The French man-of-war Isere, bringing the famous gift of the French people to America, Bartholdis Statue of Liberty, came to anchor in the Horseshoe, off Sandy Hook, early on the morning of the 17th. The weather was so foggy that she was not recognized until after crossing the bar, when she displayed her private signal, and the welcome news that the Isere had arrived was immediately telegraphed to the city. General Stone, under whose direction the pedestal on Bedloes Island is being constructed, was on his way to the works when the news came. He at once telegraphed an enthusiastic welcome to Captain De Saune, commander of the Isere, and prepared to visit the vessel. He was accompanied by President Sanger, of the Board of Aldermen, and Louis de Bebian, the agent of the French line of steamers. The William Fletcher took the party down the bay, and was soon alongside of the Isere. Headed by General Stone they went on board, and were given a cordial reception by Captain De Saune. The Isere, a bark-rigged vessel of 1,000 tons, had encountered heavy seas and rough weather during the first part of her voyage. Counting the two days spent in coaling at Fayal, in the Azores, she had been 27 days in making the passage. Captain De Saune presented General Stone with the official transfer of the statue from the French Committee to the American. It is handsomely engrossed on parchment, and bears the seal of the French Republic. It is decorated with a picture of the statue and pedestal; and, very appropriately, with the heads of Washington and Lafayette. Later in the day, Captain Selfridge, of the U. S. man-of-war Omaha, delegated a lieutenant to present his compliments to the French commander, and suggest that Gravesend Bay would afford a safer anchorage than the Horseshoe. The Isere accordingly changed her position during the afternoon. Admiral Lacombe, with the French flagship La Flore, which had been in waiting at Newport, joined the Isere on the following morning. During the succeeding day many informal visits were paid to the French officers of both vessels, Commander Chandler and his staff of the Brooklyn Navy Yard being among the number. The official welcome did not occur until the 19th. The Reception Committee, eomposed of the Mayor, Aldermen, American Committee, and Committee of the Chamber of Finance, on board the new ferry boat Atlantic, left the pier at nine oclock, and proceeded down the harbor to Gravesend Bay. They were received on board the Isere by Captain De Sauhe, to whom they delivered their message of welcome and tendered the hospitality of the city. The Committee then returned to their own steamer, and took their place in the naval procession .then forming. This was headed by Commodore Chandler in the flagship Dispatch. He was followed by the Powhatan and the Omaha. The French flagship La Flore came next, thundering a continuous salute in answer to the surrounding forts. Immediately in her rear came the object of all this demonstra-tion,the Isere and her precious burden. The Atlantic and a numerous retinue of gayly decorated craft completed the procession. At Bedloes Island the French officers and the Pedestal Committee landed and inspected the work, while the Marseillaise and Hail Columbia were given by the French choral societies. A reception was then tendered to the French officials at the City Hall, followed by a banquet at the Chamber of the Board of Aldermen. The statue is packed in the hold of the Isere in pieces ranging in weight from 150 pounds to 4 tons, each piece being weil protected in a wooden casing. They will be stored in a building erected for the purpose on Bedloes Island, where they will be quite safe from too inquisitive visitors. The magnificent day, the enthusiastic crowds, and the fine display of the tricolor and the stars and stripes made a pageant which will long be remembered in both the history of New York and of the United States.
This article was originally published with the title "Arrival of the Statue of Liberty" in Scientific American 52, 26, 400 (June 1885)