In the next year (March - April) he inspected the Panama Canal and also visited Cuba and Porto Rico.
He was for exempting American shipping from Panama Canal tolls and also supported woman suffrage.
He had resolved to construct the Panama Canal without locks, to make it an uninterrupted navigable way.
The Hay-Herran Treaty of January 1903, providing that the United States take over the Panama Canal was not ratified by the Colombian Congress, possibly because it was hoped that settlement might be delayed until the concession to the company expired, and that then the payment from the United States would come directly to the Colombian government; and the Congress, which had been specially called for the purpose - there was no regular legislative government in Bogota in1898-1903- adjourned on the 31st of October.
He was not a man to shirk responsibility, and notwithstanding that he had reached the age of 74, he undertook to carry out the Panama Canal project (see Panama Canal and France: History).