The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 14
The Suez Canal
The Suez Canal.
Projected by Hons. Ferdinand de Lesseps in 1852, opposed by Lord Palmerston, but assented to by the French, Austrian, Russian, Turkish, and Egyptian governments. Cutting commenced in 1858 by Sir Daniel A. Lange. First craft passed from Mediterranean to Red Sea on 15th August, 1865, laden with coals; but the first vessel of any considerable tonnage which ran through was the "Primo," on 17th February, 1867. French and English vessels entered in November of the following year; and in February, 1869, the course was declared suitable for the mail steamers. The official opening took place in November, 1869. Do Lesseps was entertained by English cities in July, 1870.
In April, 1873, the Canal Company increased their dues by 50 per cent., and the British Government moved for an international Conference, which met at Constantinople in November and December of that year, and accepted certain proposals of the Porte, against which M. de Lesseps in vain protested for a while (attempting even the closing of the Canal for four days in April, 1874), and then gave way.
Additional expense upon the shares has been necessarily incurred by the purchase of ordinary shares for the qualification of British Representative Directors, and in the maintenance of these officials, £21,055 having thus far gone upon such items; moreover to raise the money for the original purchase, page 118 it became requisite to issue Exchequer Bonds bearing interest at 3£ per cent, for £4,000,000. These were made payable half-yearly up to the year 1912, and on 31st March, 1885, there had been paid upon them (Capital and Interest) £1,749,916, a liability of £3,439,300 still remaining, subject of course to interest. The quoted price upon the Stock Exchange for ordinary shares in the Canal was in 1885 somewhere about £80—a large increment in value, but this, being for shares actually yielding the increased dividends, is not easily comparable with the position of the British Shares, which for a while (in 1885) stopped payment—being now reduced to per cent.—and have earned for us a good deal of hostility from our French neighbours. The Capital of the Suez Canal Company is £16,867,000—only £8,000,000 being in Shares and the rest in Debentures. Dividends, which were only 5 per cent, in 1874, 5 7/10 per cent, in 1876, and 6 per cent, in 1879, have immensely advanced since the British occupation of Egypt. They became 92/3 per cent, in 1880, 133/5 per cent, in 1881, and 161/3 per cent, in 1882. In 1884 the ordinary shares yielded about 87¼ francs, and delegations
1163/5 francs, having fallen from 88 12/30 and 118 7/10 respectively paid in the preceding year, owing to the reduction of dues and abolition of the pilotage tax.
|Years.||Ships.||Tons.||Fees & Dues.|
The proportions of Canal against Cape voyages are about as 104 to 60. 76 per cent, of the tolls are from British vessels, 9½ per cent, from French, 4 per cent, from Dutch, and 10½ per cent, of all other nations.
One-seventh of our foreign commerce now passes through the Canal, which was 13 years in construction, is 92 miles long and 26 feet deep, and has shortened by one-third all voyages to the East. The British Government, in May and June 1877, claimed for the Canal international neutrality.
|Great Britain||2,474||6,312,533.810||2,537||6,136,837 010||2,565||6,795,584-360|