The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Kingston Herald (Kingston, ON), Aug. 2, 1842

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p.2 The Grand Jurors of the Montreal Quarter Sessions in their Presentment to the Court on the 19th instant, allude in the following terms to the unfortunate case of the Shamrock steamboat:

"With unfeigned regret the late melancholy explosion of the steamer Shamrock, plying on Lake St. Louis, which caused the deaths of upwards of sixty persons, and wounding several others, has forced itself upon our notice, and we would strongly recommend, that the Provincial Legislature would, at its next session, adopt such measures as may, under the will of Divine Providence, prevent a recurrence of a similar fatal catastrophe, either by appointing an engineer of unqualified experience at each port, to examine, report upon, and certify, the state of efficiency of every steamer previous to her departure, or at periods as may be deemed necessary, and that such engineer shall have authority to secure the safety of the public in a manner as may to him seem fit.

As the proprietors, captain, and engineer, of this ill-fated vessel were virtually declared innocent by the Coroner's Jury summoned to enquire into the cause of the destruction of so many of our fellow creatures, we respectfully submit the result of a scientific enquiry which we considered our duty to have instituted, as to the sufficiency of the boilers and other appurtenances, as blame must rest somewhere. From the evidence adduced, we are warranted in coming to the conclusion as follows:

1st, That the boiler was thick enough, but leaked.

2d, That it is likely an accident of this description may occur again, owing to the proprietors persisting in running their boats under the vicious system of high-pressure, from which cause the present melancholy accident occurred.

3d, That it is our opinion that the engineer, T.B. Benedict, is not that competent individual, into whose charge the engine should have been placed, as he appears to be ignorant of the manner of conducting the locomotive boiler which was attached to the engine in the boat.

We recommend the Legislature, at its next Session, to pass an enactment for the purpose of forming a Board of Engineers for the Examination of engineers previous to their being placed in such a situation, when the lives of our fellow creatures are at stake. Also, that it should at once condemn a system of high-pressure, particularly on board of passage boats.

We would also suggest the propriety of appointing an Inspector of Boilers, to report on their sufficiency previous to their being brought into common use.

We would also suggest the propriety of a Legislative enactment to prevent for the future the system of steamboat racing, which has recently been practised between this city and Quebec, as it endangers the lives of the passengers.

It has been ascertained that sixty-eight people were lost on the Shamrock, 63 passengers and five of the crew.

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Aug. 2, 1842
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Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Kingston Herald (Kingston, ON), Aug. 2, 1842