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NEWSPAPERS, LOCAL & FOREIGN A R W N
MAPS. : News Stands at Panama, Pedro Miguel, Culebra, Empire, Gatun and Cristobal.
BIENKOWSKI & SPERLING, Proprietors.
The Second, Or New Company.
The history of the new company does not record any startling achievement in the amount of work accomplished, in fact, the rather desultory manner in which the work was carried on lends color to the belief that it was organized primarily at least, to protect the assets of the old company, and to make a sale when the opportune moment arrived. Compared with the amount of money expended however, it made a much better showing than the old company. With a working capital of less than $ 13,000,000 it excavated some 10,000,000 cubic meters of material, as compared with about 50,000,000 cubic meters excavated by the old company at a cost of upwards of $ 250,000,000. In this connection consideration must be given the fact that with the new company plant and material was ready at hand, so that the expense on this account was comparatively small. It was also the expectation that at the end of three four years' work the investing public would have their confidence in the undertaking restored, and provide more funds for the purpose, but this expectation did not materialize.
In 1890, the services of Lieut. Wyse were again brought into play and on December 10th of that year he secured a new agreement with Colombia granting a ten year extension for the completion of the work. The delay
or Gorgona, A general view of the American Settlement - Panama. Both wian-American PR News Agency 4 Advertising Bureau Diepkowski. I
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in organizing the new company made it impracticable to comply with the above time limit, and negotiations with Colombia were reopened. On April 4, 1893, another éx: tension was granted which provided for the resumption of work on a permanent basis by October 31, 1894, and the completion of the canal within ten years from that date. Toward the close of the nineties it was manifest that the concession would expire before the work could be finished, so in April, 1900 a third extension was arranged which stipulated that the canal should be completed by October 31, 1910. In passing it is just to observe that the Colombian Government exercised remarkable degree of patience in this connection.
A Stupendous Undertaking.
The organization of the new company was a stupendous undertaking in the face of the fact that the mere mention of “Panama” to a French investor was like flaunting a red rag in front of a bull. Visions of graft andi extrar
agance floated ever before his mind. However, in October, 1891, the “New Panama Canal Company was finally launched upon the troublesome waters of canal endeavor, with a capital stock of 65,000,000 francs ($13,000,000), divided into shares of 100 francs each. Under the agreement 50,000 shares fully paid up were at once set aside for the Colombian Government The receiver of the old company became a party to the new organization and transferred all the property and assets of the old company, real and personal, whether in France or Panama, including the grants from the Colombian Government; also the rights of every nature in the Panama Railroad, which had been obtained through arrangements entered into between the company and the holders of railroad stock. The receiver also subscribed in his official capacity for about one-fourth of the stock of the new company.
Under the terms of the transfer the new company had a title to the whole property, but the rights of those interested in the old company were not entirely extinguished. The latter were under further obligations to contribute toward the auxiliary works, but its successful completion and operation would be of advantage to them to some extent, inasmuch as under the terms of the sale sixty per cent of the surplus income after payment of expenses, charges and stipulated dividends was to be appropriated by the receiver for distribution among them. While there might be little or nothing left for the proposed distribution, the existence of this right in favor of the shareholders in the old company made concurrence obligatory in case of a sale of the property.
Should the construction have gone by default on October 31, 1910, the concession would have lapsed, but through its railroad contract the company would have exclusive control of the territory through which the line extended until 1966, but being absolutely prohibited the while from selling to any foreign government, it was manifest that even if the privileges of the company could have been purchased,
the conditions would not have permitted of any other government exercising its rights of ownership in connection with the construction of the canal.
The receiver according to the terms of transfer was clothed with authority to appoint a commission of engineers to rectify previous surveys, inspect progress made and to supervise expenditures, and one of tho first steps taken was to organize the Comite Technique, consisting of seven French engineers. This committee made in all three different reports. The first proposed a lock canal at an impracticable height; the second provided for a lock canal, the bottom of which should be 20.75 meters, or about 68 feet above sea level. The locks according to this plan would be five in number, one each at Bohio and Bas Obispo on the Atlantic side of the divide, and one each at Paraiso and Miraflores, with a tidal lock near Miraflores on the Pacific side. The third plan comprehended a canal the bottom of which would be about 32 feet above sea level, and with but three locks, one at Bohio, another at or near Pedro Miguel, and the third at Miraflores.
The committee's plan for regulating the Chagres River, and to obtain therefrom the requisite amount of water to operate the canal at all times, consisted in the construction of a dam at Bohio of 250,000,000 cubic meter capacity, and of another dam farther up the river at Alhajuela, capable of storing 150,000,000 cubic meters of water. With the lake at Bohio, and the reservoir at Alhajuela, it was estimated that there would be no difficulty as to a sufficient water supply at any period of the year. The old company engineers proposed the site of Gamboa for a dam after it took up the lock canal proposition, but the Comite Technique considered this site as entirely unsuitable. The Gatun site of the present day never entered into the calculations of the French engineers.