Never before was there so striking and remarkable an example of what can be accomplished by private enterprise when applied to a great and useful object. Last year some prominent citizens of Antwerp - justly proud of the rapid and marvelous progress made by their city - conceived the idea of inviting the civilized world to come and admire the transformation which, in half a century, had converted the commercial metropolis of Belgium into the first port of the European continent. This audacious project has been carried into execution, and the buildings of the Universal Exposition, including the Hall of Industry, the Gallery of Machinery, and the innumerable annexes, cover 2,368,055 sq. ft. of ground. Even this large space has proved too limited. These buildings are shown in the accompanying cut.
All nations have responded to the call of the citizens of Antwerp, who are supported by the patronage of a sovereign devoted to progress, Leopold II., King of the Belgians. Among the countries represented in the exposition, France takes the first rank. She is represented by over 2,000 exhibits, and her products occupy one-fifth part of the Hall of Industry and the Gallery of Machinery. The pavilion of the French Colonies is an exact representation of a palace of Cochin China.
Belgium is represented by 2,400 exhibits. The French and Belgian compartments together occupy one-half of the Hall of Industry and the Gallery of Machinery. This latter building represents a grand spectacle, especially in the evening, when it is lighted by electricity. In excavating under this gallery, ruins were brought to light which proved to be the foundations of the citadel of the Duke d'Albe, the terrible lieutenant of Philip II. of Spain. Thus, on the same site where once stood this monument of oppression and torture, electricity, that bright star of modern times, will illuminate the most wonderful inventions of human progress. - L'Illustration.