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and the photograph-room. A very fine library of astronomical works, and a normal clock, made by Kessels, of Altona, are in the room of the Superintendent. The clock has a gridiron pendulum, and its annual variation is less than eleven seconds. In the east wing is the mural circle. Here also is the meridian circle ; the telescope tube is 56 inches in length, the object-glass has 4.5 inches of clear aperture, and 58.2 of focal length. The electric clock, by which chronometers are regulated, is worthy of observation, as well as the valuable collection of charts. In the library, amongst many other rare works, are to be found a number of star charts, and a daily record of the barometer, thermometer, state of the winds and of the heavens, compiled by Le Verrier, from observations extending from Algiers to St. Petersburg in latitude, and from Constantinople to Paris in longitude. The large equatorial in the dome was constructed by Merz & Mahler, of Munich, and is a counterpart of the instruments at Dorpat and Berlin. The object-glass of this instrument has a clear aperture of 9.65 inches, and a focal length of 14 feet 4.3 inches; its magnifying power ranges from 80 to 600, although the higher power is seldom attained, owing to the fact that the slightest tremor of the building throws the object out of the focal plane. When required, a clockwork motion is attached to compensate for the revolution of the earth upon its axis. An electric chronograph is also connected with it when it is used as a transit instrument. The observatory is open to visitors every day between the hours of 9 A. M. and 3 P. M., and a courteous officer renders all necessary assistance, and furnishes all needful information.
THE WASHINGTON NATIONAL MONUMENT. The subject of erecting a national monument to Washington was mooted by the Continental Congress, as early as 1783, when a resolution was passed ordering a statue to be erected “ in honor of George Washington, the illustrious Commander-in-chief of the United States of America during the war which vindicated and secured their liberty, sovereignty, and independence.” The commissioners who laid out the city set apart the present site of the monument, but for want of funds, the statue was not ordered. The ground selected by the commissioners was marked on the plan of the city submitted to Congress by Washington in 1793, and Washington died in the belief that on that spot he would be commemorated.
In 1799, Congress passed a resolution authorizing President Adams to correspond with Mrs. Washington, asking her consent to the removal and interment of her husband's remains beneath a monument to be erected by the government in the Capitol. Mrs. Washington consented, in the following beautiful and concise letter :
Taught, by the great example I have so long had before me, never to oppose my private wishes to the public will, I must consent to the request of Congress which you had the goodness to transmit to me; and, in doing this, I need not I cannot—say what a sacrifice of individual feeling I make to a sense of public duty.
The monument was not erected, and Washington's remains were therefore not removed.
In 1800, a bill passed one house of Congress, for erecting a “ mausoleum of American granite and marble, in a pyramidal form, one hundred feet square at the base, and
of a proportional height.” In 1816, the subject was again discussed without effect. Congress again made an application, in 1832, to the proprietors of Mount Vernon, for the removal and deposit of the remains of Washington in the Capitol, in conformity with the resolution of 1799. The legislature of Virginia protested against the movement, and Mr. John A. Washington declined the proposal.
On the 26th of September, 1833, several citizens of Washington assembled together, and in the course of a series of meeting, digested a plan for erecting a national monument. An organization was formed, styled the Washington National Monument Society, and Chief Justice John Marshall was chosen president. Since the death of Judge Marshall, the successive Presidents of the United States have held that position, by the constitution of the society.
Subscriptions, limited to one dollar, were immediately commenced, for raising the requisite funds; and this system being found inadequate, in 1846 the donations were made unlimited, but the collection still increased very slowly. It became necessary to decide upon a plan for the edifice, and from a large number of designs, mostly fantastic and ill conceived, that of Robert Mills was finally selected, consisting of an Egyptian obelisk, six hundred feet in height, surrounded by a Doric colonnade called a pantheon, to contain statues and revolutionary relics. The site of the monument was set apart by the President of the United States, under an act of Congress of January 21, 1848, and covers thirty acres of ground, near the Potomac, directly west of the Capitol and south of the President's mansion, commanding a full view of the river. It is at the intersection of Louisiana and Virginia avenues, upon the Mall, and is called Monument Square.
The corner-stone was laid July 4, 1848. At ten o'clock that morning, a grand military, civic, and Masonic procession was formed at the City Hall, under the direction of Mr. Joseph H. Bradley, Marshal of the day ; the military being under the command of Major-General Quitman. Included in the procession were delegations from several tribes of Indians. The line formed eight abreast, numbering about four thousand, and marched to the Monument Square, with banners flying, martial music, and the solemn tolling of the bells of the city. Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, the orator of the day, delivered an eloquent oration upon the life and character of Washington. His peroration contained the following beautiful language :
Let the column which we are about to construct, be at once a pledge and an emblem of perpetual union! Let the foundations be laid, let the superstructure be built up and cemented, let each stone be raised and riveted, in a spirit of national brotherhood! And may the earliest ray of the rising sun—till that sun shall set to rise no moredraw forth from it daily, as from the fabled statue of antiquity, a strain of national harmony, which shall strike a responsive cord in every heart throughout the Republic!
Proceed, then, fellow-citizens, with the work for which you have assembled! Lay the corner-stone of a monument which shall adequately bespeak the gratitude of the whole American People to the illustrious Father of his Country! Build it to the skies: you cannot outreach the loftiness of his principles! Found it upon the massive and eternal rock: you cannot make it more enduring than his fame! Construct it of the peerless Parian marble: you cannot make it purer than his life! Exhaust upon it the rules and principles of ancient and modern art: you cannot make it more proportionate than his character !
The Republic may perish; the wide arch of our ranged Union may fall; star by star its glories
may expire; stone after stone its columns and its capital + may moulder and crumble; all other names which adorn
its annals may be forgotten; but as long as human hearts shall anywhere pant, or human tongues shall anywhere plead, for a true, rational, constitutional liberty, those hearts shall enshrine the memory, and those tongues shall prolong the fame, of George Washington.
The Grand Master then delivered an appropriate Masonic address, after which the Fraternity entered, beneath a beautifully decorated arch, to the excavation, where the Grand Master of Masons laid the corner-stone, with the usual ceremonies. The stone, weighing twelve tons, had been prepared with a cavity lined with zinc, into which the inscription plate was placed, together with about one hundred other articles, consisting of books, portraits, maps, newspapers, coins and medals, Masonic records, and the design of the monument. The Grand Master wore the apron and used the gavel with which Washington laid the corner-stone of the Capitol. The inscription upon
the plate was as follows:
4th JULY, 1776, DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE OF THE UNITED STATES OF
4TH JULY, 1848, This CORNER-STONE LAID, OF A MONUMENT, BY THE PEOPLE
OF THE UNITED STATES, TO GEORGE WASHINGTON.
The names of the officers of the society were also inscribed on the plate. The ceremony of the day was closed by a brilliant display of fire-works in the evening.
The foundation of the monument is solid rock. The base of the shaft is 81 feet square, and the shaft is to rise