Canal Bill in the House

January 11, 1902


House members debate the Nicaragua Canal Bill and discuss the decision of the United States to control the strategic canal.


Mr. Hepburn opened debate and spoke for two hours.
Washington, Jan 8.-- The debate on the Nicaragua canal bill in the house was opened in lively fashion yesterday by Mr. Hepburn, chairman of the interstate and foreign commerce committee, which reported the bill. For two hours he held the floor, replying to a volley of questions concerning the recent offer of the Panama Canal Company to sell its property and franchises to the United States for $40,000,000. The interest in the debate centered almost entirely in this new phase of the subject. Mr. Hepburn maintained that the alleged new offer of the Panama company was part of the play of delay. All his utterances along that line were liberally applauded. He pointed out what he claimed was the suspicious circumstance that the Panama company held out for $109,000,000 until it was decided before the holiday recess to consider the Nicaragua bill, and then suddenly dropped the price to $40,000,000. Mr. Morris, of Minnesota, gave notice that at the proper time he would offer an amendment to authorize the president, if he could procure the property and rights of the Panama company for $40,000,000, if concessions could be procured from Colombia, and if the Walker commission so recommended, to purchase and proceed to complete the Panama canal.
In the Senate.
The first notes of the contest between the Nicaragua and Panama routes for the isthmian canal were heard in the senate yesterday. Mr. Morgan offered and secured the adoption of a resolution which indicated his purpose to have the committee on interoceanic canals inquire into the relations alleged to exist between the transcontinental railroad companies of the United States and Canada and the Panama Canal company. In explanation of the resolution Mr. Morgan declared that the alleged relations were a “wicked monopoly” which already had cost the people of the Pacific coast millions of dollars. The relations involve the control by the Panama Canal company of the Panama Railroad company and the agreement existing between certain railroads of the United States and the Pacific Mail Steamship company.
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Brooke Royer


“Canal Bill in the House,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed December 9, 2022,