Collapse of a Great Canal.
United States Consul Virquair, stationed at Aspinwall, in his last official report to the State Department, gives a striking pic ture of the present condition of affairs along the line of the Panama Canal. The decadence of Colon (Aspinwall) and the almost entire prostration of all business at that place since the collapse of the canal becomes more and more apparent. It very often happens that not a solitary vessel is to be found in the harbor, a thing that was never known there, even previous to 1880 and after 1860; and yet it is but a short while ago since vessels were obliged to be anchored out for days in waiting for dock room at which to unload their respective cargoes.
The local traffic of the isthmus during the time that work was being pushed on the canal had reached vast proportions. The line of the canal, between Colon and Panama, about fifty miles, was a vast bivouac, where the most energetic of all nationalities and races had congregated to amass wealth, and many had done so, especially among the Chinese portion of it, Wages were high, princely salaries were paid, money was made easy and expended most freely. Day time was not enough; the nights themselves were turned into day, and, literally speaking, the twenty-four hours of the day were a constant draft on various industries. The expression the most fitting is, “it was Bedlam let loose,” and people cannot have any idea of what the isthmus was in 1885, 1886, 1887 and part of 1888, unless they have seen it.
Forty towns have sprung up on the line in almost as many miles, every one of them thriving, a real bee-hive of people; in fact, all of them bent, not only at changing the physical aspect of the land, but in turning a tropical jungle of heretofore a death-dealing clime into a new Babylon, for never was there such a confusion of tongues and a conglomeration of races from all over the world. These people were fighting back the disease manfully, dying at once without a murmur, or living in spite of clime, lives ot the most reckless dissipation when at leasure. It is not a wonder that so many died ; it is a wonder that so many have lived. Indeed, it can be truthfully said, that “ grim death got exhausted at the task ” and retreated to his lair. The isthmus had become habitable; before the advent of this reck lass throng it was not. And what has become of it all? Vanished. The people have all gone, business is dead on the line, the local traffic is dead, the line of the canal, once—only a short while ago—the liveliest place on the globe, is dead; the rank vegetation of the tropics is growing denser, it seems, for the rest it has had, hiding from view railroad trains, dredges, and all the paraphernalia of the canal contractors, who left their implements of all sorts as if work were to have been.resumed in the morning.
Colon and Panama still live, but that is all, merely by-way stations for the traffic across the isthmus eastward and westward between two hemispheres. In Colon rents have fallen off 500 percent in three months, and are still on the decline. I he Panama railroad, which in 1888 paid 23.50 per cent of dividends, will in 1889 pay only 9 per cent. This line in 1S88 carried 1,300,000 passengers (4,000 every day); this year it may carry probably 500,000, if so many.
But the transit traffic has not suffered; on the contrary, it is only the local traffic which in a short six months has suffered a loss of nearly 110,000 tons of imports—that is to say, this much has been lost to the local trade. As a result nearly twothirds of the business houses in Colon are closed up and bankrupt sales are a daily occurrence.
WATER-WORKS ESTIMATES AT KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Messrs. Donnelly & Pearson, the engineers employed by the committee of citizens appointed to secure plans and estimates for new water-works, have made a report placing the present population at 165,000 and the supply at 11,000,000 gallons a day ; the estimated population in 1920, 650,000 to 750,000, and the required supply 64,000,000 gallons a day. The report is based on figures and estimates for a water-works plant in Clay county, just above and opposite Kansas City, Kan. The report estimates that water-works thus located with a capacity one-third larger than the present works would cost $2,500,000. The time for putting in a complete new plant would depend on how much of the streets the people would permit to be torn up at once, as there are fifty miles of pipe under paved streets. To put in the pipe fines would take four or five years and the rest of the work about two years. The estimated cosf of the new piping is $445,298. The report estimates the value ot the present water-works at $1,494,532.64.
As to the availability of the present pipe system for the proposed new source of supply the report says:
“The larger part of the pipe system is available for the proposed change in the source of supply. With works at the foot of Broadway, a fine on Broadway to the Southwest boulevard and one cn Bluff street to Twelfth, would feed all the present system. Some changes would be needed, but no more than are usual in other cities.”
POWERFUL WATER Wheel.—The largest quartz mill in the world is that of the Treadwell mine, Alaska. The motive power is supplied by one seven-foot water wheel, which runs the 240 stamps, ninety-six concentrators, twelve ore crus’ ers, etc., exerting a power equal to 500 horse-power. The wheel operates under a pressure of 490 feet, making 235 revolutions, and using 630 cubic feet per minute. The nozzle is three by thirty-one inches in diameter, with a four-inch nozzle. This wheel will work up to 735 horse-power. It weighs but 800 pounds and the entire equipment, including shafis, pulleys, boxes, etc., is not over 4000 pounds. A steam machinery plant, to do the same work, would, it is calculated, weigh some 200 tons,