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would not go back to the Isthmus at all. I gave Mr. Wallace a full opportunity to state all the reasons that actuated him in withdrawing, but this is the only one he mentioned."
It is quite probable that the question of health entered considerably into Mr. Wallace's decision. At the time he returned from the States, yellow fever had been doing a pretty brisk business for several months, and the prospects for its abatement did not look particularly good While on the Isthmus, Mr. Wallace continually guarded against possibility of infection. His residence was the first to be screened, and every possible precaution taken to prevent the introduction of the disease by mosquito infection.
Mr. Wallace's place was filled without loss of time by the appointment of Mr. John F. Stevens, an experienced railroad man, who was on the eve of departing for the Philippines to supervise important railroad works for the Government. Mr. Stevens arrived on the Isthmus on July 27, 1905 and immediately took up the work where liis predecessor had left off.
Engineering Operations Suspended.
After the visit of the Commission to the Isthmus in July and August, 1905, it became evident that two things must be done before results in an engineering way could be expected. One was the proper housing of employes, and the other, the improvement of health conditions. It might be said that at this juncture, the former was the more important, as it in reality (ovetailed into the other, it being self-evident that sanitary conditions would improve immediately modern, well-ventilated quarters were furnished. The Commission recognized that this preparatory work was the first essential, and ordered partial suspension of engineering operations. Quite a number of men were sent back with the information that as soon it was decided to recommence work on a large scale, they would be notified. It was at this time that plans were made for a large number of quarters, and the work in this department increased apace, while Col. Gorgas and his squads continued their daily battles with the little demons of the air.
To Decide Type of Canal. On June 24, 1905, the President by Executive order appointed the following board of consulting engineers
for the purpose of reporting on the type of canal to be adopted: --
Gen. George W. Davis, Chairman, Alfred Noble, che of the constructing engineers of the Soo' canal; William Barclay Parsons, engineer of the New York underground system; William H. Burr, professor of engineering in Columbia college; Gen. Henry L. Abbott, army engineer, whose observations on the topography and characteristics of the canal territory, now in book form, are valuable; Frederic P. Stearns, hydraulic engineer of Boston; Joseph Ripley, at one time chief engineer of the Soo Canal, and afterwards employed by the Isthmian Canal Commission as lock expert; Herman Schussler, Isham Randolph of Chicago Drainage canal fame; W. Henry Hunter, chief engineer of the Manchester ship canal, representing the British Government; Eugen Tincauzer, chief engineer of the canal at Kiel, representing the German Government; Adolphe Guerard, civil engineer, representing the French Government; Edouard Quellennec, consulting engineer of the Suez Canal, and J. W. Welcker, engineer and constructor of the North Sea canal, representing the Holland Government.
The Board failed to reach an unanimous agreement, and on January 10, 1906 presented two reports, the first a majority report, signed by eight members, of whom five were the representatives of foreign governments, favoring a sea-level canal, and the second, or minority report, signed by five members, all Americans, in favor of a lock canal at an elevation of 85 feet.
The Isthmian Canal Commission, to whom these ports were submitted for consideration, made a report to the Secretary of War on February 5, 1906, one member dissenting, in favor of the lock canal recommended by the minority report of the Advisory Board. The dissenting member, Civil Engineer Endicott, U. S. N., submitted a minority report in favor of the sea-level plan. Accompanying the Commission's report was a statement from Chief Engineer Stevens recommending the adoption of the lock-canal plan.
Congress Decides for a Lock Canal.
The reports were before Congress from February 19, 1906, until near the date of adjournment on
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1906. On June 21, the Senate by a vote of 36 ayes to 31 noes passed the act decreeing the construction of a lock canal of the general type proposed by the minority of the Advisory Board. The House of Representatives concurred, without division, on June 27, and on June 29, 1906, the act became a law through the approval of the President. While the passage of the act set at rest the uncertainties that to some extent had existed hitherto, and enabled the engineering forces to proceed on a definite basis, it is doubtful that much headway could have been made up to this time, outside of Culebra cut, for lack of preparedness in other directions. By the middle of 1906, the clouds surrounding the sanitary horizon had well nigh disappeared, and considerable advancement had been made toward furnishing quarters for employes, both gold and sil
Under Stevens, the rather chaotic state of affairs that marked the end of the first Commission had been reduced to a well-defined system, and things had begun to