Dredges, gunboats & mosquitoes ALA June 2010

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Dredges, gunboats & mosquitoes ALA June 2010

  1. 1. Dredges, Gunboats & Mosquitoes U.S. Congressional Serial Set and the Building of the Panama Canal Steven F. Daniel Readex, a division of NewsBank, inc .
  2. 2. U.S. Congressional Serial Set <ul><li>American State Papers, 1789-1816+ </li></ul><ul><li>House and Senate Reports and Documents, 1817 to the present </li></ul><ul><ul><li>over 325,000 items </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>over 14,000 volumes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>over 12,000,000 pages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>over 55,000 maps </li></ul></ul>
  3. 8. Possible routes for a canal
  4. 9. Earliest interest in a canal referenced in the Serial Set: H Rpt. 145 (30-2)
  5. 10. Earliest Congressional Interest in an Isthmian Canal: H.Doc. 228 (25-2)
  6. 11. Charles Biddle <ul><li>Sent by President Jackson in 1835 to investigate a possible canal across Nicaragua. </li></ul><ul><li>Decides that such a canal is impractical and negotiates instead a contract for himself with New Granada to build a railroad across Panama. </li></ul>
  7. 12. Bidlack Treaty, 1846 under President Polk <ul><li>Article XXXV: “the right of way or transit across the Isthmus of Panama upon any modes of communication that now exist of may be hereafter constructed, shall be open and free to the Government and citizens of the United States” </li></ul>S.Doc. 237 (56-1), 548p
  8. 13. Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850 <ul><li>Guarantees U.S.-British joint control of any canal across Nicaragua </li></ul><ul><li>Blocks any British-owned canal project </li></ul>S.Doc. 237 (56-1), 548p
  9. 14. Corps of Topographical Engineers under Buchanan studied transit routes across Central America and Mexico S.Ex.Doc. 51 (34-3), 20p
  10. 15. <ul><li>80,000 passengers and $81,000,000 in treasure per annum [cross Central America] </li></ul><ul><li>Would U.S. be better served by a route other than Panama? </li></ul>
  11. 16. <ul><li>“ The Panama railroad … is stamped with a world-renown as one of the gigantic works of the age” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Of the four routes, it is Panama that involves the greatest extent of travel between New York and San Francisco, and the greatest vicissitudes of climate.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ For transit across the Isthmus, 24 hours are generally consumed between the arrival of the Atlantic steamer and departure of the corresponding Pacific steamer.” </li></ul><ul><li>Congress has already paid the railroad enormous sums for shipment of mail and troops </li></ul><ul><li>Total distance, New York to San Francisco – 6218 mi. in 25 days </li></ul>
  12. 17. <ul><li>“ On anchoring [in Nicaragua], small river steamers come along side and receive the passengers and baggage, and ascend the river to rapids, where [after two short portages and two more sets of river steamers] transshipment occurs to a fine river steamer which runs to Virgin Bay, where all are disembarked and transported by wagons and mules over a good road, 12 miles, to San Juan del Sur, on the Pacific.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ The length of transit is…in all 137 miles. The time of making the transit has been quite variable, sometimes 3, at others 7 days, depending upon the stage of the river, winds on the lake, etc.” </li></ul><ul><li>Total distance, New York to San Francisco – 5504 mi. in 25 days </li></ul>
  13. 18. <ul><li>“ in points of distance, shortness of sea voyage, vicissitudes of climate, and tranquility of seas, and speed, the Tehuantepec route for the commerce and travel between the United States ports has decided advantages over all others. </li></ul><ul><li>“ The route over the isthmus is from the mouth of the Coalcacoalcos, up its valley, across a dividing ridge; thence near by the town of Tehuantepec to Port Ventosa, on the Pacific.” total distance – 236 mi. </li></ul><ul><li>Total distance, New York to San Francisco – 4815 mi. </li></ul>
  14. 19. <ul><li>“Mr. Webster, in a speech in the Senate, expressed it as his decided opinion, ‘that our government should omit no proper efforts to induce the Mexican government to co-operate in the opening of this transit, as it was destined to be all-important to the interests of the two republics.’ ” </li></ul>
  15. 20. <ul><li>“It is therefore clearly proven that [via a Tehuantepec railroad] we may reasonably look forward to the time when the journey between New York and San Francisco will be accomplished by the traveler, or a regiment of troops, in eleven days and two and half hours, instead of twenty-five days, as at present.” </li></ul>
  16. 21. In 1870 President Grant sent an expedition to survey the Isthmus of Tehuantepec S. Ex. Doc. 6 (42-2), 171 p
  17. 23. <ul><li>Tehuantepec canal seemed possible, but not clear that there was enough water in the mountains to operate the locks </li></ul><ul><li>Roads over the mountains existed, but no railroad was even under consideration </li></ul>
  18. 24. In 1875 President Grant sent two missions to examine possible interoceanic canal routes across Panama
  19. 25. <ul><li>Estimated cost of a canal across Panama - $94.5 million </li></ul><ul><li>Advantages of Panama route: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ample water supply </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comparatively short distance from sea-to-sea </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Existence of Panama RR </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Salubrity of its climate during the dry season” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Disadvantages of Panama route: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Large annual rainfall </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Want of local construction materials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Character of swamplands </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comparative distance from U.S. ports </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need for a viaduct to cross the Chagres River </li></ul></ul>
  20. 26. One report mentions in an aside: <ul><li>That when the expedition broke up into two parties, the group that slept in enclosures protected by muslin mosquito nets did not come down with fever, whereas the group that slept without netting on the second floors of well ventilated houses began to come down with fever within two weeks. </li></ul><ul><li>Cmdr. Lull believed that the netting protected against malaria by “straining the air of germs and moisture.” </li></ul>
  21. 27. Monroe Doctrine and the canal <ul><li>Review of history of Monroe Doctrine </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis of the de Lesseps Panama canal project begun in 1880, and </li></ul><ul><li>Endorsement of agreement by an American company to build a canal in Nicaragua </li></ul>H.Rpt. 224 (46-3), 69 p
  22. 28. U.S. monitored French progress - 1884 S.Exec.Doc. 123 (48-1), 68p
  23. 29. U.S. monitored French progress - 1885 <ul><li>“I have not attempted to do anything more than note the progress of the work….every courtesy was shown to me….all of the works were freely open to inspection.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>W.W. Kimball, Lt. USN </li></ul></ul>H.Misc.Doc 395 (49-1), 38 p
  24. 32. <ul><li>“In short then, no conclusions as regards time can be arrived at by manipulating the figures of extracted and remaining cubes….The question of finishing the canal is then almost entirely one of finance, and of finance I know nothing.” </li></ul>
  25. 33. <ul><li>But…if M. de Lesseps succeeds in placing the new lottery loan…if the money so obtained is expended with the economy that has lately shown itself…and if the work is energetically pushed…the canal will be so far advanced by the time the money is expended that the necessity for finishing it will be apparent. </li></ul>
  26. 34. U.S. monitored French progress - 1887 <ul><li>Lt. Rogers was allowed to accompany de Lesseps on his two week inspection tour </li></ul><ul><li>12 km of canal opened to water </li></ul>H.Misc.Doc. 599 (50-1), 84 p
  27. 35. <ul><li>As of June 30, 1886, roughly $130m had been spent </li></ul><ul><li>Roughly 1/3 of the then estimated excavation had been completed </li></ul>
  28. 36. <ul><li>Final cost estimated at as much as $375m </li></ul><ul><li>At least 6-7 years of work remaining </li></ul><ul><li>“ No insuperable obstacles, and its final completion is merely a matter of time and money.” </li></ul>
  29. 37. March 1889: <ul><li>“ De Lesseps has failed in his Panama Canal scheme, work has stopped, and …. the Colombian government fears a disturbance among the fourteen thousand workers heretofore engaged on the canal work.” </li></ul>H.Rpt. 4167 (50-2), 28p
  30. 38. A new French canal company was formed in 1894 to carry on the work, and protect the assets, of the bankrupt original company S.Doc. 188 (56-1), 107p
  31. 39. Compagnie Nouvelle asserted that: <ul><li>Its assets were valued at $100 million+ </li></ul><ul><li>The work on the canal was 2/5 completed </li></ul><ul><li>a lock canal was now contemplated </li></ul><ul><li>3-4,000 men had been at work for 4 years </li></ul><ul><li>Its concessions were unquestionable </li></ul><ul><li>The company was debt-free </li></ul><ul><li>The work was proceeding according to 1898 recommendations of an international technical commission </li></ul>
  32. 40. <ul><li>Canal, 1897-98 </li></ul>
  33. 41. <ul><li>“ Any canal … must be an American canal, under American control.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ The Monroe Doctrine is put in peril by an alliance by any transoceanic power to construct and control such a canal.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ The U.S. whatever its former course, will contest such an alliance hereafter.” </li></ul>May 1900 S.Rpt. 1337 (56-1) 161p
  34. 42. Jan. 1901: <ul><li>Sen. John Tyler Morgan declares: “It is the law of necessity, rather than the expectation of profit or advantage to the U.S., that compels us to construct, own, and control a ship canal through Costa Rica and Nicaragua.” </li></ul>S.Rpt. 1337, pt. 3 (56-2), 516p
  35. 44. Hay-Pauncefote Treat, 1901 <ul><li>Renegotiates terms of Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850 </li></ul><ul><li>US has free hand to build and administer an isthmian canal. </li></ul>S.Doc 85 (57-1), 25p
  36. 45. 1901: <ul><li>2 year commission study finds two canal routes both have merits, but because of cost of buying French canal company assets, recommends Nicaraguan route. </li></ul>S.Doc. 54 (57-1), 844p
  37. 49. Jan. 1902: <ul><li>TR says the Canal Commission has now determined that the French company will sell its assets for $40m, not the $109m previously assumed. </li></ul>S.Doc. 123 (57-1), 10p
  38. 50. June 1902, Congress authorizes a U.S. canal across Panama if: <ul><li>French company title is clear </li></ul><ul><li>Agreement can be reached with Colombia </li></ul><ul><li>Otherwise the canal is to be built in Nicaragua </li></ul>S.Rpt. 1 (57-1), 553p.
  39. 51. The Hay-Herr á n Treaty is negotiated with Columbia to settle terms of an American canal project, but never approved by Colombia and never submitted to the U.S. Senate.
  40. 52. <ul><li>Includes reports by Cmdr. John Hubbard on his actions as commander of the U.S. gunboat Nashville at Colon, Panama in November 1903 to “protect the lives and property of Americans.” His actions effectively prevented the Colombian army from putting down an uprising that resulted in an independent Republic of Panama. </li></ul>S.Doc. 461 (63-2), 75p
  41. 53. <ul><li>Nov. 3, 1903, U.S.S. Nashville arrives in Colon; uprising in Panama City occurs </li></ul><ul><li>Nov. 5 Colombian troops depart Colon </li></ul><ul><li>Nov. 6 Panama Republic declared </li></ul><ul><li>Nov. 11 U.S. recognizes Republic of Panama </li></ul><ul><li>Nov. 14 Colombia told that it will not be allowed to land troops in Panama </li></ul>
  42. 54. Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty <ul><li>Signed Nov. 18, 1903 </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. guarantees independence of Panama </li></ul><ul><li>Panama grants U.S. sovereignty over a canal zone </li></ul>S.Doc. 32 (58-2), 12p
  43. 55. <ul><li>Includes 1905 exchange of correspondence between Colombia and U.S. in which Colombia seeks international arbitration to resolve grievances </li></ul>H.Doc. 1, pt 1 (59-2), 972p
  44. 56. Isthmian Canal Commission Annual Reports, 1904-1914 (including reports by Chief Engineers and by Col. Wm. Gorgas of the Medical Corps) S.Doc. 127 (59-1) H.Doc. 1030 (61-3) H.Doc. 1403 (63-3)
  45. 57. Canal Chief Engineers <ul><li>John F. Wallace, 1904 – June 1905 </li></ul><ul><li>John Stevens, June 1905 – Feb. 1907 </li></ul><ul><li>George W. Goethals, 1907-1914 </li></ul>
  46. 58. As late as May 1906, the Senate Interoceanic Canal Committee still favored construction of a sea-level canal S.Rpt 3626 (59-1), 46p.
  47. 59. But on June 21, 1906 the Senate approved an amended bill authorizing construction of a lock canal across Panama. The House soon followed suit. S. Journal (59-2), 735p.
  48. 61. 1907 Senate investigative hearings S.Doc. 401, vols. 1-4 (59-2), 1023, 998, 1051, 342p
  49. 62. 1911 Senate field hearings in Panama S.Doc. 191 (62-2), 301p
  50. 63. There was no formal opening ceremony, but after August 1914, the canal was open to traffic.
  51. 64. Defeating Yellow Fever S.Doc. 118 (57-2), 29p
  52. 66. Article by Gorgas <ul><li>Explains Reed’s experiments in Havana </li></ul><ul><li>Overview of how Stegomyia mosquitoes were controlled </li></ul><ul><li>Incidental impact on Anopheles mosquitoes </li></ul>H.Doc. 756 (58-2), 14p
  53. 67. H.Doc. 839 (60-1), 40p
  54. 68. Pensions for heroes and victims H.Rpt. 1865 (58-2), 3p. S.Rpt. 431 (60-1), 13p. S.Rpt. 929 (63-3), 3p.
  55. 69. 25000+ 20000 5600 Lives lost 255m 30m 225m Cubic yards dredged $475m $125m $357m Cost total French U.S.
  56. 70. <ul><li>Bibliography on the idea of Central American interoceanic canals </li></ul><ul><li>The list comprises upward of 863 books and pamphlets (of which the Library of Congress possessed 482) and 1172 articles in periodicals (of which the Library of Congress possessed 980). </li></ul><ul><li>The list was compiled in 1900 before the U.S. began any work on a canal. </li></ul>S.Doc. 59 (50-1), 174 p

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