The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Kingston Herald (Kingston, ON), Dec. 19, 1843

Full Text

p.1 From the Montreal Gazette.

Our attention has been called to the numerous casualties which have, within a short period, occurred to the craft engaged in our inland navigation between Kingston and Montreal. It appears to us that these accidents have been studiously hidden from the public, probably with the view of not injuring the character of the St. Lawrence route from the Great Lakes to the Ocean; but we can see no good that can be reaped from such secrecy, while the evils that may arise from it are many and evident. The list that we give below proves that the quantity of property lately endangered, damaged, or lost, between the upper country and this port, or rather between Coteau du Lac and Montreal, is alarmingly large; and, instead of concealing the facts we ought to look them boldly in the face and seek a remedy. When we consider how much the prosperity of this country depends on our inland trade, it is remarkable what little pains have been taken in placing it under proper regulations. The cargoes of some of the barges arriving in Montreal from Upper Canada are often equal each in value to those of two or three timber laden ships leaving Quebec; yet nothing can be more certain than that many of the craft in which such precious property is embarked are of the most worthless description - in fact, to use the nautical expression are wholly unseaworthy. It is well known that in the course of the present month much inconvenience and loss have been sustained by our merchants from keeping their ships in port waiting for produce prevented from reaching them at an earlier date, by the insufficient means of transport now in use in our inland waters; and the consequent loss in prices, freights and insurance have been most serious. These matters can no longer be passed over in silence; the important interests involved in our inland trade demand that it should not for the future be left a prey to the imperfect system against which it has had hitherto to contend. This system, too, has been a direct premium to the commerce of the Hudson; and unless we speedily bestir ourselves, there is great danger that the whole trade of the West will shortly seek that channel. We trust however that the merchants of Montreal will take immediate steps to call the attention of the Legislature to this momentous subject, and urge an enquiry into the facts connected with it. The present inefficient state of many of the barges, their tackle, and crews, and the manner of loading them; the system of towing and pilotage; the prevailing custom of overloading the barges, which has become more common since the discovery of the new Cedars channel; - these and many similar matters offer a field for Parliamentary investigation, and legislation based on it, which, it is absolutely necessary, should no longer be delayed. With these remarks, we leave the annexed list of casualties, on a portion only of the St. Lawrence, within little more than one short month, to tell its own tale: -

Oct 11th - Barge Cadmus, with a cargo consisting of 3602 bushels wheat, wrecked on the Chateauguay Shoals, got off, and missed the Lachine Canal. A total loss.

Oct. 11th - Barge Herbert, cargo 920 bbls. flour, wrecked in the Lachine Rapids. Cargo mostly saved in a damaged state.

Oct. 20th - Barge Shamrock, cargo 3567 bushels wheat, ran against a steamer in the port of Montreal and sank immediately. All the property damaged.

Oct. 21st - Barge Quain, cargo 2429 bushels wheat and 100 bbls. flour, ran aground near Coteau du Lac. Unloaded, and property saved without damage.

Oct. 24th - Barge Onion, cargo 2784 bush. wheat, 419 bbls. flour, and 9 bbls. ashes, wrecked on Crab Island in the Long Sault. Cargo unloaded and reshipped - part damaged.

Oct. 29th - Barge Rowena, cargo 560 bushels wheat, 511 bbls. flour, 14 bbls. ashes and 4 bbls. pork, stuck in the new channel. Part of the property saved, boat a wreck.

Oct. 29th - Barge Lotus, cargo 616 bbls. flour, and 74 kegs butter, ran aground below the Cedars. Unloaded and got off without damage.

Oct. 29th - Barge Jean Baptiste, cargo 2259 bushels wheat, ran ashore above Coteau du Lac. Unloaded, and property saved without loss.

Oct. 31st, Barge Kingston, cargo 836 bbls. flour. Two and a half feet water in the hold and all the ground tier damaged. 400 bbls. transhipped to lighten her.

Nov. 6th, Barge Martha, cargo 1043 bbls. flour and 2 bbls. ashes, wrecked at Split Rock. Property partly saved; lower tier of flour damaged.

Nov. 6th - Barge Wellington, cargo 3857 bushels wheat, 36 tierces beef and 20 bbls. flour, grounded on the Pointe au Diable. Property unloaded and reshipped without damage.

Nov. 6th - Barge Disette No. 2, cargo 2829 bush. wheat, 50 bbls. flour, 31 tierces pork, and 20 bbls. ashes, wrecked at the Split Rock. Property partly saved; the rest an entire loss.

Nov. 5th - Barge Trinton, cargo 557 bbls. flour, 1566 bushels wheat, 66 bbls. ashes, and 59 kegs butter, ran aground at Caughnawaga; unloaded and towed off; but ran again aground, and was lighted and got off, with loss of rudder.

Nov. 14th - Barge Dissette No. 1, cargo 1888 bushels of wheat, 59 bbls. ashes, and 31 tierces beef, grounded in the Gallops and lighted off, and wrecked in the new Cedar Channel. The boat and the greatest portion of the cargo entirely lost.

Nov. 16th - Barge Clyde, cargo 1050 bbls. flour, ran aground. Cargo unloaded and reshipped without loss.

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Dec. 19, 1843
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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), Dec. 19, 1843