Correspondence memoirs by de Lesseps
Ferdinand de Lesseps, Souvenirs de quarante ans, Second Volume, Paris, Nouvelle Revue, 1887.

Real Audio - cliquez iciORIGINS OF THE SUEZ CANAL
To S.M.W. Ruyssenaers, Consul General of the Netherlands, in Egypt

    Paris, 15 November 1852.

    When you wrote to me that there was no chance of getting the idea of digging a channel through the Suez isthmus accepted by Abbas-Pasha, I mentioned my project to one of my friends' financiers, M. Benoit Fould, who was going to form an association with a business aiming to set up a property savings bank in Constantinople. He was impressed by the ambition of the project and by the potential profitability - including the concessions to be requested from Turkey - of taking on the unique task of building the Suez Canal.

    The negotiator sent to Constantinople encountered problems which led to the project's being turned down. One of the arguments raised against it was the impossibility of taking charge of work to be carried out in Egypt, where only the Viceroy had the right to undertake such a project.

    Under these circumstances, I shall put my ideas on the opening up of the isthmus into the background and, until the time seems more propitious, I shall devote my energies to agriculture and the building of a model farm on the estate which my mother-in-law, Mme Delamalle, has just purchased.