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would consist. He practically said that and form a style of contract which will he was going to Panama, that he was a be satisfactory to the government, as well soldier and that he would obey orders. as open the field to the large contracting He is very taciturn and while very re- firms who are eager to get their share of ceptive of other people's opinions, re the work. Major Goethals' experience serves his own. It is known, however, in government harbor and river work, that Col. Goethals, while enjoying the as well as his association as assistant to perquisite of some $15,000 per year in the chief of the engineering army, has excess of his regular salary as Lieutenant practically fitted him for his work at PanColonel, really goes to the Isthmus as a ama. He is a native of New York and representative of his immediate Chief, graduated from West Point in 1880. He Gen. J. F. MacKenzie, the head of the was assistant to Lieut. Col. Merrill, and Engineer Corps of the Army. Col. Goe- later was professor of civil and military thals has been instructed to make a full engineering at West Point. Since 1889 report of the situation, with recommen- he has made his home in Washington, dations, particularly with reference to the and to him have been assigned some of labor situation and the policy of letting the most difficult tasks in the engineer the work out to private contractors. It corps of the war department. is well known that the President found The government is now furnishing the labor situation very unsatisfactory at quarters and rations for about twentythe time he was in Panama. One of the five thousand laborers on the canal. reasons that Gov. Swettenham of Janiai. They are of many nationalities. Of ca was unpopular came from the fact that Italians there is a considerable number, he was opposed to the Jamaican negroes. and nine hundred of the army of diggers going to Panama and getting "fancy come from the north of Spain. A few ideas” on wages and manners of living months ago bids to furnish Chinamen The new head of the Canal Commission were invited, not to exceed fifteen thoumust decide the questions of alien labor sand, and offers to supply them at the low rate of nine to eleven cents an hour on his head, place upon it a stone the were received. It is altogether likely size of a brick to hold it down, and in that much of the future work on the this manner will convey it to its destinacanal will be done by industrious persons tion. with pigtails.
They are remarkably unimaginative But at the present time a great ma- and literal, these Jamaicans. Not long jority of the laborers are "Jamaicans,” ago an American official going over the
Panama Railroad heard the conductor of the train say to a negro who had confessed himself ticketless and penniless : “Then you'll have to get off this car !” The black fellow immediately walked to the rear of the car and jumped off, though the train was going thirty miles an hour.
In another instance the negro foreman of a gang working on a temporary railroad in the Culebra Cut deliberately left a switch open, allow- . ing an engine to run off
the track and plunge Mess Hall for WORKMEN AT CULEBRA-"No COATS" DEPARTMENT. down an embankment.
When asked why he had which term is made, for colloquial pur- not obeyed his orders, which were to flag poses, to cover negroes from various any train that approached, he replied: parts of the West Indies, including Ja- “You tole me to flag a train, sah, but dis maica, Martinique, and the Barbadoes. was a locomotive !" They are exceedingly unsatisfactory, be The digging of the Panama ditch is ing lazy, shiftless, and indisposed to pay not only the biggest piece of work ever for enough substantial food to give them undertaken by man (the building of the the strength requisite for the work de- Pyramids falling almost into insignifimanded of them. Consequently the gov- cance beside it), but decidedly the most ernment has been driven to the expedi picturesque. One feature of it consists ent of giving them three square meals a of the removal of a huge mountain from day as part of their wages. Even so, one place for planting in another spot however, they prove wretchedly unser- where it will furnish the requisite maviceable, a common practice of theirs be- terial for the mightiest dam ever known. ing to desert the quarters provided for By means of this dam will be created an them, put up rude shacks in the edge of artificial lake twenty-five miles long-a the forest, and content themselves with body of water somewhat irregular in reporting for duty on three or four days shape and covering an area of one hunout of every fortnight.
dred and ten square miles. The “Jamaicans” are a very primitive This lake will extend from the Culetype of negroes—not so very far away, bra Cut eastward to Gatun, where the indeed, from the aboriginal African. great dam is to be located, and will reTheir not-distant ancestors wore no ceive its water supply from the Chagres clothes, and, having for this reason no River and from eighteen other streams pockets, were accustomed to carry even of lesser importance, all of which will small burdens on their heads. Thus the flow into it. At the Pacific end of the Jamaican on the Isthmus, if entrusted canal will be another artificial lake, of with a letter to be delivered, will put it smaller size, spanning the distance of
about six miles from Pedro Miguel to locks transforms the Chagres from a the Bay of Panama.
dreaded enemy into a most useful friend, Now, the total distance traversed by causing it to form the great lake aforethe canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific said, and thus to provide easy means of is only forty-five miles, and it will be no- navigation over more than half the disticed that the two lakes in question will tance to be covered, without demanding, actually cover thirty-one miles, or slightly so far as that much of the route is conmore than two-thirds of the route. Thus cerned, any labor and expense for vessels passing from ocean to ocean will digging. go through only one mile of ditch for The two great obstacles to the digging every two miles of lake—the expedient of the canal have been from the begindescribed doing away necessarily with ning a mountain and a river. It has been two-thirds of the digging which, but for shown how the river (the Chagres) is the lakes, would be required. Here comes to be handled and made useful. The in one of the most important advantages mountain is at Culebra, where it has been of the canal with locks (the type which found necessary to remove a huge verhas been finally chosen), as compared tical slice seven miles long out of it, with the much-advocated sea-level canal. making wliat is known as the Culebra
There was something very attractive Cut. This alone is a vast undertaking, about the idea of the suggested Straits but here again a means is being applied of Panama, as the advocates of the sea- whereby the difficulty will be turned to level plan loved to call it—a strip of clear serviceable account—the rock taken out water running from ocean to ocean at being carried twenty-five miles to Gatun tide level—but it had several serious dis- and there employed for the building of advantages, one of them being an ever- the great dam. present danger from the tremendous In the early stages of construction annual floods of the Chagres River. On work on the dam such material will the other hand, the ditch with dams and necessarily be conveyed by railroad, on
flat-cars, but after a while, when the as already explained, will be six miles region between Culebra and Gatun is long. . overspread by the artificial lake, it will To get across the Isthmus, vessels will be transported with much diminished have to be lifted eighty-five feet at one labor and expense on scows towed by end of the canal, and lowered an equal steam-tugs. To compare the process to distance at the other end, an arrangement the taking of a mountain from one place of locks being utilized for the purpose. and putting it down in another is not At each end there will be three locks, inapt; in fact, it is fairly descriptive of serving the purpose of so many steps up what has to be done, the dam at Gatun or down. Thus at Gatun a ship entering being—as planned—a mile and a half from the Atlantic side will pass into an long, half a mile wide at its base, three enclosed basin of rectangular shape one hundred and seventy-five feet thick at the thousand feet long by one hundred feet contemplated water level, and one hun- wide. This is the first lock, into which dred and thirty-five feet in height. water is thereupon allowed to flow until
The dam in question will be by far the it raises the ship thirty feet. She then greatest and most massive structure ever passes at that level into a second basin erected by human hands. In these re- exactly like the first one, where by the spects it will far surpass the largest and same means she is hoisted another thirty most famous of the Egyptian Pyramids, feet. Entering a third lock, she is lifted that of Cheops—its construction requir- twenty-five feet more, and, finding hering 2,100,000,000 cubic yards of material. self at the level of the surface of the At Pedro Miguel, it may here be said, great artificial lake, she is released and there will be a smaller dam, and two steams merrily on her way toward others near the Pacific terminus of the Panama. canal—these three serving to contain the One advantage of the lakes is that vessecond and smaller artificial lake, which, sels can steam across them at full speed, whereas in a comparatively narrow ditch 'sea-going vessels, seriously retarding they would be obliged to go slow. Thus their speed, would almost drop off of much time will be saved in the passage their own accord-rendering the process across the Isthmus. As for the locks, it of cleaning easy and rapid. would be more strictly correct to say that The Panama Canal, when completed, there will be six of them at each end of will be lighted by electricity from end to the canal, because they will be twinned- end, like a street. Already the governthat is to say, built in pairs, the objectment is establishing for this and other in view being to avoid delays in case of purposes immense electrical plants, curthe temporary disablement of any one of rents from which will be utilized later on .them. Should an accident happen to a for operating a good deal of the malock, its mate will be used while it is chinery that does the excavating and undergoing repairs. This, especially in other work. By this means it will be
time of war, might prove a most valuable rendered practicable to continue the precaution.
digging by night as well as by day, an Now, speaking of war, has it occurred artificial daylight being furnished by to anybody to think how vastly useful thousands of powerful arc-lights. For the such an artificial lake as that which will entire twenty-five miles across the great extend from Gatun to Culebra might be lake from Gatun to Culebra the channel, for naval purposes ? All the navies of which will be from three hundred to one the world might ride comfortably at thousand feet wide, will be illuminated anchor in it. For our own warships there brightly by electric buoys, marking a could be no safer harbor, while making broad path for vessels. necessary repairs, for example, and in its It is a fact worth incidental mention clear, fresh water the barnacles and ma- that the old town of Chagres, situated rine algae which foul the bottoms of near the site selected for the great dam