ORIGINS 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.