HC Deb 02 August 1869 vol 198 cc1087-8

said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether he has received any official information as to the probable navigable depth of water expected in and through the Suez Canal; and when it is to be opened for general commercial purposes?


, in reply, said, he would give his hon. Friend all the information on the matter of which he was possessed, only premising that it was not official. Mr. Fowler, the engineer, who was in Egypt at the beginning of the present year, in an account of the canal, published in The Times on the 1st of February, describes its depth as 26 ft. He says— With minute exceptions the whole of the canal is now being excavated, and completed according to one or other of the following sections: —The first section is 22 miles in length (the difficult part of the work), 190 ft. in width at the surface of the water, and 26 ft. deep for 72 ft. at bottom. The second section is 77 miles in length, 327 ft; in width at surface, and a similar depth of 26ft., for a similar width of 72 ft. at the bottom. They had heard from other sources, however, that the depth did not exceed 18 ft. It had also been stated that the opening of the canal had been fixed by the company for the 17th of November next, though there was reason to doubt whether the works would be sufficiently advanced by that date to warrant the canal being then opened for general navigation.