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all the seven reflectors are distinctly shown. Now, we aver that the Committee must have believed the Reviewer's statement (that there were seven lights) to be false, whereas that statement was perfectly correct. The Reviewer spoke, and could speak only of the original construction of the apparatus which had existed for nearly fourteen years, and which exists at this moment ; although, from causes and motives still unknown, four of the reflectors are said to have been extinguished. A gun has equally two barrels, though one of them only may be in use; and a chandelier, or a reflector frame, has equally seven burners, though one or all of these burners may have been extinguished.
If a lampfitter, employed to light two drawing-rooms equally, with lights of different brightness, should place a lamp of seven burners, with bright flame, in the small drawing-room; and a lamp of five burners, with fainter flame, in the large drawingroom; and if when called upon to answer for the professional blunder, he should say that there were only five burners in the SMALL drawing-room lamp, because in the fourteenth year of its age, he had ordered two of its seven burners to be extinguished; we do not think that his professional character would be much improved by such a statement. Had he stated the fact that he had extinguished two out of the seven burners, his testimony, however absurd, would have been honest ; but if he kept that fact to himself, his evidence was as false as it was absurd.
That the evidence of Mr A. Stevenson deceived the Committee and the Public cannot be doubted – that it deceived the Reviewer he can solemnly state. When our reproof was written, we had not the least idea that any change had been made in the Bell Rock lights; and so carefully does this change appear to have been concealed, that one of the most intelligent members of the Bell Rock Committee had no knowledge of the fact in the spring of 1833; for when the Reviewer then described to this gentleman the blunder in the apparatus, he expressed his atonishment at the statement.
With regard to the change, we can scarcely believe that so daring a step was taken without public notice; and we have no evidence whatever of the fact itself. An original return from the lightkeeper proving that, on the 15th November, 1823, twenty-four reflectors were used, and that, on the 2 twenty reflectors were lighted, neither proves that the shite were reduced from seven to five, nor that on any one nigh: following eleven years, the reflectors were continued at and still less does it prove, that on the 25th April, 138 • were five burners in the white frame,' and that the made to remedy the blunder of the engip
We shall admit, however, that in 1823 four white burners were extinguished ; and we shall admit also that the engineer did this on the scientific principle of equalizing the range of the red and white lights; but we maintain that the correction of the blunder evinced more ignorance and more temerity than the blunder itself. If the engineer recognised the principle, and knew his duty, he should have placed red shades before the fourteen reflectors, and should have advertised the change in all the newspapers of the kingdom ; but in place of this simple and obvious improvement, he extinguished four white burners! He altered the character of the BellRock Light without warning the seafaring man of the change; and thus put in peril the lives and property which floated on the German ocean. The range of the seven white lights is allowed to be thirty-five miles; that of five white ones will be about twenty-five miles; and that of five red lights will be about twenty miles. Now, the ranges of the seven white lights, and the five red ones, and their various phenomena in different seasons and states of the weather, must have become practically and usefully known during the fourteen years previous to 1823, to the numerous navigators of the Baltic and the German Ocean ; and yet in one rash night, on the 16th November, 1823, without any complaint being made,* and without any notice given, the range of the whole lights was reduced from thirty-five to twenty-five miles ! and the lights of the BellRock were extinguished throughout that vast extent of ocean which intervenes between a circle of twenty-five, and one of thirty-five miles round the lighthouse. How many of the 800 shipwrecks that take place annually in our marinet—how many of the 9600 shipwrecks (besides those of foreign vessels) which have taken place, upon this calculation, since 1823, may have been owing to this change in the Bell-Rock lights, we have no means of knowing. But if that number is small, humanity owes it to a higher sympathy for the benighted seaman than' has on this occasion been shown by the official watchmen of the deep.
But who was the real author of this treason against human life, of which confession has been so suddenly made before the public? Was it the work of the Board, to save a score of gallons of oil? Was it the unauthorized deed of the engineer, to hide his blunder in additional darkness? Or was it the necessary act of the lightkeeper, from a defect in his lamps, or a failure in his oil? These are points which call for grave enquiry; and we trust that Mr Hume, in his new Lighthouse Bill, will render it an act of Felony to make any change in the lights upon our coast, until that change has
See Parl. Report, § 2488.
+ See No. CXXII., p. 340.
been sanctioned by a Board, and notified, according to custom, in all the newspapers of the kingdom.*
* We regret that we cannot afford room to analyze the evidence of Mr Alan Stevenson upon this part of the subject; but we cannot avoid noticing one statement in confirmation of our charge. After admitting, in his examination, that the five white and five red lights are not equally seen, and that it was the intention that they should be so in all states of the weather (Report, $ 2480), he is thus interrogated— Did you make any experiments to ascertain, as, according to the present construction, one is not seen at times, by what addition both could be equally visible ? —Ans. No, we made no late experiments ; it was tried at the first introduction of the red light. Now, we assert that no such experiments, viz. experiments to ascertain what additions were necessary to make five red lights equal to seven white ones, were made, because it is impossible that the engineer could have made such experiments at the first introduction of the red light, and have constructed the Bell-Rock apparatus in direct defiance of the results which these experiments must have given him.
No. CXXV. will be published in October.
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