Some Historic Canals.
The canal is an ancient institution. It co-exists with the remotest periods of human history, since the primitive man discovered the value of an artificial waterway across a peninsula, or from one remote stream to the navigable waters of another. Historians allude to these artificial channels as existing in Egypt and elsewhere in the far away centuries preceding the Christian era. In the year 1829 the Chinese completed an imperial canal that traversed a distance of tooo miles, a forty days sail for the Mongolian junk. In Ib8i the famous Languedoc canal was completed. This gave France an artificial waterway 148 miles in length, with a summit level of 600 feet above the sea, and including upwards of 100 locks and fifty aqueducts. In Great Britain Roman spades dug the first canal, one or more of which are holding water to-day. The canals of the United Kingdom now exceed 47.000 miles in length, and are among the best of their kind in the world. The Manchester canal, now in course of construction, will, when completed, be a masterpiece of enterprise and engineering skill, and will place the Manchester manufacturer in direct and unbroken communication with the ocean. The North Holland canal was completed in 1822 and is fifty miles in length. The Amsterdam and other artificial waterways are among the most vital auxiliar es of Dutch commerce and prosperity. The Suez canal, which, up to the date of its completion, was the most stupendous undertaking of its kind in modern history, extends from Port Said on the Mediterranean to Suez on the Red Sea, the whole length of navigation being eighty-eight geographical miles.
This trans-Egyptian waterway is navigable by steamers 400 feet in length and fifty feet beam, the cost of this gigantic enterprise, including its harbors, being about $100,000,000. In the Western hemisphere, both in the United States and the Canadas, the inland canal has long been an economic necessity, and in the KMC and Welland, etc., we have examples of their service. In a strictly national sense we have the magnificent mistake of Panama, with its big holes and insolvent stockholders. At Nicaragua American enterprise’is already at work. The importance of this canal to the United States and to other commercial nations as a route between the Atlantic and Pacific, is probably beyond any present calculation, and is of so undeniable a value that, be the engineering difficulties what they may. the consummation of the idea is among the historic certainties of the future.