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Fifth Auditor to obtain the information essential to a correct decision of the question at issue, by a proper survey and suitable instructions, no such mistake would have been possible.

24. The very reverse of what is stated in the reply to have been proved by M. Fresnel in regard to the relative cost of lens and reflector lights, has really been proved by that distinguished Savan. So in regard to the labors of the Trinity Board and Scotch Commissioners. In the fact of the superior economy of the lens light in the proportion of three and a half and four to one, Mr. Stevenson, the engineer of the Scotch lights, agrees with M. Fresnel.

25. As lens lights will enable us to save three-fourths of the expense of supplies every year, it will be well to purchase them, though made in France. We cannot tell how soon American ingenuity may produce them, if turned towards their manufacture.

26. The reply furnishes no evidence to disprove the conclusions of the board, that the oil is not subjected to proper inspection and test. On the contrary, it is shown that the required tests are inefficient. Instead of requiring the oil to remain limpid at temperatures of only 32° and 45° of the thermometer, the best sperm oil should remain limpid at a temperature of 28° of the Fahrenheit thermometer, independently of other tests.

If, as it is asserted in the reply, the keepers who complain of the oil neglect their lamps, it is only additional evidence of the necessity for a more rigid and efficient inspection and superintendence.

A sufficient answer to the letters and certificates appended to and forming a part of the reply of the Fifth Auditor, will be found in a careful perusal and examination of them.

The reference to coal lights, to the light at Craney island, and the fact stated in one instance that "very few signed without first reading it," prove conclusively that on a subject of this kind, such testimony has no real value.

Having shown that such testimonials, letters, certificates, &c., as those appended to the reply, possess no intrinsic value in reference to a subject involving the varied scientific, professional and special considerations this does, it is barely necessary to refer again to a part of the positive evidence in the possession of the board, which disproves the assertions contained in the reply of the Fifth Auditor.

The board have examined personally a sufficient number of our own lights, and conversed with a sufficient number of the most intelligent seafaring men and pilots, to satify them that our lights are far from being "satisfactory to our captains of ships and pilots generally."

They have already appended to their report a large number of letters from the most intelligent commanders of sea-steamers, packets and other ships making over-sea voyages, &c., &c., in addition to those which will be found hereto appended, (Appendix B,) which contain overwhelming proof of the correctness of the conclusions of the Light-house board, and in direct opposition to those of the reply.

It is due to those intelligent seamen to state that their opinions are given in their own language, and no communication received by the board has

been omitted.

The Fifth Auditor in his reply says, (page 15, under note :) "The colza or rape-seed oil recommended for use in our light-houses, like all vegetable oils, becomes thick and unfit to burn in a short time." He does not give

his authority for this assertion, though he has never experimented with the oil, and it is probable that he has never seen a gallon of it.

Professor Faraday and Mr. Stevenson, whose reports have been laid before Parliament long since, have proved that the colza oil is not only cheaper than the sperm oil, but that it remains limpid at a lower temperature, burns from three to four times as long as sperm without requiring to be trimmed and without any perceptible diminution of light, and produces a whiter light. The small difference of consumption per night in favor of sperm oil is made up by an increased quantity of light in the ratio of the increased consumption of oil.

But the colza oil is not now a product of our country, and it will be time to discuss this question when our farmers turn to the cultivation of the plants which yield it. Nor will those who are concerned in our whale fisheries suffer by such a substitution, for the supply of sperm oil is now entirely inadequate to meet the demand for steam uses, in which it has the decided preference. Only those will be affected, if such there are, who expect to make a profit from an adulterated article, sold instead of the pure oil. Very respectfully submitted.

By order of the Light-house board,



Secretary of the Treasury.



The Fifth Auditor estimates for first class (?) reflector lights, seventeen lamps, (pages 13 and 14 of his reply to Light-house board :) One principal keeper, salary,

One assistant



For first and second order lens light, principal keeper

Each assistant

For third order lens light, principal keeper

And for each assistant

For a reflector light of the same class, as he understands it-
One keeper

For fourth order lens light, one keeper--
For one reflector and lamp, one keeper-

By reference to the returns made of the salaries of the keepers of our light-houses it will be seen that there is one keeper receiving $650; twenty-one, $600 each; three, from $5331 to $550 each; twenty, $500 each; seventeen, $450 each; sixty, from $400 to $425 each; one hundred and sixty-seven and assistants, from $350 to $375 each; eleven, $300 and less each.








There can therefore be no warrant for the estimate for keepers' salaries for reflector lights lower than for lens lights.


No. 43.




Letter from Captain C. D. Ludlow, commanding steamship " Alabama.” NEW YORK, April, 1852.

DEAR SIR: In reply to your circular respecting the condition of the light-houses on the coast of the United States, I shall confine myself to those that come under my immediate observation. In answer to your queries:

1. I make thirteen voyages per annum between New York and Savan


2. I run for Barnegat, Body's island (or New inlet,) Hatteras, Charleston, Martin's Industry light-boat, and Tybee lights; returning vice versa, including the highlands of Navesink and Sandy Hook.

3. The locations of foreign lights that I have seen are no better than ours, where we have headlands to erect. I never was in one to see the apparatus. As for range and steadiness, I think some of our lights are equal to theirs. With some of our lights, they show very dull before daylight. A reprimand from your honorable board would be a great benefit to the mariner.

4. The lights on our coast are equal to those of the West Indies.

5. The best seacoast lights are the Highlands, Sandy Hook, Cape May, Body's island (or New inlet), and Charleston lights; these can be depended


6. I have never visited Europe, consequently cannot answer this ques


7. The light-vessels on our coasts show very poor lights; no dependence can be placed on them. The one at Martin's Industry, fifteen miles northeast of Tybee, shows but one light, and oftentimes a vessel in that vicinity is taken for her.

8. The buoys, beacons and seamarks answer all purposes.

You say that the board will be pleased to receive any information relating to particular localities or portions of the coast, with reference to additional aid. Hatteras light should be one of the most powerful lights, as it is a point which coasters wish to turn close, bound south, to avoid the Gulf stream. Your honorable board would confer a great favor on all mariners who sail on this coast, if they would place a light-ship exhibiting two lights on Frying Pan shoals, off Cape Fear. This shoal lies eighteen miles from the main land. The land being very low, you cannot see Cape Fear light from masthead. We have to keep the lead going constantly while passing this shoal. I think a light-ship might be kept there with safety, and would be of great benefit to all in the coasting trade. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. D. LUDLOW, Commanding steamship" Alabama."

Lieut. T. A. JENKINS, U. S. N.,

Secretary to Light-house Board.

B-No. 44.

Letter from Captain David M. Bunker, commanding ship St. Louis. NEW YORK, April 15, 1852.

SIR: I was in the habit of visiting the coasts of England and France from the year 1820 up to 1840, three or four times annually. I always thought the European lights better than those upon this coast; latterly, however, our lights appear more brilliant; perhaps the atmosphere may have some effect.

I do not complain so much of the brilliancy of the lights that now exist upon our coast between New York and New Orleans, as the want of them. I never can sleep in the night between Abaco and the Tortugas, because it depends so much upon the distance run upon a given course, in passing through the Gulf, that it is necessary every hour to know the position of the ship. If lights were placed along the Florida coast (especially the reef), suitably marked to distinguish them, ships might navigate as safely by night as by day.

Ans. 1. I make from six to ten passages to New Orleans annually.
Q. 2. What lights do you run for?

A. Hole in the Wall, Tortugas and South pass, outward bound; Tortugas, Barnegat and highlands of Navesink homeward bound.

Ans. 3. On the coast of England you do not lose one light till the next. Generally the land is high and can be seen further.



Ans. 5. The highlands of Navesink in clear weather compare favorably with those of Europe, and I think the Tortugas has been improved.

Ans. 6. There are not enough lights on the coast of Florida to need the distinguishing marks applied in Europe, and needed to be applied when there are more here.

Ans. 7. I do not see enough light-vessels to compare them; one is needed to the east of Tortugas, which would enable ships to pass in safety.

Ans. 8. Buoys and seamarks into the harbor of New York in summer are kept well, but at the mouth of the Mississippi, ships aground are the principal marks. A dredge boat or marine plow might deepen the water in one day and keep it open by using occasionally.

Yours, respectfully,

Lieut. T. A. JENKINS, U. S. N.,


Secretary to Light-house Board.

B-No. 45.

Letter from Captain Wm. C. Berry, late commanding ship Vicksburg.

NEW YORK, April 17, 1852.

DEAR SIR: In compliance with your request, I herewith give you my views of light-houses. I shall confine myself chiefly to those between this port and New Orleans, in which trade I have been running about fifteen years-making at least four voyages each year, or eight passages.

After leaving the Hook or Highland lights (the latter I believe to be the best on our coast,) I generally steer for that on Barnegat, frequently passing by without seeing it, owing no doubt to the low position (inferiority) of the light. The light at Little Egg Harbor shows much brighter. The same may be said of the lights at Cape Hatteras and New Inlet-the latter being far superior to the former. The lights on the Hole-in-theWall, Gun-key and Double-headed Shot-key are all very good, (but they are English.) The only difficulty on that side, as likewise on our coast, is that there is not a sufficient number of them. I would suggest placing lights of similar quality on Great Stirrup Key, Great Isaac, Orange Key and Dry Rocks-one on each. I would also mention the propriety of placing a few more lights on our own coast, particularly about the Florida reef-say one about half-way between Cape Florida and Carysfort reef, and another on Love-key with a light-ship stationed in the passage between the Tortugas and the quicksands, about the coral patch, the passage being quite clear with the exception of this place. These, together with those now in course of erection, will be, I think, quite sufficient.

The lights about the mouth of the Mississippi are quite sufficieut in number, but not in brilliancy. They no doubt could be made so with trifling


The channel could also be improved and buoyed off at a slight expense, considering the amount of property which passes through it; all of which I would most earnestly recommend.

To the third question I would reply that the location of the lights, (British) are generally on high ground, and that, in passing, you seldom lose sight of one light before you make another.

4th query. The lights of this country are not to be compared with those

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