Summary of Content: Thanks Gibbons for a gift of cigars. Mentions that the commission is still waiting for a treaty with Colombia before they can proceed with the canal. Describes recent pleasant, warm weather which he appreciates because coal is difficult to obtain, due to a ”long-continued strike.” Declares, ”Should we have another strike before warm weather comes in the spring, there would be great suffering among rich and poor alike, as few people can obtain coal in any quantity, and the stoppage of mining would empty the coal bins almost immediately.” Mentions that his family is well, though scattered about regarding location. Declares, ”Naval matters in Congress seem to look fairly well. There is a prospect of getting two battleships and two armored cruisers, with an increase of a number of midshipmen at the Naval Academy; but I suppose there will be more or less opposition to the number of ships, and possibly the number will be somewhat reduced before the bill becomes a law.”
Background: John Grimes Walker (1835-1907) was a distinguished Union naval veteran of the Civil War. He was appointed President of the Isthmian Canal Commission in 1899. Prior research suggests that Gibbons served in the Department of State.