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of this country reserves to itself, or by the interpretation of the disputed treaty provisions being referred to arbitration by impartial men.
The CHAIRMAN. I am sure, ladies and gentlemen, I express a sentiment common to all when I extend to his excellency, Mr. Gram, our very sincere thanks for crossing the ocean to be with us tonight and for the expression of his carefully matured opinion on the question of the Panama tolls.
The meeting this evening has been of a general and introductory character. The question of the Panama tolls will be discussed in its various phases at three sessions of the Society, tomorrow morning at ten o'clock, tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 o'clock, and tomorrow evening at eight o'clock. You will note that in arranging the program, questions of a non-controversial character have been assigned to one speaker only, whereas if the question be of a non-historical and of a contentious character, two speakers have been secured, one to speak on the affirmative side and the other to speak on the negative side of the question, so that the views maintained by Great Britain and the United States on this important matter shall be discussed by those most competent.
There being no discussion of the papers this evening, as it is the opening session, although there will be a discussion of each paper at its conclusion tomorrow, I declare the meeting of this evening adjourned.
[Thereupon, at 10:15 o'clock p.m., the Society adjourned until 10 o'clock a. m., Friday, April 25th.]
Friday, April 25, 1913, 10 o'clock a.m.
The meeting was called to order by Mr. James Brown Scott, Recording Secretary of the Society.
The SECRETARY. Gentlemen, I have the honor to introduce Judge George Gray, Vice-President of the Society, who will preside this morning, and before asking him to take the chair, I would like to make an announcement.
First, the sessions of the Society will end, as usual, with a banquet on Saturday evening at half past seven in this room, the Red Room, and I am hoping that you will be good enough to get your tickets for the banquet sufficiently in advance, so that there will be no trouble. about arranging the seats.
[Judge Gray thereupon took the chair.]
The CHAIRMAN. The first address on the program this morning, gentlemen, as you will observe by the printed program, is an address by Mr. E. D. Warfield, President of Lafayette College, on the subject of "Historical account of Isthmian projects."
The SECRETARY. Mr. Chairman, Professor Warfield intended to be here and has sent me a copy of his paper. Unfortunately, however, he has been detained by illness, and I suggest that his paper be read by title and printed in the Proceedings.
The CHAIRMAN. The suggestion of the Secretary will be adopted.
HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF ISTHMIAN PROJECTS.
ADDRESS OF PROFESSOR ETHELBERT D. WARFIELD,
The dream of Columbus was a western waterway from Europe to Cathay. There is no more pathetic figure in history than the old discoverer dying with the illusions and the achievements of his epochmaking life hopelessly confused. None could then distinguish dream. from reality. The pathos and power of his life are symbolical of the
slow unfolding of the conditions essential to the attainment of the object of his quest. Great conceptions have been clouded with misconceptions, economic possibilities confused with impossibilities, and policies of world-wide scope have been thwarted and postponed by provincial and personal greed and graft.
Columbus coasting along the western shores of the Caribbean Sea in the delusion that somewhere there was an open pathway to the West was no more misled by his hopes than those who later thought that the resources of the earlier centuries were equal to the task of piercing the isthmus with a practicable ship canal. The problem has steadily outgrown its solution. The occasional fleet of wooden ships, however large they may still loom in the imagination, however rich the booty of Spain's new world conquests which they bore, was as different from the merchant marine and the naval armaments of today which await the opening of the canal as the proposed waterway of the age of Charles V was unlike the great engineering feat of our own time. The realization of the dream of the centuries has only served to make clear the inadequacy of the economic and engineering resources even of the nineteenth century to meet all the requirements of the problem.
The Isthmian projects therefore involve chapters of economic and. industrial history as well as of national politics and international relations. To even indicate their broad outlines within the scope prescribed for this paper is an almost hopeless task.
The whole western coast line was carefully examined from the earliest years of the sixteenth century in the hope of discovering a strait. The momentous glimpse of the Pacific obtained by Balboa in 1513 gave a fresh impulse to discovery, which was intensified by the confirmation of the rumors with regard to Peru. Almost impossible feats were accomplished in transporting materials for shipbuilding from ocean to ocean. A permanent settlement was effected upon the original site of Panama, and a wagon road was opened from Porto Bello. Pedrarias Davila (Pedro Arias de Avila) tried to divert traffic to his government by making canals around the rapids on the San Juan River, the first exploitation of the Nicaragua route. Cortez, as soon as he was settled in his conquest, explored the Isthmus of Tehuantepec with a view to a canal.
The great Emperor Charles V entered thoroughly into the spirit of his representatives in the new world, and as early as 1520 ordered
the Isthmus of Panama to be surveyed. Saavedra made plans under his direction, and though they led to no practical result, the interest in a possible artificial waterway was not suffered to rest. In 1534 the Emperor ordered an exploration of the region from the head of navigation on the Chagres River to the Pacific to be made by Pascual Andagoya, who reported that the difficulties were insurmountable and that the undertaking would exhaust the richest treasury in Christendom.
The confidence and courage of the great Emperor ceased to animate the councils of Spain with the accession of Philip II. He seems to have thought that the natural barrier between the oceans was a providential obstacle to the English seamen. His successors reflected in their new world policy the decadence of Spain.
The first appearance of England upon the scene is more representative of her energy and enterprise as a sea power than of her rôle as a colonizer and civilizer. The exploits of the great seamen of the sixteenth century are easier to admire than to justify, and the deeds of Sir John Hawkins and Sir Francis Drake were hideously caricatured by the buccaneer Morgan, who captured and destroyed Porto Bello and Panama in 1671. An attempt at colonization was made by William Paterson, the founder of the Bank of England, on the Isthmus of Darien in 1698, but completely failed. The foundations of the colony of British Honduras and of the claims to a protectorate over the Mosquito coast were laid in the middle of the seventeenth century.
Late in the eighteenth century a Spanish royal commission had taken up the canal question and explored the Nicaragua route. With a just conception of the resources of Spain and the difficulties of the undertaking, the commission made a highly unfavorable report. Two British agents, however, who had been with the expedition, made a report to Great Britain, declaring that a canal was feasible, and impressed the British Government with the desirability of such an undertaking. So when war broke out between England and Spain in 1780 the time seemed opportune for the extension of the hold already secured in Central America, and Nelson was sent to the coast of Nicaragua. In a report he said:
In order to give facility to the great hope of government, I intend to possess the Lake of Nicaragua, which at the present
time may be looked upon as the inland Gibraltar of Spanish America; as it commands the only water pass between the oceans, its situation must ever render it a principal post to insure passage to the Southern Ocean, and by our possession of it Spanish America is divided in two.
The attempted occupation failed because of climatic conditions, which have proved so fatal an element in the canal problem.
Until the nineteenth century no survey of value was made. The economic resources of no country in the world and the commercial value of no canal that could have been constructed were adequate to the requirements: The gradual appreciation of the project as an engineering feat and its value as a commercial outlet began to be understood only in the middle of the nineteenth century.
The wars of liberation completely severed the connection of Spain with the canal problem. The new epoch was characterized by a spirit of enthusiasm for the ideals of liberty and Pan American union; and later by "practical politics," which sought to make as much as possible for the states of Central America out of the worldwide need of an isthmian canal. The Panama Congress of 1826 recognized the value of a canal to promote inter-American commerce. As early as 1825 Señor Antonio José Canaz proposed to the United States that it should coöperate with the Central American Republic in the construction of a canal. And Mr. Clay, full of enthusiasm for the new order, gave assurance of our interest "in an undertaking so highly calculated to diffuse an extensive influence on the affairs of mankind." Mr. Clay further directed our Chargé to collect information with regard to a canal by way of Lake Nicaragua, and in 1826 in his instructions to the representatives of the United States to the Panama Congress in referring to such a canal said that its benefits "ought not to be exclusively appropriated to any one nation."
During the quarter of a century from 1825 to 1850 there was no appreciation of the economic problem, and no accurate estimate of the place the canal would then fill or was destined to fill commercially. Canal projects became the plaything of enthusiasts abroad and practical politicians in Central and South America. The American states were always willing to grant concessions for a "consideration" and prominent individuals and commercial companies were ready to embark in a venture more or less advantageous to them as individuals or