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fanegadas of land, to be selected in any part of the Republic.
All the ports of Darien have been declared free and neutral.
The concessionaires are Sir Charles Fox, John Henderson, Esq., Thomas Brassey, Esq., and Dr. Edward Cullen.
I beg to add here my humble testimony to the worth and many amiable qualities of that most hospitable and nobleminded gentleman, Patrick Wilson, Esq., of Bogota, of the firm of Powles, Illingsworth, and Wilson, of London; to his valuable aid I am greatly indebted for my success in negociating with the Government of New Granada for the above privilege and concession.
Every possible assistance will be rendered by the Government of New Granada, for facilitating the preliminary and future stages of this great undertaking; and on the 1st of June last, the President of the Republic, General José Hilario Lopez, gave me, with that object, letters to the Governors of Panama and Choco, ordering them to afford every aid in their power to me and the engineers who might proceed to the Isthmus to make the survey.
The Governments of Great Britain and the United States, in accordance with the provisions of the Bulwer and Clayton Treaty, signed at Washington, April 19th, 1850, will extend their joint protection to any Company undertaking the construction of this Canal, which will, most likely, be a united British and American enterprise.
Negociations are about to be entered into by the two governments, in accordance with the 2nd article of the treaty, to determine "the distance from the two ends of the
47 About 200,000 acres.
canal" within which vessels bound to or from it, "shall, in case of war between the contracting parties, be exempted from blockade, detention or capture by either of the belligerents." 48
The direction of the Company has been confided to merchants and capitalists, whose character and position are a guarantee for the successful carrying out the great object in view, and who will act under a Royal Charter of Incorporation: as a preliminary to the latter, I obtained a certificate of Provisional Registration in December, 1850.
The names of Messrs. Fox,49 Henderson and Brassey, are so identified with the progress of the age in engineering science, that they afford a sufficient security for the completion of the work with speed, and in a style befitting its vast importance.
MEANS OF MAKING THE ROAD AND CANAL.-The preliminary road, as suggested below, can be cut entirely by natives (Granadians)50 who would also perform all light
48 See treaty in Appendix.
49 See the report in the "Morning Advertiser" of 2nd December last, of a meeting of the Eastern Steam Navigation Company, held at the London Tavern, Bishopsgate-street, H. T. Hope, Esq., in the chair; at which meeting Sir Charles Fox said, He might mention, as in some degree connected with the enterprise in which they were about to enter, that he had, with his partner, Mr. Henderson, and Mr. Brassey, the great contractor, signed a contract for the construction of a great Ship Canal across the Isthmus of Darien, designed by Mr. Gisborne, the civil engineer. That canal was proposed to be a cut 30 feet deep at low tide, 140 feet broad at bottom, and 160 feet at low water surface. Such a cut as that they considered equal to the trade of the world, as well as for permanent safety and rapidity of transit."
50" The population" (the Granadian)" is nowhere industrious," says Colonel Lloyd, in his notes on the Isthmus of Panama, read before the Geographical Society, March 13th, 1831, "though strong and enduring under occasional fatigue. Their indolence is not to be attributed wholly to the climate, or their own
work on the canal. For the cutting of the canal, besides
original constitution, but chiefly to the extreme fertility of the soil, and the comparative ease with which a man and his family can derive subsistence from it. With a gun and axe, individuals, otherwise unprovided, take up their residence in any corner of the woods, and in two or three days will have erected a substantial hut, with upright posts and crosspieces, as firmly fastened with vines as any nails or clamps could make them, and thatched with the split branches of the wild palm-tree, one of the best materials possible against wind or rain. The family, at their leisure, then form a stage or second floor, to which a piece of balsa, cut with notches, serves to ascend; and a few stones for a fireplace, an iron cooking pot, and some pieces of wood to sit on, complete the establishment. The nearest trees to the habitation are cut down; fire is applied to the more distant, which after burning some days, leave the ground ready for a crop. Advantage is taken of the first rainy season to get in the requisite seeds; and for everything else implicit reliance is placed on the gun. None of these people stir even to work without this their constant companion, generally an old musquet; and in an hour or two they are certain of bringing down as much animal food as they can consume in a week, with sufficient besides to barter at the nearest village or town, for rice and plantains." But this indolence does not avail to prevent their employing themselves in any great public works, as has been shewn in the case of the Panama Railway. "There are within the province," says Colonel Lloyd on this head, “several regiments of militia, formed by the lower class of people and Indians, excellent workmen in felling timber and clearing ground, and particularly apt in acquiring any mechanical art. They have advantages over Europeans which, from the nature of their climate, will always exist. Their habits are most simple. With a piece of tasajo, or dried beef, a few plantains, and some rice, they are provided with the sustenance on which they live from youth to age; and with a skin in their huts, on which to sleep, and a block of wood to sit on, their establishment is complete. Their dress never alters, winter or summer; it consists of a short brown holland or check shirt, and a pair of calzoncillos or drawers, reaching to the knee (which are generally cast off when at work). Shoes are known to them only as articles of great luxury; they seldom want anything to protect their feet; and if they do, a piece of hide is used, cut and dried very neatly, as a sandal. Their common wages are from two to three reals a day (1s. to 1s. 6d) with their meals, which as they are few, may cost about 4d. per day more. These men, there is no doubt, the Government would gladly place at the disposal of a Company, with individuals to command and keep them in order;
coloured 51 people from New Granada and the adjacent republics, numbers of acclimated Irish and Germans can be got from New Orleans and the canal works in the United States; hence few labourers from England would be required, although, from the absence of swamp, I consider the country to be healthy, and should not apprehend any sickness amongst English labourers, if of temperate habits.
The great quantity of rain which falls in Darien, the prevalence of invigorating currents of air across it, from sea to sea, and the equable temperature of the climate, which is not subject to great vicissitudes, tend, most materially, to lessen the effect which the decomposition of the vegetable matter would, under other circumstances, have in the developement of intermittent and remittent fevers, and to mitigate the violence and diminish the frequency of the attacks of those diseases should they occur.
and in one instance this has been already offered, though not accepted, to the extent of one thousand men.' When I was last at Panama, the Governor offered me a company of soldiers to assist me in clearing bush-paths, but as I was then about to return to England, I could not avail myself of his very kind offer, though I shall do so at the earliest opportunity.
51 Ordinary labourers," says Captain Fitzroy, p. 28, "must be sought among the darker varieties of the human race. They may be obtained from several places in the West Indies, from the United States, from the Kroo coast of Africa and Liberia, from the Philippine Islands, China, Polynesia, the East Indies, and various parts of America. Of all these, the Kroomen and the Chinese would probably be the most industrious and manageable. On the correct treatment of labourers, and their equitable and prompt payment, very much would depend; but this branch of the subject demands separate consideration. Next to the supply and management of adequate funds, it is the most important auxiliary.'
I need not point out that Mr. Brassey, who has so successfully carried out so many stupendous undertakings, and has had under his command such vast bands of navigators—the industrial armies of peace-is not likely to fail in this department of the construction of the great Ship Canal.
The heavy showers of rain absorb the malaria and wash away the decaying vegetable matter, during the rainy season; whilst, in the dry season, the vapours floating in the atmosphere are diluted and dissipated by the constantly prevailing currents of air, which, from the level character of the country, and the absence of deep, narrow valleys, can never be impregnated to any dangerous degree, with miasmata.
The frequency of thunder and lightning, at short intervals, in Darien, tends also to clear the atmosphere, and render it more pure and wholesome.
Moreover, the forests of Darien being less encumbered with brushwood or under-growth, and more open and park-like than most tropical forests; the quantity of vegetable matter in a state of decomposition is comparatively small, and the volume of morbific gases evolved from it inconsiderable.
That the heat of the climate is not incompatible with great physical exertion I can assert, from personal experience, having endured more prolonged bodily fatigue in Darien and other tropical climates, than I have ever borne in Europe; and I can refer to the robust forms, great physical powers, and uniform good health of the bogas, or canoe men, who pole up the Chagres River under a blazing sun, as a proof that mere heat neither pre-disposes to disease
Strict attention to their personal comfort; regularity in the supplies of good, wholesome food; dry, well-ventilated housing (the houses to be raised on piles some feet above the ground); regulation of the hours of labour; facilities afforded them for bringing out their wives, and thus establishing a home in the place; the establishment of libraries,