HC Deb 04 July 1836 vol 34 cc1170-2
Mr. Warburton

presented a petition from Mr. Michael Donavon, complaining of the conduct of the Trinity-house Corporation towards him in regard to a new method which he has invented for the lighting of light-houses. The petitioner stated, that an experiment of his invention had been made at the South Foreland Light-house, and that he had been employed himself there for three months; and he further stated, that the Trinity-house had distinctly acknowledged to him that his invention was a valuable one, which must lead to very important improvements in the existing system of light-houses. It appeared from the statement of the petitioner, that his invention consisted in the employment of refracting lenses, instead of reflecting mirrors, with oil lights. The hon. Member stated, that the Report of the engineer of the Trinity-house Corporation spoke in high terms of the invention of the petitioner. The petitioner also stated, that having been thus for three months employed at the South Foreland, the light house keeper sent up a Report to the Trinity Board that an explosion had taken place, and that the light-house had caught fire. The petitioner complained that no opportunity had been afforded him of being confronted with that person; that he had been at considerable expense in fitting up his apparatus, &c, and prayed the House to take his case into consideration. He would wait until he heard the explanation of the hon. Member opposite, an elder brother of the Trinity-house, Mr. A. Chapman, before he would decide on what steps he might hereafter take in regard to this question.

Mr. Aaron Chapman

defended the con duct of the Trinity Corporation, and maintained that they had acted most generously towards the petitioner. Certainly an explosion had taken place, by which the lights were at once extinguished, and he called upon hon. Gentlemen to consider what might have been the effect had any of his Majesty's ships or any merchant vessels been in the neighbourhood of the Goodwin Sands at the time. The Trinity Corporation had undoubtedly promised this individual to pay him any sum that might be required in making an experimental trial of his new light, and acting upon that feeling, they had given him I 00l. for his model, and 350l. more for his own time; and on an application being made by him for further remuneration, they conveyed to him an intimation of their readiness to meet his demand, provided it was anything within reason, but the demand made by him was so exorbitant, that they felt they should be guilty of a gross dereliction of their duty to the public to entertain it for a moment, In conclusion the hon. Member remarked, that this Gentleman seemed offended that his invention had not been adopted in preference to those of others, such as Lieutenant Drummond, and other gentlemen of certainly equally high scientific character and pretensions.

Mr. Warburtou

observed, that the explanation of the hon. Gentleman was not satisfactory, and thought that the Trinity-house should have erected an experimental light-house on shore, by which without incurring any risk, the advantages of the new invention might be put to the test until the discovery was perfected.

Petition to He on the Table.

Back to