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Paris. Houdon was chosen, and made his estimates of the expense, which he forwarded, by Dr. Franklin, to this government. The work was not executed, and the original idea, of an equestrian statue as a national memorial, was changed, in 1832, to that of the obelisk now in course of construction on the Mall.
By act of Congress, passed January 25, 1853, the sum of $50,000 was appropriated, “ to enable the President to employ Clark Mills to erect, at the City of Washington, a colossal equestrian statue of George Washington, at such place on the public grounds as shall be designated by the President.” Mr. Mills proceeded accordingly to execute the statue, which was inaugurated upon the site selected by President Buchanan, in the open space called the Circle, on Pennsylvania avenue, near Georgetown. The inauguration ceremony took place on the anniversary of Washington's birth-day, February 22, 1860.
Washington is represented as he appeared at the battle of Princeton, where, after attempting several times to rally his troops, he put spurs to his horse and dashed up in the face of the enemy's battery. His terror-stricken charger recoils before the blaze of artillery, while the balls tear up the earth beneath him; but Washington, calm and collected, evinces all the dignity and bravery of the hero, and the firmness of the commander-in-chief, believing himself an instrument in the hands of Provi. dence to work out the great problem of American independence.
This vast enterprise has cost the nation nearly three millions of dollars. Some of the difficulties of its con
struction may be inferred from the following official description of the country through which it passes : “The traveler ascending the banks of the Potomac from Georgetown to the Great Falls, would conclude that a more unpromising region for the construction of an aqueduct could not be found. Supported by high walls against the face of jagged and vertical precipices, in continual danger of being undermined by the foaming torrent which boils below, the Canal (the Chesapeake and Ohio) is a monument of the energy and daring of our engineers. The route appears to be occupied, and no mode of bringing in the water, except by iron pipes secured to the rocks, , or laid in the bed of the canal, seems practicable. Such were my own impressions; and though I knew that in this age, with money, any achievement of engineering was possible, I thought the survey would be needed only to demonstrate by figures and measures the extravagance of such a work. But when the levels were applied to the ground, I found, to my surprise and gratification, that the rocky precipices and difficult passages were nearly all below the line which, allowing a uniform grade, would naturally be selected for our conduit; and that, instead of demonstrating the extravagance of the proposal, it became my duty to devise a work presenting no considerable difficulties, and affording no opportunities for the exhibition of any triumphs of science or skill.”
The conduit is 9 feet in dimension, and discharges 67,596,400 gallons in twenty-four hours. Some idea of the magnitude of the enterprise may be formed by comparing the statement above given with the fact that the Croton aqueduct supplies 27,000,000 gallons, and Philadelphia and Boston are only respectively guaranteed
15,000,000 and 10,176,570 gallons, during the same period. There
are, in all, eleven tunnels, some of them many hundred feet in length, and six bridges. The largest of the bridges is one of the most stupendous achievements of the kind in this country. It spans a small tributary of the Potomac, called the Cabin John creek, by a single arch, 220 feet in span and 100 feet high. The receiving reservoir is formed by throwing a dam across a small stream known as the Powder Mill or Little Falls Branch. The dam is of pounded earth, and floods above 50 acres, making a reservoir of irregular shape, containing, at a level of 140 feet above high tide, 82,521,500 gallons. The water leaves it a distance of 3,000 feet from the point where it enters, and, in slowly passing across this pool, which deepens to 30 or 40 feet near the exit, it deposits most of its sediment. The Powder Mill Branch supplies two or three millions of gallons of pure water daily to the reservoir. The great falls of the Potomac, from whence the supply of water is obtained, are 19 miles distant.
POLITENESS and good breeding are the true foundations of social etiquette, and are the same everywhere; yet fashion and position will maintain a controlling influence. At the seat of government, a conventional form of social intercourse seems absolutely indispensable. The idea that there is no rank at our court,—that it is inimical to republican institutions, and that there can, therefore, be no precedence,—has long been exploded by actual experience. The position occupied by officials, under the Constitution, gives them necessarily a certain rank, according to the importance and nature of the office, the length of term, and the age, required by law, of the incumbent. Some officials are permanent residents of Washington, while others remain but a portion of the year. Certain classes are numerous, and others are few in number. The time of some is almost entirely engrossed, while that of others is more at their command. All these circumstances tend to vary the relation between the members of this temporary form of society. Representatives of foreign courts are required, by the laws of international courtesy, to conform to the etiquette of the court at which they are sent to reside, and if there is no established form, they find themselves at a loss in respect of their deportment.
In the early days of our government, foreign customs and forms were tacitly introduced, and although the Jeffersonian dogma of equality was maintained in theory, yet the court etiquette of that period was adhered to with far more dignity and aristocratic precision than exists at present. An order like that of the Cincinnati, would scarcely be tolerated
although, in the infancy of our government, Washington graced the order as its first president. The avowed object of the order was to establish a rank, without violating the constitution, which prohibits Congress and the States from granting any title of nobility. The following articles were agreed upon during the administration of Washington, and were endorsed by
In order to bring the members of society together in the first instance, the custom of the country has established that residents shall pay the first visit to strangers, and, among strangers, first comers to later comers, foreign and domestic; the character of stranger ceasing after the first visits. To this rule there is a single exception. Foreign ministers, from the necessity of making themselves known, pay the first visit to the [cabinet] ministers of the nation, which is returned.
When brought together in society, all are perfectly equal, whether foreign or domestic, titled or untitled, in or out of office.
All other observances are but exemplifications of these two principles.
The families of foreign ministers, arriving at the seat of government, receive the first visit from those of the national ministers, as from all other residents.
Members of the legislature and of the judiciary, independent of their offices, have a right as strangers to receive the first visit.
No title being admitted here, those of foreigners give. no precedence.