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unusual height of five stories. It did not lack architectural beauty, if we may judge from the main entrance, which still stands, facing the Avenue. The enormous doors remain intact, framed in a graceful archway and surmounted by the symbol of the Order of Jesus, a bleeding heart, carved in sandstone. The monastery had not long been built when it was destroyed by the fire which, in 1737, devoured a large portion of the city and included the church of San Domingo in its sweep.

The little church of San José is built against an angle of the ruins of San Domingo, and has stood there for probably considerably more than a century. Not long since, there died at his post an extremely aged priest who had acted as cura of San José for nearly eighty

The church is the smallest and, perhaps, the poorest in Panama. The little wooden bell tower, in the left hand corner of the masonry facade, was doubtless originally designed for a temporary convenience and the money for a substantial substitute has never been available. The interior displays similar indications of poverty in its wooden columns and choir loft and cheap finishings. There is no attempt


at decoration. Kalsomine covers the walls and woodwork, but the gaudily dressed figures of saints on altar and shrine afford an overabundance of color.



The narrow strip of land, running east and west, and connecting the continents of North and South America, used to be considered a part of the latter, but is now generally looked upon as a portion of Central America. This classification is consistent with the physical and climatic features of the territory of Panama, which more closely resemble those of Costa Rica, than they do those of Colombia.

The Republic of Panama occupies an area of nearly 32,000 square miles, of which the extreme length is 430 miles and the average breadth 70 miles. Its inland borders, dividing it on the one hand from Costa Rica, and on the other Colombia, aggregate less than 350 miles, while its coast line totals 1,245 miles, considerably more than half of which faces the Pacific. This peculiar formation of the territory insures two great advantages; either coast is easily accessible from any point in the interior and the entire area might be brought within the scope of a railroad more readily than the domain of any other nation in the world. Surveys for such a road to extend from Panama to David, in the Province of Chiriqui, have been made and the Government has contracted with the Panama Railroad to build it.

1 The greater part of this chapter is extracted from articles contributed by the author to the " Bulletin of the American Republics,” August, 1909, and “The Independent," Oct. 21, 1909.

The climate, while tropical, is much less trying than is generally supposed, the proximity of the oceans to all parts of the interior tending to temper the heat. In the dry season, the temperature averages about 76 degrees Fahrenheit, in the wet season a few degrees more, with very little variation at any time.

The rainfall on the Atlantic coast averages 140 inches in the year; on the Pacific coast, about 60 inches, and in the interior 93 inches. The dry season extends from the beginning of the year to about the first of May, but the rains do not cease and commence with the regularity they display in India and other parts of the tropics.

The greater part of the country is broken by

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short, irregular ranges of mountains, varying in height from 1,500 feet to 11,750 feet. The Sierra de Chiriqui, which enters Panama from Costa Rica, contains the Volcano, 11,265 feet in elevation, Pico Blanco, 11,750 feet, and Rovalo, 7,020 feet. Between the mountain spurs lie rich, wooded valleys and great expanses of level, grassy llano.

Two-thirds of the area of Panama is forested with trees of valuable wood, the Atlantic side of the divide and the Province of Darien being the most thickly covered. On the Pacific slope, where the rainfall and humidity are less, the forest is more open and the growth of smaller dimensions. On this side, too, the drainage is better and there are fewer swamps and a less extent of mangrove thicket along the shore than upon the Atlantic coast.

The region is remarkably well watered, one hundred and fifty streams flowing into the Caribbean Sea and twice that number into the Pacific Ocean. The utility of the latter for commercial purposes is restricted by the great tidal fluctuation, which embraces a range of twenty feet. The ports on this coast are necessarily situated some distance up the rivers and long delays are usually entailed in reaching

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