§ 648. Marble block for Washington Monument from Napoleon’s tomb

19th century:
§648. A marble block for the Washington Monument from Napoleon’s tomb (1858-1859): I-43.

Before the change of the empire takes place,
It shall occur a very marvelous case,
The field molted, the pillar of porphyry
Built, translated upon it the rough rock.

(Avant qu’avienne le changement d’empire,
Il aviendra un cas bien merveilleux,
Le champ mué, le pilier de porphyre
Mis, translaté sus le rochier noilleux.)

Keys to the reading:
The empire: The second empire of Napoleon III (Torné-Chavigny, 1861, p.256), ending in 1870;

A very marvelous case: At first, the possession of the habitation where the emperor Napoleon I had ended his days in St. Helena and of the tomb where his ashes were deposited was transferred to France in 1858 through Anglo-French etente cordiale (Torné-Chavigny, id.), and then a block of marble was loosened from the tomb to be dispatched to U.S.A. for the Washington Monument under construction in 1859 (cf. Dupont, Journal des Instituteurs, le 26 février 1860, p.134-135);

The field molted, the pillar of porphyry built: A large field near the center of the National Mall in Wahsington D.C. was allotted to the location of the monumental pillar, which was to be built mainly of domestic marble, but worth while being called “of porphyry” because the use of this rare precious material had been monopolized by the sovereigns of the day (cf. EH, XIV, p.690);

The rough rock: “Name or description: Napoleon’s Tomb. Documented information: ●1888: “1 Rough Block of Marble. No inscription on same. ‘From the tomb of Napoleon.’ ”[Dimensions: 2′ × 1′5″× 5″] [Receipt from G. Brown Goode, Assistant Secretary of the United States National Museum, Washington D.C., to Mr. G.W.Thomas, Custodian of the Washington Monument, October 22, 1888 (Dimensions are from a related piece of correspondence.) Entry 492, NAB. ●1888: National Museum, Smithsonian Accession Card and related correspondence arranging transport of stone from Washington Monument grounds to the museum and acknowledging their receipt. [Microfilm Reel 132 (1888), Acc. No. 21294; SIA.] (Jacob, 2005, p.226);

Sus: Adv. thereupon;

Rochier: = Roc (rock), falaise (cliff) (Daele). Cf.I-21, I-43, I-87, I-96, IX-24;

Noilleux: Probably = Noellos (Godefroy), Noueux (Gnarled, knotty).

The pillar of porphyry built, translated upon it the rough rock: « St. Helena. – We have news of the island of St. Helena, dated last December 25; they mention an interesting fact. We know that the Americans construct now, at the capital of the republic, a national monument in commemoration of the illustrious Washington. The committee of subscription, formed for the building of this monument, having addressed itself to the Emperor in order to obtain a stone issuing from the tomb of the Emperor Napoleon I in St. Helena, His Majesty was prompt to accept this demand and made transmit, by His Excellency the Secretary Minister of the foreign affairs, the necessary instructions to the representative of the French Government at Longwood. In consequence, on December 20, 1859, MM. Gauthier de Rougemont, chief of squadron of cavalry in retirement, conservator guardian of the habitation and of the tomb of the Emperor Napoleon I; N. Salomon, fulfilling the functions of the vice-consul of France in St. Helena; G.-W. Kimball, consul of the United States in the same place; the captain E.-F. Masselin, director of engineer corps at Longwood, and J.-C. Mareschal, guard of engineer corps, joined together at the place called the Valley of Napoleon in St. Helena, with the view of operating the delivery of this precious object. The persons convoked at the ceremony descended ensemble into the cave, not yet shut up again, which [had] contained the coffin of the Emperor, and Mr. Masselin captain of engineer corps, loosened the stone that should be sent to America.» (Dupont, le 26 février 1860, p.134-135)

“ A number of commemorative stones intended for the Washington Monument are not there now. These stones were stolen, discarded, given away, or never delivered. This catalog contains information on these stones, presented as transcriptions of documents found during the course of research for the commemorative stones. Some of the documents examined were newspaper clippings or photocopies of clippings; citations were often brief or without source or date... In 1885 and 1888, five stones were donated to the U.S. National Museum (now the Smithsonian Institution, divided into its constituent museums in 1958). These stones came from Mount Vesuvius, Egypt, the Temple of Esculapius, the William Tell Chapel, and the Tomb of Napoleon. Three of the stones (Ancient Egyptian Head, William Tell Chapel, and Napoleon’s Tomb) have no mention in the archival record after their accession in 1888.” (Jacob, 2005, p.221).

As to the return to France of the coffin of Napoleon I in 1840, cf. §609-§612.

© Koji Nihei Daijyo, 2012. All rights reserved.


Koji Nihei Daijyo

Author:Koji Nihei Daijyo
We have covered 143 quatrains (§588-§730) concerning the World Events in the 19th century after Napoleonic ages [1821-1900] in the Prophecies of Nostradamus, and 218 in the 20th [1901-2000] (§731-§948).

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