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CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS VOLUME.
The Secretary tenders his thanks to the following named gentlemen for trade reports and other information furnished him in the compilation of this volume :
Mr. ALBERT H. STORER, Publisher of the Shipping and Commercial List, for Reports on the Sugar, Molasses, Coffee and Petroleum Trades. Mr. E. QUACKENBUSH, for a Report on the Tea Trade. Mr. ABRAHAM Mills, for a Report on the Wool Trade. Mr. CHARLES McK. LOESER, for a Report on the Wine and Spirit Trade. Messrs. WILLIAM B. DANA & Co., Editors and Proprietors of the Commercial and Financial Chronicle, for a Report on the Cotton Crop of the United States. The Editor of the Whalemen's Shipping List of New-Bedford, for a Report on the Whale Fishery of the United States. Mr. ISAAC H. BAILEY, Editor and Proprietor of the Shoe and Leather Reporler, for Reports on the Leather, Hide, and Boot and Shoe Trades. Messrs. McKESSON & ROBBINS, for a Report on the Drug Trade. Mr. T. D. HAZARD, for a Report on the Iron Trade. Mr. WALTER W. WATROUS, for a Report on the Lumber Trade. Mr. DAVID M. STONE, Editor in Chief of the New York Journal of Commerce, for Statistics of the Foreign Commerce of the Port of NewYork for the year ending December 31, 1886. The Hon. WILLIAM F. SWITZLER, Chief of the Bureau of Statistics, for advance sheets of his Annual Report on Commerce and Navigation for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1886. Mr. WILLIAM A. CAMP, Manager, for a statement of the transactions of the New York Clearing House. The Hon. W.L. TRENHOLM, Comptroller of the Currency, for a Statement showing the condition of the National Banks in the City and State of New York, and of the United States, during the year ending December 31, 1886.
Secretary CHAMBER OF COMMERCE,
NEW-YORK, April 30, 1887.
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE,
FROM MAY, 1886, TO MAY, 1887.
The 118th Annual Meeting, Thursday, May 6, 1886.
The one hundred and eighteenth annual meeting of the Chamber of Commerce was held this day, at one o'clock, P. M., at the Rooms of the Chamber, on Nassau-street, between Cedar and Liberty streets.
JAMES M. BROWN, President.
GEORGE WILSON, Secretary.
The minutes of the last regular meeting, held April 1, and of the Special Meeting, held April 27, were read and approved.
REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEES.
Mr. CHARLES S. Smith, in behalf of the Executive Committee, reported the following named candidates for membership, and recommended their election :
William D. MARVEL.
William D, MARVEL.
HUMPHREY H, SWIFT.
THOMAS P. BALL,
William D. MARVEL.
These gentlemen were, on one ballot, unanimously elected mem. bers of the Chamber.
Mr. Smitu submitted the following report of the Hon. John BIGELOW, who was delegated by the Chamber, on the 4th of February last, to assist at the inspection of the Panama Canal :
21 GRAMERCY PARK,
NEW-YORK, April 15, 1886. Mr. JAMES M. BROWN,
President of the Nero-York Chamber of Commerce : SIR : In compliance with your request, I joined Mr. DE LESSEPS and his companions at Colon on the 18th of February last. The party congregated there for the inspection of the Panama Canal consisted, beside myself, of
FERDINAND DE LESSEPS, President of the P. C. Company.
THEODORE MOTET, Ex- Capt. of Artillery, Administrator of the P. C. Company.
ETIENNE MARTIN, Sec'y General of the Company.
FORESTIER, Chief of Transportation and Maritime Operations of the Canal Co.
The ABBÉ TIBERI, Chaplain of the Hospital at Colon,
Associates in the Paris,
contract for the BONNAFOUS, Engineer in Chief of Roads and
works at EmperaBridges,
dor and of the dam D'NICOLAS, formerly Surgeon in the Navy, at Gamboa.
HENRI COTTER, Stockholders' representative on the Committee for verifying accounts.
The DUKE OF SUTHERLAND.
The MARQUIS OF TEANO, of Italy.
St. Nazaire. BICHON,
Bordeaux. DE MOLINARI, Editor of the Paris “ Economiste.” TISSANDIER, Aeronaut and Editor of La Nature. STANHOPE, Journalist, representing the N. Y. Herald.
Every practical arrangement for the accommodation of our party and for the most profitable disposition of our time while sojourning on the Isthmus had been made by Mr. CHARLES DE LESSEPS, who bad gone out to the Isthmus a few weeks before us.
Nor were any efforts spared apparently to secure to us every facility for inspecting the work, as well what remained to be done as what had been done, within the time we were expected to devote to it. The rail
road lies parallel with and only about half a mile distant from the line of the canal for nearly its entire length, and as the journey from one end to the other by rail may be made in less than three hours, the difficulties of inspecting the line were less serious than I had anticipated. The boats of the Company in the harbor at Colon and at Panama, also, were always at our disposal.
Of course it did not enter into our scheme to revise the surveys or to verify the quantities and dimensions which were involved in the enterprise, and, so far as I shall venture to cite any, they will be the most trustworthy that I have been able to glean from the various sources of information to which we had access, and which were often conflicting and rarely more than approximative.
The project we were invited to inspect contemplates the connection of the waters of the Atlantic at Co on with the waters of the Pacific at Panama, by a canal of a uniform level, without locks or tunnels, and broad enough and deep enough for the transit of ships of the first class from the open sea at either end, to the open sea at the other, without any necessary interruption or detention. A uniform level and an open cut, without tunnels or locks, were, in the eyes of Mr. DE LESSEPS, of paramount importance in a country exposed, as all the States of Central America are, to more or less frequent earthquakes. He had given the preference to this over all the other interoceanic routes that have been projected, because he believed it to be the only one that would satisfy all those conditions.
The total length of the canal is to be about 464 miles, or 75 kilometres. The flow of the canal is to be, through the valley of the Chagres of the same width at bottom as the Suez Canal, 72 feet. In the section between San Pablo and Pedro Miguel it is to have 78 feet at bottom and 102 feet at water level. Through the Cordilleras at Culebra the width at the bottom will be 72 feet, and 100 feet at water level. The depth of navigable water in the canal is to be from 28 to 29 feet, and the curves are to have a radius of not less than 8,000 feet.
The plan involves, also, the construction of a basin 1,600 yards long and 110 yards wide at Panama for the accommodation, not only of vessels passing through the canal, but for those which are loading and unloading there, and another large basin or siding about three miles long at Tavernilla, a point about half way between Panama and Colon, for a turn-out, or place for ships to cross each other in transit.
Such, in general, are the accommodations which it is proposed by Mr. DE LESSEPS and his associates to provide. Commencing with the sea level at Colon, the land along the line of the canal for the first ten miles reaches gradually an elevation of 20 feet at Dos Hermanos; the next seven miles, to Frijole, it attains an average elevation of 40 feet, except at Bohio Soldado, where, for a short distance, it encounters a hill about 170 feet high. From Frijole to Mamei, about seven miles, the elevation to be overcome ranges from 50 to 120 feet. From Mamei to Matachin, about three miles, the canal has to pass through a hill 170 feet above tide water. From Matachin to Culebra, seven miles, the canal encounters a series
of hills varying from 100 to 250 feet high, and at Culebra, the highest point on the line, the elevation is about 322 feet above the bottom of the canal, though this height is maintained for a few hundred yards only. From Culebra, the land falls away again on the Pacific side to an elevation of only 30 feet at Rio Grande, three miles from Culebra. From Rio Grande to La Boca, five miles, the line falls away again rapidly to the level of the ocean.
To attain a proper depth of water, the canal must be dredged about four miles further into the Bay of Panama towards the Island of Perico.
The total excavation necessary to give the required width and depth to the proposed canal, as estimated by the engineers, amounts, in round numbers, to 120,000,000 cubic metres.
The total excavation made up to December 31, 1885, was, by contract, 11,490,196 cubic metres ; by the Company, 1,520,837 ; a total of 13,011,033 cubic metres ; excavation during the month of January, 1886, 1,067,823 cubic metres ; total, 14,078,856 cubic metres; leaving to be excavated 105,921,144 cubic metres.
Should the excavation, through the remaining months of the year, average as high as for January, 1,067,823 cubic metres, it would make the cut for 1886 amount to 12,813,876 cubic metres, and the total of excavation, up to the close of the current year 1886, 25,824,909 cubic metres, leaving to be excavated, in round numbers, 94,175,000 cubic metres, or less than four-fifths of the whole.
Of the total excavation, about one-third may be executed by dredges, which can work all the year round. The other two-thirds will be dry excavation of earth and rock, much of which cannot be handled by machines or otherwise to advantage during the rainy season. To keep up through the year to the average of the out-put in January, it will be necessary to somewhat increase the number of dredges or excavators, or both, for which I understand that arrangements are made.
On the 31st of January, 1886, there were reported to be about fifteen thousand men employed upon the canal—twelve thousand by contractors, two thousand of these ineffective, and three thousand by the Company; in all, less than three hundred effective men per mile. There are reported to be twenty-one dredges and eighty-two excavators at various points on the work, with the requisite auxiliary boats, trains and machinery.
With, say 119,000,000 cubic yards of excavation to make, of which one-third may be done by dredging, the problem presented would seem to be a very simple one.
If with 15,000 men, 21 dredges and 82 excavators, a cube of say 16,658,028 of yards can be extracted in a year at the mean rate of 1,388,169 cubic yards per month ; by doubling this force the out-put for the year 1887 would be at the least 33,000,000 cubic yards, which would complete the work by the end of the year 1890 ; and if the present force of men and machinery were trebled, the annual out-put would be at the least 49,000,000 of cubic yards, and the excavation of the canal would be accomplished in 1889.
Given the daily cost or wages of men, dredges and excavators,