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June 28, 1905, resigned his position. His place was filled at once by John F. Stevens, who held his position until 1907. Then Colonel Goethals of the army was placed in charge and the work has gone on to practical completion, in a most orderly and successful manner.
The slides in the deep Culebra Cut have delayed the opening of the canal, but they may not have been a real detriment, because the displaced material can be removed more cheaply by dredging and conveyance away by water than by removing it in the dry form by train. Sooner or later this mountain top will need to be removed and by removing it now it will be done for all time.
A dispatch from Panama to the American papers announced that on May 11, 1914, the canal was opened and the Pennsylvania (5,000 tons) of the Pacific Mail ship line passed through in charge of a tug from Panama to Colon, to load with sugar for New York.
General use of the canal for commercial purposes was not inaugurated until August 15, 1914. On this date the large Government-owned freight ship, the Ancon, left Cristobol, on the Atlantic side, and passed through the canal to the Pacific, and was followed by other ships in waiting, and the canal was officially opened to the commercial traffic of the world.
The following officials were on board: Colonel Goethals, U. S. A., Governor of the Canal Zone; President Porras of Panama; Capt. Hugh Rodman, superintendent of transportation; and Captain Sukeforth, commander of the Ancon. The peace flag of the American Peace Society fluttered at the masthead on this special occasion.
Vessels drawing 30 feet of water can now use the canal; even the great American dreadnoughts can pass through with safety, although work is still going on to
deepen the cut through Culebra. The Ancon passed through the three locks at Gatun and was raised 85 feet from sea-level to Gatun lake, in seventy minutes. Most of the present canal traffic is by American ships from Honolulu and San Francisco.
Our nation now has the long-coveted canal in operation and the dream and idealism of centuries has at last become a tangible fact, a golden reality.
TOLL EXEMPTION ACT.
On August 24, 1912, a law was passed and approved, providing for regulating the operation of the Panama Canal when completed and ready for use. It reads in part as follows:
"Sec. 5. That the President is hereby authorized to prescribe and from time to time change the tolls that shall be levied by the government of the United States for the use of the Panama Canal: Provided, that no tolls when prescribed as above, shall be changed, unless six months' notice thereof shall have been given by the President by proclamation. No tolls shall be levied upon vessels engaged in the coastwise trade of the United States. That section 4132 of the revised statutes is hereby amended to read as follows:
"Sec. 4132. Vessels built within the United States and belonging wholly to citizens thereof and vessels which may be captured in war by citizens of the United States and lawfully condemned as prize, or which may be adjudged to be forfeited for a breach of the laws of the United States and seagoing vessels, whether steam or sail, which have been certified by the steamboat inspection service as safe to carry dry and perishable cargo, not more than five years old at the time they apply for registry, wherever built, which are to engage only in trade with foreign countries or with the Philippine Islands and the islands of Guam and Tutilia being wholly owned by citizens of the United States or corporations organized and chartered under the laws of the United States or of any state thereof, the president
and managing directors of which shall be citizens of the United States and no others may be registered as directed in this title. Foreign built vessels registered pursuant to this act shall not engage in the coastwise trade: Provided, that a foreign-built yacht, pleasure boat or vessel not used or intended to be used for trade admitted to American registry pursuant to this section shall not be exempt from the collection of ad valorem duty provided in section thirty-seven of the act approved August fifth, nineteen hundred and nine, entitled 'An act to provide revenue, equalize duties, and encourage the industries of the United States, and for other purposes.' That all materials of foreign production which may be necessary for the construction or repair of vessels built in the United States and all such materials necessary for the building or repair of their machinery and all articles necessary for their outfit and equipment may be imported into the United States free of duty under such regulations as the Secretary of the Treasury may prescribe: Provided, further, That such vessels so admitted under the provisions of this section may contract with the Postmaster General under the act of March third, eighteen hundred and ninety-one, entitled 'An act to provide for ocean mail service between the United States and foreign ports, and to promote commerce,' so long as such vessels shall in all respects comply with the provisions and requirements of said act."
"Tolls may be based upon gross or net registered tonnage, displacement tonnage, or otherwise, and may be based on one form of tonnage for warships and another for ships of commerce. The rate of tolls may be
lower upon vessels in ballast than upon vessels carrying passengers or cargo. When based upon net registered tonnage for ships of commerce the tolls shall not exceed one dollar and twenty-five cents per net registered ton, nor be less, other than for vessels of the United States and its citizens, than the estimated proportionate cost of the actual maintenance and operation of the canal subject, however, to the provisions of article nineteen of the convention between the United States and the Republic of Panama, entered into November 18, 1903. If the tolls shall not be based upon net registered tonnage, they shall not exceed the equivalent of one dollar and twenty-five cents per net registered ton as nearly as the same may be determined, nor be less than the equivalent of seventy-five cents per net registered ton. The toll for each passenger shall not be more than one dollar and fifty cents. The President is authorized to make and from time to time to amend regulations governing the operation of the Panama Canal, and the passage and control of vessels through the same or any part thereof, including the locks and approaches thereto, and all rules and regulations affecting pilots and pilotage in the canal or the approaches thereto through the adjacent waters.
"Such regulations shall provide for prompt adjustment by agreement and immediate payment of claims for damages which may arise from injury to vessels, cargo, or passengers from the passing of vessels through the locks under the control of those operating them under such rules and regulations. In case of disagreement suit may be brought in the district court of the Canal Zone against the governor of the Panama Canal. The hearing and disposition of such cases shall be expedited and the judgment shall be immediately paid out of any moneys appropriated or allotted for canal operation.