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PRESIDENT ON PANAMA i _ Sends Special Message to Coegress Giving Re sults of His Observations in Canal Zone Replies to Critics and Makes Recommendations. The following la the text of President Roosevelt’s special message to congress on the subject of the Panama canal: To the Senate and House of Representa tives: _ ...... In tlie month of November I visited the Isthmus of Panama, going over the Canal Zone with considerable care; and also visited tire cities of Panama and Colon, which are not in the zone or under the United States flag, but as to which the United States government, through its agents, exercises control for certain sanitary purposes. I chose the month of November for my visit partly because it is the rainest month of the year, the month in which the work goes forward at the greatest disadvantage, and one of the two months which tne medical department of the French t anal company tound most" unhealthy. Following the introduction to the mes sage the president gives a resume of ni progranime during the days he was oi the isthmus, and then says: . .. ._ At the outset I wish to pay tribute to the amount of work done by me French Canal company under very am cult circumstances. Many of the ouua ings they put up were excellent ana are still in use, though, naturally, the houses are now getting out of repair an j are being used as dwellings only until other houses can be built, and much of the work they did in the Culebra cut, and some of the work they dal In tug ging lias been of direct and real benefit. This country has never made a better investment than the $40,000,000 which it paid to the French company for" and betterments, including especially me Panama railroad. . . An inspection on the ground at the height of the rainy season served to con vince me of the wisdom of congress in refusing to adopt either a high-level or a sea-level canal. There seems to be a universal agreement among all, people competent to judge that the l^uama route, the one actually chosen, is niuc i superior to botli the Nicaragua anu Darien routes. Preliminary Work Being Done. The wisdom of the canal management has been shown in nothing more clearly than in the way in which the founda tions of the work have been laid) To have yielded to the natural impatience of ill-informed outsiders and begun all kinds of experiments in work prior to a thorough sanitation of the isthmus, and to a fairlv satisfactory working out of the problem of getting and keeping a sufficient labor supply, would have been disastrous. The various preliminary measures had to be taken first; and these could not be taken so as to allow us to begin the real work of construc tion prior to January 1 of the present year. It then became necessary to have tiie tvpe of the canal decided, and the only delay has been the necessary delay until the 29th day of June, the date when the congress definitely and wisely settled that we should have an 85-foot level canal. Immediately after that the work began in hard earnest and has been continued with increasing vigor ever since; and it will continue so to progress in the future. When the con tracts are let the conditions will be such as to insure a constantly increasing amount of performance. Successful Sanitation. * The first great problem to be solved, upon the solution of which the success of tiie rest of the work depended, was the problem of sanitation. This was from tiie outset under the direction of Dr. W. C. Gorgas, who is to be made a full member of the commission. It must be remembered that his work was not mere sanitation as the term Is understood in our ordinary municipal work. Through out the zone and in the two cities of Panama and Colon, in addition to the sanitation work proper, he has had to do all the work that the Marine hospital service does as regards the nation, that the health department officers do in the various states and cities, and that Col. Waring did in New York when he cleaned its streets. The results have been astounding. The isthmus had been a byword for deadly unhealthfulness. Now, after two years of our occupation the conditions as regards sickness and the death rate comparo favorably with reasonably' healthy localities in the United States, Especial care has been devoted to minimizing tiie risk due to the presence of those species of mosquitoes which have been found to propagate malarial and yellow fevers. In all the settlements, tiie little temporary towns or cities composed of the white and black employes, which grow up here and there in the tropic jungle as the needs of the work dictate, the utmost care is exercised to keep the conditions healthy. Everywhere are to be seen the drainage ditches which in removing the water have removed the breeding places of the mosquitoes, while the whole jungle is cut away for a considerable space around the habitations, thus destroying the places in which the mosquitoes take shel ter. These drainage ditches and clearings are In evidence In every settlement, and. together with the invariable presence of mosquito screens around the piazzas, and of mosquito doors to the houses, not to speak of the careful fumigation that has gone on in all infected houses, doubtless explain the extraordinary absence of mosquitoes. As a matter of fact, but a single mosquito, and this not of the dangerous species, was seen by any member of our party during my three days on the isthmus. Equal care is taken by the inspectors of the health de Kartment to secure cleanliness in the ouses and proper hygienic conditions of every kind. I inspected between 29 and 30 water-closets, both those used by the white employes and those used by the colored laborers. In almost every case I found the conditions perfect. In but one case did 1 find them really bad. Ik this case, affecting a settlement of unmar ried white employes, I found them very bad Indeed, but the buildings were all Inherited from the h'rencn company ana were being used temporarily while other buildings were in the course of construc tion; and right near the defective water closet a new and excellent closet with a good sewer pipe was in process of con struction and nearly finished. Neverthe less this did not excuse the fact that the bad condition had been allowed to pre vail Temporary accommodations, even If only such as soldiers use when camped in the field, should have been provided. Orders to this effect were issued 1 ap pend the report of Dr. Gorgas on the in cident. I was struck, however, by the fact that in this instance, as in almost every other where a complaint was made wlilcb proved to have any justification whatever. It appeared that step3 had al ready been taken to remedy the evil complained of, and that the trouble was mainly due to the extreme difficulty, and often impossibility, of providing in every place for the constant increase in the numbers of employes. Generally the pro vision is made in advance, but it is not possible that this should always be the case; when it is not there ensues a period of lime during which the condi tions are unsatisfactory, until a remedy can be provided; but I never found a case where the remedy was not being provided as speedily as possible. Improvements in Cities. The sanitation work In the cities of Panama and Colon has been just as important as in the zone itself, and In many respects much more difficult, be cause it was necessary to deal with the already existing population, which naturally had scant sympathy with revolutionary changes, the value of which they were for a long time not able to perceive. In Colon the popula tion consists largely of colored labor ers who, having come over from the West Indies to work on the canal, abandon the work and either take to the brush or lie Idle in Colon itself, thus peopling Colon with the least de llrablf among the Imported laborers. for the good and steady men of course continue at the work. Yet astonish ing progress has been made in both cities. In Panama 90 per cent of the streets that are to be paved at all are already paved with an excellent brick pavement laid in heavy concrete, a few of the streets being still in process of paving. The sewer and water services in the city are of the most modern hy gienic type, some of the service hav ing just been completed. In Colon the conditions are peculiar, and it is as regards Colon that most of the very bitter complaint has been made. Colon is built on a low coral island, covered at more or less shallow depths with vegetable accumulations or mold, which affords sustenance and strength to many varieties of low lying tropical plants. One-half of the surface of the island ts covered with water at high tide, the average height tM« t»nno«t. enTnolnint, was tynlnft! of what occurred when I Investigated most of the other honest complaints made to me. That Is. where the complaints were not made wantonly or malicious ly, they almost always proved due to failure to appreciate the fact that time was necessary in the creation and completion of this titanic work In a tropic wilderness. It Is impossible to avoid some mistakes In building a giant canal through Jungle-covered mountains and swamps, while at the same time sanitating tropic cities, and providing for the feeding and general care of from S*.*8* to SO.*** workers. The complaints brought to me, either of Insufficient provision in caring for some of the laborers, or of failure to linish the pavements of Colon, or of failure to supply water, or of failure to build wooden sidewalks for the use of the laborers In the rainy season, on investigation proved, almost with out exception, to he due merelv to the utter Inability of tho commission to do everything at once. Unjust Criticism. Care and forethought haVe been exer cised by tlie commission, and nothiryg has reflected more credit upon them than their refusal either to go ahead too fast or to be deterred by the fear of criticism from not going ahead fast enough. It is Curious to note the fact that many of the most severe critics of the commission criticise them for precisely opposite rea sons, some complaining bitterly that the PRESIDENT ON A STEAM SHOVEL From stereograph, copyright, by Underwood & Underwood, N. Y. At Pedro Miguel, Culebra Cut, President Roosevelt was photographed seated on one of the Immense steam shovels usetrin the work ef excavating. of the land being 1% feet above low tide. The slight undulations furnish shallow, natural reservoirs or fresh water breeding places for every varie ty of mosquito, and the ground tends to be lowest in the middle. When the town was originally built no attempt was made to fl 11 the low ground, either in the streets or on the building sites, so that the entire surface was prac tically ft ouflgrntre: when the oiiae mire became impassable 'certain of the streets were ortidelv improved bv fill ing especially bad mud holes with soft rock or other material. In September. 1905. a systematic effort was begun to formulate a general plan for the prop er sanitation of the city; in February last temporary relief measures were taken, while in July the prosecution of the work was begun in good earnest. The results are already visible in the sewering, draining, guttering and pav ing of the streets. Some four months will be required before the work of sewerage and street improvement will be completed, but the progress already made is very marked. Ditches have been dug through the town, connecting the salt water on botli sides, and into these the ponds, which have served as breeding places for the mosquitoes, are drained. These ditches have answered their purpose, for they are probably the chief cause of the astonishing diminution of mosquitoes. More ditches of the kind are being constructed. Colon Water Supply. It was not practicable, with the force at the commission’s disposal, and ifl view of the need that the force should be used in the larger town of Panama, to begin this work before early last winter. Water mains were then laid in the town and water was furnished to the people early in March from a temporary reservoir. This reservoir proved to be of insufficient capacity before the end of the dry season and the shortage was made up by hauling water over the Panama railroad, so that there was at all times an ample supply of the very best water. Since that time the new reser voir back of Mount Hope has been practically completed. I visited this reservoir. It is a lake over a mile long and half a mUe*broad. It now carries some 500,000j>00 gallons of first-class water. I forward herewith a photograph of this lake, together with certain other photographs of what I saw while I was on the isth mus. Nothing but a cataclysm will hereafter render it necessary in the dry season to haul water for the use of Colon and Cristobal. Colon Pavements. I rode through the streets of Colon, seeing them at the height of the rainy season, after two days of almost un exampled downpour, when they were at their very worst. Taken as a whole they were undoubtedly very bad; as bad as Pennsylvania avenue in Washington before Grant’s admin istration. Front street is already in thoroughly satisfactory shape, how ever. Some of the side streets are also in good condition. In others the change in the streets is rapidly going on. Through three-fourths of the town it is now possible to walk, even during the period of tremendous rain, in low shoes without wetting one’s feet, owing to the rapidity with which the surface water is carried away in the ditches. In the remaining one fourth of the streets the mud is very deep—about as deep as in the ordinary street of a low-lying prairie river town of the same size in the United States during early spring. All men to whom I spoke were a unit in saying that the conditions of the Colon streets were 100 per cent better than a year ago. The most superficial examination of the town shows the progress that has been made and is being made in ma cadamizing the streets. Complaint was made to me by an entirely reputable man as to the character of some of the material used for repairing cer tain streets. On investigation the com nlaint proved well founded, but it also appeared that the use of the material in auestion had been abandoned, the commission after having tried it in one or two streets finding it not appro PIThe result of the investigation of PRESIDENTIAL PARTY LEAVING HOTEL From stereograph, copyright, by Underwood A Underwood, N. T. Photograph of the President and Mrs. Roosevelt and party leaving the Tivoli hotel at Colon taken during the recent inspection of the canal by the chief executive. work is not in a more advaijced condi- j tlon. while the others complain that it has been rushed with such haste that there lias been insufficient preparation for the hygiene and comfort of the employes. As a matter of fact neither criticism is Just. It would have been Impossible to go quicker than the comtnleelon has gone, for such quickness would have meant insufficient preparation. On the other hand, to refuse to do anything un til every possible future contingency had been met would have caused wholly un warranted delay. The right course to follow was exactly the course which has 1 been followed Every reasonable prepara tion was made in advance, the hygienic conditions in especial being made as nearly perfect as possible; while on the other hand there has been no timid re fusal to push forward the work because of inability to anticipate every possible emergency, for, of course, many defects can only be shown by the working of the system In actual practice. In' addition to attending to the health of the employes, it Is of course neces sary to provide for policing the zone. This is done by a police force which at present numbers over 200 men, under Capt. Shanton. About one-fifth of the men are white and the others black. In different places I questioned some 20 or 30 of these men, taking them at ran dom. They were a fine set. physically and in discipline. With one exception all the white men I questioned had served In the American army, usually In the American workingman in the United States has no^concern whatever in the question as to whether the rough work on the isthmus, which is performed by aliens in any event, is done by aliens from one country with a black skin or by aliens from another country with a yellow skin. Our business is to dig the canal as efficiently and as quickly as possible; provided always that nothing is done that is inhumane to any laborers, and nothing that in terferes with the wages of or lowers the standard of living of our own workmen. Having in view this prin ciple, I have arranged to try several thousand Chinese laborers. Tlflfe is de sirable both because we must try to find out what laborers are most effi cient. and, furthermore, because we should not leave ourselves at the mercy of any one type of foreign labor. . At present the great bulk of the unskilled labor on the isthmus! is done by West India negroes, chiefly from Jamaica, Barbados, and the other English possessions. One of the gov ernors of the lands in question has shown an unfriedly disposition to our work and has thrown obstacles in the way of our getting the labor needed; anil It, i« highly iindealrnhlq in give any outsiders the impression, however ill founded, that they are indispensa ble and can dictate terms to us. The West India laborers are fairly, but only fairly, satisfactory. Some of the men do very well indeed; the bet —- . ... - , - --- - Philippines, ami belonged to the best type of Amerir u soldier. Without ex deption the I ,ek policemen whom I questioned had served either in the Brit ish army or h. the Jamaica or Barbados police. They w, re evidently contented, and were doing their work well. Where possible the policemen are used to con trol people of their own color, but in any emerge o hesitation Is felt m using them -crimlnately. Inasmuch a my both of the white and colored en os have brought tnetr families with , schools, have been established, the ool* service being un der Mr. OTonn -"or the white pupils white Am neat teachers are employed, for the cmor- pupils there are also some white Arner n teachers, one Spanisti teacher, and ne colored American teach er, most of them being colored teachers from Jamaica, Barbados and St. Bucta. The schoolrooms were good, and It was a pleasant thing to see the pride that tne teachers were taking in their work ana their pupils Care of Employee. Next In Importance to the problem of sanitation, and Indeed now of equal Im portance, is the problem of securing and caring for the mechanics, laborers ana other employes who actually do the work on the canal and the railroad. This great task has been under the control of Mr. Jackson Smith, and on the whole has been well done. At present there are some 6,000 white employes and some 19,000 colored employes on the isthmus. I went over the different places where the different kinds of employes were working! I think l saw representatives of every type both at their work and in their homes; and I conversed with prob ably a couple of hundred of them all told, choosing them at random from every class and including those who came especially to present certain grievances olmost invariably expressed far greater content and satisfaction with the con ditions than did those who called to make complaint. Nearly 5,000 of the white employes had come from the United States. No man can see these young, vigorous men energetically doing their duty without a thrill of pride in them as Americans. They represent ‘on the average a high class. Doubtless to congress the wages paid them will seem high, but as a mat ter of fact the only general complaint which I found had any real basis among the complaints made to me upon the isthmus was that, owing to the peculiar surroundings, the cost of living, and the distance from home, the wastes were really not as high as they shauid be. In fact, almost every man I spoke to felt that he ought to be receiving more money—a view, however, which the aver age man who stays at home in the United States probably likewise holds as regards himself. I append figures of the wages paid, so that the congress can judge the matter for itself. Bater I shall confer on the subject with certain repre sentative labor men here in the United States, as well as going over with Mr. Stevens, the comparative wages paid on the zone and at home; and I may then communicate my findings to the canal committees of the two houses. Chinese and Other Labor. Of the 19.000 or 20.000 day laborers employed on the canal a few hundred are Spaniards. These do excellent work. Their foreman told me that they did twice as well as the West Indian laborers. They keep healthy and no difficulty Is experienced with them in any way. Some Italian labor ers are also employed in connection with the drilling. As might be ex pected. with labor as high priced as at present in the United States, it has not so far proved practicable to get any ordinary laborers from the United States The American wage-workers on the isthmus are the highly paid skilled mechanics of the types men tioned previously. A steady effort is being made to secure Italians, and es pecially to procure more Spaniards, because of the very satisfactory re sults that have come from their em ployment and their numbers will be increased as far as possible. It has not proved possible, however, to gbt them in anything like the numbers needed for the work, and from present appearances we shall in the main have to rely, for the ordinary unskilled work partly upon colored laborers from the West Indies, partly upon Chinese labor. It certainly ought to be unnecessary to point out that the # t<-r class, who arc to be found as fora men, as skilled mechanics, as police men, are good men; and many of the ordinary iisv hi borers are also good. Work of Construction. But thousands of those who are brought over under contract (at pur expense) go off Into the jungle to live, or loaf around Colon, or work bo bad 1V nft«r„ H.o flrst thro*, or four (taVS as to cause a serious diminution of the amount of labor performed on Fri day and Saturday, of each week. I questioned many of these Jamaica laborea as to the conditions of their work ahd what, If any changes, .they wished. I received many complaints from them, but as regards most of these complaints they themselves con tradicted one another. In all cases where the complaint was as to their treatment by any individual it proved on examination that this Individual was himself a West India man of color, either a policeman, a storekeeper, or an assistant storekeeper. Doubtless there must be many complaints against Americans; but those to whom I spoke did not happen to make any such com plaint to me. The work is now going on with a vigor and efficiency pleasant to wit ness. The three big problems of the canal are the La Boca dams, the Gatun dam, and the Culebra cut. The Cule bra cut must be made, anyhow; but of course changes as to the dams, or at least as to the locks adjacent to the dams, may still occur. The la Boca dams offer no particular prob lem, the bottom material being so good that there Is a practical certain ty, not merely as to what can be achieved, but as to the time of achieve ment. The Gatun dam offers the most serious problem which we havo to solve; and yet the ablest men on the isthmus believe that this problem Is certain of solution along the lines proposed; although, of course, it ne cessitates great toil, energy, and in telligence, and although equally, of course, there will be some little risk In connection with the work. The risk arises from the fact that some of the material near the bottom is not so good as could be desired. If the huge earth dam now contemplated is thrown across from one foothill to the other we will have what is practically a low. broad, mountain ridge behind which will rise the inland lake. This artificial mountain will probably show less seepage, that Is, will have greater restraining capacity than the average natural mountain range. The exact lo cality of the locks at this dam—as at the other dams—is now being de termined. In April next Secretary Taft, with three of the ablest engin eers of the country—Messrs. Noble, Stearns and Kipley—will visit the Isthmus, and the three engineers will make the final and conclusive exami nations as to tiie exact site for each lock. Meanwhile the work Is going ahead without a break. The Culebra cut does not offer such great risks; that is, the damage liable to occur from occasional land slips will not represent what may be called major dis asters. The work will merely call for in telligence, perseverance, and executive capacity. It is, however, the work upon which most labor will have to be spent. The dams will be composed of the earth taken out of the cut and very possibly the building of the locks and dams will take even longer than the cutting in (’itlohno itonlf In Culebra Cut. The main work Is now being done in the Culebra cut. It was striking and impressive to see the huge steam shovels in full play, the dumping trains carrying away the rock and earth they dislodged. The implements of French excavating machinery, which often stand a little way from the line of work, though of ex cellent construction, look like the veriest toys when compared with these new steam shovels, just as the French dump ing cars seem like toy cars when com pared with the long trains of huge cars, dumped by steam plows, which are now in use. This represents the enormous advance that has been made in machin ery during the past quarter of a cen tury. So doubt a quarter of a century heuce this new machinery, of which we are now so proud, will similarly seem out of date, but it is certainly serving its purpose well now. The old French cars had to be entirely discarded. We still have in use a few of the more modern, but not most modern, cars, which hold but 12 yards of earth. They can be em ployed on certain lines with sharp curves. But the recent cars hold from 25 to 30 yards apiece, and instead of the old clumsy methods of unloading them, a steam plow is drawn from end to end of the whole vestibuled train, thus im mensely economizing labor. In the rainy reason the steam shovels can do but little in dirt, but they work steadily in rock and In the harder ground. There were some 25 at work during the time I was on the Isthmus, and their tremendous power and efficiency were most impres sive. New Records for Excavation. As soon as the type of canal was de cided this work began in good earnest. The rainy season will shortly be over and then there will be an immense increase in the amount taken out; but even during the last three months, in the rainy sea son. steady progress is shown by the figures: In August. 212,000 cubic yards; in September, 291,000 cubic yards, and in October, 325,000 cubic yards. In October new records were established for the output of individual sliovels as well as for the tonnage haul of individual loco motives. I hope to see the growth of a healthy spirit of emulation between the different shovel and locomotive crews, just such a spirit as has grown on our battle ships between the different gun crews in matters of marksmanship. Passing through the cut the amount of new work can be seen at a glance. In one place the entire side of a hill had been taken out recently by 27 tons of dynamite, which were exploded at one blast. At another place I was given a presidential salute of 21 charges of dyna mite. On tiie top notch of the Culebra cut the prism is now as wide as it will be; all told, the canal bed at this point has now been sunk about 200 feet below what it originally was. It will have to be sunk about 130 feet farther. Through out the cut the drilling, blasting, shovel ing and hauling arc going on with con stantly Increasing energy, the huge shovels being pressed up, as if they were mountain howitzers, into the most un likely looking places, where they eat their way into the hillsides. Railway Improvements. The most advanced methods, not only In construction, but in railroad manage ment, have been applied In the zone, with corresponding economies in time and cost. This lias been shown in the handling of the tonnage from ships into cars, and from cars into ships on the Panama railroad, where, thanks largely to the efficiency of General Manager Bierd, the saving in time and cost, haa been noteworthy. My examination tend ed to show that some of the departments hnd (doubtless necessarily) become over developed, and could now be reduced or subordinated without impairment of effi ciency and with a saving of cost. The chairman of the commission, Mr. Shonts. has all matters of this kind constantly in view, und is now reorganizing the gov ernment of the zone, so as to make the form of administration both more flexible and less expensive, subordinating every thing to direct efficiency with a view to the work of the canal commission. From time to time changes of this kind will un doubtedly hare to be made, for it must be remembered that In this giant worl^ of constrnctlon, it is continually neces” sarv to develop departments or bureaus, which are vital for the time being, but which soon become useless; Just as it will be continually necessary to put up build ings and even to erect towns, which in ten ’years will once more give place to Jungle or will then be at the bottom of the great lakes at the ends of the canal. Critics and Doubting Thomases. It is not only natural, but inevitable, that a work as gigantic as this which has been undertaken on the isthmus should arouse every species of hostility and criticism. The conditions are so new and so trying, and the work so vast, that it would be absolutely out of the ques tion that mistakes should not be made. Checks will occur. Unforeseen difficulties will arise. From time to time seemingly well-settled plans will have to be changed. At present 25,000 men are en gaged on the task. After awhile the number will be doubled. In such a mul titude it is inevitable that there should be here and there a scoundrel. Very many of the poorer class of laborers lack the mental development to protect them selves against either the rascality of others or their own folly, and it is not possible for human wisdom to devise a plan by which they can Invariably be ?>rotected. In a place which has been or ages a byword for unhealthfutness. and with so large a congregation of strangers suddenly put down and set to hard work there will now and th*n be outbreaks of disease. There will now and then be shortcomings In administra tion; there will be unlooked-for acci dents to delay the excavation of the cut or the building of the dams and locks. Bach such incident will be entirely nat ural, and, even though serious, no one of them will mean more than a little extra delay or trouble. Yet each, when discovered by sensation mongers and re tailed to timid folk of little faith, will serve as an excuse for the belief that the whole work is being badly managed. Experiments will continually be tried in housing, In hygiene, In street repairing, Jri dredging and In digging earth and Tick. Now and then an experiment will be a failure; and among those who hear of It. a certain proportion of doubting Thomases will at once believe that the whole work Is a failure. Doubtless here and there some minor rascality will be uncovered; but as to this, I have to say that after the most painstaking inquiry I have been unable to find a single reput able person who had so much as heard of any serious accusations affecting the honesty of the commission or of any responsible officer under It. I append a letter dealing with the most serious charge, that of the ownership of lots In Colon; the charge was not advanced by a reputable man, and Is utterly base less. It is not too much to say that the whole atmosphere of the commission breathes henosty as it breathes efficiency and energy. Above all, the work has been kept absolutely clear of politics. I have never heard even a suggestion of spoils politics In connection with it. I have investigated every complaint brought to me for which there seemed to be any shadow of foundation. In two or three cases, all of which I have Indicated in the course of this message, I came to the conclusion that there was foundation for the com plaint. and that the methods of the commission in the respect complained of could be bettered. In the other In stances the complaints proved abso lutely baseless, save in two or three instances where they referred to mis takes which the commission had al ready found out and corrected. Slanders and Libelers. So much for honest criticism. There remains an immense amount of as reckless slander as has ever been pub lished. Where the slanderers are of foreign origin I have no concern with them. Where they are Americans. I feel for them the heartiest contempt and indignation; because, in a spirit of wanton dishonesty and malice, they are trying to interfere with and hamper the execution of. the greatest work of the kind ever attempted, and are seeking to bring to naught the ef forts of their countrymen to put to the credit of America one of the giant feats of the ages. The outrageous accusations of these slanderers con stitute a gross libel upon a body of public servants who. for trained Intel ligence. expert ability, high charac ter and devotion to duty, have never been qxcelled anywhere. There is not a man among those directing the work on the isthmus who has obtained his position on any other basis than merit alone, and not one who has used his position in any way for his own per sonal or pecuniary advantage. Plan to Build by Contract. After most careful consideration we have decided to let out most of the work by contract, if we can come to satisfactory terms with the contract ors. The whole work Is of a kind suited to the peculiar genius of our people; and our people have devel oped the type of contractor best fitted to grapple with it. It is of course much better to do the work in large part by contract than to do it all by the government, provided it is pos sible on the one hand to secure to the contractor a sufficient remnueration to make it worth while for respon sible contractors of the best kind to undertake the work; and provided on the other hand it can be done on terms which will not give an excessive profit to the contractor at the expense of the government. After much con sideration the plan already promul gated by the secretary of war was adopted. This plan in its essential features was drafted after careful and thorough study and consideration, by the chief engineer. Mr. Stevens, who. while in tho employment of Mr. Hill, the president of the Great North ern railroad, had personal experience of this very type of contract. Mr. Stevens then submitted the plan to the chairman of the commission. Mr. Shonts. who went carefully over it with Mr. Rogers, the legal adviser of the oommissioR, to ete that all legal difficulties were met. He then submit ted copies of the plan to both Secre tary Taft and myself. Secretary Taft submitted it to some of the best coun sel at the New York bar. and after wards I went over it very carefully with Mr. Taft and Mr. Shonts, and we laid tho plan in Its general features before Mr. Root. My conclusion is that it <v>mbi»es the maximum of ad vantage with the minimum of disad vantage. Under it a premium will be put upon the speedy and economical construction of the canal, and a pen alty Imposed on delay and waste. The plan as promulgated is tentative: doubtless it will have to be changed in some respects before we can come to a satisfactory agreement with re sponsible contractors—perhaps even after the bids have been received: and of coarse it is possible that we caa not come to a agreement, in which case the government will do the work itself. Meanwhile the work on the isthmus is progressing steadily and without any let up. Single Commissioner Desired. A seven-headed commission is of course a clumsy executive instrument. We should have but one commission er. with such heads of departments and other officers under him as we may find necessary. We should be expresslv permitted to employ the best engineers in the country as con sulting engineers. I accompany this paper with a map showing substantially wbat the canal will be like when it is finished. When the Culebra cut has been made and tho dams built (if they are built as at present proposed) there will then be at both the Pacific and Atlantic ends of the canal two great fresh-water lakes, connected by a broad channel running at the bottom of a ravine, acr»s the backbone of the Western Hemisphere. Those best informed be lieve that the work will be completed in about eight years; but It is never safe to prophesy about such a work as this, especially in the tropics. Confident of Ultimate success. Of the success of the enterprise I am as well convinced as one can be of any enterprise that is human. It is a stupendous work upon which our fellow countrymen are engaged down there on the isthmus, and while we should hold them to a strict accounta bility for the way In which they per form it. we should recognize, with frank generosity, the epic nature of the task upon which they are engaged and Its world-wide importance. They are doing something which will re doud immeasurably to the credit of America, which will benefit all the wvrld. aad which will last for ages £o oome. Under Mr. Shonts and Mr. Stevens and Dr. Gorgas this work has started with every omen of good for tune They and their worthy associates, from the highest to the lowest are entitled to the same credit that we Wmil<i give to the picked men of a victorious ermv: for this oonnu. »♦ of neaoe will, in its great and far-reach ing effect stood os orconc- the verv greatest ooaquests. whether of peace or of war. which have ever been won by any of the peoples of mankind. A bkdge is to be given to every Ameri can citizen who for a speefled time has taken part in this work; for par ticipation in it will hereafter be held to reflect honor upon the man par ticipating just as It reflects honor upon a soldier to have belonged to a might* army in a great war for righteous ness: Our fellow countrymen on the iBthmus are working for our interest and for the national renown in the same spfrit and with the same eftl cfency that the men of the army and navy-work in time of war. It ne hooves us In our turn to do all we can to hold up their hands and to aid them in every way to bring their great work to a triumpnant conclii fion. THEODORE ROOSEVEL1. The White House. December 17. 1906. r 1 * ’ HE FOOLED THE HOLDUP MEN. Intended Victim Dumps His Money Into Mailbox and Thus Saves It. A West end man had an experience recently that made his hair stand on end and had It not been for his quick wit in devising a means of getting out of the difficulty it might have cost him dearly, says the Duluth News-Tribune. He its the treasurer of- a local lodge and was returning home from a meet ing with a considerable amount oi money ip his possession, fortunately the greater part of which was in cur rency. He got oft a car quite a distance out in the West end and turned off a side street toward his home, when he no ticed that he was being followed by two suspicious looking men. Quick as a flash he pulled an envelope out of his pocket, addressed it to himself, stamped it, put the currency inside it and dropped it in the mail box. Then he started on a brisk walk. Suddenly there came a command from behind him. “Hands up!" Up went bis hands and the robbers went through his pockets. He smiled grimly as the holdups secured only a few dollare in silver, and he thought with pleasure of the money he had put in the mail box In Unde Sam's care. The robbers went' away com plaining of the small amount they se cured. and the treasurer went home. / i . Next day the letter containing the money was delivered safely to his of fice. Poor Mother! “I saw the doctor at your house this morning,’’ said Naybor. • “Yee,” replied Popley, “that boy of mine climbed out oh the back roof when we told him not to—” “And fell off and broke, his—” “Nary a fall! but my wife tried to whip him for It, vand now she’s a nervous and physical .wreck.” j Frogs March to Winter Quarters. For the first time in years the resi dents of northern Chester county to day saw a frog parade. Fully 100 frogs of all ages, ranging from frogs a score of years old to this spring’s youngsters, left the schoolhouse pond in Warwick township this morning and marched along the road to the falls of French creek, where they took up their winter quarters. Migrations of frogs in large bodies are seldom seen, especially at this sea son of the year. It is believed by old residents that the frogs deserted the pond, which has been their breeding place for years, because the water is too low.—Pottstown Correspondence Philadelphia Press. In Bad Shape. “I heard your new stenographer boasting that he can work the type writer like lightning.” “That’s about right. When he gets through with the Job it looks very much as if lightning had got its work in on It.” i v> - _ Brjztzrzz&tezr EN WILL alighted from the coach of the easi bound flyer at the Mich igan Central depot. There was an absent look in his clear blue eyes, usually so keen in observation of his surroundings, and he was impatient at the slow progress of the crowd Al tering through the gate. He paid no attention to the happy reunions of friends and relatives at the station; the exclama tions of delight at the meetings fell on deadened ears. Pushing through the crowd, he hur ried to a car and soon alighted at the old familiar coi ner. The street looked just the same. The house, however, was changed; it no longer looked like home. The cld-fashioned shutters were missing, the quiet, sedate front was altered, and bay windows protruded above as well as on the ground floor “Mrs. Flabbins don’t live here nc more,” said the untidy young woman who answered his ring. With saddened eyes he retraced his steps to the corner. Entering the drug store he satisfied the proprietor that he was a stranger by buying a cigar and then rather diffidently requesting the privilege of looking at the direc tory. The only Flabbins he could find was Edward, who was credited with being in the saloon business. “Is Mr. Flabbins here!” asked Will at the number indicated. “That’s me,”.replied a short, thick set man, with cold, gray eyes, and a roll of fat hiding the back of his col lar. As h® anowered the stranger th« "Mother!" color left hid face. He recognized his step-brother. Ben saw that this was the cause, aud smiled rather bitterly "Where is mother?” he asked of the man behind the bar. "I—I—don't know,” stammered Fiab bins. "You lie, as you always did,” said Ben, his jaw coming together like a steel trap and his blue eyes flashing. Flabbins moved toward the cash reg ister. "You need not trouble yourself,” ex claimed Ben, contemptuously, noting the movement. ”1 have no time to talk to you now, but I may return and—if I have cause—your revolver won’t save you. W’here is your fa ther?” “Dead,” sulkily answered the sa loon keeper. "How long?” “Four years.” "And mother?” Ben’svoice was low, but there was a menace in it that caused Flabbins to draw a little closer to the register. “I hain’t seen her in three years She left the house after a row wid Bess. You know what Bess is.” The next morning the following item was inserted in the leading pa pers of the city. "WANTED—Information as to the whereabouts of Mrs. Daniel Flabbins. Box X, 21.” Eddying flakes formed a curtain oi whirling white, shutting out the dreary landscape, and covering the frozen, jagged earth with a soft mantle of snow as, shaking himself like a great Newfounldand dog, Ben Will waited impatiently for the opening of the door of the great institution for the housing of the \wx>r. When admitted, he paced the plaroly but comfortably furnished reception room, hungry for a sight of his mother’s face. The opening of the door caused him to turn with outstretched arms. His eyes, blinded by tears, saw a bent form moving slowly toward him; one hand, toil worn and brown, the blue veins standing out upon it, grasped a cane with which to steady the totter ing footsteps; above the bent frame in which beat a mother’s heart, crown ing it with a glory all its own, was a sweet old face. “Mother!” “Ben, my own Ben!” “Oh!” exclaimed Ben, quivering with anger, “to think they would al low you to go to the poor house. They shall suffer. They—” “Hush, Ben,” said his mother, soft ly, placing her hand over the lips of her son. “This is Christmas, and I am going home with you. Ah, such a happy Christmas. Well may wa say ‘Peace 'on earth and good will to men.’" Unequal Human Eyes. Many persons who think their sight perfect have a greater visual power in one eye than in the other. With regard to the respective power of the right and left eye a well-known opti cian finds that a person occupied in writing all day has, as a rule, stronger vision in the left. Writing with the rifeht hand, and his left arm resting on the table, his left eye is nearer his 1 work, and its vision is more concen trated. This expert says our.race will never become so short-sighted as the German whilst outdoor athletic games are encouraged in our public schools.