Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

that had been made in the Isthmian country. It proved of great value in later investigations, and was the basis for after operations at Nicaragua

At the close of the year 1848, an American syndicate secured from the government of New Granada a concession for a railroad to connect the oceans in the Panama country. This road was vigorously pushed, to meet the pressing demand on the part of Americans migrating to the newly opened gold fields in California. Despite enormous difficulties, the line was completed in 1855 from Colon, or Aspinwall as it was then called, to Panama, a distance by rail of 48 miles. The railroad was a great step in the direction of establishing easy communication between the oceans, but it was far from a consummation of the design and served to stimulate, rather than allay, the desire for a waterway.

The surveys at Nicaragua and Panama, made by Childs and Totten respectively, had revealed many unsuspected difficulties in the way of the construction of a canal. In the hope of finding an easier route than either of these, explorers began to turn their attention to the Darien country, where the first passage of the Isthmus

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

was made by Balboa. The governments of the United States, Great Britain, and France were most active in these explorations, some of which were promoted by private individuals, or companies.

In 1866 the Senate called upon the Secretary of the Navy for all the information at his command, relating to rail or water routes across the Isthmian territory between Tehuantepec and the Atrato River. In response, Admiral Chas. H. Davis made a report in which nineteen canal and seven road projects were enumerated. The eight routes in Nicaragua were pronounced impracticable, and the opinion was expressed that “it is to the Isthmus of Darien that we are first to look for the solution of the great problem of an interoceanic canal.” It should be understood that at that time the term “Isthmus of Darien” was used to include what “ is now the country of Panama.

Following the succession of General Grant to the Presidency, a number of expeditions were sent to the Isthmian country by the Government and a great deal of valuable data was collected. In 1875, the Secretary of the Navy assigned Captain E. P. Lull, with A. G. Menocal, a civil engineer, to the task of investigating the possibilities of a canal along the line of the Panama Railroad. After a careful survey, a line forty-one and seven-tenths miles in length was recommended, which, in the main, followed the course that was ultimately adopted by the French.

An Interoceanic Canal Commission had been created, with the authority of Congress, in 1872. After a careful study of all the data available, this body unanimously reported in 1876 as follows:

" The route known as the Nicaragua route,' beginning on the Atlantic side at or near Greytown; running by canal to the San Juan River; thence ... to ... Lake Nicaragua; from thence across the lake and through the valleys of the Rio del Medio and the Rio Grande to

Brito, on the Pacific coast, possesses, both for the construction and the maintenance of a canal, greater advantages and offers fewer difficulties from engineering, commercial and economic points of view than any one of the other routes shown to be practicable by surveys sufficient in detail to enable a judgment to be formed of their respective merits."

The year before this report was issued an irresponsible speculator, named Gorgoza, had

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« PředchozíPokračovat »