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PANAMA-CATHEDRAL AND CONVENTS-RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES-AMALGAMATION-FAN

DANGO.

PANAMA, under the Spanish dominion, was a city of twelve thousand inhabitants, and was the commercial mart of the Pacific. The old city having been destroyed by buccaneers, the present site was selected. The military strength of the city is a true index to the state of the country at the time of its construction; and its present condition a lamentable commentary on

a the ruthless spirit that has pervaded the countries of South America. The number and extent of the churches and monasteries are a monument to the indomitable zeal and perseverance for which the Catholic Church has been justly celebrated. Old Panama is seven miles distant. An ivy-grown tower is all that remains to mark the spot. The city is inclosed by a wall of much strength, outside of which is a deep moat. It has one main and one side entrance by land, and several on the waterside. The base of the wall on the water-side is washed by the ocean at flood tide, but at the ebb the water recedes a mile, leaving the rocks quite bare. There was formerly a long line of fortifications, but at present the guns are dismounted, excepting on an elbow of the wall, called the "battery.” (See Plate.) In the centre of the town is the main plaza, fronting which is the cathedral, the government house, and the prison. (See Plate.) Here is seen a “Padre,” walking with a señorita; an “hombre," mounted on a donkey, with a large stone jar on each side, from which he serves his customers with water; a “chain-gang" of prisoners, carrying bales of carna, guarded by a barefooted soldier. And still further to the left is a sentinel watching the prison. I will here state, that most of the Panama hats that are made here, are manufactured in this prison.

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The principal avenues, running parallel, are “Calle San Juan de Dio,” “Calle de Merced,” and “ Calle de Obispo." There are numerous extensive churches, the principal one being the cathedral. This is a magnificent structure, and of colossal dimensions. In the end fronting the plaza are niches, in which are life-size statues of the twelve Apostles, of marble. It has two towers, the upper sections of which are finished with pearl. The interior was furnished without regard to expense. It is now somewhat dilapidated, but still has a fine organ. The convent, "La Mugher,” is an extensive edifice, being 300 feet in length. The roof of most parts has fallen in, and the walls are fast falling to decay. The only tenant is a colored woman who has a hammock slung in the main entrance. She has converted the convent into a stable, charging a real a night for a horse or mule —they board themselves; they, however, have the privilege of selecting their own apartments. It encloses a large court, in which there are two inmense wells, and numerous fig, and other fruit trees. There is a tower still standing on one end of the building, without roof or window; it has, however, several bells still hanging. The convent of “San Francisco," is also an extensive structure, in a dilapidated state; one part of it is still tenanted by nuns. It has a tower with bells still hanging. These buildings, as well as all the buildings of Panama, are infested by innumerable lizards, a peculiarity of the city that first strikes the stranger. They are harmless, but to one unaccustomed to seeing them, are an unpleasant sight.

The people here, as in all catholic countries, are very attentive to religious rites and ceremonies, and almost every day of the week is ushered in by the ringing of church and convent bells. The ringing is constant during the day; and people are seen passing to and from church, the more wealthy classes accompanied by their servants, bearing mats, upon which they kneel on their arrival. Almost every day is a saint's day, when all business is suspended to attend its celebration.

Good Friday is the most important on the calendar. All business is suspended, all attend church during the day, and at night they congregate en masse in the plaza in front of one of the churches outside the walls. Inside the church, held by a native in Turkish costume, is an ass, mounted on which is a

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