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It is scarcely to be credited that any individual, however respectable, who has not been educated as an engineer, should have been intrusted with the difficult and multifarious duties of the lighthouse service; and that the same individual should be allowed to erect the most expensive buildings of cut granite without any estimate or contract, and without even the advice of a regu lar engineer or architect.

It is impossible to review the proceedings of the committee without anticipating their final judgment on the present lighthouse system; and warmly seconding almost all their recommendations. They are, we believe, unanimous in recommending a total change of system,-in abolishing the Scotch and Irish Boards, and in placing them with a view of centralization under a single Board of Management in London.


Your committee have had under their consideration the best mode of managing the lighthouses, and are of opinion that all the public general lighthouses and floating lights to which the British and foreign shipping contribute, in England, and Scotland, and Ireland, (harbour and local lights excepted), should be placed under one board, resident in London, and conducted under one system of management.

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Although your committee recommend the formation of a new board to take charge of all the lights of the United Kingdom, they would not, if they were now to form a new board, appoint one constituted as the Trinity House of Deptford Strond; yet, finding it in charge of the greater portion of the lights in England, it is very desirable to employ them to conduct the whole light department, with as little change as may be consistent with the due performance of the duties.

Your committee recommend, that all the public general lighthouses, now in possession of, and held by private individuals, should be transferred without delay to the Central Board of Management in London; and with that view, that the rights of every private individual, by whatever tenure now held, deriving profit or advantage from light dues, be considered, valued and allowed for by assessment of juries or otherwise, as may be ar ranged, and the monies requisite to discharge these claims be provided for, in part by the stock invested from surplus of light dues, and now standing in the name of the Corporation of the Trinity House; in part from the money received by the Commissioners of his Majesty's Woods and Forests from surplus of light dues levied by the Crown since 1822; in part from the surplus of light dues yearly accruing, and the deficiency may be advanced by the treasury, to be repaid out of the produce of such lights previous to the reduction in the rates now chargeable thereon, as far as the same can be done consistently with the recommendation of a fixed and uniform rate herein before suggested.'

Although it appears that the Central Board, or rather the Trinity Board, are to admit naval and scientific men to render it fit for its more extended duties; yet we are not disposed to concur in that part of the plan which retains the Trinity House.

We earnestly recommend the establishment of an independent board, and we are sure that the parties most deeply interested in this measure in Scotland and Ireland, including the boards themselves, will resist the proposal of giving a predominant position to the Trinity House.

Lieut. Drummond recommends a board consisting of four persons; a seaman who is the hydrographer of the Admiralty—a scientific chemist-an optician who is a member of the Royal Society-and the President or Vice President of the Board of Trade. In this recommendation we cannot by any means concur. We admit the propriety of having a naval officer in the board, who possesses hydrographical knowledge, and the present hydrographer of the Admiralty would have well performed this double duty; but as he is already in office, we can see no reason why a plurality of offices is to be created in his person, when there are other meritorious officers without any situation, and highly fitted for the one under consideration. With regard to the second member of the board, we regret to differ also with Lieut. Drummond. Had the board consisted of ten or twelve members, we should not have objected to a scientific chemist; but as his duties must be very trifling, and as the knowledge necessary to discharge them may be possessed or acquired by some of the other members, we would prefer substituting in his place an eminent engineer, possessing also a knowledge of natural philosophy and chemistry. The third member, Lieut. Drummond thinks, should be an optician. If he means a person thoroughly versed in optics, we agree with him; but if he means a practical optician carrying on his trade, we decidedly object to such a person; and whether it be the one or the other, we are puzzled to find out why he should be a member of the Royal Society. We entertain the highest opinion of the Royal Society, and we believe that it never was so admirably conducted as it now is under the presidency of his Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex; but we cannot conceive what qualification for a laborious and responsible office can be derived from being a member of the Royal Society. If a person highly qualified can adorn his name with the three imposing letters, so much the better; but we protest against their being considered as an element of recommendation. With regard to the fourth member, we are equally at issue with Lieut. Drummond. To burden an active and responsible board with the incubus of a member of the Cabinet, whose existence is now generally ephemeral, and who must be already overloaded with duties and cares, is a most extraordinary proposition. We would propose to replace this functionary by a gentleman of legal


knowledge, habits of business, and scientific acquirements.* the Central Board is to be respectable and efficient, it must be independent of the Government and of its subordinate officers; and must consist of men of real and undoubted capacity for discharging the important functions which they have to perform.

It would lead us from the principal objects of this article, were we to follow the committee into other interesting topics; yet there is one branch of the subject which deserves some notice. France and the United States support their lighthouses out of the public treasury; but though there is no charge on the French shipping for light dues, yet a tonnage duty is levied for general government purposes, amounting to one franc per ton.

It has also been proposed to your committee, that no separate light dues should be levied on the several voyages of shipping, as is now done with so much trouble and expense; but that a tonnage duty might be levied on every ship entering our ports, whether British or Foreign, once every six months, or yearly, by which the multitude and complexity of payments now made for every voyage would be avoided, and the expense of collection consequently much reduced.

Taking the British tonnage in 1832, at 2,618,068, and the Foreign tonnage at 874,605, making 3,492,673 tons, a rate of 1s. per ton, once in the year, would raise L.174,633, amply sufficient to support the light establishments, and build new lights, &c. If the principle recommended to the notice of your committee were adopted, the tonnage rate might be reduced or modified, according to the time of employment of the ships; but your committee decline to offer any opinion on either of those proposed plans, in comparison with the existing system.'

We shall now proceed to the scientific branch of our subject; and we regret to say, that no satisfactory information has been laid before the committee to enable them and the public to come to a decision upon it. This defect, however, we have it in our power to supply, and we trust in a manner which will put an end to all farther controversy;-if that can be called controversy in which the indisputable principles of science, and the deductions of actual experiment and of long continued experience, have been called in question by incompetent and interested individuals. We blush to record the fact, that ignorance and selfishness have been able to obtain an audience among an intelligent community ; and that in the present day the claims of humanity, the resources of a commercial nation, and the scientific character of an educated people, should have been so long sacrificed to the speculations of

* See our former Article, No. CXV., P. 174.


private jobbers, and the negligence of governments and parlia


The first scientific question to which the committee directed their attention, related to the comparative merits of the present system of illumination by hammered reflectors, and the system of illumination by lenses, which has for many years been pressed upon all the three lighthouse boards by Sir David Brewster; and which has not only been sanctioned by the approbation of the first scientific men in France, but by many years' experience in the lighthouses of that intelligent people.

The evidence of Mr R. Stevenson, and Mr A. Stevenson, the engineer and the clerk of works to the Scottish Board, was of course in favour of the old metal. The following question was put to Mr Stevenson :—

Taking the whole scope of your information into account, would you say a better plan could be devised for lighting a lighthouse, than with the argand reflectors and sperm oil?

Answer. According to the present state of my information, I consider the system we now follow the best!'

The opinion of the father is of course echoed by the son, and Mr A. Stevenson gives a similar answer. He condescends, however, to add, when farther interrogated,—

That perhaps in some situations (in revolving lights where a greater number than 15 to 17 reflectors are used) the lens might be adopted with advantage; and that he knows of no suggestion he can give to the committee, which will tend either to improve the present system, or render it more economical in its maintenance!'

The next two witnesses examined by the committee, are Lieutenant Drummond of the engineers, and Mr James Jardine, civil engineer, Edinburgh, two individuals highly distinguished by their talents and scientific acquirements. Both of these witnesses testify that the built up polyzonal lens was the invention of Sir David Brewster, and both of them recommend its general use in all our lighthouses. Lieutenant Drummond, however, has shackled this opinion with a very singular limitation. He recommends the lens only in revolving lights.

'Indeed,' says he, it would be very difficult to employ it in any other way. The lantern would not admit of a sufficient number of lenses being placed together to illuminate the whole circle; there would be intervals of darkness left between each blaze of light, which would of course be exceedingly dangerous in a fixed light, a vessel might sail down in one of those dark intervals, and might run against the lighthouse, without seeing the light.'

This opinion, we confess, startled us exceedingly. Admitting the existence of the evil which alarms Lieutenant Drummond, we


could point out many methods of remedying it; but our surprise was principally occasioned by the knowledge of the fact, that admirable and efficacious fixed lights with lenses, which have never misled the navigator, have been actually erected on the coast of France. Lieutenant Drummond's exception of fixed lights from the benefit of lenses must be renounced, even if he himself had not virtually abandoned it, when he subsequently states to the committee, that it would be an exceedingly desirable thing to make all lights revolving, if possible ;' hence it follows, as Lieutenant Drummond's opinion, that lenses should be universally introduced when all lights are made revolving ones, as he thinks they should be. But although there is a difficulty in the proper construction of fixed lights, whether made with reflectors or lenses, which does not attach to revolving ones, yet as there are different methods by which that difficulty may be sufficiently removed, we should be unwilling to deprive the navigator of the very palpable and immediately recognised distinction between a fixed and a moving light. As Lieutenant Drummond, however, objects to coloured glass, and recommends no other source of distinction among revolving lights, than by fixing a different time between one side appearing and the next side appearing, a minute, a minute and a half, or two minutes,' we are surprised at his willingness to dispense with fixed lights; but knowing as we do that the science of optics supplies many and various sources of distinction among revolving lights, and that a numerical character from 1 to 12, and upwards, can be communicated to a beam of light, we willingly concur with Lieutenant Drummond in recommending the universal adoption of revolving lights; and the more so, as such lights could never be confounded, as fixed lights have been, with accidental fires upon the coast.

The evidence of Mr Jardine is exceedingly clear, consistent, and satisfactory. His known caution, and thorough knowledge of the subject, indeed give a peculiar value to his opinions. He recommends the introduction of lenses; the use of gas; the abolition of the present Scotch Lighthouse Board, and the continuance of a small establishment in Edinburgh; at the head of which he would place a scientific person, with the title of principal director of the board, and assisted by one or two paid commissioners, one of whom should be a nautical man. The following is part of his evidence:

"Is a simple polyzonal lens, as originally suggested by Buffon, or a built lens, as originally suggested by Sir David Brewster, and adopted in the French lighthouses, better adapted for the British lighthouses?"-"I think the built lenses are preferable: The segments of the zones can be

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