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Copyrighted by B. F. McManus
WOODROW WILSON, PRESIDENT OF PRINCETON
country over and you will find none more life they have made mammon the minister forceful, none more sagacious, none more of culture and idealism. Often misundercapable of bringing things to pass than stood, often forced into impossible straits, the men at the head of our universities. A they are a nation's best asset. At the breath of scandal has never touched them. head of institutions separated by history They have handled millions and will die and circumstances and traditions they are poor; they have put their impress on thou- really one in influence.
Missouri may sands of young men and women and have be Jesse; Princeton, Wilson; Chicago, left them better and not worse; they have Harper; Michigan, Angell; Minnesota, helped mold national public opinion and Northrop; Harvard, Eliot; Hopkins, Gilalways in the interest of a truer de- man; but altogether they are among the mocracy. Standing between wealth and
men of the new America.
HE Isthmus of Panama ward by thoughts and imaginings, that
has had two periods of the Panama Railroad Company grasped
The Construction Period
The stars fought for the young Panama the sack of Peru. Then Railroad. It was conceived previous to
Panama was the queen the boom, to the end of reaching only the city of the Pacific, taking its toll from normal commerce of the Pacific. Like every gold galleon, sending the spoils dozens of similar schemes it was on the across treacherous Pedrarias' paved road
way to oblivion. But the herald of Calito Porto Bello and, in the great treasure fornia's Golden Age breathed life into the fleet, to old Spain. The other period, project as he passed. Steps were at once starting with the discovery of gold in Cali taken to confirm the provisional concesfornia, is bound up with the history of sion from New Granada, secured by John the Panama Railroad.
L. Stephens, and in 1849 surveys were beOn January 14, 1848, John Marshall
gun. A charter was granted to the commade his find in the mill sluice near Sacra pany by the New York Legislature, and in mento at a time when the treaty of Guade 1850 the first ground was broken. loupe-Hidalgo, confirming the transfer of
The struggles of Chief Engineer Totten this territory to the United States, was and his devoted assistants seem more like still unsigned. In July a curious crowd labors in a pitiless nightmare than in a of Mexican herders assembled to hear world of actual deeds. In May, 1850, fifty California proclaimed a territory of the men were rowed from the brig in Navy United States. Then followed the rush Bay to the marshy mangrove thicket that raised Yerba Buena from the village which constituted Manzanillo Island, and of some two hundred souls, to the popu began clearing. Through weary months lous and lawless San Francisco. Thither they fought the morass and the jungle of from every quarter of the globe were the low coastal reaches. Totten and Balddrawn the adventurous, the unsuccessful, win took charge of the work alternately as the ambitious, the flotsam and jetsam of their fever permitted. Standing waist this hemisphere and of the others. A
high in the dank ooze from which steamed memorable horde came by way of the Isth unceasingly the noxious miasma, veiled mus.
against intolerable insects, and drenched It was in this period of disturbed equi- with tropic downpours, these steadfast librium, of whole armies hounded west scouts of Empire still persisted.
More men were brought, fell sick and went under before the first piers had been died, or returned to their homes; but at erected. Under a new president the comlast, in the face of the most obdurate pany once more began its own construcnatural obstacles, with their working force tion with Benjamin Bates as superintendconstantly disabled and renewed from the ent. He erected a falsework almost as exoutside, the Atlantic section of the rail tensive as the proposed bridge, was sucroad was forced through the swamp to the cessful, and the Chagres was crossed.
foothills of Gatun. Thence the construc Feverishly now, the railway was pushed, tion was somewhat easier and on July 6, lashed by the desire to participate in the 1852, the line was laid to the proposed golden harvest. The corners of the earth Chagres crossing at Barbacoas, the crux of were ransacked for laborers. They came the undertaking. The company, which from Erin and from India. The Hawaiian had been doing its own construction, at Islands supplied their quota. Blacks from tempted the bridge here and failed. The Jamaica were brought in every schooner. contractor who next undertook the work Coolies were shipped like cattle to leave
in the name of Matachin, “Slain Chinese
David Hoadley's Administration village, the story of their desperate whole- The Isthmus had been subdued, the sale suicide to escape the horrors of the railroad constructed; there remained the epidemic. Each day the line crept farther task of making permanent the bridges, of across the Isthmus. Seven thousand were preparing wharves to receive adequately gathered to the task within sight of the the prospective traffic, of providing a staff bivouacs of men bound for California. efficient and seasoned to the tropics, and
THE MONUMENT ERECTED IN COMMEMORATION OF THE BUILDERS OF THE PANAMA RAILROAD
On the ocean front of Colon. The Washington Hotel is the building to the left of the monument
In January, 1854, the summit of Cule- beyond that, of making the road pay divibra was reached from the Atlantic side. dends upon its great capital investment. From the other direction the line was That in the short space of three years this penetrating the less formidable jungle of was accomplished is an indication of the the Pacific Slope. January 6, 1855, at road's value, and of the genius of the man midnight the two ends met and next day who now for the first fifteen years manGeorge Totten stood at the throttle as the aged the railway's operation, David Hoadfirst locomotive crossed the Isthmus.
ley. The fight was won.
After enormous Trade came in an ever swelling stream. difficulties, and at a cost of $8,000,000, Between 1855 and 1865, $700,000,000 in twice its estimate, a line of rails had been specie and three hundred thousand bags of carried across the forty-seven odd miles maid crossed without the loss of a letter or between Panama and the new city of a dollar of money. Though the California Aspinwall. The work had been hastily business slackened with the exhaustion of and temporarily thrown together. The the alluvial gold deposits, the trade with soft wooden ties could last in this climate Central and South America increased by but eight months. The bridge at Barba- leaps and bounds. Receipts of freight had coas was of wood. A grim legend declared increased from $354,000 in 1857, to $2,738,that for every rail a life had been paid, 000 in 1867 and to $3,000,000 in 1870. A but the railroad was an accomplished fact. new line of Central American steamers had been put on between Acapulco and ownership was in feeble hands, and added Panama by the railroad company, and to it the small Pacific line of the Panama this too was bringing in a large revenue. Railroad. The sea link was then his. He In all the world it would have been hard reached out for the Panama Railroad, to find a more prosperous enterprise. It mortgaging, to secure its stock, the Howe promised still greater development as Sewing Machine Company, his wife's South America should be opened up. dowry. He then had the land link. With
THE PANAMA RAILROAD VIEWED FROM THE TOP OF CULEBRA HILL LOOKING TOWARD PANAMA Here the last spike, joining the Pacific and Atlantic sections of the railroad, was driven, and the railroad completed after five years
of Titanic struggle
Such was the condition, and such the pros- nine directors in each company, he strove pect, when, in 1871, Alden B. Stockwell to bind them firmly together, and dictated came into control of the Pacific Mail the far-reaching contract by which the Steamship Line.
Panama Railroad pledged itself never in Stockwell and the Overland Roads
the future to interest itself in Pacific A new era in the road's history was steamer business. marked by the advent of this financial But Stockwell was not a force to endure. soldier of fortune. While steward on a His unscrupulous methods had raised susHudson River steamer he had attracted picion. His speculation and his subsidy the attention of a wealthy heiress, whom campaigns in Congress had dissipated the he followed to Paris and married. A few strength that was needed to fight adveryears later he was Commodore Stockwell, saries whose existence depended upon successor to Russell Sage as president and keeping the wide free seas a desert to autocrat of the great Pacific Mail Steam- competing ships. Startled by numerous ship Company.
rumors, the directors met secretly in He, too, dreamed the century-old dream March, 1873, to investigate the state of the of the power that lay in Panama's poten- company. They found that in his wider tiality as a trade route to the East. He scheme Stockwell had lost control of the grasped control of the great Pacific Mail units. Jay Gould and the transcontiSteamship Company at a time when its nental roads had overborne him.