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A new section of the American Quarters in Culebra -- Danama. Taken from the Reservoir. Isthmian-American & S.R.R. News Agency & Actrertising Bureau. A. Bien kowski.
and iater the rate of wage rose to $1.50 silver per day. The purchase of material was not contined to France, but came from every industrial nation. In 1882 three dredges were purchased of a Philadelphia tirm for $100,000.
In February, 1883, M. Dingler assumed control of the works as Director General. From this on an impetus was given to operations, and the work proceeded along more systematic lines. Closely following him came Ch. Aime de Lesseps, son of the elder De Lesseps who later became interested as a silent partner in nearly all the large canal contracts, and derived considerable profit thereby. The original plan under which the work was let to contractors failed to meet the company's expectations. The contracts were too small and the work did not go on quick enough. Later on the work was let out in large contracts, most of the smaller contractors prior to this time becoming sub- ) contractors under the new system.
The route of the car al began at Folks River, CristobalColon, followed approximately the valley of the Chagres to Bas Obispo, then crossed the Cordilleras through Culebra Mountain, and descended through the valley of the Rio Grande to its mouth. the line ending two miles out in Panama Bay. The water depth of the canal was to be 30 feet, and the bottom width about 72 feet. The problem of crossing the (hegres was to be solved by the construction of a great daum at or near Gamboa, from which the surplus water would escape in another direction by means of diversion channels.
With the inception of canal operations, an vast expenditure began. Contracts were placed without
. due regard to cconomy, and by 1885 it was apparent that all the estimates made both as to cost and length of time in building woull be exceeded About this time too the investors became alarmed at the ruinous manner in which the vast establishment was being run. The press also took it up and soon a strong undercurrent of adverse public opinion became manilest. De Lesseps essayed to stem the
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MANAGER AND PROPRIETOR.
tide of opposition sentiment and in 1885 applied to the French Government for permission to establish a lottery branch by which he hoped through the issuance of bonds, to provide funds for carrying on the work. The Chamber of Deputies voted the desired permission, but the proposition was later held up pending a report on actual conditions. To this end the French Government despatched Armand Rosseau, an eminent engineer to the Isthmus to go over the situation in detail.
Rosseau's report was discouraging. He declared that a sea level canal could not be carried through to completion with the means in sight, and recommended the changing of the plans from a sea level canal to a canal with locks as an immediate expedient. Others connected with the enterprise coincided with this view, and De Lesseps in the end reluctantly gave his consent to the change. This plan made no change in the line of the canal, but the surface of the canal at its summit was to be forty-nine meters, or about 160 feet above sea level.
The new line of action decided upon, the lottery bonds were issued, the limit being put at $160,000,000. Each bond represented a value of $80, but were put on the market at $72.00. They were to bear 4 per cent. interest, and be redeemed by amortization.
The investing public, although the bait was attractive, refused to do more than nibble, and a second attempt likewise proved
All the Good Things of Life.
Economy was an unknown factor in the administration of affairs of the first company, and extreme generosity characterized its treatment of its white employes who in the main were from France. The average pay of a clerk was $125 per month, and of a chief of division from $200 to $300 per month. Two years' service entitled the ploye to 5 months' leave of absence, and travelling penses both ways. Quarters were furnished free well as everything necessary to fit them up, furniture, bedding, lamps, kitchen utensils, etc. All the head offices were in Panama, and the officials all resided there. The section of the city surrounding San Francisco Park was the headquarters of the French colony in those days.
There was no system of accounting in vogue, and employes were permitted to draw household articles upon requisition about whenever they liked. In a multitude of cases this laxity was taken advantage of and quite a business in the buying and selling of company's furniture, etc., was secretly carried on. After pay days money flowed like wine, and it was not an uncommon occurrence to see the street around Cathedral Park filled with seats for the accommodation of officials and employes bent upon having a good time. In the offices a day's work consisted of seven hours, from 7 a. m. to 11 a. m. and from 2 p. m. to 5 p. m.
Convalescents at the Taboga Sanitarium were cheered back to health with truffles, mushrooms, spinach, wines