The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Kingston Herald (Kingston, ON), July 14, 1847

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p.2 We copy from the Argus the following letter from the Captain of the Queen Victoria respecting the late "melee" which took place on board of that boat at Oswego. We are glad to give an account so favorable to the citizens of Oswego, and trust that their efforts to bring the real offenders to justice will not be unsuccessful.

To the Editor of the Argus.

Dear Sir, - Having observed many statements in the public prints, relative to the riots at Oswego, on board the Str. Queen Victoria, on the 5th instant, I consider it my duty to put the matter in its proper light before the Canadian Public, and for that purpose I now enclose you a copy of the Oswego Com. Times, which I consider has given the most correct statement of the melee yet published, and which you will oblige me inserting it in your paper.

The British flag was not torn down and trampled under foot, as stated in the British Whig, nor was there any of the crew connected with the quarrel. It entirely arose from parties unconnected with the boat; and I understand those parties are undergoing close examination before the Oswego authorities.

I would also beg space, whilst on this matter, to tender my most grateful thanks to the Gentlemen of Oswego, who so kindly came forward to render their assistance and advice on the occasion, and more particularly to the Mayor, and other officers for their prompt and decisive assistance in freeing the vessel from the hands of a drunken mob.

I am, Mr. Editor,

Your obedt. servant,

JOHN BERRY, Capt. Str. Queen Victoria.

Kingston, 9th July, 1847.

The Canadian steamer Queen Victoria came in at an early hour, crowded with passengers and a band of music from Belleville and Kingston. The day was fine, and a large concourse of people collected from the country. Every body seemed happy; and we regret to say that in the afternoon the festivities of the occasion were marred by a disgraceful riot. While the Canadian steamer was engaged in carrying out pleasure parties, some disturbance took place, as we understand, between a few sailors and some of the hands on board of the steamer as she was about leaving the dock for a trip on the lake, resulting in a fight, in which a number were knocked down. While the steamer was out, an excited crowd, principally of sailors and boatmen collected on the dock, and when she came along side a rush was made on board. The anchors were thrown over board, and a general Melee ensued. As the situation of things became known, the police were promptly on the spot, headed by the President of the village, with the U.S. Marshall and Sheriff. The rioters were dispersed, a number of the ringleaders taken into custody, and the boat released. A detachment of the Oswego Guards under Captain Barbour, subsequently appeared on the ground, and order was restored. The civil authorities are entitled to much credit for the promptitude, energy and efficiency with which they discharged their duties on the occasion. And as no serious consequences resulted, we trust the outrage committed will be put down by our Canadian friends to the account of the rowdyism belonging more or less ( ) commercial places, rather than to the citizens of Oswego. We regret that anything should have happened calculated to interrupt for a moment the reciprocal good understanding that belongs to the daily intercourse of people bound together by the ties of interest and consanguinty.

We know we speak the sentiment of our citizens when we say the proprietors need not hesitate to continue the visits of the steamer to our port. The best feeling exists here towards the boat and Captain Berry, who throughout the disturbance did everything in his power to restore order. [Oswego Commercial Times]

For the Kingston Herald.

On board the steamer Cataract, Genesee River,

July 4th, 1847.

Mr. Herald, -

....Our run from Kingston to Sacket's Harbor was made in three hours, being 12 miles an hour. This from the "crack boat" is no great thing. However, this was the first trip of the Cataract, and in all probability she will be able shortly to redeem her character. I have not seen the Passport, but with her exception, I think I can safley say, that the decoration, convenience, grandness of style, and beauty and chasteness of general appearance of the Cataract, cannot be equalled by any boat on either side of the line. In addition to the main gentlemen's cabin below, which is fitted up as elegantly as possible, and contains about 70 or 80 good berths, the Ladies' cabin, on the main deck, which is likewise furnished superbly, there is what is called a "main saloon," extending the whole length of the promenade deck, carpeted and supplied with beautiful chandeliers, couches and settees, and easy chairs, and having no less than 74 comfortable State Rooms, with double berths, and the accompanying etc. The Captain, (Van Cleeve, lately of the St. Lawrence, which is now laid up,) is very attentive, obliging, a good sailor, and one of the most popular commanders on these waters; the clerk is also everything that can be desired. The table is well waited upon, and the whole management of the boat is such that I, with my peculiarly fastidious notions, had not the slightest reason to complain. These are the unbought, honest opinions of one who does not care a fig more about the Cataract than any other boat on the line..... S.B.M.

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July 14, 1847
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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), July 14, 1847