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At present a strict quarantine against contagious diseases is maintained; the villages and quarters are kept in the cleanest possible condition; light, air, pure water, and good sewerage are insisted upon. The corollary is that the general health is good. The effectiveness of the public-health work can be best judged from the following statistics of employes admitted to hospitals, rate per thousand of employes, and death rate per thousand of employes for each fiscal year:
DEATH RATE PER THOUSAND 13.26 25.86 41.73 39.47 18.32 11.97 10.84 11.34 10.16
These figures would be misleading were they not considered in view of the facts that all employes are given a physical examination before being allowed to enter the service, the force is made up of young men, and chronic invalids are deported to their home countries as soon as their services are no longer available for the Canal work. Making allowance however for these qualifying conditions, the sanitation of the Canal Zone and the cities of Colon and Panama justifies the statement made by Col. Gorgas:
"Natives in the tropics, with the same sanitary precautions that are taken in the temperate zones, can be just as healthy and have just as small a death-rate as inhabitants in the temperate zones. To bring this about, no elaborate machinery is necessary. The result can be attained by any community, no matter how poor, if it is willing to spend sufficient labor in cleaning, and to observe well-known rules with regard to disease. The Anglo-Saxon can lead just as healthy a life, and live just as long in the tropics as he can in his native climate." (See also pages 37, 51,)
Labor Force, and Housing.
The working force is composed principally of West Indian negroes and Spanish laborers, and white Americans who do the skilled labor and administrative work. When the force was at its highest point, March, 1910, there were at work
38,176 men and 500 women, and the total number of names on the pay rolls was 50,774. These included 5,235 Americans, 5,263 European laborers, and 28,178 negro laborers. The force grew from 700 on May 4, 1904, principally negro laborers, to 3,500 in 1905; 17,000 in 1906; 29,000 in 1907; and is now decreasing gradually, and will decrease until the Canal is opened, when there will be employed about 3,000 men to maintain and operate the Canal, and do the work of sanitation and government.
The development of the force during the first three years depended largely on the rapidity with which quarters could be furnished. Immediately upon his arrival on Quarters. the Isthmus in June, 1904, the first Chief Engineer, John F. Wallace, began to perfect an organization, and in it was included a division of building construction. Old French buildings were repaired as rapidly as possible, and a few new buildings were erected. Under the second Chief Engineer, John F. Stevens, this work was carried forward, and the quarters as one now sees them on the Canal Zone were practically completed during the first year of the Goethal's regime, 1907. The organization of the labor force was directed by Mr. Jackson Smith assisted by Lieut. R. E. Wood.
Laborers' barracks are one-story buildings in which standee bunks are erected, and where provision is made for the storage of a limited amount of baggage on the lofts. These buildings are screened against mosquitoes and cleaned daily. When the force was largest, 5,000 Spanish laborers and 6,000 negroes were quartered in these bunk houses. Barracks for white American bachelors consist of buildings of from four to thirty-two rooms, where the men sleep usually two in a room. They are furnished with beds, chiffonier, bureau, table, and chairs.
Family quarters of the lowest grade (all quarters are graded according to salary of employee) are two-room houses with kitchen and toilet room, occupied by families of laborers. There are only a few of these. White family quarters are generally of four rooms, kitchen, and bath, except those for the higher officials, which contain more rooms. Furniture is supplied with each house. All quarters are lighted with electricity, furnished with water, and coal is supplied for cooking. It is part of the contract with employes who en
tered the service prior to January 1, 1908 that their quarters, light, water, and fuel would be furnished without charge. All bachelors are employed on this understanding. The statement that the Government furnishes them free is therefore erroneous because many employes have been induced to come to Panama by these little "extras," and they form, therefore, part of the pay. The Quartermaster's Department has charge of the housing and labor recruiting. Food is supplied through the commissary stores, and See page 99.
The Canal Zone.
In the treaty of February 26, 1904, Panama conceded in perpetuity to the United States the use, occupation, and control of a strip of land 10 miles wide, 5 miles on either side of the center line of the Canal, extending from a line in the Pacific ocean 3 marine miles from mean low water mark to a similar line in the Atlantic, with the cities of Colon and Panama excepted. The rights of sovereignty were conceded, within this territory. In return the United States paid to Panama $10,000,000 cash, and will pay an annual rental of $250,000 after February 26, 1913. The territory is 448 square miles in area, about 322 square miles of which is held by the United States Government. (See also Canal Zone census). The government is an autocracy limited by a code of laws based upon the "bill of rights" of the United States Constitution. The Constitution extends to the Canal Zone only by special act of the Congress. All officials are appointed by the President of the United States.
After the many experiences that the United States has had in its short history to demonstrate the futility of such a policy, it was almost ludicrous to attempt to direct the greatest work it has ever undertaken from the capital at Washington. Yet this was the plan that so independent a thinker as Theodore Roosevelt, and so careful an executive as William H. Taft, as Secretary of War, allowed to be tried in the early days of the canal. They were among the first to see the mistake, and acted as quickly as they could to overcome it. The Isthmian Canal Commission of 1904 was composed of Rear Admiral John G. Walker, U. S. N., chairman; and members Maj. Gen. Geo. W. Davis
U. S. A., W. B. Parsons, W. H. Burr, B. M. Harrod, C. E. Grunsky, civil engineers; and F. J. Hecker. General Davis was sent to Panama as resident agent of the Commission and Governor of the Canal Zone. Under adverse conditions he did good work. This is true also of the first Chief Engineer, John F. Wallace, who for a whole year was not a member of the Commission.
The unwieldiness of the Commission made President Roosevelt and Mr. Taft recommend to Congress that the commission form be abolished and power be given the Executive to appoint a more wieldy administrative body. This Congress refused to do. Roosevelt overcame the difficulties partly by appointing a new commission in April, 1905, of which the Chief Engineer was a member. This consisted of Theodore P. Shonts, chairman; Charles E. Magoon, Governor of the Canal Zone; John F. Wallace; Rear Admiral Mordecai T. Endicott, U. S. N.; Brig. Gen. P. C. Haines, U. S. A.; Col. O. H. Ernst, Corps of Engineers, U. S. A.; and B. M. Harrod. On June 28, 1905, Mr. Wallace, the Chief Engineer, resigned, and John F. Stevens was appointed in his place. This organization continued until March, 1907. Under it the work of preparation was completed, and excavation in Culebra Cut was begun on an extensive scale, and on the plan since pursued.
The first concentration of power came in the appointment of an executive committee composed of the Chairman, the Governor of the Canal Zone, and the Chief Engineer, and the latter two, residing on the Isthmus, had power to bind the Commission with regard to purely isthmian affairs. In September, 1906, Mr. Magoon was made Governor of Cuba, and the organization was further concentrated by placing all affairs of the Canal in the United States under the Chairman of the Commission, and all those on the Isthmus under the Chief Engineer. Early in 1907, Mr. Shonts resigned, and Mr. Stevens was made Chairman and Chief Engineer, with practically unlimited power.
On April 1, 1907, Mr. Stevens resigned, and a new commission was appointed composed of Geo. W. Goethals, Chairman and Chief Engineer; D. D. Gaillard, W. L. Sibert, of the Corps of Engineers, U. S. A.; W. C. Gorgas, of the Medical Corps, U. S. A.; H. H. Rousseau, of the Civil Engineer Corps, U. S. N.; Jackson Smith, who had organized the working force and quartering system under Mr. Stevens; and Jo. C. S. Blackburn, as Head of the Department of Civil
Administration. Mr. Smith resigned in June, 1908, and was succeeded by H. F. Hodges, Corps of Engineers, U. S. A. Mr. Blackburn resigned in December, 1909, and was succeeded by M. H. Thatcher.
On January 6, 1908, President Roosevelt made an executive order further increasing the administrative power of the Chairman. By law and the development of conditions, the Chairman has exercised since that time a practical dictatorship over the Canal work and Canal Zone Government. The organization of the work as now carried on under him is as follows:
ISTHMIAN CANAL COMMISSION.
Col. George W. Goethals, U. S. A., Chairman of Commission, Chief Engineer of Canal, Governor of Canal Zone, President of Panama Railroad, Resident member of Panama Fortification Board.
Col. H. F. Hodges, U. S. A., Assistant Chief Engineer, Vice President Panama Railroad.
Lieut. Col. D. D. Gaillard, U. S. A., Division Engineer.
Lieut. Col. Wm. L. Sibert, U. S. A., Division Engineer,
Mr. H. H. Rousseau, Civil Engineer, U. S. N., Assistant to the Chief Engineer.
Mr. Maurice H. Thatcher, Head of Department of Civil Administration.