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The Bartholdi Statue

The Bartholdi Statue image
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One of the flrst steps taken toward cnrrying out this great project was tlie organization of what is known as the "Union Franco-Americane," a committee conüisüng of som e of the most eminent gentlemen of France and this country, to whom was intrusted the work of carrying out the details. The flrst thing thought of - in France, of course - after the ïnaking of the gift had been decided upon, was to raise the requisite funds. The expense of the statue was placed at 1.000.000 francs. All Trance, so to speak, took hold of the matter with great ardor. There were fetes and festivals, and musical concerts, and thuatrical and operatic performances tbroughout the country to enlarge the contributions tothe fond. The whole amount was raised, and all that remained was for Mr. Bartholdi to complete the statue, whicli, by the way, has since been christened "Liberty Enlightening the World." When the f act of tliisintendedgiftbecameknown on this side Mr. John Jay, who was then president of theUnion League Club appointed a committee to take charge of matters here, Mr. William M. Evarts being the chairman of this committee. Since then there have been several vacancies tbrough deatb, and these have been fllled by appointments of equally prominent gentlemen, so that the pi'esent committee comprises some of the representativo men of the country, although more largely made up of prominent residents of this city. As its first step this committee Jaid the matter beiore Congres, which paased the requisite laws providing for erecting the statue on Bedloe's island, and for its future care andmaintenance. A formal leceplAon by the President on behalf of ijur government was also secured, and lot only this, but President Grant wrote tin autograph letter of thanks for the gift. During last October theie was, as will bo remembered, a grand ceremonial in Paris connected with riveting the first of the plates to join the statue to the pedestal, the first blow being stiuck by our present minister to France, Mr. Levi P. Morton. The artist then expressed his firm belief that he would have the statue entirely completed by July, 1883. With the great work thus far advanced toward its ünish the committee here have deemed it necessary to take immediate steps tor the construction of the pedestal. ïhis, as will be readily compreheudeJ, has to be a gigantic piece of work, so as to form a litting base tor the great statue. The committee have had a great vuriety of designs Bubmitted lor their consideration; but aa yet have been unable to agree upon a selection. This difficulty is not owing, however, to the poorness of the designs, but to the uniform excellence of very rnany of them, between which it is bard lo discrimínate. The fact, theret'ore, is settled beyond all doubt, that the pedestal will be a most appropriate coinpanion work of the statue and i -eilect dne credit npon our American art, f or none but American artista are allowed to enter the list of cempetitors for its design. It is proposed also to expend upon it the same smn as the statue cost, and to solicit general subscriptions for ralsing the amount - that is to give to every American, as -was given to every citizen of France, an opporbunity of addiog his quota to the fund. When completed, the statue - a representation of the Goddess of Liberty - will be one of the flnest as well as one of the largest statues in Lhe world. Seme idea of its colossal grandeur can be gathered from the fragment of it that has so long adorned Madisou square, brought here in August, 1876, on the French steamer Labrador, being simply thewrisL and right hand holding lhe torch bearing a ílambeau to be the future great beacon light of iSew York harbor. The height of the arm alone is 34 fuet and the circumference of the thumb 12 feet. The entire height, including the pedestal, will be considerable over 200 feet. There is to be a balcony around the edge of the flarnbeau, to be reachwl by an inner stuircasc. The left hand is to hold a set of tablets upon which the Declaration of Independence is supposed to be inscribed. A tunic falls over the peplum from the shoulders to the feet. The liead is surrounded by a diadeiu, from which projects a circlet oí prongs, which in the brilliaat sunshiue will glisten like so many diamonds in the sky. The statue is to be of imperishable bronze, and a more glorious souvenir of the friendly relations in the past and present between France and this country cannot bö imagined. From her tovvering height the Goddess of LiberLy will extend a cordial welcome to all coming to this land of liberty, and the light of her rnighty torch will guide far away ships safely to oui hospitable shores. -


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat