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total transit receipts for 1903—that is the last year for which I have any figures were $20,121,680.
Now, deduct all expenses as above, $2,902,800, leaving a net total of $17,218,880.
Now, the dividend paid last year on the Suez shares was 125 francs on a 500-franc share. That is, it was 25 per cent of the original capital invested. The canal pays for itself every four years. The 500-franc shares are now selling for 4,000 francs.
Senator Knox. What is the capital now?
General Davis. The original capital was 400,000 shares at 500 francs.
Senator Knox. What is the capital now?
General Davis. The original was 400,000 shares at 500 francs-that is, it was 40,000,000 dollars. Senator Knox. Is that the capital now?
General Davis. That has been increased. In the earlier years the enterprise had to struggle for existence; it had a lot of enemies, one of the strongest being the Government of Great Britain; they put every obstacle in the way, and that continued; it did not pay expenses at first. But pretty soon they saw it was going to be a winner, and then Disraeli, who was a wise man, looking ahead, without authority from Parliament, without authority from anybody, went in and bought out the Khedive's interest in the canal, which was 162.600 shares of that stock, which had been originally assigned to the Khedive. They paid a little less than £4,000,000 for those shares. Those shares to-day are worth £25,000,000, and can be sold for that at any time. When they had their troubles in the beginning and the rates were high, 10 francs a ton and 10 francs on a passenger, the shippers resisted those charges and made claim to the Government of England, represented what a tax this was imposed upon shipping, how the canal could be duplicated for $10,000,000, and then they brought out a project to make a lock canal from Alexandria to Cairo and from there to the Red Sea. They proposed to lock up 20 or 30 or 40 feet. I have forgotten how much. That enterprise was agitated a good deal and it alarmed the Suez people.
A conference was had between the owners of the Suez Canal and the shippers, the English shippers principally, as to whether it could establish some kind of a compromise, which they did. It was then agreed that when the canal's shares should pay a certain dividend, which it looked as if they were going to pay then, because the trend was upward, after that a certain proportion of this dividend should be divided between the investors, that is, the property owners, and the shippers, and under that agreement the tolls have been reduced. The first reduction was to 9 francs, from 10 francs; the second reduction was to 8.5 francs, and then they were reduced to 8 francs. And it was provided in this convention that when the shares should pay 25 per cent dividend then the rate of division of this profit should be still larger in favor of the shippers. So that on the 1st of January last the tonnage charge on the Suez transit was 7.75 francs. Whether that applies to the passenger charge or not I don't know. I did not ask the question and did not find out, but they are cutting down the tonnage charge regularly and still they are paying for the canal every four years.
Senator DRYDEN. Did the Khedive pay anything for his shares?
Senator ANKENY. Referring to these extensions and betterments on the Suez Canal, that you speak of, was there any suspension or delay of traffic while that was going on?
General Davis. Never for an hour. Senator ANKENY. And might not a sea-level canal at Panama be widened, if the necessity ever arose, without disturbing traffic at all ?
General Davis. Yes; just as certainly. Senator MORGAN. There was a time during the siege of Alexandria when Great Britain stopped traffic through the Suez Canal.
General Davis. Oh, yes.
Senator MORGAN. Although Great Britain was a minority stockholder.
General Davis. Oh, yes; that was done. There has not been a day since the Suez Canal was opened that something has not been done to improve it—that is, improvement has been going on all the time.
Senator ANKENY. I mean these extensions or modifications of the curvatures, or whatever you call it, goes on without disturbance of traffic?
General Davis. Yes; without any disturbance. I think I saw six or seven dredges at work when I came through the canal, and that goes on all the time.
Senator ANKENY. In your estimates there of those cubic yards, what difference do you make between dry work and the wet work? The point I want to make is, Will not this wet work cost a great deal more money than we are prepared for?
General Davis. I am glad you asked that question, and I think I can give you some light on it. The Board of Engineers, considering that matter as applied to Panama and especially as applied to the sea-level proposition, agreed—the whole Board agreed to this—that these unit prices were, aggregated, 80 cents. Senator ANKENY. Otherwise the work was below water?
General Davis. Yes. I was going to explain. Eighty cents for the above work plus 10, and $1.25 below plus 10. The difference between 80 and 125, or 45, is supposed to be required for three purposes, and those three are the following: Water will get into these deep pits in the Culebra; evidently it will. It will come in from the sky; it will come in by trickling down the banks; it will not probably come in from below up, because, so far as we have discovered in the Culebra to-day with all our boring, we do not find any flowing water from the bottom; we do not find that there are any flowing springs in the bottom of the Culebra, and the only water that comes in there is the water trickling down from the banks.
Senator ANKENY. Practically surface water?
General Davis. Yes; seeping out of this soft material on the top and falling down into the canal; and then when they have a very big rain that water runs off the slopes and that runs into the canal. It was considered that pumps would be necessary to take that water out--a very simple proposition, for there is nothing cheaper than pumping water with those great centrifugal pumps, pumping out a 2-foot
stream, or, as Mr. Wallace said, he could pump the whole low water flow of the Chagres out of the bed at small expense if he wanted to. That is one of the items included in this addition of 45 to the 80 cents. Another is that you must haul that material uphill; that is to say, it has got to be deposited on levels higher than where it came from.
Senator ANKENY. It is mostly rock?
General Davis. Yes; but it has got to go upgrade; it has to go up those 40 feet. Those are two reasons why that 45 was added. The third reason is because when you get down into this narrow channel your space is contracted and you haven't room to straighten as you would higher up. So those are the three reasons for a higher cost below + 10. They added 45 cents to the estimated cost of the work above. There is an explanation, I think, which may answer your question.
Senator ANKENY. It is very clear, sir.
General Davis. With respect to this statement which I read, there is only one other thing to which I wish to call attention for which authority is found in these telegrams. The company states that maintenance of turn-outs or sidings, of which there are 23—ten provided with telegraphic service costs nothing additional, as the service would be required if there were no sidings, but actual expense for sidings is about $60,000, which is included in cost of transit as above, and that is the figure which I use deducted from this experience that the seven sidings at Panama would cost $15,000 a year. The important statement is also made that the whole time of detention in sidings due to the mooring of ships entails a total delay of one hour and a half on the whole time of passage, which averaged seventeen hours forty-one minutes per vessel in 1905. Largest vessels proceed at night and make same average time as other vessels. That is the official statement. Now, as respects some of the ships that have passed through the Suez Canal. I could make a very long list, but a short one will serve every purpose. Here are some data.
In 1894 the Grosser Kurfurst, 560.5 feet in length, with a beam of 62.33 feet and a draft of 26.18 feet and a tonnage of 13,000 gross tons, passed through that canal for the first time, and since then has been through it a half a dozen times.
Senator KITTREDGE. What time did she make in going through?
General Davis. The same as smaller vessels, I understand. The statement is that the large vessels go through just as readily as the small ones. This is what this official says:
Largest vessels proceed at night and make same average time as other vessels."
I can not answer specifically as to this particular vessel, but she is on the regular trade on the North German Lloyds Line to China, and she has been going through regularly.
Senator ANKENY. One hundred and five miles in seventeen hours?
General Davis. No; there are several larger that have passed through. In 1904 the British ship Terrible, length 500 feet, beam 71 feet, draft 26.24 feet, tonnage 14,440 tons displacement, a British armored cruiser, passed through the canal in the regular time. In 1902 the Mikasa, Japanese battle ship, which went through the Japa
nese-Russian war and was finally sunk, 432 feet in length, 76 feet beam, 26.24 feet draft, and displacement of 15,200 tons. She was built at the Cramp shipyard, and on going out to be delivered passed out through Suez.
In 1902 the North German Lloyd ship Barbarossa, 526.24 feet in length, 60 feet beam, 25.59 feet draft, and 10,915 gross tons, passed through the canal, and has passed frequently since then. She is running in the North German Lloyd China service.
In 1904 the British protected cruiser Victorious, 390 feet in length, 75 feet beam, 25.59 feet draft, and 14,900 tons displacement, passed through the canal.
Senator ANKENY. Is that the one that collided with the Camperdown?
General Davis. No; I think that was the Victoria or the Victory. She was sunk.
Senator ANKENY. I was only getting the size in my mind.
General Davis. I think that is another boat, the Victoria. In 1905 the British armored cruiser Good Hope, 530 feet feet in length, 78 feet beam, 26.25 feet draft passed through the canal. In 1900 the American battle ship Kentucky, 376 feet long, 721 feet beam, and 26 feet draft, also the British battle ship Glory, 418 feet long, 74 feet beam, and 26 feet draft, both passed. There are eight ships. I suppose I could extend that to 50, but that is enough to show that here these ships can pass and that the canal is adapted to vessels of that size. There is not a single American war vessel, unless she has been put in commision this year, that can not go through the Suez Canal to-day, not a single one, and there are only six vessels under the American flag that can not go through. They are the Mongolia, the Manchuria, the Minnesota, the Dakota, the Kroonland, the Findland. They have a little more length than any ship that has gone through Suez.
Senator Knox. What point is this data intended to establish? General Davis. The fact that this canal proposed by this Board, which is much longer than Suez, is not tortuous and dangerous and inconvenient; that is the purpose.
Senator Knox. I didn't have the advantage of hearing you this morning
General Davis. I am sorry you did not. Senator Knox. So am I, very sorry. General Davis. I am reviewing, at the request of Secretary Taft, his letter transmitting this report. He asked me to say to you all that he would be glad to have me feel perfectly free. This sketch shows the shortest, steepest, most abrupt curve in the sea-level plan.
Senator Knox. On what scale is that? General Davis. One twelve-hundredth. That is a proportion scale. That doesn't mean very much, but that width of channel is 200 feet. It so happens that the four curves of 8,200 feet radius are all in that part of the canal which has a 200-foot bottom width. This represents the 200-foot bottom-width curve.
Senator MORGAN. What part of the canal! General Davis. Somewhere near Obispo-yes; that one is right at Obispo (indicating]. That shows a ship in that canal 622 feet long, and that is drawn in plan on the same scale, and passing that ship you will see the lines of a smaller vessel, 360 feet long. It has been