AN OVERGROWN STORY

by Professor Revilo P. Oliver

February 1987

Over the past year or two, several correspondents, one of whom enclosed a copy of a published newsletter, have enlightened me about the true origin of the famous colossal statue of the goddess Eleutheria, who, most inappropriately wearing the radial crown of Apollo Helios, stands on a monumental pedestal at the entrance to the harbor of New York City. As is well known, the statue was given by a group of Frenchmen and Jews who collected money for it, even from French schoolchildren, and, whatever the intention of the donors, some tawdry verses by an enemy alien were inscribed on the pedestal to advertise the United States as the world's garbage dump for anthropoid refuse.

The information sent me was timely, since, on the fourth of July of this year, the memory of the founders of the American Republic was desecrated by a series of vulgar shows and exhibitions, largely directed by Jews for profit, centered about the colossal statue and intended to convince stupid Americans that it was so noble of them to throw away the country they once had and put it on the world's trash-heap. The ceremonies were so disgusting that another correspondent, who witnessed most of them, suggested that the thing to do with the statue was pack it up and ship it back to France.

Now the story sent to me was that the statue was one that the Alsatian sculptor, Auguste Bartholdi, had designed for erection at the entrance of the Panama Canal, when that great project was completed by Count Ferdinand de Lesseps, who wanted to repeat his triumph of engineering in the Suez Canal. When it became apparent that the French corporation headed by De Lesseps could never complete the canal across the Isthmus of Panama, Bartholdi's work, with slight changes, was converted into a statue of Eleutheria, the goddess whom the Romans called Libertas, for presentation to the United States. One version of the story adds that the collection of money in France served as a cover for subversive propaganda against the government of the French Emperor, Napoleon III.

The story was obviously wrong, made impossible by chronological considerations. The use of the proposed statue for covert propaganda against Napoleon III does not fit, because Bartholdi's first public proposal of the project was made in 1871, after the Franco-Prussian War and the consequent fall of the Second Empire. His proposal, furthermore, was made eight years before a French consortium decided to built a canal across the Isthmus of Panama and asked the aged Count de Lesseps to head the corporation and direct the work. And finally, the statue was erected on Bedloes Island and dedicated in 1886, two years before the Panama Company became bankrupt and probably before anyone not "on the inside" could have known why it would inevitably end in bankruptcy. (France, after the fall of the Second Empire, was a "democracy" like the United States, so the company was simply looted by great financiers and their accomplices in the Chambre de Deputes, who by clever propaganda shifted the onus of their guilt to Count de Lesseps and his son, and had them prosecuted for it by the corrupt government. The real scandal was concealed from the public until it was exposed, years later, by Dumont and other wicked "anti-Semites," who did not know that Jews can do no wrong.) And the statue was dedicated more than twelve years before anyone could be certain that the French Canal project, on which work was carried on, sometimes desultorily, by a successor corporation, would fail and be sold to the United States through more of the noisome corruption that is a necessary part of "democracy" and constitutes its chief charm.

The story was therefore a canard, but it did not seem to be merely a malicious invention, such as is so common in the Jews' newspapers and other media of communication and misinformation. On the contrary, it had the characteristics of a story that has grown about a kernel of fact by more or less innocent misunderstanding and imaginative elaboration. The only thing of which one could be certain without some little research was that Bartholdi had wanted to produce a modern counterpart of the famous Colossus of Rhodes, a huge statue of Apollo Helios created by Chares, a pupil of Praxiteles, for the Republic of Rhodes; it was erected at the entrance to the harbor of Rhodes and dedicated in 290 B.C. (It stood there until it was overthrown by an earthquake. The prostrate figure, still one of the marvels of the ancient world, lay there for centuries until a wily Jew, with the instincts of his race, bought it from the impoverished people of Rhodes and melted the bronze for use in the highly profitable manufacture of weapons.) Bartholdi, therefore, must have intended his colossus for the entrance to *some* harbor or waterway. As for the rest of the story, I was mildly curious, but I did not have a biography of Bartholdi or similar source of authentic information at hand and I did have on hand many more – too many more – questions of much greater importance to our race.

I was pleased to find the answer in the September-October issue of the Aramco World Magazine. Bartholdi, wishing to imitate the Colossus of Rhodes and perhaps influenced by the monumental sculpture he saw on a tour of Egypt, did design a colossal statue to be placed at the entrance of the Suez Canal, and he did enlist the good offices of Count de Lesseps in his efforts to sell his project to the Khedive of Egypt. Bartholdi had finally to abandon that project because the necessary funds were not available and, perhaps, also because some persons who influenced the decision had good taste in art.

The magazine prints photographs of Bartholdi's drawings and model for the colossus of Suez. Bartholdi had a head buzzing with "democratic" notions and he had the grotesque idea of placing at the entrance of the Suez Canal, which had been the work of Aryan brains and Aryan technical skill, the colossal figure of an Egyptian peasant woman, a female of the fellahin, with her coarse mongrel features emphasized by her slovenly dress and odd hat, holding aloft a torch to symbolize Progress, in which she and her kind had no part.

Defeated in his project of erecting that monstrosity, Bartholdi, still determined to rival Chares, finally had the idea of making a colossal statue for presentation to the United States, and he had the good sense to abandon his proletarian sympathies for traditional art, while retaining the concept of a colossal female figure holding aloft a torch. Some of his early designs are shown, including one in which the goddess of Liberty, already adorned with the radial crown borrowed from Apollo Helios and his statue at Rhodes, was to stand on a step-pyramid, probably suggested by the famous pyramid of Djoser in Egypt. Bartholdi's limitations as an artist are most clearly shown by a plan to make the statue in New York Harbor serve as a kind of lighthouse, with the light coming, not from the uplifted torch, but from the figure's forehead, doubtless to show that her brains were white-hot with ideas. He obviously profited from criticism by competent artists or amateurs with good taste, for while his finished colossus is no masterpiece of beauty, it is acceptable and certainly is not offensive, as were some of his early designs for it. What is now so offensive about the statue is not its design as sculpture, but what it has been made to symbolize. It has been made a monument to the suicidal mania of the American people.

So there you have the kernel of truth in the current story about the now desecrated statue of Eleutheria. The process by which that kernel was concealed by accretions of fiction is simply typical of the growth of folk-tales and all stories that pass from mouth to mouth and are altered by misunderstanding and faulty memories. I could give you a score of other examples offhand, and perhaps hundreds with a little effort to collect them, but let this one suffice for the present.