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ly wounded and outraged, and a large amount of American
property was plundered by the police and inhabitants of Pana-
ma and vicinity.

These outrages, robberies and murders were for the most part committed upon innocent and unarmed men, women and children, who were peacefully endeavoring to pass this great highway of nations. It is my chief duty to employ force under my command for the prompt protection of the lives and property of American citizens. An early explanation therefore, of the cause of this catastrophe, as well as some evidence of your Excellency's inclination and ability to prevent such occurrences, is desired by me in determining the necessity of my immediate interference for the protection of the persons and property of the citizens of the United States, until specific orders from my Government shall be received.

I am Sir,

Your Obedient Servant,

Commander, U.S.N.

The Governor replied in a lengthy statement reciting the origin of the affair, setting forth that he had sufficient force at his disposal to prevent a repetition of such occurrences, and enclosing depositions from José Manuel Luna who was concerned in the row with the American, and two from natives of the United States, one T. B. Williams, 33 years old, a native of Georgia and an employe of the railroad company, who gave testimony against the passengers.

The statement evidently did not afford satisfaction to the American officer for two days later, on the 25th of April, a second representation was made to the Governor, as follows:

"Sir:--I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your replies to my communications of the 23d. and 24th inst. Apart from the announcement of the restoration to the owners, of the cannon and arms illegally taken from the steamer Taboga, I must confess they afford me little satisfaction. I had expected

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when asking for information as to the causes of the frightful occurrences of the 15th inst., that apart from the immediate origin of the tumult, you would have deemed it due to yourself as the Chief Magistrate of this community to state why and wherefore you undertook the fearful responsibility of ordering your police to fire upon my countrymen, women and children, and to state what steps you have taken to punish the guilty and restore the plunder."

"Ten days have elapsed since the catastrophe, and I have yet to learn that a single criminal has been arrested, or that any portion of the immense amount of valuables taken from the passengers and railroad company has been restored. I have yet to learn that your "Conciencia de mis deberes y la inteligencia de los grandes intereses que se ligan á la conservación de esta línea tránsito universal," extends any farther than to order an indiscriminate massacre of the passengers over this transit. I have yet to learn that when a riot or a collision shall take place here between foreigners on one side, and natives on the other, that you recognize any higher obligation on your part than to pro-tect and assist the latter, and disarm, maltreat and plunder the former."

“The deduction, I regret to state, affords me little assurance of the safety of the transit for the future, unless your Excellency shall devise some most speedy and efficacious method for rendering these unfortunate elements less homogenous' hereafter." The letter concludes with the information that the whole matter had been referred to Washington.

The affair brought the governments of the United States and Colombia, at one time, to the verge of open

rupture, but wiser heads prevailed, and settlement brought about through the payment by Colombia of the sum of $100,000 gold indemnity for property destroyed, and the assurance on her part that no further occurrences of the kind would take place.


The first recorded recognition given the possibility of a canal through the Isthmus appears on an old map in the library at Nuremberg, Germany, drawn by Johannes Schoner. This map is dated 1515 and on it is a rough outline of the American continent with a clear line marked through the Isthmus of Panama. This might be taken as a prophecy.

The first actual survey was made in the year 1581 by Antonio Pereira, but nothing came of it. In 1620 Diego de Mercado submitted a lengthy report on the subject to Philip II, but that monarch silenced further discussion, saying that the will of God was made manifest by the fact that He had created an isthmus instead of a strait, and that it would be impiety for man to attempt to unite the waters of the two oceans that God had separated. Through Pere Acosta, a religious decree was promulgated declaring the project sacrilegious, and this was followed by an edict forbidding any one under penalty of death from considering such an enterprise.

In 1827, J. A. Lloyd acting under the authority of Simon Bolivar, President of the Granadine Confederati on,



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made a study of the Isthmus route with a view to establishing a combined rail and water route. His report favored a canal from a point on Limon Bay to the Chagres River, and the use of the latter stream to a point where railroad communication could be effected the most easily from the Pacific coast. He suggested either Panama or Chorrera as the southern terminus.

In 1838, a French company headed by Baron Thierry obtained a concession from the Government of New Granada, and endeavored to enlist the aid of the French Government in the enterprise. The company's report was so favorable that the Government was induced to send Napoleon Garella to the Isthmus as its special representative to ascertain the truth of the company's claims. promoters reported that a sea-level canal could be constructed without going to a greater depth than 37 feet. Garella's findings failed to corroborate the company's claim in this particular, and the enterprise fell through.


In the year 1866 the United States Senate requested from Secretary Welles of the Navy Department for information bearing upon the topography of the Darien region of the Isthmus, with a view of establishing the fact whether or not this part of the country would be suitable for canal exploitation. In a report on the subject made

by Admiral Chas. H. Davis the following year, the latter decried the idea of constructing a canal at this point owing to natural obstacles. By using the Atrato River, the artificial part of the route would be materially shortened, but it would be necessary to tunnel through the Cordillera.

In 1875, the Isthmian route was again surveyed, this time by Commander Edward P. Lull and A. G. Menocal. Their line ran from Limon Bay to the Chagres River, and along its valley to high land, and from thence following the valley of the Rio Grande to the Pacific, practically the same route as subsequently adopted by the French company. About this time Commander Selfridge was also making additional explorations in the Darien region.

While the various Isthmian routes were being considered from different points of view, the scheme for constructing a canal across Nicaragua was also commanding a good deal of attention, and a number of surveys were made. These have however but little bearing main point at issue-the Panama Canal.

on the


Two powerful influences worked to interest the people of France in the idea of cutting through the Isthmus. One was the successful completion of the Suez Canal, and the other was the personal popularity and magnetism of its promoter, Count Ferdinand de Lesseps. The Suez Canal was begun in 1859, and completed without encountering any serious obstacles, ten years later. This achievement gave De Lesseps a reputation as a canal builder, and made it easy for him a few years afterward

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