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but by Commodore Perry, and the service has been so organized by the Auditor as to make them unnecessarily expensive.
2. The quantity of oil consumed at Navesink is stated in the Fifth Auditor's reply at 1132 gallons, whereas the board found it to be, from the keeper's books, 936 gallons. An equivalent reflector light would consume 2800 gallons of oil, making a saving by the use of the lens light of $2,400 per annum for oil. The cost of repairs of lamps in the lens system is the less.. The number of keepers for a properly organized service is the same.
3. The comparison made in the "reply," of lens and reflector lights is very erroneous. The Sandy Hook reflector light is compared with the Navesink lens lights in brilliancy, while the Navesink lens lights give between five and six times the light of the Sandy Hook reflector light. The Sandy Hook light (exclusive of the beacons) consumed seven hundred and twenty gallons of oil per annum, and an equivalent lens light would consume but three hundred and eighty-four gallons.
The following errors occur in the reply, in the comparative estimates of lens and reflector lights:
4. French kilogrammes of oil are converted into gallons by an erroneous rule. A first order lens light is thus made to consume 840 gallons of oil a year, instead of five hundred and seventy gallons.
Four keepers are erroneously allowed to a lens light instead of two, the number employed in England, Ireland and Scotland.
The salaries of the keepers of reflector lights are erroneonsly given as three hundred and fifty dollars and two hundred and fifty dollars, which is much below the amounts actually paid, while those for lens lights are put at six hundred dollars, and their assistants at three hundred and sixty dollars, when in fact there should be no difference in the salaries. See appendix A.
The attempt in the "reply" to set down a first order lens light as merely equivalent to, or giving the same amount of light as seventeen Argand burners, is entirely erroneous.
For a fixed light the economy in favor of a first order lens is between two and three to one, as compared with reflectors, and for a revolving light as four to one.
The consumption of oil by a second order lens light is erroneously stated at five hundred and sixty-eight gallons and a half instead of three hundred and eighty-four, the consumption of the Scotch and English lights of this order, and within ten gallons of that at Sankaty Head, Nantucket.
Three keepers are estimated as necessary for a lens light of the second order, whereas two only are required for its full service.
The economy of oil in a second order lens, for a fixed light, compared with reflectors for the same amount of light is as upwards of three to one in favor of the lens, and for a revolving light as four to one.
The oil consumed by a third order lens light is stated at two hundred and twenty-four and a half gallons, whereas it is in Scotland for the larger model of this order, one hundred and eighty-three gallons, and for the smaller one hundred and thirty gallons. The economy is, for oil alone, nearly three and a half to one in favor of the lens light of this order over the reflector.
It is a great error to consider a light with six lamps and reflectors, as comparable with a lens light of this order. The comparison, made by the board, of the third order lens light on Brandywine shoal and the reflector lights at the capes of the Delaware, confirm this.
Two keepers are not required in general for this order of lens light, contrary to what is assumed in the reply. The labor and care necessary to keep the lens lights in proper condition, is very much less than for equivalent reflector lights.
The oil consumed by the single lamp of a fourth order lens light is set down at sixty-nine gallons, while that by the same lamp in the focus of a reflector is called thirty-five gallons.
In the reply it is forgotten that a single lamp surrounded by the concentric rings of the lens system illuminates seven-eighths of the whole horizon, and when placed in the focus of a reflector, only one thirty-third part of it!
The salary of a keeper for the lens light of the fourth order, is set down at four hundred dollars, and for the reflector light at three hundred and fifty dollars.
The two smallest classes of lens lights with an Argand or Carcel lamp with a single wick, are superior to the reflector lights in useful effect, and are more economical in the ratio of the number of lamps used in the reflector lights to one. Hence such should be used for harbors, bays, rivers, &c., while a range of only ten to twelve miles is required.
The estimates of the reply being thus radically in error, are worse than valueless.
5. Experience proves that any keeper capable of the charge of a revolving light can manage a lens light. It is an error, already disproved by facts, that Americans cannot be obtained capable of keeping such lights. No difficulty has been found in the case of the five lens lights already existing in the United States, though the requisite pains was not taken to instruct the keepers.
6. The comparison of the number of hours during which the lights are kept burning in the light-houses of the United States and of France, is erroneous. The lights in the United States are not, as a general thing, kept burning from sunset to sunrise, as supposed in the reply. There are eighty-three lights on the lakes and northern rivers with five hundred and ninety lamps, which are not lighted at all during about one-third of the
7. It is a great error to state, as is done in the reply, that "in France a great proportion of the lights are harbor lights, and lit up for a few hours only each night." On the contrary no country has so large a proportion of lights of the higher orders as France. In one hundred and sixty-six lights there are sixty of the first three orders.
8. The comparison of the ranges of reflector and lens lights is exceedingly erroneous. The distance at which the French lights are set down in their list to be visible, is reduced to the minimum calculated distance, while in the Fifth Auditor's list there is great exaggeration. For example, Cape Griznez light, on the French coast, is set down as visible at eighteen miles, while it is seen at Dover pier, twenty miles distant, as if close by; and the Navesink lights in New Jersey are said to have a range of thirty miles, while the roundness of the earth would prevent it from being seen more than twenty-two miles from the deck of a small vessel. The elementary principles of computation are obviously not understood.
9. The average annual cost of maintaining our lights, including the small ones with one lamp, two lamps, &c., is stated in the reply at $1098.34, while it has been proved by the board to be $1135.72. The cost of main
taining a light of seventeen lamps is set down at $1195, while in reality it is upwards of $2000.
In one of the best kept districts of the United States last year, the cost of maintenance per lamp was $170.37, and per light-house $1518, although only four out of twenty-three lights are on the seacoast.
The average cost of maintaining a light-boat is set down in the reply at $2888.89. In the letter from the Fifth Auditor to the Light-house board, it is stated to be "three or four times the annual expense of a light-house of the first class."
10. The reply takes different ground in regard to the lens lights from that in a letter to the Light-house board. In the one the Fifth Auditor says, "I have been opposed to the introduction of any of them (lenses) except the flashing light of the second order, which is useful as a distinguishing light;" and in the other, "believing that if any of the lenses could be employed with advantage in our light-houses, it would be those of the third order." What value can be placed upon opinions thus changeable?
11. The comparison of the cost of American and English lights is rendered valueless by errors of principle as well as of fact. The Trinity house lights alone are taken for comparison, omitting all the Scotch and Irish lights and those of English corporations, which include harbor and other local lights generally.
In the estimate of annual cost of maintenance of these lights, the reply includes sums actually expended for the construction and rebuilding of light-houses and light-boats; procuring buoys, inspection, superintendence, interest on purchase money of lights, and the like.
An equality with these lights is assumed for ours, whereas even our seacoast lights are very inferior to then. To compare river and harbor lights. with seacoast lights is, of course, a great error.
The number of keepers in the English lights is greater than those of the United States.
The Trinity House lights are nearly all seacoast lights, forty-five out of sixty-eight being first class seacoast lights, thirteen secondary lights, and only ten smaller lights. On the contrary, of the United States lights, only fifteen out of three hundred and thirteen have more than fifteen lamps and reflectors.
In the United States the cost of rebuilding light-houses and light-boats is not charged with the annual cost of the lights, but is provided for in separate appropriations.
With us the inspection, &c., of lights is generally connected with the collection of customs and charged against the collection of the revenue.
In the number of our lights are included all grades and classes; as, for example, nine without reflectors, seven with only one lamp, seven with two or three lamps, nineteen with only four or five lamps, and so on.
To average the cost of keeping such very unequal lights is not less erroneous than it would be to compare the cost of maintaining vessels, by taking coasters for one average and heavy merchant ships for the other.
In these comparative estimates the value of the pound sterling is erroneously assumed.
12. In comparing the annual cost of lights in the United States and foreign countries, the reply omits the ruling datum of the number of lamps for each light. The Trinity House lights have nearly fifty per cent. more
lamps per light than the United States, with about the same difference in cost per annum.
13. The expense of inspection, local superintendence, &c., must also be deducted from the estimates of the cost of the Trinity House lights contained in the reply. The oil used for the Trinity House lights in 1846 (the year taken in the reply for comparison) cost one dollar and fifty-five cents per gallon, while that for our lights cost but little more than one dollar per gallon.
When these necessary data are introduced into the comparison, the Trinity House lights are but little more expensive than those of the United States, while they are much more effective. For the Scotch lights there are one hundred per cent. more lamps for eighty-five per cent. more cost. For the Irish lights, one hundred and fifteen per cent. more lamps for fifty per cent. greater cost.
14. An accurate comparison of the cost of the French seacoast lights and of our own, shows that our best reflector lights of eighteen lamps and reflectors cost upwards of two thousand dollars per annum for maintenance, with, as a general rule, only one keeper, and the French first order lens lights, which are better than thirty-six lamps and reflectors, with three keepers, average only $1303 34 per annum.
15. The quotations from the testimony of Captain Moore, Captain Washington, and the committee of the elder brethren of the Trinity House contained in the reply are incomplete; important portions and an all-important date being omitted, and give, therefore, an erroneous view of the subject. The views of the Trinity House officials in 1836 are quoted in the reply, as conclusive now against reflector lights, when experience has changed them so entirely that the corporation has for several years been gradually converting all the reflector lights into lens lights, and is now actually engaged in making such changes. (See appendix to Light-house board report, page 432, et seq.)
All the testimony of Captain Moore, of the packet ship "Hendrick Hudson," and of Captain Washington, R. N., reported in the proceedings of the select committee of the House of Commons of 1845, relating to lighthouses of this conutry and of Great Britain, will be found in the appendix to this report, unmutilated.
6. The positions taken in the reply that the old torch light on gimballs, as used in our light-boats, is superior to the modern Argand lamps and reflectors, also on gimballs, is contrary to all reason and experience. The same is true of the position, that two masts do not cut off more light than one. (See appendix to Light-house board report, page 432, et seq.)
17. The comparison of the cost of light-boats in the United States and in England, is vitiated by similar errors to those in regard to light-houses. The important consideration of the exposed positions of the English vessels is omitted. The cost of our own vessels is erroneously stated.
The cost of the Sandy Hook light-boat is nearly nine thousand dollars, and that of the Five Fathom bank about five thousand dollars, instead of the average estimated in the "reply," (the two light-boats being in most exposed positions on the coast.)
18. Thirty-four light-houses in the United States have been rebuilt; four, built in 1838, 1839 and 1847, have fallen down within the last six months, and there are petitions now for rebuilding others. Eighty-seven refitments
have been made, and in some cases the apparatus has been twice replaced
in ten years.
19. The reply shows that the light at Craney island was so defective that a change of color was recommended on account of the difficulty of distinguishing it from the lights of vessels (common lantern lamps) anchored near it. Such lamps consuming about one-tenth or one-eighth as much oil as the Craney island light.
20. The very defective arrangement of our lights in regard to distinction, appears from the following examples:
Sankaty Head and Gay Head, both revolving lights, are distant from each other only thirty-nine miles.
Pensacola and Mobile Point, also revolving lights, are distant from each other only thirty-eight miles.
This arrangement of the distinguishing characteristics of these four lights is most exceptionable, and it is a striking illustration of one of the conclusions of the board.
There could be no good reason for leaving these lights without better distinguishing characteristics under any circumstances; but, with only thirty single revolving lights out of three hundred and sixteen on the entire coast of the United States, it is unaccountable how so grave an error could have been originally committed.
21. The very defective arrangement of the following lights, is a further illustration of the inefficiency of the present management.
Gay Head, one of the most important of our seacoast lights, both for coasting and over-sea voyages, has only ten 14-inch reflectors, while Little Gull island, Long Island sound, Galloo island, Lake Ontario, Robbins reef, New York harbor, and New Point Comfort, Chesapeake bay, have each fifteen lamps and 14 and 16-inch reflectors. Portsmouth harbor light thirteen 15-inch reflectors, Whalesback light entrance to Portsmouth harbor, New Hampshire, has fifteen 15-inch reflectors, Nantucket light fifteen 21-inch reflectors, Bodkin Point, Thomas' Point, and Pool's island, in upper part of Chesapeake bay, have each thirteen lamps and 15, 16 and 16-inch reflectors. Oswego, on Lake Ontario, has thirteen 14-inch reflectors, Eaton's neck thirteen 15-inch reflectors, and Execution rock thirteen 21-inch reflectors, although merely sound lights, and the Little harbor light at Baltimore has eleven lamps and 15-inch reflectors, while Cape Hatteras, probably the most important light on the coast, has only fifteen 21-inch reflectors much worn; Cape Lookout, another important light, has only thirteen 21-inch reflectors, Tybee only fifteen 16-inch reflectors, Cumberland island the same, &c., &c.
Charleston light is revolving, which renders it difficult for vessels to cross the bar at night by it in consequence of the eclipses occurring at the time when the mariner requires a steady and brilliant light.
Many other cases might be pointed out, if it were necessary, to prove the total absence of knowledge and system in the management of our lights.
22. The reply, by admitting that Congress is obliged to legislate in relation to light-houses without estimates from the superintendent, confirms what the board has stated in relation to the inefficiency of the organization. (Letters from Fifth Auditor in appendix D, &c.)
23. This inefficiency is fully shown in the statements made as to the examination of a particular site. Had the necessary steps been taken by the