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there. The United States cruiser Alert was ordered to that port for the protection of American interests, reaching there March 20. A force of 1,000 rebels was also defeated with heavy loss in a four hours' battle at Pital, near Momotombo, about March 12; and still another reverse befell the insurgents about the same time at El Jablon, where they lost thirty-five killed and eighty wounded.
President Gutierrez of Salvador attempted to effect a settlement by sending Vice-President Alfaro and General Canas as commissioners to negotiate terms of peace between the government of Nicaragua and the rebels; but a conference held at La Paz near the end of March, between General Baca and the commissioners, had no result. Zelaya's terms, demanding unconditional surrender, were rejected. Press reports at the end of March as to the prospects of the revolutionists were conflicting.
THE NICARAGUA CANAL.
The report of the government commission of engineers appointed last year to examine the canal route, and determine the feasibility and cost of construction, etc., was submitted to congress February 7. Ex-Senator Warner Miller of New York, formerly president of the construction company, asserted without qualification before the committee on commerce of the house of representatives at Washington, March 27, that the movement to appoint the commission was made by the enemies of the enterprise. The board of engineers consisted of Lieutenant-Colonel Wm. Ludlow, United States army; M. Endicott, a civil engineer of the United States navy; and Alfred Noble, a civil engineer.
In the opinion of the board the cost of construction will be $133,472,893, or about double the present company's estimates. The most serious difficulties, the report finds, are those involved in the heavy rainfall and consequent discharges from the lake and streams, which will immensely increase the cost of local drainage and engineering construction.
The climate of Nicaragua is misunderstood. It is the continued moderate temperature, in conjunction with the high humidity, that so seriously reduces the value of physical labor in the tropics. The natives are not likely to prove useful in the work of construction. Jamaican negroes will undoubtedly form the labor supply for the canal. Wages are only about half as much as in the United States, but the efficiency of the laborers is proportionately much less.
Machinery will be used largely, but will be of little value after the completion of the canal; and little, if any, will be worth removal. Its entire cost would, therefore, be charged to the canal construction, making the plant-charge higher than usual. There are now no shops
or facilities of any kind on or near the canal line, and they will have to be supplied. Skilled labor will have to be imported. Fuel will cost more than double. Freight on materials and supplies will increase their cost greatly, particularly if sent to interior points.
Greytown Harbor, the entrance to the canal as proposed by the company, is too near the angle of the coast line, and the entrance should be moved eastward about a mile and a-half.
In regard to the Ochoa dam as proposed by the company, the report says this dam is to be a rockfill across a powerful river, on a sand foundation. A dam so constructed, the commission says, has no precedent; and its erection in conflict with the unknown volume of the floods presents grave difficulties.
In regard to the western division, from the lake to Brito, the report says: "The information with reference to the site proposed for the La Flor dam indicates that its construction is impracticable; and the commission suggests an alternative low-level route, which offers no special difficulties in construction."
As to the terminus at Brito, the commission suggests the desirability of moving it southward from the location proposed by the company.
The report closes with the following general conclusion: "The official estimate by the company of $66,466,880 is insufficient for the work. It should be understood that the existing data are inadequate as a basis for estimating the cost of many of the structures. For obtaining the necessary data for the formation of a canal project, eighteen months' time, covering two dry seasons, and an expenditure of $350-, 000, will be required."
THE PANAMA CANAL.
A recent report to the state department at Washington from United States Consul-General Vifquain at Panama, expresses his "firm belief that there will be a canal built within the next decade." The following statement is also made regarding the bearing of European enterprises at the isthmus upon American interests:
"Under a foreign ownership and a foreign management the corporation known as the Panama railroad will continue to thrive whether there be a canal or not, greatly to the detriment of American interests, commercial and international, inasmuch as European tendencies seem to be determined to undermine United States interests in that part of the world.
"The Pa na railroad has been a gold mine to its owners, and is likely to remain one, even though, through the possible construction of the Panama canal, it may cease to be the one great factor of the world's transit business across the isthmus. * * * The French are determined to have a complete railroad with good harbors on each side of the isthmus, even though the canal should prove to be an impossibility. On the other hand, if the canal is not an impossibility, the railroad will still do an immense local traffic through the development of the very richest agricultural lands on the globe."
An outbreak of labor troubles similar to those of last year (Vol. 5, p. 677) occurred in January, the men at work on the canal striking for higher wages.
SOUTH AMERICAN REPUBLICS.
Colombia. About the middle of January a serious revolt occurred in the province of Baranquilla against the government of President Caro. Twenty liberals were arrested and imprisoned, and the province declared in a state of siege. On March 12 President Caro resigned his office, presumably in order that he might be qualified as a candidate for re-election. His retirement left Vice-President Quintero Calderon the acting president. The new president accepted the resignations of all the members of President Caro's ministry, and at once formed a new cabinet.
On March 16 it was announced that the British minister, Mr. Jenner, had been recalled by his government, because it had been informed that he was persona non grata to the Colombian administration.
Venezuela. For an account of the developments connected with the boundary dispute with Great Britain, see article on "The Venezuelan Controversy" (p. 18). Another petty revolution began January 25 in the province of Carabobo. The rebels were few in number and were quickly driven to the mountains. The forces of the government hoped to dislodge them quickly, but it was soon discovered that large numbers of Venezuelans sympathized with the rebels. General Ricart, in command of the government troops, was attacked by the insurgents and slightly wounded. His soldiers, however, rallied and defeated the rebels. The legislature of the province of Carabobo passed resolutions expressing loyalty to President Crespo and thanks to the United States for its attitude towards the boundary dispute between Venezuela and England.
Ecuador. It is not surprising to those who are acquainted with the recent history of Ecuador, to learn that the mercurial temperament of Ecuadorian politicians has led many of them to enter into a conspiracy against the new president, Alfaro. On January 21 a conspiracy was announced in Guayaquil; and Manuel Andrade, editor of La Democracia, and others, all Colombians, were expelled. because of complicity in it. A few days later a plot against the president was discovered in the province of Manabi, and three conspirators were arrested.
On February 9 it was reported that General Flores, who had unsuccessfully opposed General Alfaro in the revolution of last summer (Vol. 5, pp. 408, 679), was attempting to organize an expedition against Alfaro in Payta, Peru.
A serious outbreak of yellow fever occurred in Rio de Janeiro the first week in March. Of 280 men who made up the crew of the Italian warship Lombardie, 225 were attacked by the disease.
GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND.
Parliamentary Proceedings. The regular session of parliament was opened February 11. There was a brilliant assembly in the house of lords, including the Princess of Wales and more than a hundred peeresses.
In the speech from the throne, the utterance on the Venezuelan controversy with the United States was in a tone of graceful friendliness, conceding this country's rightful interest in the case, and recognizing in effect, though not by distinct mention, the president's appointment of a commission, in the dignified and courteous statement that this government had "expressed a wish to co-operate" in a settlement of the dispute. Though the word "arbitration" was not used, there was expressed a "sympathy with the desire to come to an equitable arrangement," and the trust "that further negotiations will lead to a satisfactory settlement."
Less adequate was the reference to the fanatical atrocities in Turkey. England's official pledges concerning re forms in the barbarous Ottoman government, of which she was long the chief upholder, are not fulfilled by an expression of "deep regret" for the most horrible and astounding crime of modern centuries. South African affairs, suddenly grown embarrassing and complicated, were handled with a firm, delicate, and perfectly adequate touch. "The improvement of the naval defenses of the empire was declared "the most important subject" for parliament. The "disastrous" condition of British agriculture was deplored; and measures were promised for mitigation. of the resulting distress.
Within a week the house had made an unusually prompt dispatch of business. The leaders on the government side were gratified with the peaceable spirit of the opposition, which did not yield to the temptation either to hinder or to hurry the ministers in their delicate dealing with momentous questions such as those touching Venezuela ar 1
the Transvaal. Indeed, later in the session the government may find more trouble in managing its enormous majority than from the hostility of the diminished liberals. At present, the greatness of the majority seems to weigh heavily on the house, inducing a lack of interest and a thin attendance.
The conservative chiefs, looking back to the thirty
seven days through which they blocked Sir William Harcourt's budget bill of 1894 (Vol. 4, p. 639), introduced late in February new rules of procedure for the discussion of the financial measures of "supply." These rules, proposed by Mr. Arthur Balfour, first lord of the treasury, limit the discussion by closure on the nineteenth day, and give the twentieth day to the business of report, which latter has often been a ten days' work. The proposal, being contrary to all traditions, caused dismal lament on the conservative side, while the oppoIts adoption may be
sition members made little outcry. expected to give more discussion-real and pertinent discussion, rather than less. For twenty years, night after night has been exhausted through many weeks in committee of supply-the time often squandered by men who merely wished to hear themselves talk: at last, on some warm August night, the house, almost empty, and panting to end the session, has voted millions after millions.
Relations with the United States were not directly dealt with in debates. Lord Rosebery, in an address on February 11, in response to the speech from the throne, welcomed arbitration regarding Venezuela, welcoming also the intervention of the United States as offering a guarantee to the