of the Panama Railroad in the five years it was
building has been estimated at 6,000 persons.
The route selected started at an island near the
coast on the Atlantic side, the site of the city of Colon,
crossed the hills into the valley of the Chagres River
and followed that valley to the continental divide, over
which it passed with a maximum elevation of 263 feet
above sea-level, and thence down to Panama on the
Pacific side. Treacherous swamps, almost impene-
trable jungles, and formidable streams and mountains
33





THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


necessitated incredibly hard labor and continuous work
from 1850 to January 28, 1855, when the first train
reached Panama from Colon. The line was forty-
seven miles long, built of Belgian rails and on a gauge
of five feet.
The standard gauge in the United States is four
feet nine and a half inches, so that all locomotives and
cars used on the Panama railroad have to be specially
built with wheels set farther apart. When it comes to
disposing of surplus equipment after the canal is fin-
ished, the government will have to allow for the cost
of modifying the rolling stock from the five-foot to
the standard gauge. It is estimated that the axles on
locomotives may be shortened at an average cost of
$750 a locomotive, and for cars, from $27 to $31 each.
California gold-seekers used the railroad as far is
it was built during the years immediately following
1850 and made the rest of the trip across the Isthmus
by muleback. There were no buccaneers waiting to
relieve them, as they had the Spaniards, of their treas-
ure, but bandits and outlaws haunted the route with
almost equal success. Thus the railroad had an in-
come from the start, and ten years after completion
it was known as the best-paying property in the
world.
The total cost had been $7,407,553, or about $158,-
ooo a mile. Dividends were paid every year from
1853 to 1892, and from 1901 to 1903, when it became
United States property. The largest year's earnings
was in 1868 when 44 percentum was paid, or $4,337,-
668.48 in both dividends and undivided profits. Total





RAILROAD


earnings from 1855 to 1898 were $94,958,890.36;
operating expenses, $57,036,234.46; leaving for sur-
plus and dividends, $37,922,655. Rather eloquent
figures as to the Isthmian freight and passenger traffic!
The great prosperity of the railroad suffered a
serious set-back with the completion of the California
overland railroad in 1869. Thenceforward the valu-
able bullion shipments avoided Panama as well as pas-
senger and freight business. The company's business
shows a steady decline from that year, and some
wooden-headed management contributed to the mo-
mentum. Still it was a valuable property, and to the
French a very expensive property, as they found in
1881, when they had to buy the railroad in order to
obtain a concession to build a canal.
Colombia turned to the French, after negotiating
fruitlessly with the United States over a canal con-
cession, and the company headed by M. de Lesseps
was granted a right of way provided the railroad
would suspend the provision in its concession giving
it the say-so as to water communication. Freight
rates were boosted on all French company shipments
until in desperation they bought the road for $18,o94,-
ooo, in 1881, paying considerably more than it was
worth, or $250 a share for sixty-eight seventieths of
the capital stock.
The French neglected the commercial possibilities
even more than the American owners had, though
dividends were earned during the life of the first com-
pany. When the United States bought the interests
of the French company, in 1904, the Panama Railroad
35






THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


was one of the properties transferred. It was sadly
run down, but under the Americans it was made over
into a modernly equipped and operated system, though
subordinated as a commercial proposition to the con-
struction of the canal. Chief Engineer Wallace sug-
gested that it be double-tracked, or four-tracked, and
up-to-date ocean terminals for handling a great freight
business be built, with the idea of ,upplying cheap and
swift transit pending the completion of the canal, but
this view was abandoned by succeeding engineers,
until in 1912 the Secretary of War cut down the
amount of commercial business the road should handle
so that canal shipments might have uninterrupted
right of way.
Doubtless mahogany, ebony and other rare hard
woods have not been used in cutting ties for other
railroads, but the Americans have dug up ties of those
woods that had been in the ground sixty years and
still were in good condition. The quaint hollowed out
Belgian rails had to be replaced with heavy American
types. Such rolling stock as was used by the Ameri-
cans was for light hauling.
Passenger rates dropped from $25 a one-way ticket
in 1855 to $2.40 under the Americans to-day. The
trip from Colon to Panama is two hours and a half
and the coaches are painted yellow because that color
best stands the Isthmian climate. In the fiscal year
ended June 30, 1911, the Panama Railroad under
American control earned $2,398,177.88 from freight
and $686,991 from passenger business. The number
36





RAILROAD


of passengers carried during the year was 2,999,500,
and in 1912 a larger traffic was recorded.
The plans for the canal as adopted by the Americans
in 1906 played havoc with the right of way of the
railroad, so in June, 1907, the work of relocating it
back among the hills out of reach of Gatun Lake was
begun. After five years' work, or as long as it re-
quired to build the original line in 1850-1855, the new
line was opened to traffic in 1912. The full line, how-
ever, was used only for freight trains, as the Canal
Zone towns mostly are on the old line, along the Cule-
bra cut.
This twentieth century Panama Railroad has cost
$9,ooo,ooo, as compared with the cost of the nine-
teenth century road, $7,000,000, an increase of $2,000,-
ooo after a lapse of sixty years. On the face of things
the performance in 1850-1855 seems more creditable
than in 1907-1912, because then a pathless jungle had
to be conquered when the Isthmus was a death trap;
whereas now the Americans had a force of workers
organized, they had the equipment on the ground with
which to do the work and the entire resources of the
canal organization as to quarters, subsistence, and
medical attention were within easy reach. Not con-
sidering the cost, the relocated line is a beautiful piece
of engineering work.
The dream of a Pan-American Railroad has been
entertained ever since steam locomotion came into use.
When several gaps are filled in, there will be railroad
communication through Mexico, Guatemala, and Nica-
ragua to Costa Rica, which adjoins Panama. The
37






THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


Republic of Panama has been planning an interior
railroad system that would be part of an all-rail route
from the United States to the canal. Before many
years it is likely that a bridge will span the canal in
a railroad system that reaches from Canada through
Panama to the mainland of South America, thence
down the West Coast to Valparaiso.
In connection with the railroad, the government has
operated a steamship line to New York, from Colon,
the fleet at present consisting of six ships, the Ancon,
Cristobal, Panama, Colon, Advance, and Allinca.
These ships have transported the larger part of canal
supplies from the Atlantic seaboard. Canal employees
get passenger rates of $20 or $30 for one-way trips
when taking vacations, and other steamship lines grant
smaller reductions. The regular rate from New York
is $75. It is the only line to Panama that flies our
flag.










CHAPTER V


THE FRENCH IN PANAMA

OPINIONS as to the advisability of an Isthmian
canal ran all the way from the attitude of
Philip II, of Spain, that it would be impious to tamper
with natural land configurations as arranged by Provi-
dence, to the bold determination of the French to do
at Panama what they had done at Suez.
Ferdinand de Lesseps and his Panama career vindi-
cate strikingly the truth of the adage that nothing
succeeds like success. The French Panama Canal
Company was floated on the strength of his achieve-
ment in cutting a sea-level passage from the Mediter-
ranean to the Red Sea, thus making an island of
Africa.
When he turned his attention to Panama as a new
field for glory, the French people enthusiastically ap-
plauded his audacity and, what is more significant and
substantial, invested, first and last, $265,ooo,ooo in
the enterprise. American capital entered practically
not at all into the French project, and not a great deal
of outside European capital, the French middle and
peasant classes being the principal shareholders.
There had been talk and paper negotiations aplenty
before M. de Lesseps became active. In 1838 a French
syndicate sought to interest their government in the
enterprise but the plan fell through, and the failure
39





THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


later of the French companies to build the canal can-
not be censured as a failure of the French government,
which never financed it as a national enterprise as has
been done in the successful American attempt.
President Simon Bolivar, of New Grenada, or
Colombia, in 1827, had ordered a study made of the
Isthmus to ascertain facts about a route for a canal
or railroad. Any concession that might be granted
must come from his government. The various Ameri-
can nibbles at the idea have been noted, and as a way
of stirring us up to real action, Colombia paid as-
siduous court to France. Gen. Stephen Turr, a native
of Hungary, in 1876 obtained a concession, in as-
sociation with Lieut. Lucien N. B. Wyse who figured
prominently in all the later French operations. Count
de Lesseps was interested by Wyse who, in 1878, re-
vived the concession on the following terms: Its life
was for ninety-nine years after the completion of the
canal, allowing two years to organize the company and
twelve years in which to dig the canal. Colombia was
to receive $250,000 annually after the seventy-sixth
year of the life of the concession and it expressly was
stipulated that though the French company might sell
to other private companies, it could not sell out to any
government, a provision which played a vital part in
the transactions leading up to the American control
in 1904.
The French were theatrical in their plans for launch-
ing the enterprise. A world congress of engineers
was invited to assemble in Paris in May, 1879, to de-
cide upon the type and cost of the canal. M. de
40





FRENCH


Lesseps presided and guided the decision to a sea-
level type, the same as at Suez. There were eleven
Americans in the assembly but this was the extent
of American interest. It was at this congress that
the first suggestion of a dam at Gatun for a lock-type
canal was made by Godin de Lepinay, a French en-
gineer. The sea-level advocates advanced the plan of
digging a great tunnel for ten miles through the Cor-
dilleras and so divert the Chagres River into the Pa-
cific Ocean away from the canal, as that river was use-
less in a sea-level type.
Under the stimulus of these proceedings, the new
company's stock was over-subscribed by the admiring
countrymen of the great de Lesseps, the first issue be-
ing for $60,ooo,ooo. M. de Lesseps then made a
spectacular trip to Panama, arriving at Colon on De-
cember 30, 1879. The Panamans and foreign colony
received him with wild acclaim as the forerunner of
a golden stream of money about to enrich their coun-
try, and as the first concrete step toward realizing the
dream of four centuries.
The first blast of an explosive in the construction
of an Isthmian canal was set off by one of the young
daughters of M. de Lesseps at Culebra on January io,
1880. After several weeks of banqueting, Count de
Lesseps left for the United States to stir the imagina-
tion of the Americans over the enterprise. About the
only result was to attract the attention of some con-
tractors to the work, notably in the case of the Slaven
brothers who, previous to their Panama adventure,
had seen no experience in construction work, but who





THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


did the most creditable work on the project, dredging
thirteen miles, making fortunes for themselves and
leaving machines which the Americans repaired and
used from 1904 onward.
As estimated by M. de Lesseps, the sea-level canal
was to cost $131,6oo,ooo, although the Paris congress
had gone higher in its figures. He was, of course,
sadly mistaken in this estimate and the French ulti-
mately spent twice that amount before throwing up
the sponge. Conditions totally were different from
those at Suez. There the sandy dunes rose no higher
than forty feet above sea-level at any point and ex-
cavation work comparatively was easy. In Panama a
mountainous configuration with solid rock a short
depth beneath the surface had to be faced, with tor-
rential streams to be controlled and diverted.
Operations went ahead rapidly from 1880 onward,
the method being to let contracts for the different
phases of the work. The canal started near Colon, in
Limon Bay, and was to follow the valley of the Cha-
gres River for about thirty miles, thence through the
continental divide to the Pacific, three miles west of
Panama, about where the present canal begins.
By 1885, however, extravagance and graft had
emptied the company's treasury. The contractors, as
a rule, did little and exacted much. It became ap-
parent, too, that a sea-level type presented stagger-
ing difficulties. M. de Lesseps gave his consent to a
change in plans to a lock type, as had been recom-
mended by the engineer Lepinay, but the dam was
to be at Bohio, instead of at Gatun. Bohio is seven-
42





FRENCH


teen miles from the Caribbean, while Gatun is only
seven miles distant from that sea.
All the theatrical methods conceivable were em-
ployed to float a new bond issue for $i60,ooo,ooo,
but the public had grown dubious over the success of
the enterprise. The amount was raised, however,
and was poured into the project with more millions
until 1889 when, after $234,795,017 had been in-
vested, the company became bankrupt. Of this vast
amount, $157,224,689 had been invested on the Isth-
mus, the remainder having gone to organization ex-
penses, for promotion, and overhead expenses gen-
erally. For engineering and construction, $89,434,-
225 had been spent; for machinery and materials,
$29,722,856; for buildings, hospitals, etc., $15,397,-
282. Various needs and graft absorbed the rest.
The French treated their white employees with ex-
travagant generosity. Living accommodations were
on a scale of open-handed liberality. Little was done,
beyond building hospitals, to conquer the bad health
conditions of the Isthmus, and, while the French left
patterns for much of the later American activities,
the sanitary control of the jungle distinctively is an
American triumph. The death rate among French
employees on the canal was from two to three times
as high as under the Americans.
Older natives in Panama still speak of the period
of French operations as the "temps de luxe." M. de
Lesseps was charged with fraudulent manipulation
of the company's affairs, but escaped punishment for
his alleged wrongs. There was graft everywhere, and






THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


when the Americans invoiced the property left by
the French they found stores of articles that had been
bought in quantities absurdly beyond the needs of the
enterprise. The purchase of the Panama Railroad,
while at a high figure, was the only investment by the
French that approximated sound judgment.
In 1890, an extension of ten years to the time for
completing the canal was granted by Colombia, and
subsequently extensions were permitted that advanced
the life of the concession until October 31, 1910. A
new Panama Canal Company was organized in 1894
with a capital of $13,ooo,ooo, and while it spent this
amount and more, it never attained the momentum of
the first company. The maximum force under the
first company was 25,000 men and under the second
regime 3,000.
The total excavation by the French in Panama was
78,ooo,ooo yards, of which the first company took
out 65,000,000 yards. Between Gold Hill and Con-
tractors Hill, where the surface at the center line of
the canal was 312 feet above sea-level, the French
dug down 161 feet, this being the deepest cut they
made. It is here that the work they did was useful
to the American plans for a canal, but out of all their
work only 29,908,000 yards were excavated from the
present American route. For years before the Ameri-
cans came the French did just enough work to keep
their concession alive.
Summing up, the efforts of the French in Panama
were a lamentable failure, but it probably is true that
a private company of any nation would have met the
44






FRENCH


same fate. The riot of graft that attended the French
effort is its chief blot, just as the honest construction
of the canal by the American government is its chief
honor. Indisputably, the French efforts made the
American effort easier. Much that they did stood
as landmarks to guide our way. Much that they failed
to do emphasized the work cut out for us before suc-
cess could be attained.
The mechanical equipment we took over from the
French, the houses and hospitals, and especially the
engineering records, were invaluable from the start
of American operations and much still is in use. In
1912 there were 112 French locomotives, seven ladder
dredges, hundreds of dump cars, machine-shop equip-
ment, and other materials in profusion actively em-
ployed in canal construction.
An effort was made by the French company in 1898
to interest the United States government in the en-
terprise, provided permission could be secured from
Colombia, but this failed, and the plan of 1903, for
turning the property over to the United States, was
its successor.
To-day, as one views the abandoned French equip-
ment, overgrown by the luxuriant tropical vegetation,
he is reminded of the retreat from Moscow. The
quaint locomotives and machinery lying desolate and
rusting away suggest the batteries that Napoleon left
in the Russian snows. Indeed, there was much of the
same exquisite French dash about the two enterprises
that ended so disastrously.










CHAPTER VI


THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA

F OREIGN activities in Panama were watched,
officially and unofficially, by the Americans with
profound interest, and with a desire that the construc-
tion of a canal should be the work of the United
States. The thought of communication between the
oceans being in European hands was distasteful to
our statesmen.
The Monroe doctrine seemed broad enough to shut
out foreign governments, but not private corporations
of such governments, from acquiring the territory
through which to dig the canal. However noisily
the Monroe doctrine might be flaunted by the orators
of the United States, our international position in
1850 did not give it anything like the weight that has
attached to it ever since the Spanish-American War
woke Europe to our strength.
In 1852, when the Panama Railroad was being
built, a captain of a company in the Fourth Regiment
of Infantry, Ulysses S. Grant, crossed the Isthmus
at Panama, on his way to the new California post.
There were I,800 men in the command, which arrived
at Colon on July I6th of that year. They used the
new railroad as far as it had been constructed, twenty
or thirty miles, and the remainder of the trip was
by the traditional mule-back system. An epidemic
46





AMERICANS


of cholera broke out, costing the lives of 80 men,
and the general hardships of the transit deeply im-
pressed Captain Grant with the need of a better
passage.
Several American exploring parties had been on the
Isthmus, and, in 1854, Lieut. Arthur Strain, with
twenty-seven companions, attempted to penetrate the
jungle. They got lost, and after ninety days of liv-
ing death he and two or three of the men reached
Panama. Every fact that was secured about the
geography of Panama by any nation cost human
life.
President Lincoln, in 1863, when he was freeing
the negro slaves, cast his eyes upon the Chiriqui prov-
ince of Panama as a suitable place for colonizing the
negroes of the South after the Civil War, but his
untimely death prevented the opportunity to work out
this idea.
The Senate, in 1866, asked Secretary of the Navy
Welles to supply it with information as to the feasi-
bility of a canal through the Darien region of Pan-
ama. Admiral Charles H. Davis a year later re-
ported adversely to this route which, although the
narrowest place on the Isthmus, had a mountain
barrier with an elevation of 700 feet to make a sea-
level canal an impossible undertaking.
That Captain Grant, who had crossed the Isthmus
in 1852, became President in 1869, and the very same
year he directed Gen. Stephen A. Hurlbut to nego-
tiate a treaty with Colombia for a Panama canal.
He knew from experience how advantageous it would
47






THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


be to his country. Such a treaty was signed at Bogota
on January 26, 1870, but the United States Senate
did not ratify it and the Senate of Colombia mu-
tilated it. Somehow the two governments did not
get along well in those days.
President Grant then sent Admiral Ammen to Nica-
ragua to investigate that route, more in a pique at
Colombia than from a belief in its availability. Co-
lombia returned the feeling by turning to the French
and giving Lieut. Wyse a concession. At the instance
of President Grant the Panama route again was sur-
veyed by Commanders E. P. Lull and T. O. Selfridge,
at the Chagres River and in the Darien region, in
1875, but from this time onward the French had the
center of the stage.
Their spread-eagle operations followed by a col-
lapse in 1889, reorganization in 1894, and half-hearted
efforts until 1898 served rather to make the world
and the Americans think that a canal was a white
elephant proposition. The Spanish-American War,
however, suddenly brought the American people to a
realization of the vital necessity, from a military view-
point alone, of an interoceanic canal.
Day by day as the battleship Oregon steamed
around Cape Horn this lesson was impressed upon the
people. A Io,ooo-mile journey could have been saved
by a Panama canal. The war over, and peace allow-
ing the country and the government to consider other
things, President McKinley reorganized the Isthmian
Canal Commission which he had appointed in 1897
with the following personnel:
48





AMERICANS


ADMIRAL JOHN G. WALKER, Chairman,
SAMUEL PASCO,
GEORGE S. MORISON,
LIEUT.-COL. OSWALD H. ERNST, U. S. A.,
COL. P. C. HAINS, U. S. A.,
LEWIS M. HAUPT,
ALFRED NOBLE,
WILLIAM H. BURR,
PROF. EMORY R. JOHNSON.

This commission was appointed in March, 1899,
with instructions to investigate all Central American
routes. The French canal company by this time was
in a situation where it was seeking a soft place to
fall. Hope of financing the project by private capi-
tal absolutely was dead in France. Only by a sale
to other capitalists or to some government, Colombia
being willing, could the shareholders hope to get any-
thing out of their stupendous investment. And it
was not so many years distant before their conces-
sion would expire and their property revert to Co-
lombia.
William Nelson Cromwell, a New York lawyer, was
the counsel for the canal company and the Panama
Railroad Company. He was, by all odds, the brain-
iest man connected with the French enterprise, and
the task of guiding the company to a solution of its
troubles devolved upon him. Naturally he was
elated with the revival of interest in a canal on the
part of the United States, and he was indefatigable,
in many accomplished ways, in bringing the Panama
49





THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


route to the notice of the Commission. P. Bunau-
Varilla, a Frenchman, also was active in interesting
Senator Mark Hanna, and other official and private
Americans, in the French project.
The Walker Commission unofficially asked the
French company what their property might be bought
for, and when quoted a price of $101,141,500, prompt-
ly decided that Nicaragua looked better. The report
made on November 16, 1901, by the Commission
frankly stated that the Panama route was preferable,
but the price asked by the French company was pro-
hibitive. The Commission dropped the remark that
$40,000,000 was about what the French holdings were
worth to the United States.
The astute Mr. Cromwell probably was not greatly
disturbed by this report, but the shareholders thought
$40,000,000 looked like a windfall to a bankrupt con-
cern, even if it had invested $265,000,000. A sixth
loaf decidedly was better than none at all. They
made it be known that $40,000,000 would strike a
trade. It has not been admitted, but the first valu-
ation by Mr. Cromwell and associates doubtless was
a "feeler" which would make the price ultimately
agreed upon look like a bargain for the United
States.
At any rate they fell off their perch in a hurry,
and when they had agreed to the Commission's valu-
ation, the report to the President promptly was re-
vised in favor of the Panama route. Admiral Walker
probably played his own little game in first recom-
mending Nicaragua to send a chill down the French





AMERICANS


company's spine. On the outside one cannot tell how
much theatrical play both sides indulged, but it is not
a bad guess to believe that there was four-flushing all
around.









CHAPTER VII


THE ROOSEVELT IMPETUS

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, upon assuming
the office of President, promised to carry out
the policies of President McKinley, and, so far as the
canal policy is concerned, he succeeded so eminently
that a deliberate judgment, formed from a perspective
view of the whole undertaking, warrants the asser-
tion that his energy, decision, and sound judgment
made an interoceanic canal possible in this generation.
The moment his dynamic personality got behind the
idea it received an impetus, and he bucked the line of
obstacles that arose in the path of the project until
he retired in 19o9, when the enterprise was advanced
beyond the possibility of failure.
It was to President Roosevelt that the Walker Com-
mission reported in November, g9oI. His first mes-
sage to Congress urged immediate action, and, after
a good deal of wrangling over the Hepburn act in
favor of Nicaragua, the Spooner act was passed on
June 28, 1902. The Nicaraguan route never has de-
served the attention it received, for the natural drift
of commerce and travel had gone unerringly for four
centuries to Panama, like a flow seeking the course
of least resistance. But the advocates of the Nica-
raguan route created such opposition as to call forth
from the President the exertion of the strongest
52





ROOSEVELT


pressure to compel the selection of the Panama
route.
The Spooner act, written by Senator John C.
Spooner, of Wisconsin, provided for an Isthmian
Canal Commission of seven members, and authorized
the Panama route, if the French property could be
bought for $4o,ooo,ooo, and a right of way could
be obtained from Colombia. In the event such con-
ditions could not be met, it authorized the Nicaraguan
route, and seemed to lean toward a lock-type canal.
An immediate appropriation of $Io,ooo,ooo was made
available for preliminary expenses.
President Roosevelt now had the authority he de-
sired for going ahead with the project. Secretary of
State John Hay and the Minister from Colombia, Jose
V. Concha, immediately began corresponding over the
granting of a strip of territory in Panama for the
prosecution of the enterprise, with William Nelson
Cromwell in the forefront of all the negotiations. The
sale of the French property hinged upon securing the
consent of Colombia.
A study of Mr. Cromwell and the important part
he played throughout the whole career of the canal
project leads to the conclusion that he did nothing
more blameworthy than President Roosevelt did, while
justice requires the admission that he gratuitously
aided the government in a number of important par-
ticulars.
Minister Concha, with Mr. Cromwell's aid, drew
up a treaty which was presented as a memorandum
to Secretary Hay on April 18, 1902. This treaty, as





THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


well as the Herran treaty that succeeded it, had a
number of impossible provisions, viewed in the light
of our canal experience. It authorized the French
company to sell its property to the United States and
authorized the United States to build, operate, and
protect the canal, the concession to run for one hun-
dred years, and be renewable at the discretion of the
United States. A commission, jointly appointed by
the United States and Colombia, was to govern the
Canal Zone and supervise its sanitation, Colombia,
however, remaining sovereign over the territory. One
article bound the United States to a declaration that
it had no ideas of territorial expansion in Central
America; the United States was to build waterworks
and sewers and pave streets in Panama and Colon;
the United States guaranteed the sovereignty of Co-
lombia and all its territory against all the world;
Colombia retained the function of policing the Canal
Zone, but in the event of its failure to do so, the
United States could intervene until peace was re-
stored, then withdraw. The canal was to be finished
fourteen years after the adoption of the treaty with a
possible extension of twelve years, everything to re-
vert to Colombia if the canal was not begun within
five years and completed within twenty-five years.
Colombia renounced the $250,ooo annually paid by
the Panama Railroad, but was to receive $7,000,000
in cash. There were provisions granting the right
to use any rivers and lands necessary for the canal,
and admitting canal supplies free of duty, giving free










4.


I


Clinedinst photo, Washington, D. C.
PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT IN ICO3.






ROOSEVELT


passage to Colombian warships, and insuring the neu-
trality of the canal.
Colombia sent a new Minister, Thomas Herran,
in 1903, who negotiated a treaty along the same lines,
except that Colombia was to receive $1o,ooo,ooo in-
stead of $7,ooo,ooo for the Canal Zone. Had the
treaty been adopted, it is a safe conclusion to draw
that interminable and exasperating friction would
have developed between the two countries, for even
under our one-sided treaty with the Republic of Pan-
ama, in 1904, there was a quarrel over sovereignty
and other questions. The provision giving Colombia
the police affairs was impossible. Only an extended
visit to the !Isthmus can give an adequate idea of how
essential it has been to the United States to have abso-
lutely a free hand in the Canal Zone.
President Jose M. Marroquin, of Colombia, in this
year, 1902, asked the United States to maintain unin-
terrupted passage over the Panama Railroad, during
a serious revolution in the province, and promised in
return to give the United States a treaty for a Canal
Zone. As a result of American intervention and good
offices, peace was patched up between the insurgents
and Colombia on November 21, 1902. We had per-
formed our part of the agreement, and now looked
to Colombia to perform its part.
President Marroquin was in good faith, but fac-
tional fighting in the Congress of Colombia, with his
enemies in the ascendency, showed the chances of a
treaty to be dubious. The American Minister deliv-
ered a warning to the government of Colombia, on
55






THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


June 13, 1903, that it would be expected to live up
to its solemn promise of 1902. The influences be-
hind the opposition to the treaty in the Colombian
Senate have not been definitely classified, but it is
more than a supposition that certain American finan-
cial interests, which opposed any canal, took a hand
to the extent of intimating that a country so "rotten
rich as the United States could pay more than $Io,-
ooo,ooo for a Canal Zone.
But there is another factor that is more illuminat-
ing. The concession of the French company would
expire in 1910,* and by waiting seven years Colombia
could get the $40,ooo,ooo the United States was will-
ing to pay for its property. There was one bar to
this in the concession of the Panama Railroad which
had many years to run, and which gave the railroad
the right to decide whether a canal could be built
across the Isthmus. Still, indisputably, the position
of Colombia would have been strengthened immeas-
urably by the lapsing of the French canal concession,
and the people of the United States have only to ask
themselves what they would do if they had a prop-
erty which in seven years would be worth $4o,ooo,-
ooo more than it was to-day. There is not a doubt
that popular sentiment would say, as one faction
said in Colombia, wait for the enhancement before
selling.
On August 12, 1903, the Senate of Colombia killed
the treaty after the House had passed it. President
Acknowledgment for this and other facts is made to the Canal
Zone Pilot, edited by W. C. Haskins.
56





ROOSEVELT


Marroquin had exerted himself to the utmost to save
the treaty, doubtless sensing the quality of the man
in the White House, but to no avail, and another way
out for the canal project was already taking form.










CHAPTER VIII


TAKING THE CANAL ZONE

ANYONE who expected Theodore Roosevelt to
wait patiently and untie the Gordian knot of
diplomacy that held the canal project in abeyance sim-
ply did not know the temperament of the Chief Ex-
ecutive.
His inherited administration was more than half
gone. If he desired to make a real showing before
the opening of the battle for the Presidency in 1904,
decisive action was necessary. The course of Colom-
bia indicated clearly to him, and to the people of
Panama, that nothing could be expected in the imme-
diate future in the way of a satisfactory treaty, and
the enemies of the canal in that country seemed to be
firmly intrenched in the Congress.
Just when the idea of a revolution as a means of
obtaining what diplomacy had failed to obtain, origi-
nated, and who originated it, are not matters of clear
record, but, in the spring of 1903, threats freely were
made in Panama that if Colombia did not grant a
treaty to the United States, providing for a canal, the
province of Panama would consider that its interests
had not been conserved by Colombia, and might pro-
ceed to act for itself.
Panama's relations with the parent government at
Bogota, from 1821, the year of independence from
58






REVOLUTION


Spain, to 1903, the year of independence from Co-
lombia, had been characterized by intermittent revo-
lutions which never had attained a decisive and final
result.
There had been fifty-three revolutions in fifty-seven
years, the most sanguinary occurring in the years
1827, 1840, i86o, 19oo, and 1902. But any advan-
tages so gained by Panama had been lost by volun-
tary or involuntary resumption of subordinate rela-
tions to Colombia, with the net result going to prove
that Panama, unassisted, never could hope to achieve
independence from the mother country.
The United States, on many occasions, had inter-
vened in these quarrels between Panama and Colom-
bia, frequently on the invitation of Colombia, and
always to maintain the neutrality of the Panama Rail-
road, as well as to preserve general American prop-
erty interests. An American warship was a familiar
sight in Colon or Panama harbors.
These interventions were based on our treaty with
Colombia, ratified in 1846. As noted before, this
treaty provided for the joint sovereignty of Colom-
bia and the United States over any canal that might
be built in Panama, and further guaranteed the neu-
trality of the Panama Railroad. By this treaty, and
the Clayton-Bulwer treaty with England, over any
canal that might be built in Nicaragua, the United
States hoped to keep foreign governments out of
Central America so far as an interoceanic canal was
concerned.
Colombia, in 1902, appealed to the United States
59





THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


under its treaty, to maintain the neutrality of the Pan-
ama Railroad, during the most important revolution
that Panama ever had attempted, and the military
intervention by the United States in that year largely
enabled Colombia to crush the revolution.
It is important to note that, prior to 1903, the
United States had maintained the attitude consistently
that any action it took in Panama was in fulfillment
of this treaty of 1846, and leaned toward the gov-
ernment of Colombia as a sovereign power engaged
in suppressing the fitful insurrections on the part of
Panama.
By maintaining the neutrality of the railroad,
through the use of Marines, the United States kept
the line open, and so enabled Colombia to get its
troops across the Isthmus to strike down the revolu-
tionists. Had not the United States thus assisted
Colombia, it is doubtful if she could have retained
sovereignty over Panama without the exertion of con-
siderably stronger forces than were employed.
SColombia had promised, in consideration of the in-
tervention of 1902, a treaty to the United States for
a right of way for a canal in Panama. Weeks before
this treaty was killed, on August 12, 1903, a few lead-
ing business and professional men in Panama saw the
drift, and so did the French Panama Canal Company
and the Panama Railroad Company. The Panamans
wanted the prosperity that would come from the
money the United States would invest in Panama, and
the two companies wanted to sell out before their
concessions should expire, and at a price, $40,000,000,
60





REVOLUTION


which the United States had agreed upon, and which
was the highest offer they had any hope of receiving.
Simultaneously with the killing of the treaty by
the Colombian Senate, a revolutionary Junta of
wealthy Panamans and resident Americans were in
New York and Washington broaching their plan of a
revolution and separation from Colombia as a way for
the United States to get a Canal Zone. They au-
thorized one of their number, Mr. J. Gabriel Duque,
owner of the Panama Lottery, and a daily newspaper,
to visit Secretary of State John Hay to ascertain the
part the United States would play in the scheme.
The plan proposed was that Panama should pro-
claim its independence from Colombia on a given date,
to be followed by the recognition of its independence
by the United States, and the signing of a treaty with
the new republic which would give our government
the desired right of way for a canal. Then the United
States could buy the French canal interests and the
Panama Railroad according to the Spooner act.
Mr. Duque was convinced by his conference with
Secretary Hay that the United States was in a mood
to try any plan that promised an early solution of the
problem of securing a Canal Zone. Secretary Hay,
of course, committed nothing to paper, and talked in
a negative rather than a positive manner about the
part the United States would play in a revolution, but
he did suggest that September 22d, the date originally
set for the revolution, was perhaps a trifle premature;
that they might do better to wait a few weeks. Sep-
tember 22d was the day the Congress of Colombia
61





THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


had intended to adjourn, and therefore the last day
that this body might reverse its action and ratify the
treaty. The Colombian Congress actually did not ad-
journ until October 3oth, and the date of the revolu-
tion was accordingly advanced to November 4, 1903.
The Junta went back to Panama to make their
preparations. Minister Herran, representing Colom-
bia at Washington, immediately notified his govern-
ment of this conference, and its import, and urged
that the garrison at Panama be strengthened. Presi-
dent Marroquin, of Colombia, did not follow this
advice, doubtless hoping for a change of sentiment in
his country that would ratify the treaty. He instead
showed his friendliness to Panama by appointing as
its Governor, Don Domingo de Obaldia, a known
friend of the treaty and of the province. This and
other actions by President Marroquin seemed to create
favorable conditions for the success of the revolution.
About four hundred Colombian soldiers, under Gen.
Huertas, constituted the garrison of Panama. This
commander was won over to the cause of the revolu-
tionary Junta, thus giving them a clear field for their
prospective operations, provided Colombia did not
send fresh troops. Colombia could send reenforce-
ments, either from Cartagena, on the Atlantic side,
or from Buenaventura, on the Pacific side. But Sep-
tember and nearly all of October passed without any
such action.
In the latter part of October, two gunboats of
Colombia, in the harbor of Panama, on the Pacific
side, asked the Panama Railroad to supply them with
62





REVOLUTION


coal so that they might go to Buenaventura for troops
to add to the Panama garrison. J. R. Shaler, super-
intendent of the railroad, was acting with the Junta
as the representative of the French interests in the
revolutionary scheme. At the Junta's suggestion, he
refused to supply the coal, although the railroad had
followed such a practice from time immemorial. He
evaded the request by saying that the coal was in
Colon, on the Atlantic side. This action, therefore,
headed off the arrival of troops from the Pacific port
of Colombia.
All that remained to be done, to create perfect con-
ditions for carrying out the secession, was to prevent
the arrival of Colombian troops from the Atlantic side.
This, it may be acknowledged, was the most vital task
of the whole plan, and it devolved upon the United
States. The understanding the Junta had with our
State Department was that the United States would
maintain the neutrality of the Panama Railroad, con-
struing neutrality, in this instance, to mean that Colom-
bian troops could not pass over the line.
Such a construction of the treaty of 1846 was un-
precedented before 1903. The United States had un-
dertaken, in effect, to prevent the passage of Colombian
troops over a railroad which it had chartered and the
concession of which expressly provided for the pas-
sage of Colombia's troops over the line at any time.
It justified this unusual action on the argument that
it was thereby maintaining the neutrality of the rail-
road as provided by the treaty.
Our State Department was kept advised of the
63





THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


movement of Colombian troops, so that when two ships
left Cartagena, on October 3oth, for Colon, the gun-
boat Nashville simultaneously received orders to pro-
ceed to Colon, arriving there on November 2d. The
Colombian troops, numbering about five hundred men,
arrived on November 3d. Everyone recognized that
the crucial moment of the revolutionary scheme had
arrived..
Commander John Hubbard, of the Nashville, had
orders to keep the Panama Railroad open, not allow-
ing either Colombian or revolutionary troops to be
transported over it. This was termed maintaining
the neutrality of the railroad. It should be noted,
however, that when this order was issued to the Nash-
ville, no revolution had started, and, outside of a few
Panaman capitalists, the people of Panama knew noth-
ing about it except in the way of rumor. The Junta
had appointed a committee to let the people know of
the impending event," but as the people were not nec-
essary to the success of the plan, so long as the United
States did its part, they were not specially considered
or consulted by the Junta. Hence, the order to prevent
the passage of revolutionary troops not only was pre-
mature, showing the thorough knowledge the United
States had of the revolutionary plan, but it was like-
wise superfluous. Still, we hardly could have kept a
straight face over the order if the nonexistent revolu-
tionists had not been included.
Generals Tovar and Amaya, of the Colombian
troops, left them in Colon while they went across ahead
to take command of the Panama garrison. The ar-
64





REVOLUTION


rival of the reinforcements was a day earlier than the
date set for the revolution, which was November 4th,
so the Junta had to advance its plans a day. It
hastily was decided to pull off the event on November
3d.
As a first step in this decision, the two generals
were arrested, as also was Governor Obaldia. The
Panama garrison under Gen. Huertas had been fixed
weeks before, so no danger lay in that quarter. An
ordinary street mob of a city followed the lead of the
Junta in these actions. One of the Colombian gun-
boats in the harbor of Panama fired two shots over
the city, one of which by chance struck a nonbelliger-
ent Chinaman, who had the honor of being the only
victim of the revolution. The land fort replied and
the gunboat precipitately retired, leaving Panama in
the hands of the triumphant Junta. All was lovely if
the United States should perform its part at Colon.
The news of these proceedings in Panama did not
reach Colon until the next morning, November 4th.
Col. Torres, who had been left in command of the
Colombian troops there, immediately demanded a train
by 2 o'clock that afternoon, a refusal to grant which,
he declared, would be followed by the death of every
American in the city. Mr. Shaler, the railroad super-
intendent, following the instructions of the Junta, and
the wishes of our State Department and the French
interests, refused the transportation, and notified Com-
mander Hubbard, of the Nashville, of his decision.
There only were 192 men all told on the Nashville,
while the Colombian troops numbered 500, not count-






THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


ing the assistance they would get from the native popu-
lation, if the day seemed to be going against the Amer-
icans. The employees of the railroad, with 42 men
from the Nashville, fortified themselves in a stone rail-
road shed, while the women and children were placed
on steamers in the harbor for safety. The Nashville
drew up close to assist with its guns in the defense.
It was a tense situation where the slightest overt
act on either side would have precipitated a great loss
of life. The Colombians outnumbered the marines
ten to one, but when 2 o'clock came, they had thought
better of their threat, and asked for a parley. It was
agreed that both sides should withdraw from Colon
while the Colombians sent an officer to Panama for
a conference with the imprisoned generals. A special
train was provided for the emissary.
The next day, on November 5th, the Dixie arrived
with 400 additional marines. It became apparent to the
Colombians that the full power of the United States
was back of the railroad company's refusal to transport
them to Panama, and so they agreed to take ship again
for Colombia. On the 6th, the day following their
departure, the Atlanta arrived, bringing the number
of marines up to I,ooo. The Navy Department also
sent ships to the city of Panama on the Pacific side, but
there was nothing for them to do there.
Fresh orders from Washington to the marines were
to the effect that Colombia would not be allowed to
settle the "revolution" by force. That lone China-
man had been buried, so that it would have taken a
microscope to find the revolution. But the orders
66





REVOLUTION


plainly enough showed where the United States stood
in regard to the secessionary movement, and since
by force was the only way Colombia could settle the
revolution, the orders in substance meant that it was
the United States, and not Panama, that Colombia
would have to fight to regain sovereignty over her
richest province.
The Colombian troops on November 4th might have
wiped out the American defense in Colon, swept over
to Panama and crushed the Junta and street mob there,
and so summarily preserved sovereignty over the ter-
ritory. And had it done all this, it would have been
squarely within its rights as a sovereign nation. But
they knew that such a triumph would be transient.
They realized it would bring down upon Colombia the
whole devastating force of the mighty United States,
which the Spanish-American War so recently had
shown was something truly to be feared. Hence, their
withdrawal was prudent, though humiliating. It is
superfluous, of course, to remark that the United States
could not have played such a role with any nation
capable of defending itself.
Commander Hubbard had no illusions about the
vital part the United States played in making the revo-
lution a success. He stated, in the following para-
graph of his cablegram to the Navy Department on
November 5th, that the critical time was when the
marines stood between the Colombian troops and pas-
sage to the seat of insurrection at Panama. Said he:
"I am positive that the determined attitude of our
men, their coolness and evident intention of standing
67






THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


their ground, had a most salutary and decisive effect on
the immediate situation and was the initial step in the
ultimate abandoning of Colon by these troops and
their return to Cartagena the following day."
On November 6th, two days after the revolution,"
the United States recognized the independence of the
Republic of Panama. This was two days before the
news of the secession reached Bogota, the capital of
Colombia. There was a popular demonstration against
the United States in that city, but no attempts against
American life or property. The faction which had
favored the treaty recognized that the United States
had grown tired of diplomatic dilly-dallying. The
faction antagonistic to the treaty realized that the
United States had stolen second base in the canal game.
The Colombian government offered an immediate
treaty if the United States would permit it to recover
Panama, but President Roosevelt spurned the over-
tures.
Within twelve days after recognizing the indepen-
dence of the new republic, the United States had se-
cured a treaty which ceded to it a Canal Zone. P.
Bunau-Varilla, of the French Canal Company, was
made the Minister of the de facto Panama government,
to negotiate this treaty with Secretary Hay. Thus
the United States was assured of getting all that it
had been promised by the Junta. The first article of
the treaty signed on November I8th, at Washington,
stated that "The United States guarantees and will
maintain the independence of the Republic of Panama."
Colombia thereby was notified that Panama, the his-
68





REVOLUTION


toric transit route of the new world, was lost to her
sovereignty.
Extreme haste in signing the treaty before there
was a regular legislative body at Panama had been
necessary because President Roosevelt wished to get
the whole affair safely accomplished before our Con-
gress should open on December 7th. The Republic of
Panama ratified the treaty on December 2d, but the
American Senate, miffed a little that the Executive
should take such important-and to many question-
able-action without its knowledge or consent, debated
for several months, then finally ratified the treaty on
February 23, 1904. The American people have in
this whole transaction an illuminating example of the
power a President has to commit the United States
to a radical policy during a recess of Congress.
President Roosevelt always had leaned strongly to-
ward the Panama route for a canal. The setting up
of a republic there had the effect of complying with
the Spooner act, which made the selection of the
Panama route depend upon securing a right of way at
this point. He made the point to Congress in his mes-
sage on December 7th, that as the new treaty pro-
vided this right of way, it became imperative that
Panama be chosen, and thus the revolution was used
as a club to force the selection of Panama over Nica-
ragua.
The advocates of the Nicaragua route already had
been urging that as Colombia refused a right of way at
Panama, the United States was compelled to turn to
Nicaragua. President Roosevelt did not believe Nica-
69






THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


ragua was the proper place for a canal, and his judg-
ment on this point, in the light of later years as well
as from all logical considerations of trade and topog-
raphy, was eminently sound. His consent for the
United States to go the length it did in securing the
Panama route was prompted by his desire to prevent
the nation from selecting a less advantageous route.
It has been charged that the President favored Pana-
ma so that the American financiers, led by Mr. Crom-
well, who were interested in selling the French prop-
erty to the government, could get the $40,000,000 the
sale involved. This charge is not justified either by
the character of President Roosevelt or by the natural
advantages of the two routes. It is doubtful if the
President gave any thought to the owners of the
French interests, and it is certain that such ownership
was not a factor in determining him in favor of
Panama.
The French interests, of course, had staked all on
the success of the revolution. Had it failed, Colombia
would have forfeited their concessions forthwith, and
Minister Herran had notified them to that effect. It
is clear that Mr. Cromwell and associates were dead
certain that the United States never intended that the
revolution should fail. Their grasp on the situation
is shown by the naming of M. Bunau-Varilla to nego-
tiate the treaty with the United States for Panama.
With $40,000,000 hanging in the balance, the
French interests were prepared to be generous in
drawing a treaty. It is to be doubted if a more
one-sided treaty ever was drawn. Secretary Hay,
70





REVOLUTION


with the willing consent of the Junta, gave the
United States all the latitude we would have had, if,
instead of taking a Canal Zone, we had taken the
whole republic. Panama got all that had been prom-
ised to Colombia, including a cash payment of $Io,-
ooo,ooo, and beginning in 1913, an annual payment
of $25o,ooo. The United States is to pay for any
additional lands in the republic that may be needed
for the canal and we may use any rivers or lakes in the
republic necessary to the canal, two provisions broad
enough to permit the conversion of the whole republic
to the position of an adjunct to the canal. The cities
of Colon and Panama were made subject to American
sanitary measures, and if Panama cannot preserve
order, the United States, in its discretion, may intro-
duce troops for that purpose, a right which substan-
tially robs the republic of sovereignty. The United
States guarantees the neutrality of the canal but re-
served the right to fortify it.
Nobody in the Canal Zone makes any pretense that
the United States was disinterested in its part in the
revolution. Most of the canal employees wonder why
the President did not take the whole republic. Many I
confidently expect the United States to abolish the
government there sooner or later, because it is clear
that the republic cannot stand clear of American sup-
port. On three occasions already the Americans have
prevented the disruption of the republic. In 1904,
Gen. Huertas, who had assisted the Junta, became
dissatisfied with his rewards, and started to overturn
the administration by force. The marines had to dis-
71






THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


arm his small army. In 1908 the United States had
to interfere to insure a fair election, and in 1912 this
writer saw the presidential campaign reach a point
where the marines and infantry had to be placed at
the Panama polls to prevent rioting and fraud. It
was obvious that if the United States had not been
present in armed force the usual Central American
method of changing administrations by a revolution
would have been employed. How long will the United
States be patient with such conditions?
President Roosevelt did not appear in the revolu-
tion preliminaries because his part later on required
the Oh, this is so sudden" tone, in recognizing the
independence of the new republic. He devoted him-
self assiduously to proving that the United States had
done a righteous thing in that act and had closed his
message with the high profession of friendly zeal to
the effect that he would not for one moment discuss
the possibility of the United States committing an
act of such baseness as to abandon the new Republic
of Panama." But eight years later, in San Francisco,
he threw off the mask thus assumed and declared:
" I took Panama and left Congress to debate the mat-
ter afterward."
Did President Roosevelt know that his government
deliberately aided and abetted a province of a sover-
eign power, with which the United States had a solemn
treaty, to secede and set up an independent govern-
ment, so that the United States might get territory it
otherwise could not obtain?
72






REVOLUTION


Dear reader, you might just as sanely ask a Panaman
if he thinks it will be wet in the next rainy season!
Was there anything, big or little, going on in Theo-
dore Roosevelt's administration with which he was
not fairly familiar? Secretary Hay had given the im-
pression to the revolutionary Junta that if they would
go through the trifling act of raising a flag, the United
States would do the rest. When Secretaries of State
begin assisting revolutions in foreign countries with-
out the knowledge and consent of the President, it will
be under a far less dominating Executive than Theo-
dore Roosevelt!
With the ratification of the treaty, the decks at last
were cleared for the long-dreamed-of project of build-
ing a canal. The people of the United States frankly
were glad that such progress had been made, but they
were inclined to believe that it would not be well to
nose too deep into the method of acquiring the terri-
tory. They knew that the payment of $Io,ooo,ooo for
the Canal Zone paid somebody for the right of way,
though whether the rightful owner was a question the
administration was very glad to let remain dormant.
The Saturday Evening Post, speaking editorially in
the spring of 1912, doubtless expressed the attitude
of many Americans when it said:

It seems to be the part of statesmanship in
this dilemma to talk loudly about the benefits
we confer upon the world's commerce by dig-
ging the canal and to regard our acquisition of
the canal a closed incident."





THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


Yet, the American people never have solved any is-
sue in which a moral question was involved, by thus
seeking to obscure it. The true facts about the acquisi-
tion of the Canal Zone only came out by dribs, but
events seem to conspire to bring the whole transaction
to light. On June 26, 1912, Mr. J. Gabriel Duque,
who had been a leader in the revolution, got into a
controversy with Mr. Ricardo Arias, also a member
of the 1903 Junta, and over his own signature in his
paper, The Star and Herald, published at Panama,
made the following admission:
Mr. Arias should know that I have friends
in Washington, seeing that as far back as 1903
when we worked together for Panama's inde-
pendence, we were in confidential treatment
with Secretary Hay."

Mr. Tracy Robinson, author of a book on Panama,
was another leading figure in the revolution. He de-
clines to give the history of the affair, although so com-
petent to reveal its inward processes, but tells his
readers that The details would afford material for
a wonder story."
Since President Roosevelt has candidly confessed
that he "took Panama, there is no reason why the
main actors in the play should not speak out and the
immediate future is going to see the disclosure of
much illuminating material about this wonder story."
The American people have had a vague idea of what
did happen at Panama, but there is no longer any ex-
cuse for a pretense of virtuous conduct on the part of





REVOLUTION


the United States, except on the point of giving the
world something essential to its convenience. It is
hypocritical to profess that we made adequate com-
pensation when we paid Panama for the Canal Zone.
We must applaud President Roosevelt for taking the
Canal Zone, but the failure to make reparation to
Colombia is a conspicuous piece of self-deception and
moral obliquity. We raised the Maine, however, and
we will yet make amends to Colombia.









CHAPTER IX


THE GEOGRAPHY OF PANAMA

NATURE quietly, but imperatively, asked the en-
gineers who favored a sea-level canal at Pan-
ama: Why will you insist upon the prodigious disar-
rangement of natural advantages that lie here awaiting
the utilization of a lock type?
The geography of the Isthmus is adapted peculiarly
to the lock type of canal. Aside from the obstacle
to a sea-level canal that existed in the continental
divide, the Chagres River followed a course which,
at the same time, would have been a baffling problem
in a sea-level plan, but the most beneficent arrange-
ment for a lock-type canal.
The territory comprised in the scope of this book
is the same as that within the boundaries of the Re-
public of Panama. In area, it is about 32,000 square
miles, slightly smaller than the State of Indiana. On
the Atlantic side it is 379 miles long, and on the Pa-
cific side, 674 miles by the coast line. The popula-
tion, native and foreign, is around 400,000 to-day,
though considerably less in the days of exploration
and conquest.
Our treaty with the Republic of Panama ceded us
a strip of territory ten miles wide, from deep water
in the Atlantic to deep water in the Pacific. This
territory, officially designated the Canal Zone, is de-









CA .RI B .B A,% j


PORTO BELLO


REPUBLIC


OF PANA MA


REPUBLIC


OF PANA MA


BA1 .


o F


XP A t Vf .NAMA


,TABOOA
t2' T7.ABogWL&L
.z9' Il/AVA


MAP OF THE ISTHMUS OF PANAMA.


a .A





GEOGRAPHY


termined by a line drawn five miles from each side of
the center line of the route of the canal. Thus, the
Canal Z6ne is not bounded by straight lines from
ocean to ocean, but curves as the channel of the canal
curves. The area of the Canal Zone is 448 square
miles, of which 73 square miles are privately owned,
but may be bought in the discretion of the United
States. While within the limits of the Canal Zone,
the cities of Panama and Colon, at the terminals, re-
main under the sovereignty of the Republic of Pan-
ama.
Some confusion is caused by the fact that the Isth-
mus of Panama runs nearly East and West, instead
of North and South, as might be imagined, at the
point where the canal traverses it. Panama city is
almost due south of Buffalo, and is southeast of Colon,
the Atlantic terminal. The canal route, therefore,
runs in a southeastern direction from the Atlantic to
the Pacific, and, to the astonishment of the tourist,
the sun rises in the Pacific and sets in the Atlantic.
We are not building our canal at the narrowest
point on the Isthmus. This point is found at the
Gulf of San Blas, 60 miles east of Colon, where the
Isthmus is only 30 miles wide, whereas, at Panama,
it is 47 miles wide. Because the mountain barrier at
San Blas has an elevation of 700 feet above sea-level,
no serious thought of a canal there ever was enter-
tained long. The absence of rivers makes the sea-
level type the only kind of canal that could have been
attempted at San Blas, involving a staggering task
of excavation. Besides, it was in the complete grasp
77





THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


of the jungle, while at Panama there was a beaten
path, from ocean to ocean, four centuries old.
The Chagres River (pronounced ShTg-gress)
originates in the San Blas Mountains, and drains a
basin of 1,320 square miles. After running parallel
with the coast line, nearly midway between the oceans,
it turns sharply at right angles and empties into the
Caribbean Sea, a few miles west of Colon. The
point where the Chagres makes this turn is within
the Canal Zone, and about 30 miles from the Carib-
bean, running through the Canal Zone for that dis-
tance. From the Caribbean Sea to Bohio, about sev-
enteen miles, the bed of the river is only slightly above
sea-level, and from Bohio to about the entrance of
the Culebra cut, it rises to 48 feet above sea-level.
Engineers were divided on the utility of this natural
geographical situation. Those who favored the lock-
type canal believed that the Chagres River could be
dammed up so as to form the longest part of the canal,
and thus save a vast amount of excavation that would
be required in a sea-level type. While not denying
the saving in excavation in a lock type, the engineers
who favored a sea-level canal believed that the fixed
limitations of the lock type made it inadvisable, when
the expansion in the size of ships was considered.
Their plan was to divert the Chagres and tributary
rivers, of which there are 26 in the Canal Zone, by
digging new channels for them, and so get them out
of the way of the canal.
The French, in 1880, had started out on that the-
ory. They thought of digging a great tunnel through
78






GEOGRAPHY


the mountains to divert the Chagres River into the
Pacific Ocean. This tunnel would have been Io miles
long and, needless to say, a rather visionary under-
taking. Five years after they began operations they
abandoned the sea-level plan and adopted the lock-type
canal. But their dam across the Chagres River was
to be at Bohio, seventeen miles inland from the Carib-
bean, while the American engineers advised a dam at
Gatun, only seven miles inland.,
At Gatun, the natural formation of the mountains
permitted the Chagres River to escape into the Carib-
bean Sea through a gap less than two miles wide. The
lock-type advocates said this gap could be filled in
and so create a basin to be filled by the stagnated water
of the Chagres River. The idea was to build a dam
high enough to back the accumulated river water
toward the Pacific for a distance of 32 miles, and at
an average depth, in the canal channel, of 45 feet
throughout. Another dam would prevent the lake so
formed from spilling down the Pacific slope. Thus,
all but 15 miles of the canal would be made by an
inland, artificial lake, 164 square miles in extent.
But even in a lock type there would have to be an
impressive amount of excavation. Not only would
the sea-level channels approaching this lake on either
side of the Isthmus have to be dredged, but the moun-
tain barrier, running lengthwise with the Isthmus,
would have to be pierced with a channel so as to per-
mit the waters of the Gatun lake to reach the point
on the Pacific side where the locks would afford the
descent to the ocean. As the surface of the lake was
79






THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


proposed to be 85 feet above sea-level, the bottom
of the channel through the mountains would have to
be 45 feet lower than the surface elevation, or at 40
feet above sea-level.
The area to be excavated in this lake channel, 32
miles long, was from Gatun to Obispo, following the
Chagres River in general, and requiring only about
12,000ooo,ooo cubic yards to be removed, in 23 miles.
Then the mountains began, 45 feet above sea-level,
and reached their highest point, in the center line of
the canal, at Gold Hill, 312 feet above sea-level, thence
sloping toward the Pacific, to the proposed lock site
at Pedro Miguel, a distance of 9 miles. The average
depth of the cut would be 120 feet throughout the 9
miles, and the deepest point of excavation at Gold
Hill would require going down 272 feet.
The Culebra cut, as this channel through the moun-
tains was called, was to be 200 feet wide. In 1880,
the French had begun work there, and they removed
18,646,ooo cubic yards that were useful to the Amer-
icans. Their machinery was used the first year of our
occupation.
At Gatun, on the Atlantic side of the proposed
lake, there would be locks to lift ships to the lake,
and at Pedro Miguel and La Boca, on the Pacific side
the locks would lower the ships to sea-level again.
The Cocoli and other rivers could be used to form a
second small lake between the Pedro Miguel and La
Boca locks. The total excavation for the sea-level
channels and the Culebra cut was estimated around
Ioo,ooo,ooo cubic yards.





GEOGRAPHY


Opposed to these considerations in favor of a lock
type were the arguments advanced in behalf of a sea-
level canal. The popular mind could see ships steam-
ing or sailing uninterruptedly from ocean to ocean
through a dugout channel that would not grow too
small for the largest ships that time might develop,
and the engineers who advised such a canal asserted
that the difference in time and cost of building the
two types was not materially in favor of the lock type.
Time has developed that such a belief was widely
erroneous.
The Americans came to the Canal Zone in 19o4
with the question of the kind of canal to be built un-
settled. They were to be there more than two years
before the violently discussed issue was to be settled.
It was like starting in to build a house without any
definite plan in mind. Meanwhile, however, it was
recognized that there was a vast amount of pioneer
and preparatory work to be accomplished that would
absorb the activities of the organization pending the
solution of this problem.
What kind of a country, as to temperature, rain-
fall, vegetable and animal life, and healthfulness, had
we secured? As to the first characteristic, Panama is
only 9 degrees from the Equator. But it is far from
being as hot as that proximity might suggest.
Throughout the year the temperature averages about
85 degrees. The highest recorded temperature in the
Canal Zone is only 97 degrees. At night the atmos-
phere falls sharply until, usually, light covering is
required on beds, and the hot, sweltering nights of






THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


American cities in the summer are unknown. Palm
Beach, Florida, in the winter, is not a more desirable
resort than Panama.
The northern mind, too, considerably has overesti-
mated the effects of the rainy season at Panama.
During January, February, March, and April there
is practically no rainfall. By the Ist of May light
showers occur daily, or every few days, and through
June, with an occasional gusher. From then, on to
December, the rains become more frequent and heav-
ier, and have a way of coming up about the same
time every day, sometimes in the afternoons, some-
times in the mornings. Between showers the sun is
radiant. Construction operations have to be sus-
pended during the violent downpours, and the canal
employees call any rain that occurs in the noon hours,
or after work, "a government rain."
On the Atlantic side the rainfall averages between
130 and 140 inches annually; on the Pacific side from
60 to 70 inches. At times it rains so furiously that
it appears to be one continuous sheet of water fall-
ing. For one hour the record fall is 5.86 inches; for
one day, at Porto Bello, io.o6 inches; in three min-
utes 2.46 inches fell at the same place; and at Pan-
ama on May 12, 1912, 6 inches fell in two hours.
The years 1906 and 1909 were the wettest since the
American occupation and 1912 the dryest.
This heavy precipitation makes the rivers of Pan-
ama torrential streams. The Chagres River has risen
25 feet in twenty-four hours. During every rainy
season the records left by the French and kept by the
82





GEOGRAPHY


Americans since their occupation show that this river
discharges enough water to fill the proposed Gatun
Lake one and a half times. It is not expected that any
lack of water for the lock-type canal ever will be ex-
perienced.
Except for the beaten paths and cleared spaces con-
stantly maintained the jungle is king in Panama. One
season's growth will cover an abandoned clearing with
the luxuriant tropical vegetation. When the Amer-
icans entered the Canal Zone, most of the French
machinery and even whole towns were covered by the
jungle.
There are the usual tropical fruits, bananas, cocoa-
nuts, alligator pears, papayas, mangoes, and other less
well-known varieties. The vegetation includes the
royal poinciana, palm, and other stately trees. The
rare orchid is at home on the Isthmus, about seventy-
five varieties being found, a dozen of which are of
the most beautiful kinds. A dry season of four
months does not parch the growth, but the rainy sea-
son gives it the most brilliant green coloring.
None of the big animal life of Africa is found any-
where in South America, and Panama has even less
dangerous species than the mainland. The tarantula,
coral snake, tiger cats, deer, and other larger, though
not so dangerous, animals are found, and alligators
abound in the rivers and bays, as well as sharks. The
insect life is wonderfully varied, the birds are in in-
finite variety and most beautiful, while wild flowers
of dazzling colors are in profusion. The Canal Zone,
83





THE AMERICANS IN PANAMA


where occupied in the canal operations, long since was
freed of dangerous animal life.
Distinct, but inconsequential, earthquake shocks
have been felt in Panama for centuries. The San
Francisco earthquake, in 1906, was not recorded on
the Canal Zone seismograph. In the seventeenth cen-
tury a violent shock occurred, but none in the eight-
eenth and nineteenth centuries, nor has any been re-
corded in the twentieth century, although in Costa
Rica, the republic adjoining Panama, a severe shock,
in 19Io, caused considerable loss of life and property.
So far as past performance can indicate, the canal
should not suffer from earthquakes.
The Atlantic and Pacific oceans are on the same
level, but the tide on the Pacific side has a maximum
i lift of 21 feet, while on the Atlantic side the maxi-
I mum lift is only 2J feet. Allowance for this varia-
I tion was made by providing a deeper channel for the
Scandal on the Pacific side, so that the passage of ships
will not be affected by the tides. The shape of the
Bay of Panama causes the high tide on the Pacific
side.
As there is not a favorable geographical arrange-
ment at either end of the canal, in the way of har-
bors, the defects have been supplied by breakwaters.
At the Atlantic entrance a breakwater more than two
miles long runs from Toro Point to shield ships lying
in the entrance from the violent Northers that occa-
sionally sweep the coast. Another breakwater a half
mile long, running out from the Colon waterfront,
will protect shipping in that harbor from storms on
84




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