The American Architect and Building News, Vol. 27, Jan-Mar, 1890
Author: Various
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The stones are to be laid in square blocks, regular courses and rock-face in the body of the building, with square and sharp corners. The columns, lintels, sills, belts, finials and mouldings are to be close hammered work, with carving where indicated on the drawings.

The different tower roofs are to be fine-hammered or rubbed granite. The distinction between the tower roofs and the body of the building is not brought out clearly in the different drawings, as this would require shading all the granite stonework except the tower roofs, and shading is prohibited by the instructions.

The interior of the church is designed to be finished in marbles of harmonious colors, with carved and other decorated work, as shown in the section. The surface of the floor is to be laid in mosaic tile, the presumption being that fixed pews will not be used in the cathedral. Ample storage can be obtained for portable seats in the cellar.

The floors are laid on terra-cotta arches, built on iron beams, and the beams are protected by terra-cotta casings.

The roof of the building is to be covered with slate [preferably red], laid on terra-cotta and supported by iron trusses and beams; the iron-work to be protected by a fireproof covering. The tower roofs contemplate granite, lapped and jointed so as to be weatherproof, laid on iron beams and supported by iron trusses. If a cheaper covering is desired, slate or tile can be used without affecting the design.

The ceiling is a barrel-vault with large and small arched ribs pierced in each bay by the small vaults in which the clerestory windows open. It may be treated in one of three ways: first, finished in marble; second, marble ribs, the larger surfaces being terra-cotta blocks covered with mosaic tile; third, the larger surfaces frescoed on plaster. The ceiling of the lantern in the centre of the cathedral will be supported by arch trusses, and show metallic ribs on the interior, glazed with cathedral glass.

The screens between the choir and aisles and between the aisle and vestries and chapels are intended to be of wrought-iron, bronze or brass, or a combination. They should be arranged so as to slide down into the cellar and leave the entire building open and unobstructed whenever it might be thought desirable.

The outside doors are to be bronze, with figures on them in low relief.

The size of columns and piers, and the weights imposed upon them, the thrusts of arches and trusses, their proper abutments and ties and other constructional problems have been calculated with a sufficient degree of accuracy to determine the feasibility of the execution of the design according to the drawings.

In the lantern where the frescoing is contemplated the wall will be faced with porous brick, on which the proper fresco plaster can be spread.

The plan is arranged to facilitate the ingress and egress of large assemblages of people, five doorways being provided in the nave entrance and two in each of the transepts. The galleries over the nave and transept vestibules and the triforium have stairways with entrances on the side porches. Including the clergy entrances, fifteen outside doors are planned. The vestibules and porches connect with each other so that worshippers can pass from one to the other under cover.

The arrangement adopted for the central tower allows a central auditorium about one hundred feet in diameter, unobstructed by columns or piers, with the nave transepts and choir opening into it. The aisles are not decreased by this central enlargement, as they deflect through the four abutting towers.

The different vestry-rooms, library or sacristy and the treasury are grouped conveniently to the choir, with separate entrances for the church officials. The meeting-room for the clergy or chapter and the chapel have entrances independent of the church, or by lowering the screen they can be thrown open into the cathedral. Toilet-rooms, custodian's and a committee-room are located on the transept vestibules, as these entrances would most probably be constantly open.

Elevators are placed in two of the supplemental towers, and stairways in the ones adjoining the choir, landing visitors on the triforium gallery, which encircles the building, and in the two galleries which encircle the central lantern. From the lantern galleries visitors can obtain fine interior views of the building, and comprehend the crucial form of the plan at a glance.


Length. Breadth. Height. Square feet. Ground-floor including walls height to the ridge of roof 400 156 to 230 148 69,000

Lantern or central tower exterior 106 106 400 11,236

Nave interior 125 50 100 6,250

Transepts interior 30 50 100 3,000 for the two

Choir interior 95 50 100 4,750

Central tower interior 88 88 200

Aisles interior 16 40

Chapel and Chapter 52 26

Square feet of auditorium exclusive of aisles, columns and space between columns, triforium and galleries 20,486

Auditorium including everything except choir 48,106



The traveller by sea, along the east coast of Scotland, is liable to be reminded with startling emphasis of the demolition to which the ecclesiastical architecture of the country has been subjected. Leaving behind him on his northward course the fragments of the metropolitan Cathedral of St. Andrews, he crosses a wide arm of the sea, and when he again approaches the shore, the objects most prominent against the sky are the still more disastrously shattered remnants of the great Abbey of Aberbrothwick. One lofty fragment presents in its centre a circle, doubtless once filled with richly moulded mullions and stained-glass, but through which the blue sky is now visible. This vacant circle is the only symmetrical form in these lofty masses that at a distance strikes the eye—all else is shapeless and fragmentary. Around these huge unsightly vestiges of ancient magnificence the types of modern comfort and commercial wealth cluster thickly, in the shape of a small but busy manufacturing town, with its mills, tall chimneys and rows of substantial houses.

The ruins, which are interesting only in their details, scarcely present a more inviting general aspect as they are approached. Nearing them from the High Street of the burgh, the first prominent object is a grim, strong, square tower, the sole remaining complete edifice of the great establishment, now used as a butcher's shop. It was not perhaps without design that this formidable building was so placed as to frown over the dwellings of the industrious burghers—it was the prison of the regality of the abbey—the place of punishment or detention through which a judicial power, scarcely inferior to that of the royal courts, was enforced by this potent brotherhood; and thus it served to remind the world without, that the coercive power of the abbot and his chapter was scarcely inferior to their spiritual dignity and their temporal magnificence. Passing onward, the whole scene is found to be a chaos of ruin. Fragments of the church, with those of the cloisters and other monastic edifices, rise in apparently inseparable confusion from the grassy ground; but, with a little observation, the cruciform outline of the church can be traced, and then its disjointed masses reduce themselves into connected details. The dark-red stone of which the building was constructed is friable, and peculiarly apt to crumble under the moist atmosphere and dreary winds of the northeast coast. The mouldings and tracery are thus wofully obliterated, and the facings are so much decayed as to leave the original surface distinguishable only here and there. At comparatively late periods large masses of the ruins have fallen down; and Pennant mentions such an event as having taken place just before he visited the spot. This palpable progress towards the complete extinction of the relics of one of the finest Gothic buildings in Scotland, certainly rendered it not only justifiable but highly praiseworthy that the Exchequer should make some effort for preserving so much of the pile as was preservable. Restoration was not to be expected—the preservation of the existing fragments was all that could be reasonably looked for. It must be confessed, however, that the operations, by means of which this service was accomplished, have given no picturesque aid to the mass of ruins, but have rather introduced a new element of discordance and confusion, in the contrast between the cold, flat, new surfaces of masonry and the rugged, weatherbeaten ruins in which they are embodied.

There are few buildings in which the Norman and the early English are so closely blended, and the transition so gentle. The great western door has the Norman arch, with an approach to the later types in some of its rather peculiar mouldings, while the broad and equally peculiar gallery above it—the only interior portion of the church remaining in a state of preservation—shows the pointed arch, with all the simplicity of the Norman pillar and capital. All the material fragments of the church now remaining are represented in the four accompanying plates, from which as full an idea of the shape and character of the remains may be derived as the visitor could acquire on the spot. It will be seen that over the gallery, at the western end of the nave, there widens the lower arc of a circular window, which must have been of great size. The only portions of the aisle windows still existing are on the south side of the nave. None of the central pillars remain, but their bases have been carefully laid bare: and it is supposed, from the greater size of those at the meeting of the cross, that here there had been a great central tower.

Among the tombs of more modern date, in the grave-yard near the church, there are many which bear sculptural marks of a very remote antiquity; and among the ornaments they present, the primitive form of the cross is conspicuous. During the operations for cleaning out the ruins, which were conducted under the authority of the Exchequer in 1815,[3] some pieces of monumental sculpture were discovered, two of which are curious and remarkable. The one is the mutilated figure of a dignified churchman—probably an abbot. The head, the hands—which appear to have been clasped—and the feet, are broken off and lost; but the fragment thus truncated has much appearance of grace in the folds of the drapery and the disposition of the limbs, while a series of rich ceremonial ornaments appear to have been brought out with great force and minuteness. The other figure, still more mutilated, is simpler in the ordinary details, but has attached to it some adjuncts which have perplexed the learned. The feet appear to have rested on the effigy of a beast, the remains of which indicate it to have represented a lion. It has, from this circumstance, been inferred that the statue was that of William the Lion, the founder of the abbey. The figure has, however, been attired in flowing robes, and a purse hangs from the girdle. But the portions of this fragment which chiefly contributed to rouse curiosity, are some incrustations, which had at first the appearance of the effigies of lizards crawling along the main figure. It was supposed that these reptiles were intended to embody the idea of malevolent spirits, and that the piece of sculpture might have been designed to represent a myth, probably in reference to the machinations of the infernal world. But, upon a closer inspection, it was found that these tiny figures represented pigmy knights in armor, scrambling, as it were, up the massive figure. One appears to be struggling with the drapery below; another has reached the waist; and the fracture, which is across the shoulder, leaves dangling the mailed heels of two others, which must have reached the neck. Is it possible that there can be here any reference to the slaughter of Becket, to whom the abbey was dedicated?


[3] New Stat. Account, Forfar, p. 80.


The historical circumstances connected with the foundation of this monastic institution are remarkable. It was founded and endowed by William the Lion, King of Scots, in the year 1178, and dedicated to St. Thomas a Becket, the martyr of the principle of ecclesiastical supremacy, whose slaughter at the high altar of Canterbury Cathedral occurred in 1170, and who was canonized in 1173. This great establishment, richly endowed, was thus a magnificent piece of homage by the Scottish King to a principle which, especially under the bold and uncompromising guidance of its great advocate, had solely perplexed and baffled his royal neighbor on the English throne, and boded future trouble and humiliation to all thrones and temporal dignities. Much antiquarian speculation has been exerted, but without very obvious success, to fathom the motives for this act of munificence. William had invaded those parts of the north of England which were previously held in a species of feudality by the Kings of Scotland, and was disgracefully defeated at Alnwick, and committed to captivity, just at the time when the English monarch, whose forces accomplished the victory and capture, was enduring his humiliating penance at the tomb of the canonized archbishop. Lord Hailes, who says that "William was personally acquainted with Becket, when there was little probability of his ever becoming a confessor, martyr and saint," endeavoring to discover a motive for the munificence of the Scottish King, continues to say: "Perhaps it was meant as a public declaration that he did not ascribe his disaster at Alnwick to the ill-will of his old friend. He may, perhaps, have been hurried by the torrent of popular prejudices into the belief that his disaster proceeded from the partiality of Becket towards the penitent Henry; and he might imagine that if equal honors were done in Scotland to the new saint as in England he might, on future occasions, observe a neutrality."[4] It is remarkable that several of the early chroniclers allude to this friendship between the Scottish monarch, who was a resolute champion of temporal authority, and the representative of ecclesiastical supremacy....

Princes may be induced, by personal circumstances, to change their views, and in the times when they were not controlled by responsible ministers, they gave effect to their alterations of opinion. It is quite possible that at the time when he founded the Abbey, William was partial to Church ascendency, for his celebrated contest with the ecclesiastical power arose out of subsequent events. This King's disputes with the Church have a somewhat complex shape. The clergy of his own dominions had a spiritual war against the English hierarchy, who asserted a claim to exercise metropolitan authority over them; and it might have been supposed that William, if he sought to humble his own clergy, would have found it politic to favor the pretensions of those of England. But the interests of the two clerical bodies became in the end united. Thus the war which had so long raged in England, passed towards the north, with this difference, that the King of Scots had to encounter not only his own native hierarchy, but the victorious Church of England, just elated by its triumph over Henry. The Chapter of St. Andrews had elected a person to be their bishop, not acceptable to William, who desired to give the chair to his own chaplain. The King seized the temporalities, and prevailed on the other bishops to countenance his favorite. The bishop-elect appealed to Rome. Pope Alexander III issued legatine powers over Scotland to the Archbishop of York, who, along with the Bishop of Durham, after an ineffectual war of minor threats and inflictions, excommunicated the King, and laid the kingdom under interdict. At this point Alexander III died, and the new pope thought it wise to make concessions to an uncompromising adversary in a rude and distant land, who had shown himself possessed of an extent of temporal power sufficient to counteract the power of Rome, even among the ecclesiastics themselves.

It was before this great feud commenced that the Abbey was founded; but during its continuance the institution received, from whatever motives, many tokens of royal favor, as well as precious gifts from the great barons. Among the list of benefactors we find many of those old Norman names, which cease to be associated with Scottish history after the War of Independence. It is a still more striking instance of the community of interest between the two kingdoms anterior to this war, that while we find a Scottish king devoting a great monastic establishment to the memory of an English prelate, we should find an English king conferring special privileges and immunities within his realm on the Scottish brotherhood....

The Abbey was founded for Tyronesian monks, and the parent stock whence it received its first inmates was the old Abbey of Kelso. In the year of the foundation, Reginald, elected "Abbot of the Church of St. Thomas," was, with his convent, released of all subjection and obedience to the abbot and convent of Kelso. The church was completed and consecrated under the abbacy of Ralph de Lamley, in 1233. Aberbrothwick was one of those ecclesiastical institutions immediately connected with the spread of the Roman hierarchy, which gradually sucked up the curious pristine establishment of the Culdees; and the muniments of the Abbey thus afford some traces of the character and history of this religious body, at least towards the period of their extinction. Thus, while the Church of Abernethy, an ancient seat of the Culdees, is granted by King William to his new foundation, Orme of Abernethy, who is also styled Abbot of Abernethy, grants the half of the tithes of the property of himself and his heirs, the other half of which belongs to the Culdees of Abernethy, while some disposals of a strictly ecclesiastical character are made by the same document. Thus we find an abbot who makes disposal for his heirs—a counterpart to those references to the legitimate progeny of churchmen, which frequently puzzle the antiquary in his researches through early Scottish ecclesiastical history.

The Abbot of Aberbrothwick possessed a peculiar privilege, the origin of which is in some measure associated with the Culdees—the custody of the Brecbennach, or consecrated banner of St. Columba. The lands of Forglen, the church of which was dedicated to Adomnan the biographer of Columba, were gifted for the maintenance of the banner. The privilege was conferred on the Abbey by King William, but as it inferred the warlike service of following the banner to the King's host, the actual custody was held by laymen, the Abbey enjoying the pecuniary advantages attached to the privilege, as religious houses drew the temporalities of churches served by vicars.

It will readily be believed that this, one of the richest and most magnificent monastic institutions in Scotland, numbered many eminent men among its abbots, who from time to time connect it with the early history of Scotland. It is even associated with a literature that has survived to the present day, in having been presided over by Gavin Douglas, the translator of Virgil. The two Beatons, Cardinal David and Archbishop James, also successively its abbots, give it a more ambiguous reputation. At the Reformation, the wealth of the Abbey was converted into a temporal lordship, in favor of Lord Claude Hamilton, third son of the Duke of Chatelherault, and the greater part of the temporalities came, in the seventeenth century, into the hands of the Panmure family.

In a tradition immortalized by a fine ballad of Southey's, it is said that the abbots of Aberbrothwick, in their munificent humanity preserved a beacon on that dangerous reef of rock in the German Ocean, which is supposed to have received its name of the "Bell Rock" from the peculiar character of the warning machinery of which the abbot made use:

"The Abbot of Aberbrothwick Had placed that bell on the Inchcape rock, On a buoy in the storm it floated and swung, And over the waves its warning rung.

"When the rock was hid by the surge's swell, The mariners heard the warning bell; And then they knew the perilous rock, And bless'd the Abbot of Aberbrothwick."

The tradition represents a rover, in the recklessness of prosperity and sunshine, cutting the bell-rope, and afterwards returning in foul weather to be shipwrecked on the rock from which he had impiously removed the warning beacon. No evidence of the existence of the bell is found in the records of the Abbey; and on the subject of its wanton removal, the sagacious engineer of the Northern Lights say, "It in no measure accords with the respect and veneration entertained by seamen of all classes for landmarks; more especially as there seems to be no difficulty in accounting for the disappearance of such an apparatus, unprotected, as it must have been, from the raging element of the sea."[5]


[4] Annals, 1178.

[5] Stevenson on the Bell Rock Light-house, 69.



Recommendations by the Boston Society of Architects, in regard to practice in obtaining estimates from contractors:

1. Drawings, when offered for final or competitive estimates, should be sufficient in number and character to represent the proposed works clearly; should be at a scale of not less than one-eighth of an inch to the foot, and be rendered in ink or some permanent process.

2. Proper details should be furnished for work that is not otherwise sufficiently described for estimate.

3. Specifications should be in ink. They should be definite where not sufficiently defined and explained by drawings, and every distinctive class of work to be included in contract should be mentioned and placed under its appropriate heading.

4. Contractors should be notified, at time of estimate, if they are to be restricted in the employment of their subcontractors.

5. Sub-bids received by architects should be held as confidential communications until all the estimates in a given class of work have been submitted.

The principal contractor should add to his bids all these subestimates while in the architect's office, and should sign a tender in which the names of these above-mentioned subcontractors should be enumerated.

6. A subcontractor should not (without his free consent) be placed under a general contractor, and no general contractor should be compelled to accept (without his free consent) the estimate of any subcontractor.

7. Should a contractor decline to assume in his contract the estimate for any work not included in his original estimate, he should not thereby be denied the contract upon the portions of the work covered by his original estimate.

8. Estimates should not be binding more than thirty days after received.

9. Unless previous notification has been given to the contrary in the specification or otherwise, the lowest invited bidder is entitled to the contract. If radical changes are made, the whole competition should be reopened.

10. After bids have been received, and before the award, bidders should not be allowed to amend their estimates.

[The editors cannot pay attention to demands of correspondents who forget to give their names and addresses as guaranty of good faith; nor do they hold themselves responsible for opinions expressed by their correspondents.]


NEW YORK, N.Y., December 28, 1889.


Dear Sirs,—I have just seen a letter from "Anglo-American" in your issue of December 14, in which he calls for the name of the English artist who said concerning the French sculptor, Barye: "Had he been born in Great Britain, we would have had a group by Barye in every square in London."

Theophile Silvestre reports this remark as if uttered in his presence. He says (1856) that the speaker was Mr. Herbert, an artist of distinction. Probably this was Arthur J. Herbert. Your correspondent takes the remark perhaps too literally, when it merely meant to express admiration through a slight exaggeration. Mr. Herbert would have been content to see a few squares only decorated with groups by an English equivalent of Barye, had one existed.

As to the assertion by "Anglo-American" that Alfred Stevens was "an artist not inferior to Barye" it will be shared by few who have studied the works of the great French sculptor of animals and men.

"Anglo-American" is right in saying that my short paper in Harper's Weekly errs in giving two bronze groups after Barye to Mount Vernon Square, Baltimore, instead of four. Were I a resident of that city, I could hardly have known this better, and how the error got there puzzles me. Certainly had I been permitted to see a proof of that paper the mistake would have been corrected, unimportant as it is, so far as Barye is concerned. I must compliment your correspondent on the quickness of eye that detected the slip and regret that the proof-reader of Harper's Weekly did not know his Baltimore to the same degree. But he is himself in error when he speaks of the "Life and Works of Antoine Louis Barye," written by me and published by the Barye Monument Association as a catalogue. The catalogue is quite another thing from the edition deluxe, which is the only edition of the "Life."




Dear Sirs,—In a late issue of your journal an advocate of Trap-venting, says of ordinary S-traps "If the traps are filled even once in two months they will keep their seals intact."

Most persons now agree that S-traps which are back-vented in the ordinary manner require refilling by hand as often as once a fortnight. It is, therefore, clear that the system of back-venting is a very dangerous one. Its original object was to afford security. It is now found (and strangely enough, even by its advocates) that it totally fails in this respect and that it requires an amount of attention which experience and common-sense show us it will never receive.

My experiments on the rate of seal-reduction through evaporation produced by back-venting were made with the greatest care and show a more rapid loss than is generally supposed. If the reports of these experiments are studied, it will be seen that every precaution was taken to secure trustworthy results. Although my experiments on siphonage were made during the same year and on the same system of piping with those on evaporation, it will be seen by studying the drawings and text of the report that the former in no wise interfered with the latter. No experiments on siphonage were made while the water stood high in the traps during the tests for evaporation, and no disturbance of the water seals was made by this or any other cause during the evaporation tests. It would have been exceedingly careless and totally unnecessary to allow of any such disturbance. Moreover, most of the experiments on evaporation were made, as shown, on a stack so connected with the rest of the system of piping that such disturbance would have been impossible. Even had we not so carefully closed the inlet or house-side of the traps.

I found that a warm flue caused the back-vent pipe to evaporate enough of the water from the seal of the trap to break it in less than a week, and I am confident that this often happens in practice.

How short-sighted and foolish is it to endeavor to throw discredit on these experiments which were made with the greatest care and honesty and which were witnessed and subscribed to by impartial experts, and to argue that, because other experiments made under different conditions showed a somewhat slower rate of evaporation, therefore cases could never occur in which the more rapid rate might be encountered in practice.

It is likely that the public will very soon awake to a sense of the importance of investigating this matter for themselves. Their Boards of Health will then find that with a very small outlay they can obtain the truth; and that a vast amount of unnecessary complication and expense can be saved in plumbing and, at the same time greater security be obtained.

When we consider, too, the well-known unreliability of the vent-pipe in other ways and the frequency with which it is found totally closed by grease, it becomes something more than folly to recommend the public to place implicit reliance upon it.


THE DIVINING-ROD.—Professor Ray Lankester, having recently expressed some doubts of the alleged powers of a boy "water-finder." Dr. McClure, who is chairman of the company by whom the boy is employed, has denied emphatically that the boy, whose name is Rodwell, is an impostor. He says that the lad, when tested, never failed to find either water or mineral veins, the lodes having always been found exactly at the places indicated. The divining-rod which he holds only moves in obedience to the muscular contraction of his hands, and a rod of any kind of wood, or even of any material substance whatever, can be used, provided it be a conductor of electricity. Dr. McClure's statements have excited considerable comment in England. The phenomena of tests by the divining-rod are not by any means new. They have never been described from a scientific point-of-view, nor has any philosophical explanation of them ever been advanced, but there is no question whatever of their existence, and of their being now regarded by the most advanced scientists as beyond the region of chicanery and imposture. Mr. W. J. Jenks, in a recent lecture on "The Protection of Electric Light Stations from Lightning," treats the subject very exhaustively, and shows that where the ability to locate electrical or magnetic attraction is vested in an individual the results are absolutely reliable. He instances the case of two gentlemen of Merrimac, Massachusetts, named Prescott, who for several years have given displays of this rare faculty. As an illustration of the certainty with which the Prescott brothers could indicate the location of electrical attraction, Mr. Jenks gives a well-authenticated incident which took place at Amesbury not long ago. Several old citizens were sceptical as to the accuracy of the conclusions supposed to have been reached, and determined on a severe test. Taking twenty or more citizens as witnesses, they requested the Prescott brothers to accompany them, and indicating a stretch of highway before them, some forty or fifty rods in length, stated that some years previous lightning had struck on that road, and wished to be informed as to the exact spot. Proceeding several rods, two cross currents were marked out; both extending for some distance in the travelled pathway and crossed by another at right angles. Testing carefully the roads in both directions, this electrical centre was pointed out as the greatest danger in the vicinity. The party was then invited to examine an ancient volume of official records, where it was chronicled that on the 7th of October, 1802, a man who was driving two yoke of cattle was struck by lightning in that exact spot and, with all his animals, was instantly killed. The occurrence had been deemed at the time so remarkable that the circumstance, with a minute description of the locality, had been recorded, though long forgotten by all but perhaps a few of the oldest citizens.

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THE DANGERS OF ELECTRICITY.—The rapid spread of electric lighting in America has not been accomplished without very considerable loss of life. From a list compiled by Mr. Harold P. Brown, of New York, we learn that eighty-seven persons have been killed up to the commencement of this year. This is a very serious total, and if there were any likelihood of the rate being maintained, it would supply ample reason for very stringent legislative control being exercised over all electric installations. Happily many of the accidents may be attributed to the want of knowledge which always characterizes a new manufacture, while numbers of them are also due to the hasty and careless methods of erection adopted in America. Both these causes may be expected to decrease rapidly in the future, particularly if the municipalities insist on the mains being placed underground, instead of being strung on poles in the streets. Mr. Brown is well-known from his persistent opposition to the alternate current system; he never misses an opportunity of insisting upon its dangers, and of comparing it, to its detriment, with the direct-current system. Now as the alternate system is rapidly spreading all over London and also in many parts of the kingdom, this is a question which interests us directly. Are we running special risks by permitting its establishment? As far as lighting currents of fifty or one hundred volts are concerned, it certainly matters little or nothing whether they are direct or alternate, for neither will produce any serious injury on the human frame. When it comes to currents of distribution of two thousand volts, then it is quite conceivable that death is more certain by the alternate current, but unfortunately it is also fairly certain with the direct current, so that there is very little to choose between them. A house in which the fittings were charged to such a potential would be as dangerous as a battlefield. What is wanted is sufficiently good workmanship to prevent contact ever being made between the distributing mains and the service wires, and this there should be no difficulty in obtaining. Even if a leak should occur the device of putting the service main to earth at one point will prevent it doing any harm. Mr. Brown refers to two cases in which men were killed by contact with a perfectly insulated wire, their death being caused by the static charge. We feel considerable doubt as to the possibility of any one being killed by a static charge under these circumstances; we prefer to believe that the insulator was bad, probably a mere taping of non-waterproof material. Just as the death-rate on a railway varies inversely as the perfection of the signalling appliances, so the fatalities in America from electricity will decrease as better materials are adopted, and more care is expended in erection.—Engineering.

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THE MONOLITHIC CHURCH OF ST. EMILION.—About twenty miles to the north-east of Bordeaux is Libourne, one of the principal towns founded by Edward I. This flourishing commercial town was the ruin of its neighbor, St. Emilion, which affords a fine field for the antiquary, nearly the whole town consisting of buildings of the Middle Ages. A considerable part of the town wall of the twelfth century remains, with the ditch, now turned into vineyards, and at one corner is a fine house of the same period, which is called the Palace of the Cardinal de la Mothe, who may perhaps have resided in it; but it is at least a century older than his time, and can hardly be later than 1200, as will at once be seen by the details. The French antiquaries say that it was built by the Cardinal in 1302, and speak of it as a remarkable synchronism in art; but the fact appears to me simply incredible. The most remarkable feature of St. Emilion is the monolithic church, which is probably one of the most curious of its class. It is cut entirely out of the solid rock, and is of early Romanesque character. The precise date is uncertain, but it appears most probable that the work was commenced in the eleventh century, and carried on through the whole of the twelfth. St. Emilion is said to have lived in the eighth century. A fragment of an inscription remains, the characters of which agree with the eleventh century; but some of the French antiquaries attribute it to the ninth. Others consider it as merely the crypt of the church above on the top of the rock; but that church is of much later character, and it is much more probable that the subterranean church was first made, and the other built long afterwards, when the country was in a more settled state. This church is 115 feet long by 80 wide. It consists of three parallel aisles, or rather a nave and two aisles, with plain barrel-shaped vaults, if they can be so called, with transverse vaults or openings, and round arches on massive square piers; the imposts are of the plain early Norman character, merely a square projection chamfered off on the under side, but one of them is enriched with the billet ornament. There are recesses for tombs down the sides, and a fourth aisle or passage has been cut out on the south side, apparently for tombs only, as it has recesses on both sides to receive the stone coffins. Still farther to the south, but connected by a passage, is a circular chamber in an unfinished state, with a domical vault, and an opening in the centre to a shaft which is carried up to the surface. Whether this was intended for a chapter-house, or for a sepulchral chapel in imitation of the Holy Sepulcre, is an undecided point. I incline to the latter opinion. This subterranean church or crypt is necessarily lighted from one end only, where it is flush with the face of the rock; and these openings are filled with Flamboyant windows, which are very evident insertions. On the surface of the hill over this church, but with a large space of solid rock intervening, is the tower and spire belonging to it. The tower is of late Norman and Transitional character surmounted by a Flamboyant crocketed spire. There is a kind of well or flue cut through the rock under the tower into the church below, apparently for the bell-ropes. In the church are remains of early painting, and some shallow sculpture, the character of which appears to be of the twelfth century. Adjoining to the church, on the south side, is a detached chapel of transition Norman work, with an apse vaulted with good ribs and vaulting shafts. A considerable part of the old painting is preserved; some of the ribs are painted with zigzags. Under this chapel is a crypt or cave cut out of the rock called the Grotto of St. Emilion, with a spring of water in it. The work is of the same early character as the other vaults.—J. H. Parker.

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ANOTHER TALL CHIMNEY.—A factory chimney, said to be the highest in the world, is now being erected at the Royal Smelting-Works, near Freiberg, in Saxony. The horizontal flue from the works to the chimney is 1,093 yards long; it crosses the river Mulde, and then takes an upward course of 197 feet to the top of the hill upon which the chimney is being built. The base of the structure is thirty-nine feet square by thirty feet in height, on which is placed a short octagonal transition, from which the round shaft starts. This is 430 feet high, or altogether, with the base 460 feet high, with an inside diameter of twenty-three feet at the bottom, and sixteen feet and six inches at the top. It will take 1,500,000 bricks, and the cost is L6,000.—Exchange.

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SITE OF A LOCRIAN TOWN.—The site of an ancient city of the Locri in modern Calabria, Italy, is in progress of excavation, under the direction of Dr. Orsi. The modern name of the spot is Gerace. A temple of six columns has been unearthed, and among the prizes is a Greek group in Parian marble, showing a divinity with a fishtail, a horse and a nude youth. The group is supposed to have been placed in the pediment of the west gable. Other finds are awaited.—New York Times.

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THE WATKIN TOWER.—Four hundred plans have already been received by the committee who offered prizes for the best and second-best plan for the proposed Watkin tower—the English Eiffel. It has been said that it will be so high that all that need be done when fog comes on will be to enter the lift and in a few minutes be up in the clear blue.—Boston Post.

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PERSIAN COURT ART.—M. Georges Perrot will maintain in his forthcoming volume on Persian art, being the fifth volume of "The History of Art," that the old art of Persia had nothing to do with the Persian people, being simply official or Court art. The designers and builders, sculptors and artists, were, he thinks, not Persians, but Greeks. The architect of the palaces of Darius was a Greek or a Phoenician.—New York Times.

There are signs of a subsidence of popular hostility to railroad combinations, trusts and commercial and manufacturing organizations of various kinds intended to conserve mutual interests. If the granger spirit had its own way it would, through its control of the legislative mills, grind a good many corporations to powder, and do tenfold more damage by its destructive methods than could possibly be repaired by mistaken remedies. It is, after all, a question whether any form of combination is possible which can very long do much damage to the people at large. These gigantic commercial and railroad organizations with which we have recently become familiar are giant-like efforts of enormous interests to rise up out of old conditions. Progress and development must take place, and the efforts of trusts, associations and combinations by whatever name known are simply the preliminary movements of mighty interests to reorganize themselves upon a broader and higher platform. The people in their jealousy and anxiety to protect themselves have, in some sections of the country, run into the adoption of extreme measures. They are already preparing to retrace their steps, and for several reasons. They are discovering that they have been fighting a bugbear; also, that their legislation against the bugbear cannot legislate. Also, that money stays away from radical communities, that many possible advantages are lost; that combinations properly controlled have, within themselves, the capabilities of accomplishing much good. Despite the threatened damage of these monster combinations prices have been quietly and steadily declining in nearly every direction; railroad freights have slipped down, notch after notch. Association after association has come and gone, and the Interstate Railway Law itself is in danger of being set aside for something better. The people are learning to have less fear of these combinations, and more confidence in themselves and for the underlying laws of trade. The year ends with gratifying results to business men in every avenue of activity. The action of the Treasury Department furnishes a hint to the country that a large supply of currency may soon become a necessity. The evil that would result from an unexpected and prolonged financial stringency cannot be measured. Over five thousand new corporations, firms and business associations have started in the South last year, as against something like 3,700 for 1888. Never in our history was there such an incubation of new business ventures. A stringency in money will destroy these by the thousand. Two or three scores of railroad enterprises which have reached the stage of bond-issuing would also be thrown aside, and thousands of enlargements of manufacturing and mining properties would be postponed; but it is useless to borrow trouble, or to paint dismal possibilities, as it is to be presumed that the people and their spokesmen fully understand the question. There is not a single branch of business in which reasonable fault can be found with results, excepting the one general result of very narrow margins. Consuming-capacity, on the whole, has increased. The wage-earners are earning as much as for years past, and are receiving more for their expenditures; that is to say, less of the product of labor in the aggregate is being absorbed by middlemen, or what might be termed non-productive agencies. The production of labor is being more evenly and equitably distributed than ever before. The ideal justice dreamed of by the philosophic socialists is within reach. In short, the wage-worker is better off, has more advantages, greater opportunities, and is yearly becoming a more important factor in the Government.

As long as railway gross and net earnings continue to improve no reaction is to be feared, according to the dictum of Wall Street. There are strong probabilities that the favorable showing will continue. The anthracite coal production for 1889 foots up 35,200,000 tons, as against 38,145,718 tons for 1888. The distribution of soft coal throughout the New England and Middle States for steam-raising and general manufacturing purposes is gradually increasing. Last week's distribution of Connellsville coke reached the unprecedented figures of 125,000 tons. The production for the year foots up over 4,500,000 tons. The expansion and development of industries throughout the Middle and Southern States continues, and hundreds of new enterprises will take shape early in the spring. Iron and steel makers are projecting new furnaces and mills in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama. Some forty or fifty cotton mills are projected between Georgia and Texas. Mining companies representing fully forty million dollars of capital—that is, actual working capital—will begin operations this winter along the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. Industrial and building activity will take a fresh start upon the Pacific coast. Among the branches which will be developed will be saw-mill and foundry building. Machinery, engines, castings of all kinds, stoves and small iron and wood work are in great demand all along the coast from the Columbia River to Los Angeles. A great deal of capital and enterprise has been encouraged thither during 1889, and, as a result, manufacturing is greatly stimulated. The Dominion Government is also alive to the importance of developing relations with Asiatic and other foreign countries, and ship-lines are projected from its western seaports to foreign countries. Railroad-building is also being greatly stimulated by private enterprise. A vast amount of capital is drifting into the Rocky Mountain and Pacific coast regions from Eastern cities, and a great empire is being built up there which will be a source of wealth to those who obtain possession of land, timber, minerals and manufacturing facilities before the general enhancement of values takes place. The benefits originally contemplated by the construction of the trans-continental roads are now only being felt in their intensity. Irrigation companies, heavily capitalized, are doing excellent work in reclaiming vast tracts which geographers declared lost to all future utility. Mining engineers who have made a very careful examination and survey of much Western territory in the interest of Boston and New York moneyed men furnish evidences of wealth in those sections, which cannot but bring to them the money and enterprise necessary to their full development. The smaller industries throughout the States east of the Mississippi River are all doing well. Manufacturers are making money, but not as rapidly as they would like. Competition is exercising a healthy restraining influence. Like interests are being drawn together through the spirit of organization. Manufacture and agriculture are evenly balancing themselves. Commercial failures for 1889 show a moderate increase, but, considering the rashness with which ill-equipped persons enter into business and manufacturing, it is surprising that the failures are so few.

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S. J. PARKHILL & CO., Printers, Boston.

Transcriber's Note:

Minor printer errors (omitted or incorrect punctuation, missing or transposed letters etc.) have been corrected without note. All remaining variations in spelling, hyphenation, etc. are preserved as in the original, with the following exceptions:

Page iv—Concontractors amended to Contractors—"Estimates. Builders' and Sub-Contractors', 161"

Page iv—Judaean amended to Judean—"Judean Tombs, 117"

Page v—Scandinavan amended to Scandinavian—"Scandinavian Art, 37, 53, 63"

Page v—Maxmilian amended to Maximilian—"Tomb. [of] Maximilian at Innsbruck, 61"

Page vii—place name and page reference transposal reversed—"Strozzi Palace, Florence, 70"

Page viii—Ruitz amended to Rintz—"Berlin, Ger. ... House on the Yorkstrasse. Herr Rintz, ..."

Page viii—Willisch amended to Wellisch—"Buda-Pesth, Austria. House of Herr Hatner. Alfred Willisch, ..."

Page viii—Felixtowe amended to Felixstowe—"Felixstowe, Eng. The Gables." etc.

Page viii—repeated 'the' deleted—"Painting by Puvis de Chavannes in the Grand Hall ..."

Page 5—succedded amended to succeeded—"... far from honourable, have succeeded in getting control ..."

Page 7—scholorship amended to scholarship—"... to whom scholarship is dear ..."

Page 9—argillacious amended to argillaceous—"... of a loose argillaceous irony matter ..."

Page 9—repeated 'is' deleted—"... showing that it is not its geological position ..."

Page 11—gripe amended to grip—"... carrying a lion whose dreadful grip his frantic rearing cannot loosen."

The index entry on p vi, Suggestion for the Executive Mansion by Theodore F. Laist, etc. has no page reference in the original publication.

The word Phoenician was printed with an oe ligature. This has not been retained in this version.

Illustrations have been shifted slightly so as not to fall in the middle of paragraphs.


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