Page images


In submitting this, the first edition of the Pilot and Guide, the publisher does so, with the firm belief that it will meet with the approbation of its readers. He has departed somewhat from the beaten path of this class of books for the express purpose of meeting an insistent public demand, that of a work that will enable people interested in Panama and the Isthmian Canal to gain a clear and adequate conception of what has occurred, and is now taking place. Books have been published, and some of them very good ones, on various phases of Isthmian his- 1 tory and events, but the publisher has tried and believes that he has succeeded in massing more "meat of the Isthmian cocoanut," than has ever before been printed between the covers of a book whose title page bears the well known name of "Panama.”

To accomplish this end has been no small task. It has been a case of book-building from the ground up. Information and facts had to be hunted out of musty

nooks and corners, and as much of the information could be obtained only from Spanish books and documents, careful translation was necessary. Where possible, the workers on this book have gone back to the times when the historical incidents were in the making, and in the case of later events, to see and talk with people who were on the spot and knew personally of the occurrences related. Mistakes may have crept in: a book covering a scope of four hundred years would be a positive wonder without any, yet the publisher believes that the authenticity in general of the information herein contained will stand the test.

The workers on this volume realized that its readers will embrace many different classes, therefore anecdotes and incidents, all strictly true, have been introduced to illustrate a little of the humorous, and also, of the tragic side of Isthmian history. Another earnest effort was made to bring the book down to the year of Our Lord, 1908, and the work in this respect speaks for itself. It is the only publication now in print that covers the recent and very important change in plans at the Pacific end of the canal, and of the decision to widen the canal locks; it is the only work that contains a continuous narrative of the great Isthmian waterway since it has been in American hands, and it is the only book that gives the story of the circumstances leading up to, and culminating in the secession of Panama from the Republic of Colombia from every point of view. There has been no attempt to "throw cold water," or disparage, but rather to present the information in a wholly dispassionate and matter-of-fact way. The publisher and his assistants however, believe that in reviewing the past three years of canal history, supported


by facts and figures, and by a personal knowledge of the general situation, the book will serve a purpose in dispelling and dismissing many a doubt and delusion that may have existed, or may still exist in the minds of some, regarding the extent and progress of the canal undertaking.

A work of this kind necessarily involves considerable outside assistance. The publisher takes this occasion to thank the many who have contributed to the book by affording all information that lay in their power. He is especially indebted to the members of the Isthmian Canal Commission, Panama Railroad officials, Mr. W. G. Tubby, Mr. H. G. Prescott, Don Jose Augustin Arango, Don Ricardo Arango, Don Ricardo Arias, Don Melchor Lasso de la Vega, Don E. T. Lefevre, Don Samuel Boyd, Senor Donaldo Velasco and others. He is also indebted to The Star & Herald Co., Mr. J. Gabriel Duque, its Director, Mr. Carl von Lindeman, its Manager, and its staff of employes for the excellent typographical work on the book, as well as to the management for the opportunity for research afforded by the early files of the paper. Cordial thanks are also extended to Senor Guillermo Andreve and Senor Donaldo Velasco for the loan of several half-tone illustrations appearing on the pages of the Pilot and Guide.

Just a word to the advertisers. Your confidence was invited, and although you made it known to the publisher that you had often been fooled in the past, notwithstanding the prospectus of the present work attracted your attention. The publisher believes he has kept faith with you in every respect. It is seldom that a work of this kind opens its pages to advertisers, in fact, had such an oppor

tunity been afforded in the United States, advertising agencies would have taken every available inch of space. The publisher thanks you for your patronage and trusts that the 1909 edition will see you again represented.

[merged small][graphic]
« PreviousContinue »