During 1897 the gross reduction in the effective mercantile marine of the world, through wrecks and condemnations, amounted to 1,045 vessels, aggregating 726,800 tons. From this number vessels of less than 100 tons were excluded. Of the above total 293 vessels of 398,207 tons were steamers and 752 of 328,593 tons were sailing-vessels. The United Kingdom shows the smallest percentage of loss, viz., 2.7 per cent of the vessels owned, and Norway has the highest, with 7 per cent. The Florida Coast Line canal, after nine years’ work, is now completed from Mosquito inlet to Miami. Boats drawing five feet pass semi-weekly the entire distance from Titusville on the Indian river through Lake Worth to Palm beach. Three short cuts complete the canaltwo between Matanzas and Tomoka and one uniting North river with Pablo creek. Eventually the canal will connect the St John river with Biscayne bay, and render an inland passage possible along the Atlantic coast from Long Island sound to Key West. SUMATRA’S WEST COAST By DAVID G. FAIRCHILD, United States Department of Agriculture The island of Sumatra is undoubtedly one of the most valuable of all the Dutch possessions in the East. Its resources are almost wholly undeveloped and its interior is scarcely even known, only one or two expeditions ever having crossed the island in its widest part. It contains a great variety of mineral and vegetable products, and its trackless forests are filled with still unconquered tribes of menremarkable cannibals among themnumerous rhinoceroses, and large herds of elephants. It possesses a chain of verdure-clad volcanoes which give to its west coast one of the most salubrious climates in the archipelago. and its scenery surpasses in beauty the famous scenery of Java, which has been called the most beautiful tropical island in the world. The island is held by a small force of Dutch and native soldiers and governed by a body of Dutch officials scattered along the coast cities, whose control over the natives is more moral than physical. That such a marvelous island should have remained so long comparatively unexplored simply illustrates the slowness with which the work of exploration is being conducted by the Dutch home government, which hampers in every way the movements of the more progressive colonial government. As American interests in the East are increasing, the readers of this magazine may find acceptable a few notes regarding one of the largest and certainly the most beautiful island of the whole archipelago. Miss Scidmore has called Java the Garden of the East in her charming account of travel among its miniature bamboo villages and paddy fields. Sumatra is compared by the Dutch, although incomparably grander and totally different, to Switzerland. You approach Java with a feeling of how beautiful and lovable everything seems, but as you steam into Emma harbor, on Sumatra’s west coast, your mind is overpowered by the sight of the verdure-covered volcanoes and trackless forests stretching away into the unknown and undiscovered.