The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.) 1881-current, April 23, 1905, PART THREE, Page 34, Image 34

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PANAMA, April fc (Special corr. or
The Sunday Oregonlan.) Uncle Sam
is likely to lose millions through the
"Miss Nancys of Congress before the canal
is completed. They have already begun
their investigations of the petty emer
gency purchases made by the Canal Com
mission, and they Insist that everything
shall be done by slow Government meth
od backed by Congressional action. Such
methods are all right in ordinary Govern
ment business, but just now they are like
great iron balls chained to the legs of the
engineers, retarding their work at an
enormous cost in money and, I might al
most say, in life as well. Farther on in
this letter I shall show how such delays
have affected the hospitals and how they
are retarding the actual work on the
canal. At this initial stage the Govern
ment cannot afford to be penny wise and
jjound foolish. The work Is already start
ed, and the high-priced men are on the
ground. There is an immediate need of
all sorts of supplies, and emergencies are
'bound to come from time to time which
will demand the Immediate expenditure
of comparatively large sums at a mo
ment's notice. On such occasion's minor
mistakes may occur, a few men may
make more than an ordinary profit, but
the saving in money and health will be
A Loss or $20,000 a Day.
The parents who have boys on the isth
mus -0111 be Interested in the matter of
health. The taxpayers are interested In
pushing the work on the canal, for every
day of delay will cost them at least $20,
000. We are to spend on the canal, includ
ing the money we have already given the
French, about $300,000,000. and it is es
timated that it will take from ten to
twelve years to built It At 3 per cent the
annual interest cost on that sum will be
equal to $9,000,000, but as the money will
be gradually invested, the interest should
be averaged from beginning to end, and it
will be only half the above sum, or $4,500,
vCOO a year. The engineers tell me that the
cost of the engineering, administration,
sanitation and general expenses, which
will be about the same throughout the
work, will approximate $2,000,000 a year,
which, added to the $4,500,000. makes 56,
500,000 for these two elements for each
year it Is building. This is the time value
of the work. The moment the canal Is
ddne this expense stops and the canal be
comes a live account, instead of a dead
one on our National ledger.
Now, six and a half million dollars,
divided by 300, means $20,000 for each work
ing day, and that Is what the delay will
cost us year in and year out. For every
day that Congress haggles over the prices
we shall have to spend $20,000. Every
working hour will cost us $2000, and every
working minute means a loss of more
than $30, that loss going on at the rate
of 50 cents per second at every watch tick
the working day through.
Is this the time to haggle about the cost
of waffle ironsmuffln tins, hospital sup-
plies and-blue print paper for the use of
the engineers?
I want to know.
Red Tape at Panama.
Indeed, Congress ie making sucha fuss
about the petty Items of expense at Pan
ama, that both the commission and the en
gineers are afraid to buy the actual neces
sities without a lot of red tape that
makes their actual cost ten times as
great as though they were bought at
double prices. We are building and re
pairing something like 3000 houses here.
The other day an order was sent to
Washington for 12,000 doors to be forward
ed Immediately. The Panama department
of material and supplies advised that
they be purchased In the open market;
bnt one of the commissioners tells me
that they would not dare to do so, for
Congress would surely investigate such an
outrageous action. Other orders have
&een made for picks and shovels, others
for water pipe, machinery, large and
small, and for a hundred other things
which the work imperatively needs; but
ships come and ships go. and the sup-
&r. AX7ZC&?y caws.
plies are not -here. I understand that or
ders were sent in for blue print paper
months ago. All drawings and engineer
ing reports are copied on this paper, and
it is almost a necessity to the further
ance of the work. I suppose it will come
in time.
As to the waffle irons and muflln tins,
made much of In one Congressional inves
tigation, they were probably the part of
a furniture order. The United States
gives quarters to Its American employes.
It has already bought 400 or more sets
of furniture for this purpose. It will need
all sorts of ranges and kitchen supplies,
and I suppose the Miss Nancys of Con
gress will demand that each stove lid and
stove holder be duly advertised for com
petitive bids, while 1n the meantime our
Eood American laborers may do their
cooking on spits.
As far as I can see there is no ex
travagance here. The chief kicks among
the men at the top are not on account
of personal discomfort, but from the de
lay which occurs in the lack ot tools for
expediting their work.
Story of Twelve Whitewash Brushes.
Indeed all sorts of stories are- told here
at Panama as to how red tape works in
the Government service. A very perti
nent one, which, however, I do not be
lieve. Is the story of the 12 whitewash
brushes. According to this one of the
sanitary officers in the middle of the zone
had sent in an order for" 12 men to come
to his station to do some whitewashing
to make the pJlace sanitary, and at the
game time he sent in a requisition for 12
whitewash brushes. The men came all
right, but the order for the whitewash
brushes had to pass through the Govern
ment malls and the clerks in charge first
mailed a query to the sanitary agent as
to whether nine whitewash brushes would
not do quite as well. He replied that
they would not. and In the course of two
days the extra three brushes arrived.
Washington Cadets Who Will Be Here at Opening of the Lewis
PULIiMAN, Wash., April 20. (Special
Correspondent of the Sunday Oregonlan.)
The cadet battalion of the State College
of Washington will hold their annual
encampment in Portland during the great
Lewis and Clark Exposition this Summer.
Four infantry companies, a military
band of 30 pieces, and the Signal Corps
constitute the battalion, . whose entire
strength .is SCO. A -special, Jrain over, ta
Meanwhile three men had been wa!
for a chance to get In their work;", and
their wages footed up many times xthe
cost of the brushes.
I might also tell the story of aTfeather
duster upon which bids are alleged to
have' been gotten at the Panama shops
and other stories, but such things are
only illustrative of Government methods
which are better understood in Washing
ton than here. The truth Is the men zx
Panama use every means possible to get
what they want for their work. Some of
the employes even take money out of
their own pockets and buy at the stores,
trusting to he paid back In the future.
The French supplies and machinery on
hand have been of enormous value, and
the French warehouses are ransacked to
supply many deficiencies.
A Business Administration.
Indeed the enormous interest and work
ing cost of building the canal demand that
It should be pushed to completion as rap
Idly as possible. We need- a modern busi
ness administration, with modern business
methods. We need men 'who will look at
the commercial side of every proposition,
as well as the technical and political
In order to shorten the time we should
first adopt a careful, well-considered and
comprehensive general scheme of work
and then have an administration which
will see that the labor, material and ma
chinery necessary to vigorously prose
cute that work are promptly furnished.
This means that we must have a one
man power at the head of all things
connected with the construction of the
canal, and that this power must be on
the ground -with ability to meet emer
gencies and with authority to act with
out the delay Incident to making- re
ports to some other authority 2000 miles
away and without wasting1 one or two
O. R. & N. has been definitely secured.
It will leave Pullman either on the morn
ing or evening of May 30, and will arrive
in Portland in time for the cadets to
make camp on the 31st of May. Then
all will be in readiness for the opening
exercises ofJune 1. It is not definitely
known here whether or not the cadets
will participate in the opening exercises.
The State College battalion is taking
a great interest -In the contests to be
t5- TP
months of waiting1 before any impor
tant individual move can be made.
It means that the ordinary restric
tions of our routine government work
should be modified, and that those
which prevail In our great railroads and
other business Institutions should take
their place. It means the abolition of
the re J tape which now holds as to such
work, and that everything- should be
done to hurry on the completion of the
canal at the earliest possible moment.
It means that we should have the best
and most improved machinery, that no
time should be waited In experimenting-,
and that only machinery which has
been ,in actual use and has stood the
test of actual service should be em
ployed. This is the idea of the engi
neers here, and as I have shown. In describing-
the handling- of the Culebra
cut, it will make possible the comple
tion of the canal in a comparatively
short time.
It seems to me tfiat if a man like
the chief engineer were given entire
charge of the work at Panama, with a
large enough contingent fund to meet
every possible emergency and with the
authority to act in emergencies, as far
as the isthmus is concerned; and if at
the same time a man of similar ability
and training could be placed under the
Secretary of War and the President at
the Washington end of the line the
canal would go jumping from now on
to the finish. This, of course, means
consulting and advisory engineers for
Mr. Wallace, and it also means plenty
of assistance for the men at the other
end, with the President at the head as
the boss, of the whole.
Some of the most serious delays,
caused, I suppose by advertisements for
bids, have been in supplying the hos
pitals. Several of the doctors have told
me that they have been out of drugs
for a considerable time, but it was not
held at the Fair in military drills with
cadet corps of other Institutions. Bat
talion drills arc becoming spirited, and
the State College hopes to have the best
drilled battalion on the grounds. Com
pany drills are excellent, and each com
pany here is expecting to be declared
the best-drilled company there. Regular
army officers who are to judge these con
tests will also be asked to decide which
is the best company of the college bat
APRIL 23, 1905.
until this morning that 1 had a detailed
statement as to the lack of medical and
aurglcal necessities. My informant is
one of the American trained nurses who
has been employed at Ancon for sev
eral months. Said she:
"We have had great trouble in get
ting things of all. kinds on time. When
the Americans took hold. supplies were
sent down for a hospital of 100 beds,
We have now 300 beds in use and no
proportionate increase of supplies. -This
means a lack of basins, rubber sheet
lngs, lamps and lanterns. We have had
only a few temperature thermometers.
In my ward I had 23 patients and In
order to get a thermometer to take
their temperature I had to go to an
other ward to borrow one. This was the
case in other wards, and it so resulted
that in one ward no temperature was
taken from 1 P. M. until 9 A. M. the
next day. The nurse in charge of that
ward would nave had to go out In the
dark, down the hill, through the trees
to another ward to borrow a thermom
eter. She was afraid and did not go,
and I don't blame her- Such thermom
eters cannot cost more than 50 cents
uploce at wholesale.
"Another thing we needed but could
not get," the nurse went on. "was ab
sorbent cotton and gauze. We ordered
It from the United States, but It takes
a month to get an ordinary purchase
thrcugn, and for weeks we lacked this
material to dress wounds and drain
them. We use old mosquito netting
for a time, and also bought cheese
cloth of tlie Panama stores and tried
that. The cheese cloth - contained
starch, and, when It became dry. It
would make a covering over the wound
standing out from it. I do nofknow that
any injury rosulted from this, but It
was certainly a great annoyance to the
doctors and nurses."
"How about drug supplies?" I asked.
talions, and this company will be awarded
a silver cup, which is annually presented1
at Pullman. This will be separate from
the inter-bajtallan contest.
Guardmounting here has also been given
a stimulus lately. Colonel Sapp is super
vising this department. Each day an or
derly is selected from the guard 'and Is
excused from the following drL'J for the
The cadets are under the abltf. Instruc
. . ' ita
"We have been short of a number of
Important medicines at times. We have
been entirely out of arsenic, strychnine,
potash and digitalis, and also of iron,
iodine and similar drugs. One of the
medicines we use is the elixir of qui
nine, iron and strychnine. We were once
out of that for weeks, and it was the
same with Fowler's solution of
Xurses at Panama.
"What kind of a position is that of
trained nurse at Panama?"
"It Is not an easy one and it is poorly
paid," was the reply. "We nurses came
here on the understanding that we should
have all our expenses and $50 a month.
We get $50, but there are so many inci
dentals that there is very little of our
pay left at the end of a month. We live
at Ancon and have to have a cab every
time we go to Panama to shop. This
costs us about a' dollar a time, and the
result Is from $S to $10 a month goes into
cab fares. And then the washing. Only
the uniforms can be done up at the hos
pital laundrj'i and all the small articles
that a woman must have, such as hand
kerchiefs, laces, fine dresses, eta, must
be washed outside. This-costs on the
average about $3 per month. In addition
there are many other expenses, so that
all told, one makes much less here than
at home.
"The truth Is, the salary of a trained
nurse at Panama, should be $75 or $100
per month, everything Included. I think
the nurses would be satisfied with $75, but
considering the work, the risk to health
and the distance from home, $100 a month
Is little enough. Such a salary would raise
the standard of the nurses here, and
.would bring the best. As It Is now we
"are paid too little. Indeed, we get $25
per week when we nurse In private fami
lies In the United States, and that usually
in rich families where the comforts are
far greater than here."
"How many nurses arc there at Pan
ama?" "I should, say about 40, and of these
two-thirds are Americans and the rest
Canadians. They are fairly good, but it
is claimed that the salary is so low that
the very best trained American nurses
will not come. We have no nurses from
Johns Hopkins, the University of Penn
sylvania or the Blockley Training School
of Philadelphia. We have some from
Bellevue Hospital, New York, but none
from the other large and well-known hos
pitals of that city or Washington. Some
of our nurses have served In Cuba and
the Philippines, and we have one who
went with Dr. Anita McGce to Japan and
nursed in the hospitals there. The nurses
are all conscientious and they all earn
their salaries several times over."
"Give me some idea of the character of
your patients."
"I don't like to speak about that." said
the nurse. "That Is a sore subject with
us. I am a Southern woman, and while
I might possibly not object to eating
dinner with Booker T. Washington, I
would object to nursing the black serv
ant who dug ditches in Booker T. Wash
ington's back yard. Most of the wards are
filled with the ordinary canal laborers,
men who receive from 75 cents to $1 a
day. They are largely Jamaica negroes,
as black as a stove, and native Pana
mans, many of whom are mulattoes. We
have ten wards here, and of these only
and Clark Fair
tion of Captain Edward Kimmel, U. S.
A. Artillery Corps, Captain Kimmel, who
was recently In Portland to select the
camp site is a graduate of the State
College of Washington. He entered col
lege from Washington and was cadet
private Just the same as the rest of them.
He went through the same things that
he is now instructing- the cadets in. He
graduated in 1S38 and was appointed sec
ond Lieutenant by President McXiuiey,
one Is devoted to the American employes
on the canal; the other nine are occupied
by the people I have described. They
are of a lower class than can be found
in the charity wards of our city hospitals.
Some of them have diseases which are
loathsome to an extreme. The patients
are almost all men, and many of them
are such that a woman should not be
asked to touch them."
3Iore Money Needed for Sanitation.
I understand that more money Is needed
here for sanitation. The sanitation offi
cers asked for $2,000,000 to clean up the
isthmus, but they were given only one
fourth that amount. They estimated
that it would take $75,000 to clean Pana
ma, and about one-third that sum was
allowed. The supplies needed have been
promptly ordered, but the necessity of
advertising for bids has caused a delay
In the orders being filled, and in the
meantime the hospitals have gotten
along as well as they could, patronizing
to some extent the Pans-m;- drugstores at
considerably higher prices than similar
orders would have coat in the United
It seems to me that the sanitary force
here Is excellent. The corps of doctors
embraces some of the best men of their
profession, and both doctors and nurses
are doing earnest and conscientious
to the matter of supplies, one of the
doctors recommends that a .medical pur
veyor be put at the head of the medical
supply department for Panama at New
York, and that he be paid $o000 a. year.
This man would be in close connection
with the hospitals here, and would keep
In touch with the markets at home. He
would see that Panama has always a
full month's hospital supplies In ad
vance, and a large. enough reserve sup
ply to meet any emergency. Indeed,
some such provi ion would seem to be
almost a necessity In the present condi
tion of the Isthmus. (Copyright, 1S05.)
Willing to Oblige.
Sydney (N. S. W.) Bulletin.
I was walking In a Northern Maori
land township one morning, when a wom
an rushed frantically from a house. A
weary Individual was a bit ahead of me;
seizing him by the arm. the woman im
plored him to run for the doctor, as her
husband had accidentally swallowed
some poison. A bicycle stood by the
gate; sighting it, the female breathlessly
asked: "Chu you ride a bike?" The mon
ument deliberately looked It over as he
lit his pipe, then replied: "Well. no.
missus; but it wouldn't take me long to
Elghtcen-Ineh 3Ioustache Burned Up
Seaford Corr. Philadelphia Record.
While burning brush on his farm here
today William Walnwright discovered the
fire was threatening his home, and in at
tempting to check the flames was badly
burned, losing his moustache, measuring
18 Inches from tip to tip. Dewey, his pet
dog. soemed to realize the danger, and
worked heroically to extinguish the fire
by beating it with his paws. Waln
wrlght's mustache has been his pride for
30 years, and he had trained It wonder
fully. He could easily draw it to the
back of his neck and tie a knot in It.
fought In the Philippines and came back
to Fortress Monroe, where he was soon
made Captain of Artillery. Captain Kim
mel is only 27 years old and was assigned
to the college here only after persistent
efforts by President Bryan, who wanted
an army officer who had himself been
a common cadet like the rest of the bat
talion. He Is very popular with the
command because he understands hia
men; yet he Is astrict disciplinarian,.