Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, December 18, 1906, Page 4, Image 4

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F f eo al Messaee of Chief ExcutiTe Telli
rf Observations on tha Ittbmns.
President ".ays There Are Some
Honest t rltlre, b"t Slanderers
Have Been at Work
la Mil Her.
(Continued from fage One.)
(if seweraae and street ' Improvement will nglneers and conductors mi the dirt train,
lie cunplctd but the progress already a machinists In 1 1 iO great repair shop, as
niade Is very marked. Pitches have bcr n carpente rs and timekeepers, sup- rinten
dug through the town, connectlisr the s lit I dent, and foremen of divisions and of
water on both sides, nrul Into these the j gang, and so on and so on. Many of
ponds, which have served an breeding places them have brouglit down their wives and
for the mosuuitoes. are d.-alned. These families, and the children, when not n
ditches have answered their purpose, f r I "ehool are running about and behaving pre
they are probably the chief cause of the ! 8 tlie American small boy and girl
astonishing diminution in the number ..f I lhRVe at homP' The bachelors among the
mosquitoes. More ditches of the kind ai e -P"" live, sometimes in small sep-
rest of the work depended, i the prob
lem of sanitation. This was from the out
set under the direction of Dr. V. C. Uorgaa,
who Is to be made a full member of the
commission, if the law as to the composi
tion of the commission remains unchar.gio.
It must be reiiiembeied that his woik was
not mere sanitation as the term is under
stood in our ordinary municipal worn.
Thfoneiioiit the zone and in tne tvio ci.les
11 f Panama and Colon, in addition to tlie
sanitation work proper, l.e has had to do
all the work that the murine hospital serv
ice does as regards the nation, that tha
health department ot!i ers do in the various
states and cities, and that Colonel Waring
dlil in New YorK whon he cleaned Its
streets. The results have been astounding.
The isihmus lias boen a by-word for deadly
unhealthiulness. Now, after two years of
our occupation the conditions as regards
sickness and the death lute compare favor
ably with reasonably healthy localitits In
the I'nlted Slates.
I Inspected the large hospitals at Ancon
and Colon, which are excellent examples
of what tropical hospitals should be. I
also inspected the receiving hospitals in
various settlements. 1 went through a
number of the wards In which the colored
. t ...... , ...I .. ... ii, tf those ill
which the white' men are treated-Amer- raph of the reservoir as I myself saw it.
Improvement In Colon anil Panama.
It wjs not practicable, with the force at
tlie commission's disposal, and in view of
the wed that the force should be used In
the larger town of Panama, to begin this
work before early last winter. Water mains
were then laid In the lown and water was
furnished to the people early In March
from a temporary reservoir. This reservoir
proved to be of Insufficient caiaclty before
the end of the dry season and the shortage
was made up by hauling water over the
Panama railroad, so that there was at all
times an ample supply of the very best
water. Since that time the new reservolt
back of Mount Hope has been practically
completed. I visited this reservoir. It is a
lake over a mile long and half a mile broad.
It now carries some o00.0O0.0iO gallons of
flrst-class water. I forward herewith a pho
tograph of this lake together with certain
other photographs of what I saw while I
was on the Isthmus. Nothing but a cata
clysm will hereafte.- render it necessary
in the dry season to haul water for the use
of Colon and Cristobal.
One of the most amusing (as well as dis
honest) attacks mado upon the commission
was In connection with this reservoir. The
writer In question usually confined himself
to vague general mendacity, but In this
case he specifically stated that there was
no wuter in the vicinity tit for a reservoir
(I drank It and It was excellent), and that
this particular reservoir would never hold
water anyway. Accompanying this mes
sage, as I have said above. Is a photo-
leans and Spaniards. Both white men and
black men are treated exactly alike, and
their treatment is as good as that which
could be obtained In our first claws hospitals
at home. All the patients that I saw, with
one or two exceptions, were laborers or
other employes on the cnnnl works and
railways, most of them lielng colored men
of the ordinnry laborer stamp. Not only
are the men carefully cared for when
ever they apply for care, but so far as prac
ticable a watch Is kept to see that If
very ignorant West India negro when he Is
they need 1t they are sent to the hospitals
whether they deRlre to go or not. From
no responsible source did any complaint
come to me hs to the management of the
hospital service, although occasionally a
very ignorant West Lndia negro when he Is
first brought into the hospital becomes
frightened by the ordinary hospital routine.
Just at present the health showing on the
isthmus Is remarkably good much bet
ter tlian in most sections of the Vnlted
States that I do not believe that it can
possibly continue at quite Its present av
and as It has been In existence ever since
the article In question was published. With
typical American humor, the engineering
corps Mill at work at the reservoir have
christened a large boat which Is now used
on the reservoir by the name of the Indi
vidual who thus denied the possibility of
the reservoir's existence.
I rode through the streets of Colon, seeing
them at the height of the rainy season,
after two days' of almost unexampled
downpour, when they were at their very
worst. Taken as a whole, they were un
doubtedly very bad, as bad as Pennsyl
vania avenue In Washington before Grant's
administration. All men to whom I spoke
were a unit in saying that the conditions
of the Colon streets were 100 per cent bet
ter than a year ago. The complaints
brought to me, either of insufficient pro
vision in caring for some of the laborers,
or t f failure to finish, the pavements of
Colon, or of failure to supply water, or of
failure to build' wooden sidewalks for the
use of the laborers In the rainy season, on
Investigation proved, almost without excep
quarters being furnished free to all the
mun, married and unmarried. Usually tlie
bachelors sleep two In a room, as they
would do In this country. I found a few
cases where three were In a room; and I
was told of, although I did not see, large
rooms in which four were sleeping; for it
Is not possible In what Is really a vast
system of construction camps always to
provide In advanoe as ample house room
as the commission Intend later to give.
In one case, where the house was an old
French house with a leak In the roof, I
did not think the accommodations were
good. But In other cases, among the scores
of houses I entered at random, the ac
commodations were good; every room was
neat and clean, usually having books, mag
azines, and small ornaments; and in short
Just such a room as a self-respecting
craftsman would be glad to live In at
home. The quarters for the married peo
ple were even better. Doubtless there must
be here and there a married couple who,
with or without reason, are not contented
with their house on the isthmus; but 1
never happened to strike such a couple.
The wives of the steam-shovel men, engi
neers, machinists and carpenters Into whose
houses I went, all with one accord ex
pressed their pleasure in their home life
and surroundings. Indeed, I do not think
they could have done otherwise. The
houses themselves were excellent bath
room, sitting room, piazza and bed rooms
being all that could be desired. In every
house which I happened to enter the mis
tress of the home was evidently a good
American housewife and helpmate, who
had given to the home life that touch of
attractiveness which, of course, the bache
lor quarters neither had nor could have.
v u.iLiij.ii' m ........ it. . . . v ... . . . . . . ,
. .1 ttn tn hi Hiia tn . V. a utta innhllitv
eruge. There has been for the last six .....v.,
oi ine commission to ao everyrning ui
months a well-nigh steady decline In the
death rate for the population of the zone,
this being largely due to the decrease In
deaths from pneumonia, which has been
the most fatal disease on the isthmus. In
October there were ninety-nine deaths of
- every kind among the employes on the
i Isthmus. There were then on the rolls
6,500 whites, seven-eighths of them being
, Americans. Of these white but two died
of disease, and as It happened neither
man was an American. Of the 6.000 white
Americans, Including some 1,200 women and
. children, not a single death has occurred
in the last three months, whereas In an
average city In the United States the rium
' ber of deaths for a similar number of peo
ple in that time would have been about
) thirty from disease. This very remarkable
showing cannot of course permanently ob
?' tain, but It certainly goes to prove that If
, good care Is taken the Isthmus Is not a
: particularly unhealthy place. In October,
Police and Schools.
In addition to attending to the health of
the employes, it Is of course necessary to
provide for policing the zone. This Is done
by a police force which at present numbers
over 200 men, under Captain Bhanton.
About one-flfth of the men are white and
tha others are black. In different places
I questioned some twenty or thirty of
these men, taking them at random. They
were a fine set, physically and In discipline.
With one exception all the white men I
questioned had served In the American
army, usually in the Philippines, and be
longed to the best type of American soldier.
Without exception the black policemen
whom I questioned had served either In
the British army or In the Jamaica or
Barbodoes police. They were evidently cort
tented and were doing their work well.
Where possible the policemen are used to
rrmlra laliorers as to the cnndt:liis of taelr
work and what. If any changes, they
wished. I received many complaints from
them, but as regards) most of these com
plaints they themselves contradicted one
another. In all cases where the complaint
was as to their treatment by any Indi
vidual It proved on examination that this
Individual was himself a West India man
of color, either a policeman, a storekeeper
or an assistant storekeeper. Doubtless
there must be many complaints against
Americans, but those to whom I spoke
did not happen to make any such com
plaint to me. Thera was no complaint of
the housing, but I saw one set of quar
ters for colored laborers which I thought
poor, and thla was in an old French house.
The barracks for unmarried men are roomy,
well ventilated and clean, with canvas
bunks for each man, and a kind of false
attic at the top, where the trunks and
other belongings of the different men are
kept. The clothes are hung on clotheslines,
nothing being allowed to be kept on the
floor. In each of these big rooms there
were tables and lamps, and usually a few
books or papers, and in almost every
room there was a Bible, the books being
the property of the laborers themselves.
The cleanliness of the quarters Is secured
by dally inspection. The quarters for the
married negro laborers were good. They
were neatly kept and in almost every case
the men living In them, whose wives or
daughters did the cooking for them, were
far better satisfied and of a higher grade
than the ordinary bachelor negroes. Not
only were the quarters In which these negro
laborers were living much superior to those
In which I am Informed they live at home,
but they were much superior to the huts
to be seen In the Jungles of Panama Itself,
beside the railroad tracks, in which the
lower class of native Panamans live, as
well as the negro workmen when they leave
the employ of the canal and go Into the
Jungles. A single glance at the two sets
of buildings Is enough to show the great
superiority In point of comfort, cleanli
ness and healthfulness of the government i
houses as compared with the native
tha Sj
Company jj
Firit National . I
Bank Boihtiaf L
I encloee herewith $1.00 a
for which send me the ftmt
supply of i'FPTOL. It is V
agreed that if I do not gain in .
weight you will refund my .
I Name .
I Address ,
ct the. scales
decide wAeAer
you pay or
Do jroa want to increase your weight )
Do you want to look better healthier more
plump and attractive )
Are you tired ol beins called "tkinny" by your
friencU--aDd iytnpathized with by your acquaint
ances? Do you want to add from 10 to 20 pouncU of
good solid lubntantial persitsrst (less do you
want to get your digestive organ in good condition
and put yourself on a duease-derying basis )
We believe there are many people who
would gladly give $100.00 foe a few more pounds
of robust flesh.
We want every one of these people lo know
of this announcementto know that they can begin
at once to add flesh without risking a cent in case
of failure.
In two cases ut of every hundred there am
conditions which cannot be overcome. In these
cases not one cent is atked for all the food supplied.
For years a number af the most eminent food
specialists in Battle Creek brgsn experimenting
proving testing. The rrtult ol their discoveries is
now prevented in PEPTOLthe new flesh builder.
PEPTOL is a concentrated vegetable 1st and
starch. It relieves the digestive organs of the work
of essimulating starch. It presents fat in a way to
be quickly taken into the system. It is the short
route to flesh tissue. .
PEPTOL also increases the "appethe juice ,
mske yon eat, makes you long foe mealtime.
This is exactly what PEPTOL will do fof
you. We cannot state just ksw many pounds yoti
will gain the 6rst month but we do positively and
absolutely guarantee that yoa will gam hi flesh.
If you do not gain your money will be refunded
without question or quibbleand your word
alone suffices.
; )
. i
NmetY-ekilit persons out of every hundred will
report gains if they take advantage of this latest
liiscovery ef Battle Creek fasd tiperts.
PEPTOL win aaortty be en sale at sB srug etoree- but the first supply
snwst be) ordered dlrsxt from pa.
The Peptol Company., Firit National Bank Bnildinj , CbicafO.
aboratorr; Battlo Creek. Mich.)
of the isrsm ,ii .i control people or tneir own color, dui in
died from dlsense. pneumonia' being the i any "''"gency no hesitation is felt in
most destructive disease and malarial fever UHln" lnem 'n"i-riminaieiy.
coming second. The difficulty of exercising Inasmuch as so many, both o
a thorough supervision over the colored
laborers Is, of course, greater than Is the
case among the whites, and they, are also
less competent to take care of themselves,
which accounts for the fact that their
death rate Is so much higher than that of
f the whites, in spite of the fact that they
'.a have been used to similar climatic condl
V tions. Kven among the colored employes
it will he seen that the death rates Is not
In Panama and Colon the death rate has
also been greatly reduced, this being dl
, rectly due to the vigorous work of the
; special brigade of employes who have been
Inspecting houses where the stegomyla
. mosquito is to be found and destroying Its
larvae and breeding places, and doing simi
lar work in exterminating the malarial
mosquitoes In short, In performing all
kinds of hygienic labor. A little over a
year ago all kinds of mosquitoes, Including
" i"" laiai species, were numerous about
the Culehra cut. In this cut during last
October every room of every house was
carefully examined, and only two mos
quitoes, neither of them of the fatal species,
were found.
Corosal, some four miles from I .a Boca,
was formerly one of the most unsanitary
places on the isthmus, probably the most
unsanitary. There was a marsh with a
pond in the mld.1l Dr. Oorgas had both
the marsh and pond drained and the brush
cleared off. so that now, when I went ovr
the grrtund, it appeared like a smooth
meadow Interac ted by drainage ditches.
The breeding place. and sheltering spots
of tha dangerous mosquitoes had been com
pletely destroyed. The result Is that Corozal
for the last six months (like La rtoca,
which formerly also had a very unsanitary
record shows one of the best sick rates
In the snne, having less than 1 per cent a
week admitted to the hospital. At OcrozrO
there Is a big hotel rilled with employes of
the Isthmian Canal commission, some of
them with their wives and famlllea. Yet
thla healthy and attractive spot was stig
matized as a "hog wallow" by one of the
least scrupulous and moat foolish of the
professional scandalmongers who from
time to time have written about the com
mission's work.
Colon Water Sapuly.
The sanitation work In the cities of
Panama and Colon has been Just as Im
portant aa in the lone itself, and in many
respects much more difficult, yet astonish
lug progress has been made in both cities
In Panama X0 per cent of the streets that
are to bo paved at all are already paved
with an excellent brick pavement laid In
heavy concrete, a few of the streets being
still tit process of paving. The sewer and
water services in the city are of the must
modern hygienic typa some of the aervlco
havliuf Just sweu completed.
In Colon the conditions are peculiar, and
it is aa regards Colon that most of the
very bitter complaint has been made. Colon
Is built on a low coral Island, covered ai
more or leas shallow depths with vegetable
accumulation or mold, which a (Turds sus
tenance and strength to many varieties of
low-lying tropical plants. In September.
JX, aaystemaiio affort was begun to form
ulate a general plan for the pruper sanita
tion of the city; In February last temporary
relief measures were taken, while In July
the prosecution of the work was begun In
good staunevt. The results are already vis
ible li the sewering, draining, guttering
svnd paving cf .the streets. Some four
will be required, before Uie woik
f the white
and colored employes, have brought their
families with them, schools have been es
tablished, the school aervlce being under
Mr. O'Connor. For the white pupils white
American teachers are employed; for the
colored pupils there are also some white
American teachers, one Spanish teacher
i and one colored American teacher, most
of them being colored teachers from Ja
maica, Barbadoes and St. Lucia. The school
rooms were good, and it was a pleasant
thing to see the pride that the teachers
were taking In their work and their pupils.
There seemed to me to be too many sa
loons In the sone; but the new high license,
law which goes Into effect on January 1
next will probably close foup-flfths of
them. Resolute and successful efforts are
being made to minimize and control the
sale of liquor.'
The cars on the passenger trains on the
isthmus are divided Into first and second
class, the difference being marked In the
price of tickets. As a rule second-class
passengers are colored and flrst-class pas
sengers white; but In every train which I
saw there were a number of white second
class passengers, and on two of them there
were colored first -cIhbs passengers.
Care of Kniployes.
Next In Importance to the problem of
sanitation, anil, Indeed, now of equal Im
portance, is the problem of securing and
caring for the mechanics, laborers and
other employes who actually do the work
on the canal and the rallroal. This great
task has been under the control of Mr.
Jackson Smith, and on the whole has been
well done. At present there are some
8.001) white employes and some 19.000 col
ored employes on the Isthmus. I went
over the different places where the differ
ent kinds of eitijni weie working; I
think I saw representatives' of every type
both at their work aiiot In their homes;
and I conversed with p.-trmMy a couple of
hundred of O-ctn all 'md. choosing them
at random frt-n every class and including
those who rum e-'Wclally to present cer
tain grievances. 1 found that those who
did not come specifically to present griev
ances almost invariably expressed far
greater content and satisfaction with the
conditions than did those who called to
make complaint.
Nearly 6.uu0 of the white employes had
come from the United Btates. No man can
see these young, vigorous men energetically
doing ihelr duty without a thrill of pride
In them as Americans. They represent on
the average a high clus. Doubtless to
congress the wages paid them will seem
high, but as a matter of fact the only gen
eral complaint which I found had any real
basis among the complaints made to me
upon the Isthmus was that, owing to the
peculiar surroundings, the cost of living,
and the distance from home, the wages
were really not as high as they should be.
In fact, almost every man I spoke to felt
that he ought to be receiving more money
a view, however, which the average man
who stays at home in the Unjted States
probably likewise holds as regards himself.
1 append figures of the wages paid, so that
the congress can Judge the matter for it
self. Iter I shall confer on the subject
with certain representative labor men here
In the I'nlted States, as well as going over
with Mr. Stevens, the comparative wages
paid on the sone and at home; and I may
then communicate my findings to the canal
committee of the two houses.
(teartera (issd east Satisfactory.
The white Americans are employed, some
of them in office work, but the irflurlty
iu hsuJUiig tha great wm shovti, as
Food Supplies.
The housewives purchase their supplies
directly, or through their husbands, from
the commissary stores of tho commission.
All to whom I spoke agreed that the sup
plies were excellent, and all but two stated
that there was no complaint to be made;
these two complained that the prices were
excessive as compared to the prices In the
States. On Investigation I did not feel that
this complaint was well founded. The mar
ried men ate at home. The unmarried men
sometimes ate at private boarding houses.
or private messes, but more often Judging
by the answers of those whom I questioned.
at the government canteens or hotels where
tho meal costs 3o cents to each employe.
This 30-ccnt meal struck me as being as
good a meal as we get in the United Btates
at the ordinary hotel In which a 60-cent
meal Is provided. Three-fourths of the men
whom I questioned stated that the meals
furnished at these government hotels were
good, the remaining one-fourth that they
were not good. I myself took dinner at the
La Boca government hotel, no warning
whatever having been given of my coming.
There were two rooms, es -generally in
these hotels. In one the employes were al
lowed to dine without their coats, while' in
the other they had to put them on. The 80-
cent meal Included soup, natle beef
(which waj good), mashed potatoes, peas.
been, chill con came, plum pudding, tea,
coffee each man having, as much of each
dish as he desired. On the table there was
a bottle of liquid quinine tonlo which two
thirds of the guests, as I was Informed,
UBed every day. There were neat table
cloths and napkins. The men, who were
taking the meal at or about the same time,
included railroad men, machinists, ship
wrights and members of the office force.
The rooms were clean, comfortable and
airy, with mosquito screens around tha
outer plnzza. I was Informed by some of
those present that this hotel, and also the
other similar hotels, were every Saturday
night turned Into club houses where the
American officials, the school teachers and
various employes appeared, bringing their
wives, there being dancing and singing.
There was a piano in the room, which I
was informed was used for the music on
these occasions. My meal was excellent,
and two newspaper correspondents who had
been on the Isthmus several days Informed
me that It was precisely like the meals they
had been getting elsewhere at other govern
ment hotels.
Chinese and Other Labor.
Of the 19,000 or 20.000 day laborers em
ployed on the canal a few hundred are
Spaniards. These do excellent work. Their
foreman told me that they did twice as
well as the West India laborers. They
keep healthy and no difficulty Is experienced
with them In any way. Some Italian la
borers are also employed In connection with
the drilling. As might be expected, with
labor ns high priced as at present In the
United States, it has not so far proved
practicable to get any ordinary laborers
from the I'nlted States. The American
watte workers on the isthmus are the
highly paid skilled mechanics of the types
mentioned previously. A steady effort Is
being made to secure Italians, and espe
cially to procure more Spaniards, because
of the very satisfactory results that have
come from their employment', and their
numbers will be Increased aa far as possi
ble. It has not proved possible, however,
to get them in anything like the numbers
needed for the work, and from present ap
pearances we shall In the main have to
rely, for the ordinary unskilled work, partly
upon colored laborers from the West Indies,
partly upon Chines labor. It certainly
ought to be unnecessary to point out that
the American worklngman In the United
States has no concern whatever In the
question as to whether the rough work on
the isthmus, which is performed by aliens
in any event, is done by aliens f'om one
country with a black skin or bv aliens
from another country with a yellow skin.
Our business is to dig the canal as ef
ficiently and as quickly as possible, pro
vided always that nothing is done that is
Inhumane to any laborers, and nothing
that interferes with the wages of or lowers
the standard of living of our own work
men. Having in view thla principle. I have
arranged to try aeveral thouaand Chinese
laborers. This is desirable both because
we must try to find out what laborers are
most efficient, and, furthermore, because
we should not leave ourselves at the mercy
of any one type of foreign labor. At pres
ent the great bulk of the unskilled labor
on tho isthmus is done by West Imita
negroes, chiefly from Jamaica, Barbadoes
and the other English possessions. One of
the governors of the lands in question has
shown an unfriendly disposition to our
work, and has thrown obstacles In the way
of our getting the labor needed, and It is
highly undesirable to give any outsiders
the impression, however ill founded, that aie indispensable and can dictate
terms to us.
Negro Uborers and Thrlr Quarters.
The West India laborers are fairly, but
only fairly, satisfactory. Some of tha men
do very well indeed; the better class, who
are to be found as foremen, as skilled
rvjechanlcs, as policemen, are good men; and
many of the ordinary day laborers are also
good. But thousands of those who are
brought over under contract (at our ex
pense) go off into tho Jungle to live or loaf
around Colon, or work so badly after the
first three or four days as to cause a
serious diminution of tha amount of labor
performed on Friday and Saturday of each
Recreation and Ammrmrnt.
One of the greatest needs at present is
to provide amusements both for the white
men and the black. The Young Men's
Christian association Is trying to do good
work and should be In every way encou
raged. But the government should do the
main work. I have specifically called the
attention of the commission to this matter,
and something has been accomplished al
ready. Anything done for the welfare of
the men adds to their efficiency and money
devoted to that purpose Is therefore prop
erly to be considered as spent in building
the canal. It Is imperatively necessary to
provide ample recreation and amusement
If the men are to be kept well and healthy.
I call the special attention of congress to
this need.
I have now dealt with the hygienic condi
tions which make It possible to employ a
great force of laborers, and with the task
of gathering, housing and feeding these
laborers. There remains to consider the
actual work which has to be done, the
work because of which these laborers are
gathered together the work of constructing
tho cmihl. This Is under the direct control
of the chisf engineer, Mr. Stevens, who has
already shown admirable results, and whom
we can safely trust to achieve similar re
sults in the future.
Our people found on the isthmus a cer
tain amount of old French material and
equipment which could be used. Some of
It, In addition, could be sold as scrap iron.
Some could be used for furnishing the
foundation for filling in. For much no
possible use could be devised that would
not cost mora than it would bring in.
Work of Construction.
The work is now going on with a vigor
and efficiency pleasant to witness. The
three big problems of the canal are the
La Boca dams, the Gatun dam and the
Culebra cut. The Culebra cut must be
made, anyhow; but of course changes as
last three months, in the rainy season,
steady progress is shown by the figure!";
In August, 242.0H0 cubic yards; In Septem
ber, 2S1.000 cubic yards, and In October,
326.0UO cubic yards. In October new rec
ords were established for the output of
Individual shovels as well ns for the ton
nage haul of Individual locomotives. I
hope to see the growth of a healthy spirit
of emulation between tho different shovel
and locomotive crews, Just such a spirit
as has grown on our battleships between
the different gun crews In matters of
marksmanship. Passing through tho cut
the amount of new work can be seen at a
glance. In one place the entire side of
a hill had been taken out recently by
twenty-seven tons of dynamite, which were
exploded at one blast. At another place
I was given a presidential salute of twenty
one charges of dynamite. On the top notch
of the Culebra cut the prism Is now as
wide as It will be; all told, the canal bed
nt this point has now been sunk about
200 feet below what it originally was. It
will have to be sunk about 130 feet far
ther. Throughout the cut the drilling,
blasting, shoveling and hauling arc going
on with constantly Increasing energy, the
huge shovels being pressed up, as if they
were mountain howitzers. Into the most
likely looking places, where they eat their
way Into the hillsides.
Railway Improvements.
The most advanced methods, not only In
construction, but In railroad management,
have been applied In the zone, with corre
sponding economics In time and cost. This
has been shown In the handling of the
tonnage from Bhlps Into cars, and from
cars ships on the Panama railroad,
where, thanks largely to the efficiency of
General Manager Blerd, the saving In time
and cost, has been noteworthy. My ex
amination tended to show that some of the
departments hud (doubtless necessarily) be
come overdeveloped, and could now be
reduced or subordinated without impair
ment of efficiency and with a saving of
cost. The chairman of tlie commission,
Mr. Shonts, has all matters of this kind
constantly in view, and is now reorganiz
ing the government of the zone, so as to
make the form of administration both more
to the dams, or a.t least as to the locks ! "elb'o and less expensive, subordinating
adjacent to the dams, may still occur. The
La Boca dams offer no particular problem,
the bottom material being' ao good that
there Is a practical certainty, not merely
as to what can be achieved, but as to the
time of achievement. The Gatun dam
offers the most serious problem which we
have to solve, and yet tha ablest men on
the Isthmus believe that this problem Is
certain of solution along the lines proposed;
although, of course. It necessitates great I
toll, energy and intelligence, and although I
equally, of courss, there will be some little
risk In connection with the work. If the
huge earth dam now contemplated is
thrown across from one foothill to the
other we will have what Is practically a
low, broad mountain ridge behind which
will rise the inland lake. This artificial
mountain will probably show less seepage,
that is, will have greater restraining ca
pacity than the average natural mountain
range. The exact locality of the locks at
this dam as at the other dams Is now
being determined. In April next Secretary
Taft. with three of the ablest engineers
of the country Messrs. Noble, Stearns and
Ripley will visit the Isthmus, and the
three engineers will make the final and
conclusive examinations aa to the exact
site for each lock. Meanwhile the work
Is going ahead without a break.
The Culebra cut does not offer such great
risks; that la, the damage liable to occur
from occasional land slips will not represent
what may be called major disasters. The
work will merely call for Intelligence, per
severance and executive capacity. It Is,
however, the work upon which most labor
will have to be spent. The dams will be
composed of the earth taken out of the cut
and very possibly the building of the locks
and dams will take even longer than the
cutting In Culebra Itself.
The main work is now being done In tho
Culebra cut It was striking and Impres
sive to see the huge steam shovels In full
play, the dumping trains carrying away the
rock and earth they dislodged. The Imple
ments of French excavating machinery
which often stand a little way from the
line of work, though of excellent construc
tion, look like the veriest toys when com
pared with these new steam shovels. Just
as the French dumping cars seem like toy
cars when compared with the long trains
of huge cars, dumped by steam plows,
which are now in use. This represents the
enormous advance that hae been made in
machinery during the past quarter of a
century. No doubt a quarter of a century
hence thia new machinery, of which we
are now ao proud, will similarly seem out
of date, but It Is certainly serving Its pur
pose well now. The old French cars had to
bo entirely discarded. We still have In use
a few of the more modem, but not moet
modern, cars, which hold but twelve yards
of earth. They can be employed on certain
lines with sharp curves. But the recent
cars hold from twenty-five to thirty yards
apiece, and Instead of the old clumsy meth
ods of unloading them, a steam plow is
drawn from end to end of tho whole vestl
buied train, thus immensely economising
labor. In the rainy season the steam shov
els can do but little in dirt, but they work
steadily In rock and In the harder ground.
There were some twenty-five at work dur
ing the time I was on tha isthmus, and
their tremendous power and efficiency were
moot impressive.
Mew Records for Excavation.
As soon as the type of canal was decided
this work began In good earnest. The
rainy season will shortly be over and then
the'e will be an immense Increase in th-!
everything to direct efficiency with a view
to the work of the canal commission. From
time to time changes of this kind will
undoubtedly have to be made, for It must
be remembered that in this giant work
of construction, it is continually neces
sary to develop departments or bureaus,
which are vital for the time being, but
which soon become useless; Just as It will
be continually necessary to put up build
ings, and even to erect towns, which In
ten years' will once more give place to
Jungle, or will then be at the bottom of
wevk. X questioned many of these J- ,wount taken eut; but ovoa duriruj tL
the great lakes at the ends of the canal
Critics and Donbtlnsr Thomases.
It is not only natural, but Inevitable, that
a work so gigantic aa this which has been
undertaken on the isthmus should arouse
every species of hostility and critlcisjn.
The conditions are so new and so trying,
and the work so vast, that It would be
absolutely out of the question that nils
takes should not be made. . Checks will
occur. Unforeseen difficulties will arise.
From time to time seemingly well settled
plans will have to be changed At present
26,000 men are engaged on the task. After
a while the number will be doubled. In
such a multitude it is Inevitable that there
should be here and there a scoundrel. Very
many of the poorer class of laborers lack
the mental development to protect them
selves against either the rascality of others
or their own folly, and It is not possible for
human wisdom to devise a plan by which
they can Invariably be protected. In a
place which has been for ages a byword
for unhealthf ulneBs, and with so large a
congregation of strangers suddenly put
down and set to hard work there will
now and then be outbreaks of disease.
There will now and then be shortcomings
in administration; there will be unlocked
for accidents to delay the excavation of the
cut or the building of dams and locks.
Bach such incident will be entirely natural,
and even though serious, no one of them
will mean more than a little extra delay
or trouble. Yet each, when discovered by
sensation mongers and retailed to timid
folk of little faith, will serve as an ex
cuse for the belief that tlie whole work
Is being badly managed. Experiments will
continually be tried in housing, In hygiene,
in street repairing, iu dredging and in
digging earth and rock. Now and then an
experiment will be a failure, and among
those who hear of it, a certain proportion
of doubting Thomases will at once believe
that the whole work Is a failure. IKiubt
less here and there some minor rascality
will be uncovered, but aa to this, I have
to say that after the moat painstaking in
quiry 1 have been unable to find a single
reputable person who had so much as
heard of any serious accusations affect
ing the honesty of the commission or of
any responsible officer under it. I append
a letter dealing with the most serious
charge, that of the ownership of lots In
Colon; tho charge was not advanced by a
reputable man, and is utterly baseless. It
Is not too much to say that the whole at
mosphere of the commission breathes hon
esty as it breathes efficiency and energy.
Above all. the work has been kept abso
lutely clear of politics. I have never heard
even a suggestion of spoils politics In con
nection with it.
I have Investigated every complaint
brought to me for width Ihere seemed to
k nv shadow of foundation, in i or
three cases, all of which I have Indicated
i -nnrM of this message, I came to
the complaints proved absolutely baseless
for the complaint, and that the methods of
ih commission In trie re.ipe-t complained
of could be bettered, la the oUjoX instances
the complaints proved absolutely baseless,
save In two or three Instances where they
referred to mistakes which the commission
had already Itself found out and cor
rected. Slanderers and I.lbelers.
So much for honest criticism. There re
mains an Immense amount of as recklcsa
slander as has ever been published. Where
the slanderers are of foreign origin I have
no concern with them. Where they are
Americans, I feel for them the heartiest
contempt and indignation; because, In a
spirit of wanton dishonesty and malice,
they are trying to interfere with, and ham
per the execution of, the greatest work of
the kind ever attempted, and are seeking
to bring to naught the efforts of their
countrymen to put to the credit of America
one of the giant feats of the ages. The
outrageous accusations of these slanderers
constitute a gross libel upon a body of
public servants who, for trained intelli
gence, expert ability, high character and
devotion to duty, have never been ex
celled anywhere. There Is not a man
among those directing the work on the
Isthmus who has obtained his position on
any other basis than merit alone, and not
one who has used his position In any way
for his own personal or pecuniary advan
tage. Plan to Bnlld by Contract.
After most careful consideration we have
decided to let out must of the work by
contract. If we can come to satisfactory
terms with the contractors. The whole work
is of a kind suited to the peculiar genius
of our people; and our people have devel
oped the type of contractor best fitted to
grapple with it. It is of course much bcttei
to do the work in large part by contract
than to do it all by the government pro
vided it is possible on the one hand to
secure to the contractor a sufficient re
muneration to make it worth while for re
sponsible contractors of the best kind to
undertake the work; and provided on the
other hand it can be done on terms which
will not glvo an excessive profit to the
contractor at the expense of the govern
ment. After much consideration the plan
already promulgated by the secretary of
war was adopted. This plan in its essen
tial features was drafted, after careful and
thorough study and consideration, by the
chief engineer, Mr. Stevens, who, while in
the employment of Mr. Hill, the president
of the Great Northern railroad, had per
sonal experience of this very type of con
tract. Mr. Stevens then submitted the plan
to the chairman of the commission, Mr.
Shonts, who went carefully over It with
Mr. Rogers, the legal adviser of the com
mission, to see that all legal difficulties
were met. lie then submitted copies of
the plan to both Secretary Taft and my
self. Secretary Taft submitted it to some of
the best counsel at the New York bar, and
afterwards I went over It very carefully
with Mr. Taft and Mr. Shorvts, and we laid
the plan in its general features before Mr.
Root. My conclusion Is that it combines
the maximum of advantage with the min
imum of disadvantage. Under it a pre
mium will be put upon the speedy and eco
nomical construction of the canal, and a
penalty imposed on delay and waste. The
plan as promulgated is tentative; doubtless
It will have to be changed In some re
spects before wo can come to a satisfactory
agreement with responsible contractors
perhaps even after the bids have been re
ceived; and of course it is possible that
we cannot come to an agreement, in which
case the government will do tho work itself.
Meanwhile the work on the Isthmus Is pro
gressing steadily and without any let-up.
Slasle Commissioner Desired.
A seven-headed commission Is, of course,
a clumsy executive Instrument. We should
have but one commissioner, with such
heads of departments and other officers
under him as we may find necessary. We
should be expressly permitted to employ
the best engineers in the country as con
sulting engineers.
I accompany this paper with a map show
ing substantially what the canal will be
like when It Is finished. When the Culebra
cut has been made and the dams built (if
they are built as at present proposed)
there will then be at both the Pacific and
Atlantic ends of tho canal, two great fresh
water lakes, connected by a broad channel
running at the bottom of a ravine, across
I the backbone of the Western Hemisphere.
Those best informed believe that the work
will be completed in about eight years; but
it is never safe to prophesy about such a
work as this, especially In the tropics.
I am informed that representatives of the
commercial clubs of four cities Boston,
Chicago, Cincinnati and St. Ivouis the
membership of which lacludes most of the
leading business men of those cities, ex
pect to visit the Isthmus for the purpose
of examining the work of construction of
the canal. I am glad to hear It, and shall
direct that every facility be given them
Dr. Lyon's
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to see nil that is to be seen In the work
which the government Is doing. Such in
terest as a visit like this would Indicate
will have a good effect upon the men wh'i
are doing the work, on one hand, while on
the other hand It will offer as witnesses of
the exact conditions men whose experience
as business men and whose Impartiality
will make the result of their observations
of value to the country as a whole.
Confident of lltlmate Success.
Of the success of tho enterprise I am
as well convinced as one can be of any
enterprise that is human. It Is a stupen
dous work upon which our fellow-countrymen
are engaged down there on the Isth
mus, and while we should hold them to
strict accountability for the way In which
they perform It, we should yet recognise,
with frank generosity, the epic nature of
the task on which they are engaged and
its world-wide Importance. They are doing
Something which will redound Immeasura
bly to tho credit of America, which will
benefit all the world, and which will last
for ages to come. Under Mr. Shonts and
Mr. Stevens and Doctor Gorgas this work
has started with every omen of good for
tune. They and their worthy associates,
from the highest to the lowest, are entitled
to the same credit that we would give to
the picked men of a victorious army; for
this conquest of peace will, in its great
and far-reaching effect, stand as among
the very greatest conquests, whether of
peace or of war, which have ever been won
by any of the peoples of mankind. A badge
is to be given to every American citizen
who for a specified time has taken part In
tk .. 1. . . . ......(. 1 . . ...IT! V. ......
HUB nui IV, lui jtxi iicipu L1UJ1 III IV mil iiviu-
after be held to reflect honor upon the
man participating Just as it reflects honor
upon a soldier to have belonged to a
mighty army In a great war for righteous
ness. Our fellow countrymen on the Isth
mus are working for our Interest and for
the national renown In the same spirit and
with the same efficiency that the men of
the army and navy work in time of war.
It behooves us in turn to do all we can to
hold up their hands and aid them In every
way to bring their great work to a
triumphant conclusion.
The White House, Deo. 17 1906.
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