July Column Paris about 1892

July Column

THE COLUMN OF JULY PARIS — At one extremity of the principal Boulevards of Paris rises this imposing monument in bronze. It was erected in honor of the patriots who fell in the revolution of July, 1830, but the place on which it stands recalls even more stirring associations than those of the “July” struggle for liberty. For this enclosure is the Place de la Bastille, the site of that terrible State Prison of old France, the very name of which, “The Bastille,” is synonymous with cruelty and infamous injustice. The first great act of the maddened populace in 1789 (which also took place in the month of July), was the destruction of this stronghold of tyranny. Some of the stones of the Bastille were used in the construction of one of the bridges crossing the Seine. They are now, therefore, daily trampled under foot by thousands of liberated Frenchmen. It is appropriate that this “ July Column ” should have upon its summit, 154 feet above the square, a statue of Liberty, holding in one hand a torch and in the other a broken chain. In 1871 the Communists filled the vaults beneath this monument with gunpowder intending to blow up the column and ruin the entire neighborhood. Happily the attempt was frustrated, and the historic shaft still stands unharmed. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

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