The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Kingston Herald (Kingston, ON), March 16, 1847

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At a public meeting of the Kingston Bethel Society, held in the Free Church, City Buildings, on Monday, March 8, 1847, John B. Marks, Esq., was called to the Chair, and Mr. Waudby appointed Secretary.

The Chairman explained the objects of the Meeting in a brief and pertinent address, and, after singing by the Choir, prayer was offered by the Rev. E. Botterell.

The Report was then read by Capt. A.C. Ross, and was adopted by the Meeting, with a request that it be published in all the City papers, and such others as are favorable to the Bethel cause.

The former Officers were re-appointed.

It was then moved by the Rev. Mr. Lorimer, seconded by Rev. Prof. Williamson, of Queen's College.

1. Resolved, - that to Christians the solemn question is now submitted, shall this cause, receive such a share of your sympathies and your prayers, and of the riches of your liberality as it justly deserves? Are you willing to divide this work with the Christians of other countries, and having faithfully accomplished your part, unite with them in thanksgiving to God for the conversion of the abundance of the sea?

It was then moved by the Rev. E. Botterell, seconded by Capt. A.C. Ross,

2. Resolved, - That the thought should be reiterated, that seamen, with their peculiar characteristics and facilities, have an important moral mission to fulfil. For the world's sake, therefore, for Zion's sake, as well as their own, ought not the efforts in their behalf to be increased a hundred fold?

It was then moved by the Rev. Mr. Lorimer, seconded by Mr. Waudby,

3. Resolved, - That the thanks of the Society are respectfully presented to the following persons: - To the Ministers who supplied the pulpit during the season; Mr. E. Proby for a handsome and suitable Bethel Flag, and for ropes for stays for staff, and for pulling it up; Messrs. Fowler & Hood for a flag-staff; Messrs. Oliver & Masson, for iron work to support the staff; Mr. Ferguson for halyards; Mr. Camp, Sackets Harbor, U.S., for a parcel of tracts; Captain Osgood, for one Bible, a parcel of tracts, magazines, and various religious periodicals; Mr. Milo, for painting the pulpit; to the Managing Committee, for their services; and Mr. Stead, for opening and cleansing the Bethel.

Moved by Capt. A.C. Ross, seconded by the Rev. E. Botterell,

4. Resolved, - That the thanks of this meeting are respectfully tendered to the committee of the Free Church, for their kindness in granting this splendid Hall, gratuitously for the present interesting occassion; to his Worship, the Mayor, for his liberality in granting the use of many useful appendages in fitting up the room; to the Ministry, that have addressed the meeting; to Mr. Boyle and the Choir, for the highly delightful part they have performed of this evening's exercise; to the Editors of the different commercial papers in the City, who have generously published for the Society; and to all others who have in any way kindly assisted in getting up this meeting.

On motion of Capt. A.C. Ross, the Chairman vacated the Chair, which was taken by Mr. Waudby, and a vote of thanks to J.B. Marks, Esq., for his able services in the Chair, was proposed, and carried by acclamation.

The meeting was then closed with prayer by the Rev. Lorimer.

The Choir, led by Mr. Wm. Boyle, performed several pieces of sacred music at intervals during the meeting, and gave the highest satisfaction with their services.

JOHN WAUDBY, Secretary.


What is the mission of the sailor, and what is to be his destiny? Is he destined to be the mere agent of commerce, the carrier of the world's production, the telegraphic wire of international communication? or has he a higher duty to perform? Is he destined to be a slave to his own passions, a prey to the unprincipled and vile, a moral pestilence at home, and a winged curse abroad? Or is he, as the representative of Christianity, to execute a higher than mercantile mission?

Let every man abide in his own calling, the farmer at his plough, the mechanic in his shop, the merchant in his counting room, and the seaman oin his ship. Society is sustained, and every great work must be achieved on the principal of division of labour. But let it not be forgotten that no man liveth to himself, each has such responsibilities to sustain that the business of earth should be prosecuted solely with reference to nobler employment above.

That the sailor has a mission of salvation to his fellow-men to fulfill is ascertained from God's word, demonstrated by His providences, and inferred from the known principles of His government. If it be so, and it is not deemed necessary here to submit the proof, how important the work in which the Kingston Bethel Society is engaged!

Impressed with these thoughts, the Directors present their First Annual Report.

At a meeting, held in the City Hall on the first Monday of March, 1846, a Bethel Society was organized for the moral and spiritual improvement of seamen and their families; a constitution having been read and adopted, officers were chosen for the coming year, at which time a liberal collection was taken amounting to £6 11 11.

The attention of the managing committee was then directed towards procuring a suitable house for the contemplated enterprise, which was at length obtained through the kindness of Mr. Scobell in renting one to the Society for a nominal sum. The preaching was kindly and promptly supplied by ministers of the town of different denominations. A liberal subscription was raised by the citizens of Kingston, Garden Island, and some friendly seamen, and many useful and valuable donations were received towards preparing and furnishing the house for a Bethel.

In the same month a public meeting of ship masters, owners, and seamen was held at Mr. Proby's sail loft to consider the subject of forming a Marine Temperance Society. The meeting was opened with prayer by Mr. James Doyle, and the Marine Temperance Society of Kingston was organized. Capt. Thomas Maxwell was elected President, and Mr. Anthony Friel Secretary, at which time 55 members signed the pledge; but from the dispersing of the officers and members of the Society, that amount of good has not been accomplished that the friends of Temperance could wish. Notwithstanding this complaint, your committee may say that while all has not been done that should have been done, yet they have reason to hope that good has been effected during the past year through the instrumentality of this Society.

And as we have more time to devote to the improvement of our morals in winter than summer, your committee at their last meeting appointed Capt. A.C. Ross to open a correspondence with persons favorable to the cause of temperance in all the important ports on the Lakes to form branch societies to act in union with this; your committee flatter themselves, and have reason to hope that this organization of itself will give a fresh impetus to the cause.

There is in this city a Provident and Savings Bank, which might be a great blessing to seamen. The amount deposited by sailors the past year is £222 18 1, being a much larger sum than any previous year; and larger sums of money have been sent by others from hence to friends and parents in those parts where destitution and privation, if not starvation, stare the inhabitants in the face, which must have been to many an essential and timely relief.

Your committee have purchased twenty-five of the seamen's hymn books, which are used in the Bethel at the time of worship. They have distributed among seamen and their families one Bible, a number of tracts, Sailors' Magazines, and other religious publications. The officers of this Society are a President, two Vice Presidents, a Secretary, a Treasurer, a Collector, and thirty Directors. The Board of Managers have met regularly throughout the year to discuss all matters of interest pertaining to the welfare of the Society, to enact such regulations as were best calculated to promote their improvement and usefulness, and to regulate the economical and financial concerns of this infant institution.

In recalling the afflictions of the past year we ought to consider that they were the chastening of Him Who never afflicts willingly, and does it for our own good; and while nature may dwell on the dark circumstances which attend such trials, let us call to mind all their alleviations. If some of those whom we valued and esteemed were lost, let us be grateful that all was not lost. If sickness and death have come into the circle of our friends, let us remember the sick bed's blessing, and the hope of the grave. If our tears have flowed, we have felt the hand of mercy wiping them away; and if our hearts have sunk, we have felt that there is no depression from which God cannot raise us. In looking back on the storm we remember the voice which said "It is I: be not afraid," and that power of Christ which was put forth when vain was the help of man.

There have been instances of melancholy sudden death which should have a place in the reminiscences of the last year. Most afflicting was the death of Capt. McPhail, who fell from the pier at Port Stanley and was drowned. How affecting was the death of Capt. Jackson, (who was present with us last year at a similar meeting) who went away from his friends in perfect health and lively spirits, but was killed instantaneously in the Welland Canal; of William Nickson, who fell from the schooner Rose in this port, and was drowned; of , who was knocked overboard by the tiller of the propeller Ireland, and was drowned; and of Michael Mott, who fell between the Brig Brock, in this port, and the wharf, as is supposed, and was drowned.

There was a large amount of loss of life on Lake Erie, fifteen dead bodies having been picked up one morning. Most afflicting to the friends and relatives, and especially to an aged mother, was the death of a young man Mr. Mins, belonging to Clayton, U.S., who was drowned by the upsetting of a boat at the entrance of the Welland Canal on Lake Erie, and how heart-rending will the accounts be to the parents of Capt. Kirk, who, after he had finished the season for sailing, had moored his vessel and was about stripping her for the winter, fell as is supposed, from the rail through the newly made ice and was drowned.

May not the sailor emphatically say "In the midst of life we are in death!"

It is due to the individuals who have performed the duty of office bearers faithfully to those, our almost friendless seafaring brothers to express to the Society generally the entire confidence and approbation which their efforts have merited.

The combination of kindness and gentleness with firmness and wisdom has won for them the respect and affection, not only of those in this city, but of all who have witnessed its effects and operation, both on one side, and our frontier friends on the other.

This Association has acted on the principle that union is strength. We have reason to attribute our success to this uncommon unanimity; many differing in opinion on other grounds have met here, and on other similar occasions, in singleness of heart, and seen eye to eye. The spirit of sectarianism has never entered the Society. Their sole aim has been the temporal and eternal good of seamen.

This undertaking is, we trust, the beginning of a noble and permanent establishment. If the history of the intemperate reclaimed and restored to his home and kindred, and its instrumentality in the drawing away of hundreds of seamen from those influences which have destroyed multitudes of their brethren; if the furnishing them with the advantages not only of a quiet abode, but the means of intellectual and moral improvement; if the giving them the blessing of the family altar, the reading of the scriptures, and prayer, the social religious meeting, and the public worship of God be duly considered, who will dare to say that it is not, in the highest possible sense benevolent in its operations, and will in time relieve the temporal and spiritual wants of seamen, to the extent of its demands? For this end we look confidently to those who have commenced and thus far supported it for a continuance of favours and patronage. We recall their former liberality and interest with gratitude, and offer them here the hearty expression of our thanks. Every donation in money, furniture, periodicals, or otherwise, has been faithfully registered, and has been remembered, and is hereby gratefully acknowledged, wither it be the generous donation of distinguished individuals or the smaller supplies which go to promote the same end. None, however limited their means, will cast in their mite here unprofitably.

The value is felt in the usefulness of even a tract or magazine, and if those who give a cup of cold water only shall be remembered, we are warranted in saying they shall in no wise lose their reward.

While we lay before this Society the account of our past success and prosperity, it is necessary to state that we wish to enlarge the borders and strengthen the stakes of this infant Association.

The immediate object presented before you prospectively is certainly most desirable, that we obtain some suitable person as missionary to seamen in the port of Kingston, Garden Island, and Portsmouth harbor; to establish a temperance boarding house for seamen on Christian principles; and a free school for the education of seamen's children.

We do not doubt but that this benevolent community will meet and sustain, as they have ever been ready and forward to do, all reasonable and just claims upon their charities, their sympathies and prayers; and we now look to the citizens of Kingston and Canada for its accomplishment, with confidence that this appeal will not be made in vain.



£ s. d.

Collection at Public Meeting last year 6 11 11

Hon. John Hamilton, 2 10 0

Late Hon. John Kirby, 1 10 0

Hooker, Henderson & Co. 2 10 0

Macpherson & Crane, 2 10 0

J.D. Bryce & Co. 2 10 0

D.D. Calvin, Esq. 2 0 0

John Counter, Esq. 1 5 0

Henry Gildersleeve, Esq. 1 0 0

James Walker, 0 10 0

A. Gillespie, 0 10 0

Mr. Black, 0 10 0

Capt. Gaskin, 0 10 0

Capt. A. Muir, 0 10 0

Capt. B. Muir, 0 10 0

Capt. S. Booth, 0 10 0

Capt. Marshall, 0 10 0

Capt. Harrington, 0 10 0

Capt. Abbey, 0 10 0

Capt. A.C. Ross, 0 12 6

John Polly, 0 10 0

Thomas Murray, 0 7 6

Hugh McLaren, 0 5 0

John McCroden, 0 5 0

John Prowse, 0 5 0

Andrew Byron, 0 5 0

Alex'r Reddie, 0 5 0

Donald McLaran, 0 2 6

Andrew Bezzo, ? 0 2 6

Mr. Masson, 0 10 0

Mr. Waudby, 0 13 6

James Fraser, 0 5 0

Capt. Jos. Pierson, 0 5 0

Capt. Wm. Donaldson, 0 5 0

Capt. Stephen Gibbs, 0 5 0

Capt. M.T. Hunter, 0 5 0

Capt. Robert Kent, 0 5 0

Capt. Thos. Masson, 0 5 0

S.W. Brady, 0 5 0

F. L'Estage, 0 5 0

R.B. Young, 0 5 0

G.H. Oliver, 0 2 6

Capt. A. Chisholm, 0 2 6

Capt. Alex'r Stewart, 0 2 6

Capt. J. Cumming, 0 2 6

Capt. A. McMillan, 0 2 6

Capt. Abbott, 0 5 0

George Brown, 0 7 6

F.N. McDowall, 0 10 0

Capt. John Masson, 0 5 0

Christopher Miller, 0 2 6

John Patterson, 0 5 0

Balance 0 13 3

£37 13 2


Candles, Wood, Cleaning, etc, at

Public Meeting last year, 2 12 11

Posting Bills and Blank Book 0 11 0

Painting Bills, Constitution, etc. 5 1 9

Cleaning and Fitting up Bethel, 4 12 6

Two Dozen seamen's Hymn Books 1 15 0

Thirty-six Settees 18 0 0

Rent of Bethel 5 0 0

£ 37 13 2

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Date of Original:
March 16, 1847
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Rick Neilson
Copyright Statement:
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), March 16, 1847