EDDYSTONE LIGIITIIOUSE, a celebrated building erected upon a cluster of very dangerous rocks, situated in the English Channel, in latitude 3' N., and longitude 21' W. These rocks are about fourteen miles from Plymouth Sound, and, lying nearly in the track of vessels going up or down channel, have been the cause or many shipwrecks. To guard against these disasters, it was deemed necessary to erect a lighthouse ; but to effect this in a coin plete and permanent manner, so as to resist storms and afford light, was a task of extreme difficulty.
The Eddystone rocks are so peculiarly exposed to the swell of the ocean from the south and west, that the heavy seas break upon them with uncontrolled fury. Sometimes, after a storm, when the sea is apparently quite smooth, and its surface unruffled by the slightest breeze, the ground-swell, or under-current, meets the slope of the rocks, and the sea beats tremendously upon them, and even rises above the light-house, overtopping it for the moment, as with a canopy of frothy wave. Notwithstanding this awful swell, Mr. Henry Winstanley undertook, in the year 169G, to build a light-house on the principal rock, for the rest are under water ; and in 1700 he completed it. So confident was this ingenious mechanic of the stability of his edifice, that he declared his wish to be in it during the most tremendous storm that could arise. This wish he unfortunately obtained, for he perished in it, during the dreadful storm which de stroyed it, November 27, 1703. Another light-house, of a different construction, was erected of wood, on this rock, by Mr. John Iludyerd, in 1709 ; which being consumed by fire in 1755, a third, of stone, was begun by the justly cele brated Mr. John Smeaton, April 2, 1757, and finished August 24, 1759, which has hitherto withstood the attacks of the most violent storms. The following account of this building, taken from Mr. Sineaton's " Narrative," must be read with interest, as a noble instance of the triumph of skill, science, and perseverance over obstacles of the most formidable character :— Mr. Smeaton begins his account with a general description
of the Eddystone rocks, the coin-se of the tides, their situa tion, component matter, and the proper season fir visiting them. lie then takes an ample view of Mr. Winstanley's edifice, to whom he ascribes great praise for having under taken and achieved what had been deemed imprae ticable ; and after deploring that gentleman's disaster, g, on to describe the second lighthouse, built by Mr. Rud% erd, as a most complete edifice of the kind. being of timber. in the course of which he details the best methods of fixing iron chains, and securing timber-work to rocks, which we shall give in his own words.
"As nothing would stand upon the sloping surface of the ruck without artificial means to stay it, Mr. Budyerd judi ciously concluded, that if the rock were redneed to level bear ings, the heavy bodies to be placed upon it, would then have no tendency to slide; and this would be the case, even though but imperfectly executed ; for the sliding tendeney being taken away from those parts that were reduced to a level, the whole would be much more securely retained by the iron bolts or branches, than if, for the retention of the whole, they had depended entirely upon the iron-work ; as manifestly appears to have been the case with the building of Mr. Winstauley. According to Mr. Budyerd's print. the inclined surface of the rock was intended to have been reduced to a set of regular steps, which would have been attended with the same good effect, as if the whole mild have been reduced to one level ; but in reality, from the hardness of the rock, the shortness and uncertainty of' the intervals in which this part of the work must have been per formed ; and the great tendency of the laminae whereof the rock is composed to rise in spa•ls, according to the inclined surface, when worked upon by tools, urged with snflicient force to make an impression ; this part of the work, that the stepping of the rock, had been but imperfectly performed, though in a degree that sufficed.