Biography and family record of Lorenzo Snow/Letter I
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National Monument. Its construction. One hundred and eighty marble statues. Lofty spire set with thousands of gems. Embossed globe. Statue of Prince Albert. Tower of London. Queen Elizabeth's Armory. Torture rooms. Ann Boleyn. Earl of Essex. Lady Jane Grey. Executioner's axe. Instruments of torture.
LONDON, ENGLAND, NOVEMBER 28TH, 1872. Editor Deseret News:
Through the blessings of a kind Providence, we have safely crossed the Atlantic, and are now in London. We have visited the Prince Consort National Monument. It is situated in Kensington Gardens, in the central part of the metropolis. It is designed to perpetuate the name of Prince Albert, also to show the high estimation in which he was held by the British nation, likevvise, to represent allegorically, by sculpture and Mosaic pictures, the arts and sciences which he fostered, and to point to some of his import- ant undertakings, the great National Exhibition being the foremost.
For grandeur of design and excellency and beauty of workmanship, I believe it excels every other structure of a commemorative character in any part of the world. In approaching it, I was struck with astonishment by its beauty and magnificence. A vast column, covered
from base to
pinnacle with beautiful sculptures, rich carvings, embossed and Mosaic work of the most elegant description, beautiful foliage of beaten metal, fine enameling, the whole being set out in artistical order with twelve thousand gems sparkling like stars in the firmament.
This monument, including the foundation, rises one hundred and eighty feet above the surrounding ground, terminating in a large ball, embossed, supporting a magnificent cross. It commences with a mass of concrete sixty feet square, seventeen feet thick, overlaid with two courses of thick stone; upon this is erected a substructure of massive brick work, upon which the great column is based. The base of this column, or "podium," as it is termed, is about twelve feet high, surrounded by one hundred and eighty marble statues about six feet in height, representing men of all ages, distinguished in the arts and sciences. This podium, built of massive blocks of granite, forms the foundation for the "shrine" or tabernacle, a vast canopy about fifty feet high, richly ornamented, beneath which, upon a lofty pedestal, will be placed the colossal statue of the prince. This taber-
nacle is supported by four clusters of pillars of finely polished granite of various colors. Several of these pillars are two feet in diameter, held together, in part, by an ornamental band of bronze, set with polished "gem- like stones;" and in part are cemented by a dove-tail groove to the central core, around which they cluster. The tabernacle is terminated by four gables, ornamented with Mosaic pictures and decorated with carvings and enamel work and polished gem-like stones, some of them nearly four inches in diameter. Upon this tabernacle is reared a lofty spire of cast iron work, ornamented in the most magnificent style and set with thousands of gems. Oat from this tabernacle, near its angles, arise four small structures built in imitation, in many respects, of the principal one, being enriched and highly ornamented from base to pinnacle. This column, or spire, the same as the tabernacle which forms its base, is surrounded with statues at succes- sive heights, standing in its ornamented niches, and at their angles.
Four of these figures, standing in niches above the base of the spire, are eight and a half feet high, the four at the angles are seven and a half in height; far above them the spire is flanked by statues, six and a half feet high, representing angels; and still higher, other figures six feet in height, with a like representation. These sixteen statues are all of copper.
This lofty spire is crowned with a magnificent globe, beautifully embossed, supporting a great cross highly ornamented.
A vast pyramid of granite steps surrounds this monument. The total length of these steps is equal to two miles and a half, and the number of steps is eighteen hundred and three. Several of the blocks of granite in the base of the column and in the pillars weigh fifteen tons each; the working of each of these stones occupied twelve men sixteen weeks. The iron girders which bear the spire weigh twenty-three tons, and the weight resting upon them is two hundred and ten tons. The spire is made of iron, built up in stages, and bolted together; the girders are of wrought iron. The gems and inlays are formed of vitreous enamel, spar, agates and onyxes, more than twelve thousand in number; two hundred of the,se are real onyxes, many of them nearly four inches in diameter.
The general features of the design are thus delineated: The prince is to be represented by a colossal statue seated upon a lofty pedestal beneath this magnificent canopy; around and above him are gathered in series and in groups the most beautiful works of man, illustrating the arts and sciences which he promoted, and the subjects to which he devoted his attention. Upon four large pedestals, composed of blocks of granite, at the outer angle of the steps, the four quarters of the globe are represented by groups of marble statues. Upon the pedestal forming the angles of the podium, or base of the tabernacle, are groups of marble statues, illustrative of agricul-
ture, manufactures, commerce and engineering. Again, still above, on pedestals of polished granite, are statues in bronze, representing astronomy, chemistry, geology and geometry. Above these is another set or order of bronze statues representing rhetoric, medicine, philosophy and physiology. The four sides of the podium contain one hundred and eighty marble statues, representing eminent artists in printing, sculpture, architecture, music and poetry. From the base to the roof of this tabernacle, the whole range of arts and sciences is illustrated. The column above is devoted to illustrating virtue and religion. The four statues in the niches of the spire point to the Christian virtues Faith, Hope, Charity and Humility. The four figures at the angles represent the moral virtues Fortitude, Prudence, Justice and Temperance. The four angels above them are in attitudes signifying resignation of worldly honors, while those above, sur- rounding the base of the cross, are in attitudes as if desiring celestial happiness.
Here I will close my sketch of this curious and wonderful specimen of intellectual and physical effort, so happily and beautifully displayed in this magnificent monumental structure.
Yesterday we visited the houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Bridge thence, per underground railway, to Charing Cross and Trafalgar Square.
If one wishes to indulge in melancholy or the sympathetic, he should visit the "Tower of London," and devote an hour or two in examining its mouldering records and crumbling inscriptions, pointing to heart-rending scenes enacted in past ages within its dark and gloomy walls. In company with others of our tourists, I visited this place, although not for the purpose above mentioned.
It is a sombre mass, consisting principally of antique walls, gates, portcullis, bastions, moat and twelve towers. None of the excellency, beauty, splendor and grandeur is exhibited in these structures as is seen in Prince Albert's monument. Simplicity and solidity are characteristics of its architecture; I was impressed with no other, with the exception of oppres- sive gloominess.
About thirteen acres are enclosed by the moat surrounding the Tower, and a double line of walls and bulwarks encircles inside the moat, with a street running between, except on the south.
The White Tower, or citadel, the most important edifice, occupies the central part of these premises. It is one hundred and sixteen feet by ninety-six, and ninety-two in height, with walls fifteen feet in thickness. It was built in the latter part of the eleventh century, nearly eight hundred years ago, and is a specimen of Norman architecture. It is divided from
base to summit into various compartments by walls seven feet in thickness. The smallest apartment is now occupied by" what is termed Queen Elizabeth's Armory. On one side of this room, formed in the wall, is a cell eight feet high by ten, without light except at its entrance formerly the prison of Sir Walter Kaleigh, Ralstone, Fane and Culpepper. Above this apartment is St. John's Chapel, another specimen of Norman architecture. A chaplain was formally engaged to perform service here for about twelve dollars per annum. The most spacious room on the upper floor, in former ages, was used by the kings as a council room, where thek courts were held. It is said to have been here that, when the council was assembled, the Duke of Gloucester demanded Lord Hastings' immediate execution. This chamber and the banqueting room are used at the present time as deposi- tories for small arms. Great artistic skill is displayed in the arrangement of some of these arms and their implements, in form of floors, aquatic plants appearing in streams of water, luminous stars, and the sun rising in splendor.
'We were conducted to the Horse Armory, which is nearly one hundred and fifty feet in length by thirty-four in breadth, filled with objects of curiosity and historical interest. There were equestrian figures, others on foot, dressed in armor of different periods embracing over two and a half centuries. It is curious to trace the development of the idea relating to armor and weapons, as exhibited in the multitude of those specimens. The conception in its perfect development, in regard to armor, was strikingly illustrated by a. full suit on a life-sized effigy of Henry VIII, mounted on a horse. The suit of armor was made of plated metal, artistically arranged in sections overlapping one another, and turning upon pivots, so as to afford the body, head, neck and limbs free motion, without exposing any portion. It is ponderous, weighing, as nearly as I recollect, about one hundred and twenty pounds. This armor is elaborately worked inlaid with gold and very beautiful. We were shown a rough suit he wore at the age of eighteen, which weighed ninety-two pounds.
The first specimens of armor manifested the idea as rather confused: leather cut in pieces in the form of fish scales and sewed on cloth or deer skins. The next stage of development appears in a specimen made of small rings of steel sewed on to the same material. Again, in the begin- ning of the thirteenth century, a higher point of development was reached armor was constructed of vast quantities of small rings intersecting one with another, so as to form a connected garment. After this, another improvement was introduced mixed chain and plate being worn on the arms and legs. And thus invention progressed to its full development as represented at the period of Henry VIII.
We saw various specimens of weapons invented at different periods, commencing with the cross-bow, the spear and battle axe, exhibiting step by step successive improvements represented in the matchlock, improved matchlock, flintlock, improved flintlock, percussionlock, improved percus- sion, double-barreled gun, improved double-barrel, revolving cylinder, cylinder improved, until we have reached the most perfect weapon now known.
The twelve towers of this fortress were erected, principally, in the early part of the thirteenth century; some of them, however, were built about the close of the eleventh. The strange scenes enacted in past ages, beneath these frowning battlements, form adai-k and bloody page in English history. Observing the multitude of objects bearing distinct marks of those terrible events, my mind was almost overpowered with sad and gloomy reflections. In these dark and loathsome dungeons, kings and queens, after having been divested of their crowns and robes of royalty, were forced to make their ignominious abode.
These walls bear traces of having echoed the sighs and groans of illustrious men while gasping for life beneath the bloody instruments of horrid torture, also of princes and nobles having been thrust into these dungeons and ended their lives by means shrouded in mystery! Tradition speaks of secret passages, of torture rooms and hidden recesses within and underneath these walls where I stood. Many eminent personages left inscriptions upon their prison walls, which yet remain sad mementoes of themselves and their sufferings. Queen Ann, having enjoyed a few years of pomp and splendor, basking in the smiles of Henry VIII, was forced to exchange queenly habiliments for the prison costume, in which she passed from this loathsome captivity to the executioner's block. Queen Eliza- beth's favorite, the Earl of Essex, the pride of the English court, was immured within one of these towers previous to being beheaded upon the scaffold. The beautiful, amiable and accomplished Lady Jane Grey was incarcerated here. "Jane," engraved by Lord Dudley, her unfor- tunate husband, on the stone walls of his prison, which I saw, reminded me forcibly of the melancholy circumstance. Two princes, sons of Edward IV, while suffering captivity in what is termed "the bloody tower," were secretly murdered, and afterwards their bodies found mouldering beneath its walls.
We were shown the executioner's axe, the heading block, thumb- screws, iron collars and other horrid instruments for human torture. We were conducted to a small enclosure, surrounded with iron palings, where many illustrious men and women of distinction and royalty had been privately executed. LORENZO SNOW.