THE PARIS EXHIBITION. (FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.) Paris, July 17. THE ATTENDANCE.
With the exception of the 14th inst., whic^ was a pouring- wet day, the daily number p*, visitors to the Exhibbion on Sundays and weekdays during the current month has considerably exceeded the averages of June. Up to-day, however, only about eight millions and a-half out of the thirty millions of tickets ot entrance issued (as coupons to- the bonds) have been used. Tickets are now selling at 40 cents, and if it is determined to carry out the original intention and close in October, the price will be down to 10 cent?, or perhaps 5 cents, since the coupons will be so much waste paper afterwards. There is a rumour afloat that instead of closing finally in October, the Exhibition will be extended over next spring 1 and summer. Many practical difficulties to such a | course suggest themselves, and it would hardly be possible except as regards the main buildings in the Champ de Mars, [• which there is every prospect of being permanently maintained.
PRISONS ET PRISONERS. In a former letter L referred to the more important classes ot exhibits in the Palais dcs Arts Liberaux, bub there is another which, from its, I may say, unique peculiarity, may be specially noticed, namely bhatof "Prisons eb Prisoners." The Minister df the Interior has conceived and cai ried out with completeness of detail, the ingenious idea of showing by models, pictures and photographs, everything connected with or appertaining to the past and present penal systems of France. In addition the collecbion includes specimens of work executed by the convicts in the various' penal establishments. It may be observed en passant that the whole ot the equipments, ornamentation and fittings of this Court have been completed by prisoners. The fagade of beautifully polished oak, the hangings, mouldings, panels, furniture in iron and wood, designs, models, plans, tracings, all have been made and executed by them. The first section, exhibiting the penal system of the past, is calculated to make one shudder. Here can be seen all the impiements used in the gaols and dungeons ot former years — the rack, the iron manacles, chains, fetters, with the hammers ro rivet them, padlocks, bolts, keys, lucks and doors of enormouo dimensions, make a dismal display. Here are also prints and designs, one of them representing the famous cage invented by the Cardinal de la Palue, one of the Ministers of Louis XL, in which the inventor himself was imprisoned in 1469 at Lodies, and a most hideous series of engravings illustrating the modes of capital and minor punishments in the several eras, from the very earliest times of the French Monarchy. This is a very ghastly spectacle indeed, but it is a gi'eat atuaction, particularly to the womankind, who seem so revel in liorrora which might well make the strongest man turn away in disgust. There is always an eager crowd before models of bhe condemned cells at the Grand Roquette; one, exactly reproduced, has been at different times occupied by Verger, Orsini, La Pommerais, Troppman, Moreau, Prevost, Menescloud, Campi, Gamahut, Marchandon, Pranzini, Lebieg, and Prado. Much is heard here among the inspecting crowd about Moreau, the herbalist-poisoner, in whose innocence many persons persist in believinp Among the smaller objects made by the prisoners in their leisure hours is a complete set of plans of the places where they are confined. The Grand Roquette, Majas, Poissy, Gaillon, Bourges, Clairvaux, Melim, Riono, Laval, Beaulieu, and twenty more prisons or penal settlements. These are most ingeniously constructed of cardboard. The implements at the disposal of bhe prisoners for their work were, ib issho-Aii, ot the rudest description, ao that they must be credited with considerable dexterity in making up for the inefficiency of their plant. They further succeed in making marvellous things without the aid of tools at all. There is, for instance, a cathedral, constructed from crumbled bread, baskets of flowers, groups of Indians., of the same material, and a time-piece, all the parts complete, made from bibs of bone in the prisoners' kitchen at Lauderneau. The exhibits illustrate what constitutes the principal work at each prison — picture frames at the Grand Roquette, chairs ab Embrun, lings and pearl ornaments ab Majas, knibting done by the women prisoners at Tours, hanging lamps and galvanised iron from Beaulieu, Venetian lamps from Valence, corsets made at Clermonb, thread, embroideries and frames from Belfort, waistcoats and worked slippers from the prisons of Finisterre, buttons from Foutevrault, bracelets and other ornaments from poissy, ironmongery from Melun, boxes of collars and cutis trom Renne.3, under-cloth-ing and baby linen from Montpellier, etc. The prisoners devote themselves*, as U demonstrated, to manufactures of various kinds, and lately the prisoners at Melun have even begun to make the uniiorms of the prison authorities, of which good specimens are exhibited. Here and there we find models of prison vans, and in one place is a picture painted by a prisoner, and entitled "In the Parlour (Majas)." This is almost the only artistic exhibit in this section, where, at each step, we cannot fail to perceive the salutary in- ! fluence which healthful occupation exercises over the most depraved nature and perverted intelligence. It is evident that the French Government believe in utilising convict labour and making the penal establishments to some extent self-supporting. The whole working of the existing system in its several branches is admirably illustrated, not only by the models leferred to, but by a largo number of stereoscopic views, conveniently mounted, in which one can see the whole daily life of every class of prisoner. These views are evidently all taken on the spot, and represent accurately what they affect to do.
THE EIFFEL TOWER. By description and through engravings in the picfcoiial papers the Eiffel Tower is no doubt familiarly known in New Zealand, but I venture to think thab there are some matberd in connection with the structure which may be new, and not without interest. The idea of raising a collossal tower was by no means a novel one. From the time of the Tower of Babel downward (which, by the way, only reached the height ot 660 feet) mankind has ever and anon aspired bo soar above the clouds with the erections of their hands. In the present century, somewhere about 1830, Trevithic, an English • engineer, projected a column of 1,000, feet and our American cousins, with the characteristic determination to whip creation, designed the pyramidal monument to Washington at Philadelphia to rise 600 feet in air. It was a very long time in construction, and eventually 100 feet had to be knocked off the height in order to avoid the crushing of the material at the base by the enormous superincumbent weight. At 500 feet, however, it stood the lottiest erection in the world, before theEiSfelknockeditoutof time,
being at least one-third nearer to the sky. . How, is it to be explained that the emipenjb French engineer succeeded so' effectively!? The secret lies in the material selected and the mathematical precision with which the exterior curveof thetoweris adapted tocounteract the action of the wind at every point in the altitude, within the limits of twice the force ever yet known to have been exerted in this part of the world. The tower is entirely constructed of iron trellis work, so light, so elegant in design that it has the appearance, viewed even from a' short distance, of a gossamer lace: The experience of all ages, as we may gather ■ from the architectural chef-d'cevres of. antiquity, the middle ages, the Renaissance, and more modern times, is fairly conclusive as to the practical impossibility ot erecting a building of such colossal height, either of stone or any description of masonry, however strengthened it might be with metallic fastenings. Such materials in themselves ofier much less resistance to the wired than iron or steel, nor is it possible to calculate the conditions of stability beyond a certain point with sufficient precision. Iron, on the other hand, has in itself great resistant power, whildt.in proportion to its strength, a minimum of surface is exposed to the wind, and again there is tne quality of elasticity. All the parts of elaborate frame work of which the tower consists are susceptible of contraction and expansion in degrees absolutely calculable, and thus complebe security is afforded. Unfortunately, under exposure to the elements and change of temperature, weakness in an iron structure must necessarily after a time ensue ; the contraction and expansion, a continuity, if I may &o express it, of movement in time will loosen nvefcs, j and further deterioration may be expected to result. Sume people who profess to understand these things give the tower only about 20 years lease of life, and it is understood that M. Eiffel him?elf has expressed the opinion that at the end of the period, when the term of occupation of the j Champ de Mars will have expired, ib will cost less to erect an entirely new one at Montmatre or elsewhere than to make use of the present materials for re-erection. With regard to stability I may mention that so accurate have been M. Eiffel's calculations that the maximum oscillation of the tower yet experienced, and there/have been several very fierce gales since it was completed, has not exceeded a displacement of eighb inches and has been altogether in» appreciable even at the very summit. The whole weight amounts to about 8,600 tons, but in consequence ot the immense surface of the base the pressure on the subsoil does not exceed 4ilbs on each unit of surface. The number of pieces of iron which interlace the trellis or lattice work is 12,000, and the number of rivets 2,500,000. There are three platforms or stories, the first 185 feet from the ground, with a superficial area of about 4,500 equate yards, available for the restaurants, promenade galleries, etc. This platform is reached by four lifts, which run up and down the centre of the pillars, nob perpendicularly, but on planes at a very acute angle, the motive power is water. The lifts are in two stories, having accommodation in each for some thirty people. The second platform, 360 odd feet from the ground is 98 feet square, the available area is about 1,500 square yards and the promenade gallery round, about 500fb in length, it is reached from the first platform by two lifts. There is but one lift from the second to the third platform, and thu. works in cwo stages, and 170 people can be taken up at one time. The area of this tluid platform is about 50 square feet, and it io closed overhead and on all sides with moveable glass slides, s>o that protection isafforded if required against, wind and weather. There is room, it is said, for 800 people, but I should conceive this .would be rather too much of a crush than would be agreeable. The view, it need be hardly said, is very extensive, the raidus being not less than sixty miles, and resembles that lrom a balloon, the elevation being so great that Paris, with its suburbs, and environs, presents to the eye a picture of still life, "not the faintest sound from the great city reaches the ear, nor, without a glass, can the movements of the ever-surging crowds which throng the streets and the quays be discerned. The total cost of the tower, including the lifts, has been 6,500,000 francs. Of this amount the Government gave M. Eiffel the sum of 1,500,000 francs, and the city of Paris the site, subject to resumption at the end of twenty years. In order to raise the balance, a company was formed, the Eiffel Tower Company, by M. Eiffel and two or three of the Paris Banks, with a capital of 5,100,000 francs, 100,000 francs being: for working expenses. There was no public issue of bonds, of which M. Eiffet himself holds the moiety. It is expected that the receipts during £he exhibition will reimburse the whole capital and that the revenue from visitors: during the ensuing twenoy years will" coustitute a handsome annual profit over and above the expenses. I note that some ingenious person has calculated that the cost of the tower itself, without the lifts and appurtenances having been five million francs, this amount in twenty-franc gold pieces piled one on another would exactly reach the same height.