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two hundred and eighteen and one hundred and seventy feet respectively; but the deepest cut of all is at Tamborcito, about twenty-six miles from Greytown. Here the high ground north of the canal approaches so close to the river that a cut through it becomes imperative. The ridge is narrow, however, the width at the top being only a few feet and at the level of the water in the canal less than three thousand feet, but the extreme depth of the cut is two hundred and nineteen feet. The borings show that it is nearly all hard rock. The less heavy cuts will also be in firm ground, but the exact character of the material cannot be stated until the borings now in progress have been completed.

The most difficult engineering work in connection with the Nicaragua Canal project is the construction of a dam across the San Juan River to hold back the waters of the lake and enable its level to be regulated. It is of great importance

that this dam should be located above the mouth of the San Carlos River, as the latter discharges at times as much as 100,000 cubic feet of water per second, carrying with it great quantities of sand.

Lake Nicaragua, which forms a part of the summit level, is about one hundred miles long and forty-five miles wide, and is distant only about twelve to thirty miles from the Pacific. Originally it was an arm of the Pacific Ocean, but the shifting of the continental divide cut it off from the sea. The lake discharges through the San Juan River into the Caribbean Sea near Greytown. For the upper half of its course the San Juan winds through hilly country. Neither it nor any of its tributaries in this section carries much sediment, and a slack water navigation by means of locks and dams is practicable. But half way down its course the San Juan River receives the waters of the San Carlos which carry great quantities of


[graphic][merged small]


sand and thus render the San Juan use- From the Pacific side the summit will be less for the purposes of a canal beyond reached by four locks of uniform lift of their junction. The canal route, there- twenty-eight and one-half feet. It is asfore, is compelled here to leave the San sumed that the mean level of the two Juan, which can no longer be of service, oceans is about the same.

The mean and find to the sea an independent way. range of tides on the east is about one foot

Lake Nicaragua can furnish an unlim- and that on the west side about eight feet. ited supply of water to the canal. It is be- The following table gives the distances lieved that it varies in its level as much on the Nicaragua route: as thirteen feet. Such an extreme fluc- Number of miles of canal proper..... 67.33 tuation occurs, however, only at relatively Number of miles of river improved... 27.96 remote intervals. This fluctuation will be

Number of miles not requiring im

provement. reduced by the construction of the dam in Number of miles of lake channel 300 the San Juan River just above the San feet wide

22.19 Carlos, whose waters cannot be used be

Number of miles of lake not requiring cause of the load of sediment they carry.



Number of miles of harbors and enTo reach the summit level from the At

trances to same

3.05 lantic side five locks will be constructed, the first having a lift of thirty-six and one

Total number of miles from ocean to half feet and the other four a uniform lift

ocean, measured from the 6-fathom of eighteen and one-half feet, except the Time necessary to pass through the lock at the summit, the lift of which will canal, 33 hours. vary with the level of the lake. The locks The Isthmian Commission believe that will be seven hundred and forty feet long it would take ten years to construct the by eighty feet wide in the clear, with a canal, and that the cost would be at least depth of thirty-five feet over the miter-sill. $200,000,000.






THE Tsangpo is in several re- The attempts to solve its mysteries have spects the most remarkable river been attended with an almost unparal

in the world. It is the highest leled heroism, endurance, steadfastness, of all navigable streams, flowing for and self-sacrifice. For the principal exnearly a thousand miles at an elevation plorers of the Tsangpo have been aniof from 11,000 feet to 14,000 feet. Dur- mated, not as those who sought the ing the greater part of its course its fountain-springs of the Nile, by the hope current is sluggish, but for a hundred of the world's applause at their success miles or more the mighty river, in its —that was denied them—but for a simdescent to the coast plain, runs with the ple daily wage and the consciousness of speed of a mountain-torrent. Though loyalty to duty.

one of the largest of Central Asian The physical history of the Tsangpo streams, it has never been followed from is briefly this: It rises in the extreme its source to its mouth, and until recent- southwestern corner of Tibet, close to ly it was doubtful of which of two well- the sources of the Ganges, the Indus, known rivers it was the head-waters. and its great affluent, the Sutlej, at a height of nearly 15,000 feet. Receiving thousand feet in one hundred and fifty the drainage of the slopes of the Hima- miles, plunging with the mad rush of a layas and of a little-known Tibetan mountain-brook hemmed in by ranges range running parallel with these moun- whose peaks are from thirteen to twentytains, it soon becomes a stream wide two thousand feet in height. The native and deep enough to be navigable. testimony is conclusive as to the existThere is a considerable boat traffic upon ence of at least one awe-inspiring fall it, at an elevation but little below the before Tibetan territory is left. A scisummit of Mt. Blanc. It flows due east entific journal* published, a few years for some eight hundred miles, receiving ago, a copy of a picture of them by numerous large tributaries from both a native Tibetan artist who lived in south and north, and when near Lhasa their vicinity. It shows them enveloped it is, at low water, nearly a third of a in clouds of mist and spray, and the mile wide and twenty feet deep; in flood, cliffs are covered by sub-tropical vegetatwo miles wide and of unknown depth. tion. The local lamas relate to the aweIn longitude 94° E. it makes a sharp struck pilgrim that amid the thundering bend to the south, and passes through water stands a king-devil, placed there the Himalayas in a course known only under a spell by the lamas, and, when the to the savages who dwell upon its pre- river is low, the faithful can see his cipitous banks.

figure looming dimly through the fallWhen last seen by an explorer it is ing waters. at a height of from eight to eleven thou- It has not been from the lack of the sand feet, but when it emerges in Assam spirit of adventure, or because of the it is only four hundred feet above sea- natural difficulties presented by the level. From this point it pursues its region-great though they doubtless are sluggish way for another eight hundred —that no white man has solved the miles as the Brahmaputra to the Ganges mystery of this part of the river's course. and the Bay of Bengal. There has been Its attempted ascent from the plains a long controversy, into the details of Assam has been absolutely prohibited which it is not necessary to enter, as to hitherto by the Indian Government on whether the Irawadi or the Brahma- the entirely reasonable ground that putra is the continuation of the Tsangpo. there is almost a certainty that the exThough there has been as yet no direct plorer would be killed by the savage evidence—the last expedient of throw- Vishmis, who are intolerably jealous of ing in marked logs in Tibet having the presence of a stranger in their counfailed—the general consensus of scien- try. This would necessitate a punitive tific opinion is in favor of the Brahma- expedition costly in treasure and in life putra, and the latest English gazetteer -an evil by no means commensurate describes it under this name.

with the gain of having satisfied what is, It is hardly to be expected that pure after all, pure curiosity. The Tibetan

. science will be much benefited by the officials also, while preventing so far as lifting of the veil which hangs over this they are able any white men from enterpart of the river's course. But there ing Tibet, for some unknown reason can be little doubt that it hides scenes forbid Tibetans even to attempt to deof magnificent beauty and grandeur scend the river beyond their which will thrill the expectant world,

frontier. and give it new and nobler conceptions The Tsangpo has been explored, howof the sublimity of nature.

ever, with the exception of this one The imagination fails to grasp the hundred and fifty miles, notwithstandreality, as there is no other instance on earth of a large river dropping eight Geographical Journal, vol. 5, p. 258.



ing the opposition of the Tibetans and journal, and at length to sleep. Years the difficulties presented by the highest aiter, the traveller might see this same mountain region in the world, though man at the Great Trigonometrical Surnot by white men. At any time within vey in Calcutta reading to an English the last thirty-five years the trans-Hima- officer his journal, explaining his obserlayan traveller might have met a cara- vations and route-survey, and narrating van of Tibetan and Indian traders with his adventures in one instance these intheir pack-laden sheep climbing or de- cluded a seven years' slavery in Tibet. scending some steep mountain-pass, or lie asks who he is, and is amazed to crossing the Tsangpo on rafts. Walk- learn that he is only a school-master in ing humbly with the servants and slaves, a little Himalayan village in the district for to walk is a mark of servitude with of Kumaon. those people, there would be an Indian What is his reward for these year-long with iea-bowl and prayer-barrel sus- toils, sufferings, and dangers, this daily pended at his girdle, counting his rosary risking his life in an attempt to add to as he walked, differing in nothing ap- the world's knowledge? A little piece of parently from his companions except in land, possibly a small pension, and, while his more intelligent face and the greater he is able to serve-oblivion. But soon interest with which he noted everything the scientific journals will be full of acabout him. But open his prayer-barrel, counts of the wonderful journey of the which he piously twirls when he comes native Indian explorer, the great extent to some particularly dangerous spot, and marvellous accuracy of his survey, and there will be found in it, instead of his pluck and endurance, his fertility of the scroll with the Buddhist prayer, resource, and, above all, his single“Om mani padmi hom,” notes of the hearted devotion to the cause of science. journey after the boundary was crossed, If his services are publicly recognized by observations with sextant and compass, some great Society, with the names of and a simple route-survey showing the world-renowned explorers, we read length of each day's march, the relative merely, "The Pundit employed by Capposition of the prominent peaks, the tain T. G. Montgomerie-a gold watchcourse of the streams, and their approxi- for his route-survey in Great Tibet." * mate breadth and depth. Examine It was in 1861 that the successful opclosely his rosary, and one would dis

position of the Tibetans to the exploracover to his surprise that, instead of the

tion of the trans-Himalayan region, by orthodox one hundred and eight beads, Europeans, as well as the fact that Indian there were only a hundred, and that he

traders were permitted to travel freely dropped one at every hundred steps, throughout Tibet, suggested to an officer which were uniformly two and a half feet

connected with the Great Trigonometrical long. If he were watched carefully he

Survey of India the expedient of employwould be seen to steal from camp at ing native surveyors. night, when all else were sleeping, if bit

The village school-master, Nain Singh, ing wind, freezing cold, and driving

who had been in the service of the brothsnow permit, with his box and tea-bowl.

ers Schlagintweit during their exploraTaking from beneath the false bottom of

tions in Kashmir, was the first man to rehis box a few instruments, and pouring some quicksilver into his tea-bowl for an * Royal Geographical Society Year-Book, artificial horizon, he makes an observa- 1899, p. 208. It should be said, however, that tion of some star, notes the condition of

in 1877 the patron's medal was bestowed on

the Pundit Nain Singh-then incapacitated for barometer and thermometer, compares further service. Two others are also menhis chronometer with his watch, and tioned by name in the list of recipients of then goes back to camp to write up his


ceive the necessary training for the work. made a route survey of 1,319 miles, 1,200 At the head-quarters of the Survey he was of which were through country never pretaught the use of the sextant, compass, viously explored, and took four hundred etc., to recognize all the larger stars, to and ninety-seven observations. During all walk with paces of uniform length, and this time he was known to the scientific to make a simple route-survey. When world only as the “pundit,” but the sufthese things had been sufficiently ac- ferings of this last journey having so afquired, he was sent to explore the Tsang- fected his health as to compel him to give po from its source to India, if possible. up his connection with the Survey, his It was 1865 before he succeeded in estab- name was disclosed. He has been follishing himself in Tibet as a trader desir- lowed by others, among whom those ing to buy horses and at the same time, known as A-k, D-m-g, and K. P. have as a pious Buddhist, to do homage to the accomplished the most in trans-HimaLhasa Lama. His “instrumental equip.

layan exploration, all men of like courage, ment consisted of a large sextant, two box endurance, and animated by a singlesextants, prismatic and pocket compass, minded devotion to their duty. But none thermometers for observing temperature have succeeded, as yet, in tracing the of air and of boiling water, pocket chro- Tsangpo's course through the mountains nometer and common watch, with appa- to Assam. ratus, the latter reduced as much as pos- But there are indications of a change sible. After numerous adventures he of feeling of the rulers of Tibet toward finally reached Lhasa, where he had an the Indian Government which promises interview with the Grand Lama, whom he free intercourse between the two countries described as a fair and handsome boy of in the not distant future. As the deadly about thirteen years of age, seated on a

hostility of the Mishmis to strangers penethrone six feet high, attended by two of trating their mountain fastnesses has been the highest priests, each holding a bundle largely due to Tibetan influence, we may of peacock feathers. In this journey he look in time to a similar change among was able to follow the course of the river them to friendliness. If this should be the only to the neighborhood of Lhasa, some case, we trust that the man who lifts the six hundred miles. Nor did he succeed in veil which shrouds this wondrous passage tracing it farther in a second journey of the river through the Himalayas may made seven years later-a journey mem- be one of that noble band, a native Indian orable, however, from the fact that he surveyor.

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