The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. FRIDAY, APRIL 5, 1889. SUIP CANALS.
In respect to its engineering enterprises the present may be characterised as " the ago of ship canals." Beginning which with tho gigauticwork has rendered tho name of M. de Lesseps famous forever — tho Suez Canal — which has shortened the route from Europe to tho East by thousands of miles, and which is now indispensable to tho commerce of the world, we have next m order, though scarcely second m importance, the projected waterways through the Isthmus of Panama. And though the financial disaster which has unfortunately ovor • taken the French Company which has about half finished tho work of piercing the Isthmus will necessarily delay operations for a time, there can be no doubt whatever, that, whether under his, own superintendence or that of tho representative of some other Company or country, the second great scheme of tho great French engineer will eventually and probably ere long be carried to completion. Meantime another great canal is being constructed by American enterprise by way of Nicaragua, no that before many years havo passed there will be two short cuts from the Atlantic to the Pacific by means of canals—to say nothing o^ that third great trans-isth-mian scheme Captain Eados, ship railway. But while these enormous enterprises naturally attact tho world's attention they are not by any | means all the groat marine canal | works actually m progress or m contemplation. For example there is the Corinth canal, the cutting of which if steadily going on and which is expeoted to bo completed m November of next year. This?*, involves tho excavation of no lesß than 10,000,000 cubic metres, at a cost of nearly 1\ millions sterling. It is being cut of the like dimensions to those of the Suez canal, viz 26ft deep by 72 ft wide at the bottom. Then there is at Home the Liverpool and Manchester canal now nearly completed by whioh cottonopoJJs will be practically changed from an inland city to a sea-port, and there is an agitation afoot to perform a like service for the city of Birmingham, and yet another scheme for a water-way joining the Bristol and English Channels. These various movements we now learn from the Edinburgh correspondent of the " Otago Daily Times " have led to a revival of an old project for a Bhip canal across Scotland by making the Forth and Clyde Canal navigable by largo vessels. "This canal (says tho writer referred to) now belongs to the Caledonian Railway Company. It was formed 100 years ago, is 35 miles long, rises 156 ft, and has 3'J^ locks lis depth is nhont 9ffc. It is said that the bed is soft pand or mud, and that the canal could easily be widened and deepened co as to admit sea-going vessels of considerable size, the cost being variously estimated at from £1,500,000 to £2,000,000. For steamers the canal might bo very serviceable, but the lo»g Firth navigation at both ends would probably make it of comparatively little use lor sailing vessels. Its promoters are sanguine that the canal would secure a largo part of the through trade between the northern Continental ports and America. It is also likely that its construction would greatly foster trade between the said Continental ports and Glasgow. Tho district through whicli tho canal passes is very rich m coal and other minerals, which is another favoring consideration. Tho strategic value ol the canal m time of war would bo very great, and this consideration has greai weight with many who are not so san guine as others with respect to its commercial value In the meantime the railway company is taking no action m the mattor, but it would not be surprising to hear at any time that the project had entered on a more practical stage than that of suggestion and speculation as to its desirability."