Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

CHAPTER XXVI.

In the preceding chapters I have endeavored to describe the appearance which the structure will present when completed. We will now see what has really been done. Mr. Mead, who is a sculptor by profession, does not pretend to be an architect. After studying out the general design for the Monument, he secured the services of Mr. Russell Sturgis, Jr., Secretary of the American Institute of Architects, located in New York city, to prepare his drawings, and after they were completed, Mr. Mead submitted them to that association for criticism by its members, particularly with reference to its proportions, and they gave it their unqualified approval. When the Association was about to adopt it because of its general beauty, they required improvements in some of the minor details. The most important change was made at the suggestion of Mr. T. J. Dennis, one of the members of the Association, who prepared drawings for the purpose. It was that of substituting the present granite balustrade and parapet for the metalic railing originally designed. As soon as arrangements were perfected for going forward with the building, the necessary drawings and specifications for the guidance of the stone cutters were prepared by Mr. Dennis and placed in the hands of the contractor, Mr. Richardson, who, after having some of them redrawn, conveyed them to the stone cutters at Lemont, near Joliet, Illinois, and the granite quarries at Quincy, Massachusetts, where each piece was cut, dressed and numbered before being shipped to its destination.

As already stated, ground was broken September 9 1869, and the massive foundation was completed before the close of that year. When the spring of 1870 opened, Mr. Richardson had materials ready to commence the work on the superstructure. He pushed it steadily forward with a full force of men, expecting to finish it during 1870, but there was so much delay on the part of the railroads in bringing the granite on the ground that it was found impossible to finish it within the building season.

Work was resumed early in the spring of 1871, and the cap stone was elevated to its position on the obelisk Monday morning, May 22, without any ceremonials whatever. That did not complete the work, however, for there was still more to do on the Catacomb, Memorial Hall, and other parts of the terrace.

It will be remembered that on the seventh of May, 1869, orders were given by the Association for Mr. Mead to proceed with the work, and prepare the models for the statue of Lincoln and the coat of arms of the United States. A newspaper called La Riforma, published in Florence, Italy, in its issue of February 22, 1870, criticises Mr. Mead's work on the model of Lincoln, then far advanced towards completion. The article was translated by Mr. A. Alvey of this city, and published in the Register. From his translation I make the following quotations:

"The statue which will arise in colossal proportions from the monument holds in the left hand a scroll upon which is written 'Emancipation,' and in the other the pen with which Lincoln blotted from human history the stain of slavery. As a symbol of Union, to which he devoted his existence, the fasces are placed near the statue, upon which is thrown, in relief, the glorious banner of the republic * * * At the foot of the fasces reclines a crown of laurel, that crown which mankind has unanimously placed upon the head of the great citizen.

"But art stops when life is to be infused into inert matter, and then inspiration must be summoned to express the feeling and

* * *
* * *

sentiment of a soul, which reflects, as in a mirror, the grandeur of the hero whose figure she would model. In this work, Mr. Mead has surpassed our expectations. The Florentines admire the works of Mr. Mead, and desire to do homage to the memory of Lincoln, who no longer belongs exclusively to America, but to the whole world, an honor to the human race."

Hon. W. M. Springer, also of Springfield, while traveling in Europe, spent several weeks in Florence when Mr. Mead was at work on the bust and features of Mr. Lincoln. He sent a translation of the criticism in La Riforma to the Journal of this place. In his accompanying letter he says: "The comments of the Florentine papers are very complimentary, and you have a right to conclude that the statue merits all that is said of it. Here, where are found the finest works of Michael Angelo and Canova, and the renowned chefs d'œuvre of Greek sculpture, every work of this kind must stand upon its own merits. All who have seen Mr. Mead's statue of Mr. Lincoln admire it." The engraving of the coat of arms in this volume is. from a photograph by L. Powers, a son of Hiram Powers, who has a gallery adjoining the studio of his father in Florence. It was a present from Mr. Mead

to Mrs. Springer.

The models of the statue and coat of arms were completed and shipped to Chicopee, Massachusetts, arriving there in the latter part of October, 1870. Hon. J. C. Conkling of this city, a long and intimate friend of Mr. Lincoln, was at Chicopee in December, and his description of both models are similar to those previously given.

Thomas Lincoln (Tad), the youngest son of President Lincoln, after having spent the greater part of his time in Germany since the death of his father, returned with his mother to America early in 1871. In crossing the Atlantic he contracted a severe cold, which terminated in his death at Chicago, July 15, 1871.

The monument was not completed, but the Catacomb was far enough advanced to be occupied, and on Monday, the seventeenth of July, the remains were brought to Springfield and deposited in the west one of the five crypts that which is at the extreme right on entering the vestibule.

At a meeting of the Association August 22, Governor Oglesby was instructed to confer with Judge David Davis of Bloomington and Robert T. Lincoln of Chi.cago, and they three were to agree upon a day for the removal of the remains of President Lincoln. After consultation they named September 19, at three o'clock p. m. The removal was intended to be done privately, a few personal friends only being notified. At the time appointed there were about two hundred persons at the monument to witness the event. Of the fifteen members of the Association, thirteen were present, namely, Oglesby, Dubois, Miner, Stuart, Conkling, Williams, Bunn, Bateman, Treat, Hatch, Melvin, Beveridge and Phillips.

When the remains were removed, December, 21, 1865, Jesse K. Dubois, Newton Bateman, D. L. Phillips, O. M. Hatch and O. H. Miner, members of the Association, signed a paper stating that it was the body of Abraham Lincoln beyond a doubt. In making their preparations for removal on the forenoon of September 19, 1871, it was thought that the embalming was a failure, and the remains were changed from the wooden coffin in which they were brought from Washington and placed in a metalic casket. same members of the Association viewed the corpse, and again signed a paper testifying to the identity of the body. About four o'clock in the afternoon, the casket was conveyed to the Catacomb and deposited in the central crypt. As the time approached for the dedication, the Association made arrangements for transferring the remains to a marble Sarcophagus. They had all things in readiness, and on Friday even

The

ing, about seven o'clock, Oct. 9, 1874, the body was removed from the casket to a red cedar coffin lined with lead. The remains were found to be in a good state of preservation, and readily recognized as the true body of Abraham Lincoln. The transfer was made by Thomas C. Smith, undertaker, and soldered air tight by Col. A. J. Babcock. The coffin was then placed in the Sarcophagus, which was deposited in the central crypt of the catacomb, and the evidence of identity preserved unbroken by the same five gentlemen signing a paper similar to the two previous ones.

All three certificates are on file with the Secretary of the Association. The central crypt is lined with fine polished marble. The bodies of Willie and Eddie were placed together September 19, 1871, in the crypt to the right, or west, of that in which Mr. Lincoln rests. The body of Thomas (Tad), as previously stated, is in the crypt to the west, or extreme right, on entering the vestibule. The father and three sons are reposing near each other in this National Mausoleum. The two crypts on the left, or to the east, are unoccupied, and are intended for the only two remaining members of the family. They are closed as though they were occupied. Figure 6 presents the appearance of the crypts before the marble panel work, supported by Doric columns, and extending in dome groined arches to form the ceiling, were put in. Now the central crypt only is visible, with the Saracophagus bearing on its front the inscription

"With malice towards none, with charity for all."

LINCOLN.

The name is surrounded by a wreath of oak boughs.

« AnteriorContinuar »