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Of all fields for the expansion of our commerce, the Far East, I am convinced, affords us the greatest opportunity. To this market I have for many years endeavoured to turn the attention of the commercial community, and it was on realizing the part that the Nicaragua Canal would play in opening up the Far East -involving immense changes not only for the United States, but for this country and Europe generally—that I determined to study the question of inter-oceanic communication between the Atlantic and Pacific, and to see how and to what extent our interests would be affected by the Canal.

The reader will find in these pages the results of an examination of the problem in all its varied bearingsmechanical, commercial, and political-made on the ground and in the study, and of general observation and travel in Nicaragua.

In the spring of this year I crossed from Colon to Panama, following the route of the Panama Canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and later traversed Nicaragua from Ocean to Ocean, along the line of the proposed Canal, excepting the Pacific terminus, which I was unable to visit owing to the political consequences of the Corinto incident.

The facts embodied in this work point with irresistible force the lesson that, with increased competition with the United States in the Far East as the inevitable result of the opening of the Nicaragua Canal, we shall have to bestir ourselves if we desire to maintain our commercial supremacy.

I would here acknowledge my indebtedness to Mr. Menocal, the Chief Engineer of the Construction Company for valuable information supplied, and for the assistance he gave me in prosecuting my studies in Nicaragua. To the proprietors of "The Graphic" my thanks are due for permission to reproduce some twenty of the numerous illustrations given in the book. I must also record here the courtesy and attention received by me, in a pleasant journey to and from Central America, at the hands of the officials and officers of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, especially its Secretary, Mr. J. M. Lloyd.

A. R. C.


October 31st, 1895.

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