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ADVANTAGES OF MAKING THE CANAL ZONE A
FREE CITY AND FREE PORT
By W. D. Boyce, Publisher, The Saturday Blade and Chicago
Ledger A wise Providence evidently intrusted the building of the world's industries to the human race. The story of the bringing of the world into form and the creation of the first man took only 600 words to tell. Then the trouble began at an early period by the advent of woman, and the world is filled with volumes of records of what has since happened.
In considering South America commercially, we must first analyze the original stock from which these people sprang. The first land on the earth's surface appeared in Asia, and there we still find the highest mountains. Undoubtedly the first man came into life in Asia, and the human race, spreading northeastward came to the Bering Strait between Asia and North America. It was only a short walk on ice for eight winter months in the year, or a journey of forty miles in skin boats in summer, to cross over to Alaska. No doubt the first human being on American soil was an Esquimau, who came from cold Siberia, lived in an igloo under the ground, was small of body, flat of chest and nostril. He lived on fish and the products of the sea, easily taken in the summer and dried or frozen for winter use. He worked his way farther south and east, and presently lived on top of the ground winter and summer, and, with more sunlight and air the year around, developed a larger and healthier body, bigger chest and a larger nose as his lungs required more air. He killed wild game, and the animal fat agreed with him better than fish, whale, seal or walrus oils. I want to say here, that the Esquimaux and Indians never had or knew what consumption, the "white plague,” was, until they caught it from the white man, proving that tuberculosis is contagious.
The Indian improved until he reached the warm country near the Rio Grande, and there in the hot climate, where life was easy he began to deteriorate. This condition continued through the low parts of Central America and the equatorial parts of South America. We find, however, that when he got as far south as the high elevations of Columbia, Ecuador and Venezuela, he improved and became stronger physically and mentally.
Here I want to call your attention to something few people think about when considering latitude: 250 feet in elevation is equal to 1 degree north or south of the Equator. When you are 5000 feet above sea level on the Equator, you have nearly the same climate every month in the year that you have 20 degrees north or south of the Equator in the summer months.
Another thing I want to remind you of in considering the west coast of South America, south of the Panama Canal, is the fact that from the Equator south it is much colder than from the Equator north, on account of the Humboldt Current, which is a cold-water stream flowing north from the Antarctic Ocean, like our Gulf Stream, which tempers the otherwise icy shores of England, or the Japan Current, on our northwest coast as far north as Alaska. At Sitka, Alaska, 57 degrees north, it seldom goes below zero. This cold-water stream from the Antarctic Ocean cools off the whole west coast of South America, up to the Equator, where it turns west into the Pacific Ocean. While crossing the Equator on the west coast of South America, I slept in my cabin covered by a light blanket.
A year ago I was motoring through England and Scotland with my daughter and a young English schoolgirl friend of hers. We were talking about how far north we were and that our Gulf Current kept the little British Island from being frozen up eight months of the year. I jokingly remarked that if we ever had trouble with England we were going to change the course of the Gulf Stream and leave the blooming country nothing but an iceberg. The young lady solemnly replied, “You wouldn't be permitted to do it, would you?” This was no English joke, at least, for an English joke is not to be laughed at.
But to return to the Indian, the basic stock of South America. He grew stronger with the higher, colder climate of the great Andean plateau and the necessity of hustling for a living, until that great race of Indians—the Incaswho lived on the table-lands of the mountains, with their capital at Cuzco, Peru, had developed a civilization equal to, in many ways, that of the Far East or the Asiatic countries they sprang from.
One of the contradictions I find in the development of the South American Indian races, is that they were not meat eaters to any great extent, for there is no evidence that South America was ever a big game country like North America or Africa. While shooting big game in the interior of tropical Africa, I observed that the negroes who lived on meat were less intelligent and had less physical endurance than the Coast black man who lived on fruits, vegetables and fish.
As the North American Indian started weak and helpless in the Arctic country, so I found the native South American deteriorates as we approach the Antarctic Ocean. The lowest order of the human race I ever observed are the Indians on the Island of Tierra del Fuego, south of the Straits of Magellan. The conclusions heretofore given are from observation and personal experience with the American Indians from the Arctic to the Antarctic Oceans.
Columbus spent three years on a small island three miles from the Island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean, gathering evidence from whatever floated onto the shores of his island that there was land a distance away not so great as to destroy or break up that which floated across the waters when the trade winds were from the west.
With this evidence, he returned to Spain and we all know how Queen Isabella pawned her jewelry to back his expedition, and the results. Both Columbus and the Queen believed there was land to the west a few hundred miles, or she would not have “backed" him and he would never have been able to get a crew to sail with him.
The usual impression we have is that Columbus sailed from 3000 to 4000 miles from land to land, but from the Island of Madeira, where he last embarked to the West India island he landed on, near the coast of South America, he covered only a course of about 1600 miles. We all know how the soldiers that followed the discoverer conquered, killed and robbed the poor, defenseless and peaceful Indians of South America.
President Saenz Peña of Argentine said to me one day:
You must not measure South American honesty and morals from a North American standard; remember our origin. We are a mixed race of people coming from the Indian and the Spanish and Portuguese soldiers, who only came to this country to rob the Indian of his gold, not to make a home. You people of the United States sprang from a pure white North European stock who came to your country to get away from some political or religious persecution, and to make a home for themselves. We are improving rapidly.
I certainly agree with him, but I would go still one step further. The South and Central American people, as a race, are a cross between Latin Europe and the people from northeastern Asia-now developed into the American Indian. With this combination of white and yellow blood to start with, you are dealing commercially with a race different from any other on the face of the earth.
I consider it of greater importance that you fully undertand the origin of the people of South and Central America correctly at this time, than how many pairs of shoes or yards of “Americano” they wear a year.
Do not forget, however, that there are about 5 per cent pure blood white people in South America. They are most courteous and kind, and the greatest diplomats on earth, and are the descendants of the first families of Spain and Portugal. When an office holder or public man in the United States fails in the confidence of the public he loses his jobdown there he loses his job and frequently his head at the same time. In the United States a man may “come back,” but in South America-never.
Heretofore, the greatest efforts in human progress have followed the sun's course; hence the phrase, “Westward the star of Empire takes its course.” Our own Southern States' progress, has been retarded through chasing this “star of Empire” westward around the world. It is high time we were saying, “Southward the star of Empire takes it course.” The best unoccupied land in the world is now south of the Equator.
Climate, soil and transportation have their everlasting influence on the people, products and commerce of any country. The climate and soil of South America east of the Andes range of mountains is quite as good as that of the United States of North America east of the Rocky Mountains. Even when you are near the Equator the elevation of the table-lands gives a great variety of products and healthy climate. And when far south near the Straits of Magellan, 54 degrees south, it never gets very cold, because you have open salt water near you in all directions, in the Atlantic, Pacific and Antarctic Oceans.
The prevailing winds of South America are from the east to the west, and the moisture picked up on the Atlantic Ocean is gradually precipitated until the last drop is squeezed out-or frozen out-on top of the high range of mountains near the West Coast. The result is that for 2700 miles on the Pacific Coast it practically never rains and the only vegetation is from irrigation, the water being secured from the melting snows at the top of the mountains. This 2700 miles of rainless desert, the longest in the world, includes all of the coast of Peru and Chile, except the southern end of Chile where the mountain range is low and but a short distance from the Atlantic Ocean.
North America has an area of 8,300,000 square miles; South America 7,700,000 square miles, or 7 per cent less, although the area possible to cultivate is much greater than that of North America. Brazil alone is as large as the United States and will support four times as many of the human family.
When you consider the immense and numerous rivers in South America navigable all the year around, and the great ocean shore-line, also the population and its location, South America is about as well provided with transportation as North America. Of course, everywhere in North and South America you hear, “We want a railroad, or more boats," but the 40,000,000 people south of the Panama Canal are