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at Panama and Colon, and that the Colombian forces were not allowed to land there. The news was not unexpected to those current with the situation, but it created intense excitement among the middle and lower classes who thronged the streets crying, "Down with the Government, down with Marroquin.” Others shouted, “Why didn't the Americans take us in also.”
In Bogota at that time there was a floating, irresponsible class who preferred revolution and robbery, to work. This element was attracted into the public parks of the city by bands of music and eloquent speakers who urged that they must save their country and march to Panama. They had more patriotism poured into them on that occasion than they had ever heard in their lives before; flags were presented; a banquet in which liquors figured largely was prepared, and with voluntary and involuntary subscriptions for expenses, about one thousand men started for the coast, equipped with an old stand of worn-out arms. As a Government official afterwards expressed it, “The Government wants them out of here and they will never come back.” And they did not. This was the much-talkedof expedition to Panama overland by way of the Darien.
During all the excitement at the Colombian capital there were no demostrations or threats made against the American Legation, as reported in the newspapers at the time, nor were the resident Americans molested. When the same papers were publishing reports of Americans being killed and their property destroyed, a cable to ) President Marroquin brought an answer that the American Legation and the American colony had been guaranteed absolute protection.
Railroad Officials Complimented.
Don Arango in his little story of the secession takes occasion to compliment highly the railroad officials, Col. J. R. Shaler, and his able assistant, Mr. H. G. Prescott, for their part in the affair. He says: “From the day he knew of the movement, Col. Shaler showed in every act his sympathy for us, and that he was trying to protect us by avoiding combats on the line with the troops that had come from Colombia, which we had determined to attack if they had reached Panama. The part he took in the reembarkation of Col. Torres and his men also merits our gratitude. Of no less value were the services of that notable North American, Mr. H. G. Prescott, second superintendent of the railroad, who had for many years previous made his home here and married in this country.
Mr. Prescott in accord with his chief went to Colon where he remained until the arrival of the Colombian forces. He was in constant communication with us, transmitted our instructions and kept us informed of what was transpiring there. By this and other valuable services the Panamanians owe Mr. Prescott a great debt of gratitude."
Col. Shaler and Mr. Prescott remained with the railroad company for over a year after its purchase by the United States Government in the same capacities, Mr. Prescott serving as Acting Superintendent for several months after Col. Shaler's resignation and departure. Col. Shaler is now consul for the Republic of Panama at his home city, Chattanooga, Tenn., while Mr. Prescott continues to reside in Panama occupied with commercial pursuits.
All Over But the Shouting.
“Worthy recognition has been taken”, says the Colon Starlet of December 3, 1903, "of the six gentlemen to whom the credit of creating the new Republic of Panama belongs. At an extraordinary meeting of the board of the Isthmus Progressive Club on the 22d ult., it was unanimously voted to tender tribute to these gentlemen, namely, Dr. Manuel Amador Guerrero, Don Federico Boyd, Don Manuel Espinosa B., Don Ricardo Arias, Mr. Tracy Rob
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inson, and Mr. J. Gabriel Duque, the two last being citizens of the United States."
Gen. Huertas too, was the recipient of many attentions. Had he not been won over to the cause bringing with him his men, these pages would probably have had a different story to tell, at least the end could not have been attained without the shedding of blood. Gen Huertas was feted one night shortly after the proclamation of independence. While the banquet was in progress, of a sudden there occurred the simultaneous popping of many corks, and the next instant the doughty general was deluged with the contents of a dozen bottles of .champagne, which poured from his person in streams. The General appeared to relish his novel bath. The military record of Gen. Huertas, and the subsequent events in which he figured will be found in another part of this book.
The first country to recognize the independence of Panama was the United States, the acknowledgment being made on November 6. In its message to the Constitutional Convention of January 15, 1904, the provisional junta announced that the Republic had up to that time been accorded recognition by the following governments:- United States, France, Austria-Hungary, China, Germany, Russia, Denmark, Belgium, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Norway
caragua in the order named. In February, 1904, Guatemala, Persia, Holland and Venezuela followed suit; in March, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Honduras, Argentina and Salvador; in May, the Holy See and Spain; in June, Servia; in July, Paraguay and Roumania. Portugal, Greece and Uruguay have never tendered their formal recognition, but a tacit understanding exists.
As regards Ecuador, former President Lisardo Garcia sent an autograph letter to President Amador setting forth that it was the wish of his government and people to maintain the friendliest relations with Panama. These relations have been cultivated under th9 government of Gen. Eloy Alfaro, the present ruler. . The tardiness in making formal recognition is said to be due to a desire on the part of Ecuador not to disturb the amicable relations between it and Colombia.
THE CANAL IN AMERICAN HANDS.
During the Spanish-American war the importance of an isthmian canal was realized on more than one occasion. Had a waterway connecting the two great oceans been in operation at that period, the long and record-breaking run of the battleship Oregon around the Horn would have been reduced to a trip of a few days only. It is hardly a matter for wonderment then that the canal question came up in the first Congress assembled after the return of peace.
In December, 1898, the United States Senate acted favorably on a bill pledging, government support to the
Nicaragua route, but it came to grief in the lower house. During the argument on the measure in committee, tho representatives of the New Panama Canal Company were allowed a hearing on their proposition to reorganize the concern under the laws of the United States, in view of receiving national aid.
The agitation of the question had some result for in March, 1899, President McKinley was authorized by Congress to investigate various canal routes with the object of determining the practicability of each, and the possibility of obtaining sole control over them. Pursuant to these instructions the President organized the first Isthinian Canal Commission consisting of Rear-Admiral John G. Walker, (retired, now deceased), Samuel Pasco, George S. Morison, Lieut.-Col. Oswald H. Ernst and Col. P. C. Hains, U. S. Corps of Engineers; Lewis M. Haupt, Alfred Noble and William H. Burr, civil engineers, and Prof. Emory R. Johnson.
To this commission was delegated the work of examining the plans of the French canal company and to ascertain the best terms for which its property could be secured. The commissioners took up the subject in detail, and had several conferences with the canal company's officials. In a report submitted to the President in November, 1901, the commissioners announced that the canal company demanded the sum of $109,141,500 for its holdings. During the progress of negotiations the commissioners had fixed upon the price of $40,000,000 as a reasonable valuation of the property, but the French directors held that this amount much too low, pointing out that the assets at the time of the failure of the old company aggregated over ninety millions of dollars, and that the depreciation of the property since then would be in a measure offset by additional plant equipment purchased by the new company.
The commission's report ended with the recommendation of the Nicaragua route, as against the Panama enterprise,