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THE GREAT FAILURE OF THE CENTURY

It is stated th t the money already spent on the Panama Canal amounts to about fifty millions, that there are liabilities tnourred to the extent of half as muoh more, and that It would Uke at least forty millions further, to complete the oanal De Lesaepa is not likely to get the money ; even if ho did, it is questionable whether he ooold complete and maintain the oanal. There his been published from time to time many opinions of engineers adverse to the work. The recent fiaanolal troubles of the company have led one of our oolonial engineers to publish a le'ter received by him from Mr W. W«l' on Evans, an eminent American engineer, well acquainted with the lino of the canal. The letter, which wat written so far baok as Ootober, 1884, affirds some Information reipeotiog one' of the two great physical obstacles — the terrible Ghagroi River — In a clearer form than any m whloh we have bl'herto seen the faotn stated. Mr Evans wrote as follows: — " As to the Pant ma, Canal, you are right ; it oannot be built m the time Lesseps set for it, or In any other time. I told Leiiepi m Jane, 1882, that he eodld not build • canal on a sea level on the Panama roote, and J. still hold to what I then said. Lessepi sent to me an invitation to be a deputy at bis Congress on the subject m Paris. I was staying lo Berlin at the time. I wrote to him that I never went to any meetings of any kind, as I could not bear. I did not know at the time it was to be a packed Congress, and the vote deoided on before it met. When J got to Paris a month affer 1 had an Interview with Lesseps, and then talked very p'alnfy to bins. Sir Obirles Hartly was a deputy a that Congress, and refused to vote He, as the successful eoglnaer of a great hydraulic work at the mouth of the Panube, was better able to vote than any man at the Congress, but he refnsed saying ( I do not know any thing of the subject or the governing point!.' Coming to dine with me m Paris I told him of all the engineering features, as £ have crossed over the Isthmus on that line many times. He said, 'You are tight ; bo oannot build the Oanal on a line of drainage m a narrow valley where they have five Inches of rain In six to eight hours.' I have sesn the Ohastres river rise 24 feet to 36 feet In seven or eight boars. In November 1881 they bad 11 Inches of rain In two days, and the Obagres river rose 40ft at the plaoe where It crosses the line of oanal as located. The bed of the rfver at thht point Is 32ft above the ocean, and the bed of tho Oanal is to bo SOft below It. You nee where the diffionlty comoa id. I am soriy to see Least' ps throw away the high name and reputation he gained on the Swz lithmns, You may look for a glgantio bankruptcy In Paris In three or four years. He baa done one-thirtieth of the work, and has expended ovor 60 millions of dollars beside the 20 millions he paid us for the railway. lam not a ■porting man, and detest all gamblers, bqt I got a French engineer to offer a bet for mo m Paris of 100,000 francs tbat he would not be aWe to pass a verge! through his Canal In 1888, one year longer than he asked for, and oonld find no one to take the bet,"

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http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18890220.2.24

Bibliographic details

THE GREAT FAILURE OF THE CENTURY, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2068, 20 February 1889

Word Count
627

THE GREAT FAILURE OF THE CENTURY Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2068, 20 February 1889

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