HC Deb 17 February 1868 vol 190 cc794-5

said, he rose to ask the Vice-President of the Board of Trade, If the Government have had under their consideration the danger to the naval as well as mercantile interests caused by the existence of Daunt's Rock; whether, after the late accident to one of Her Majesty's ships, occasioned by the frame of the City of New York still lying on the rock, it was proposed to place a lighthouse on the rock, or to effect its removal by blasting; or, if he would say what were the intentions of the Government with respect to an admitted source of constant apprehension?


Sir, this subject has not only been considered, but action has been taken upon it. In the autumn of 1846, after the loss of the City of New York, the Irish Light Commissioners, then called the Ballast Board, changed the light of Roche's Point into a red revolving light, throwing a sector of white light from the lighthouse across Daunt's Rock, and established a bell-boat, all at the expense of the Mercantile Marine Fund. This was the course followed with regard to the analogous case of the Manacles' Rocks, near the entrance of Falmouth, with this difference in favour of Daunt's Rock, that it is a mile nearer the lighthouse. This is one of those cases which, as I explained last year in reference to the Solway, affect local trade, and therefore it is not fair to saddle the cost on the whole mercantile marine of the country. Cork, indeed, has been already unduly favoured, because the light on Roche's Point is under certain old arrangements so paid for, which would not be the case with respect to any English light, such as that of the light of St. Anthony's Point, Falmouth. The Papers moved for by the hon. Member in 1864 showed that Captain Shad well, who surveyed the rock, considers blasting hardly possible, and that the danger has been much exaggerated. And the Wreck Returns show that from January, 1859, to December, 1866, eight years, there has only been one casualty—that to the City of New York. Since then the Research struck on that wreck, and the Chicago ran aground several miles from the rock. Early in 1864 a light-ship was offered to Cork on the usual terms with respect to local lights. This was refused. A proposal has lately been made for blasting, into which the Admiralty and Board of Trade are now inquiring. I thought it due to the hon. Member to make this somewhat tedious explanation, and the conclusion is this:—The lighting or blasting of Daunt's Rock would be of no advantage to the general passing trade, therefore it would be unfair to defray the cost out of the Mercantile Marine Fund. The danger is not so great as to justify the Irish Light Commissioners in fixing this burden compulsorily on the trade of Cork. But if the trade of the port is willing to be taxed for this purpose, the Irish Light Commissioners would place a light there, and levy rates not only on vessels proceeding to and from Cork, but on all which, by calling off for orders or otherwise, benefit by the light.

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