A look into the book

This page lists the routes from various cities to Ceylon and shows how much the canal would shorten these routes. It is clear to see that all of Europe benefits from the project, but especially the countries around the Mediterranean.

Szarvady lists how many ships with how many tons of cargo sailed around the Cape of Good Hope in 1853. When looking at the list, the British superiority in the trade with Asia becomes obvious.

Here the author calculates the costs of a journey around the Cape and that of passing the Suez Canal. Costs per ton were to decrease from 120 to 72 francs according to the author.)

In chapter 3, Szarvady talks about the actual purpose of the book, as the items of the somewhat unusual table of contents indicate: “Will the shareholder receive his profit? The proceeds of the Suez Canal” and “The existing figures are sufficient to inspire confidence into the future of the project.”

In a letter included in the book, Lesseps describes Germany as the most cosmopolitan nation of the world, where people “know how to subordinate personal interests to the general interests of humanity” – an allusion to the fact that Germany itself will benefit little from the canal.

De Lesseps was a French diplomat who lived in Egypt for a long time. At the invitation of Viceroy Muhammad Said, he came back to Egypt after his retirement from the public service to build the canal for him.

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