The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Kingston News (Kingston, ON), Jan. 9, 1845

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p.2 Proposed Steamboat Between Toronto & Goderich - The estimates of a Steam Boat, to be worked by a propeller, in order that it may pass the Welland Canal, have been brought to our notice by a Correspondent. It is proposed to build a steamer, at St. Catharines, which would cost £4600, to ply between Toronto and Goderich. It is expected that such a vessel will make twelve trips during the season, carrying 2500 barrels of flour, 100 tons of merchandize, and 60 passengers, and that this will produce a clear profit, after all expenses are paid, of £3000, or above 50 per cent, after all allowances are made for contingencies. Various individuals are mentioned as willing to take shares. The people of Goderich are said to be willing to take £2000 of it, and the Canada Land Company pays fifty dollars to an American boat as a premium every time it touches Goderich, which they would prefer paying to a Canadian. We are unacquainted with the grounds on which these calculations have been made, but would recommend the parties who have made them to come openly forward with their names, and lay the plan regularly before the public, if they cannot have sufficient subscriptions privately. One thing is certain that Toronto and Goderich, the terminations of the proposed line, would derive material benefit from such a medium of intercourse as well as every place on the line where it might be deemed expedient to touch. [Toronto Globe]



Notice - We the undersigned hereby request that a General Meeting of Ship-Owners, and others concerned in the Carrying Trade of Canada, be held at the Court House, at 12 o'clock, noon on Saturday the 4th inst.

T.W. Robinson, Mayor, John McCuaig,

T. Corbett, Sheriff, Angus Cameron,

Hooker & Henderson, Charles Burns,

Sanderson & Murray, Joseph Pearson,

R.W. Innis, Stewart McHenry,

John Watkins, William Donaldson,

Robert Gaskin, Matthew Hunter,

Robert Patterson, J.D. Bryce & Co.,

John McDonald, James Twohy,

John Mowat, John H. Greer,

Peter McIntyre, Samuel Fowler,

Robert Kent, Edmund Boyle,

John Oliphant, James Swanson,

J.F. McQuaig,

Kingston, Jan. 3rd, 1845.

In compliance with the above requisition a number of gentlemen engaged or interested in the carrying trade, assembled at the Court House at the time specified, and proceeded to business. Capt. Patterson was called to the chair, and having in a few words explained the object of the meeting, Capt. Cameron rose to offer a series of resolutions, prefacing his motion with some remarks upon the circumstances which in his opinion called upon those interested in the shipping trade to take immediate measures for the protection of their interests against the encroaching competition of foreigners. Although the resolutions prepared by that gentleman, given below, exhibit the grounds upon which the action of the meeting was taken, we deem it necessary that a few of his remarks in explanation should accompany them. Mr. Cameron observed that the spirit of the British Navigation laws had ever been to encourage and protect the Carrying Trade in British bottoms; they had been so formed as to the greatest possible extent to confine British Trade to British subjects; and this protection and encouragement was but natural and right; yet in this Province British ship-owners had been in a measure deprived of that protection, not through an Imperial but a Provincial Statute. It might seem strange that any act of the Colony should in effect injure its trade; but such was the fact, whatever were the intentions of the framers of the act in question. As interested parties, the ship-owners must look alone to the operation of the act, and if that was found detrimental to their interests seek in the proper quarter for a remedy. The lumber trade was a most important branch of the trade of the Colony, but by the construction which had been put upon the laws, the British ship-owners had been deprived of a large portion of the carriage of this lumber, and it had found its way across the lakes in American bottoms. A company was established at French Creek, for instance, which sends men to Lake Erie to get out timber on the Canadian side, which timber is transported in American bottoms to that port, placed in bond until it is rafted, and thus it is taken to Coteau du Lac, and entered as American timber, paying, nominally a duty of 5 per cent, upon which it is forwarded to its destination as Canadian, which in fact it really is. The duty, however, in many cases had been in great part evaded, from the loose manner in which reports were received and clearances given. The timber was put in at its value on the shores of Lake Erie, instead of that at the port at which it was rafted, and as the Custom House Officers would have much difficulty in re-measuring, they received the reports of interested parties, and in this way, drams containing 9000 cubic feet of timber were frequently reported and passed as containing only 4000. So that, in fact, although 5 per cent on the value of the timber is nominally levied at Coteau du Lac, it amounted to little or nothing of protection to the trade. The consequence was that a large portion of the timber cut in Canada and forwarded to the great timber mart of the Colony, passed, not through the hands of British ship-owners, as it ought of right to do, but through those of foreigners, who enjoyed the advantage of a trade which exclusively belonged to British subjects. In addition, the competition between the British and American ship-owners on the Lakes was not an equal one; the latter enjoying advantages which does not fall to the lot of the former. The great demand for salt in the Western States bordering on the lakes and the plentiful supply of that article annually shipped from the port of Oswego, gave the Americans the advantage of an up-freight, while the British ship-owner was obliged to send up his vessel for her cargo of timber in ballast. The natural consequence was that the American could carry at a much cheaper rate, and was thus enabled most seriously to interfere in that trade which, as he had before remarked, should be carried on only in British bottoms, and to the encouragement of the Carrying Trade of Western Canada. He had pointed out one evasion of the Imperial statute; he would now point out an evasion of the Provincial law. The act of the 4th and 5th Victoria imposed a duty of 5 per cent on all foreign timber entering the ports of this Province; now it was not foreign timber which was entered at Coteau du Lac in the manner which he had described, but Canadian timber. The law evidently never contemplated the process of the conversion and re-conversion of timber as it had been carried on by foreigners. Indeed he was of opinion - an opinion in which he had been strengthened by a gentleman of good legal authority - that so much was the introduction of Canadian timber by the Americans as of American growth, opposed to the letter and spirit of the statute to which he had referred, that such timber might be seized for a violation of the Customs laws. However that might be, it was the duty of all who felt interested in the trade, to take immediate steps for the protection of their rights from further violation, and as Parliament was about again to take into consideration the Customs Bill, to suggest such provisions as would effectually protect British ship-owners in those privileges which it had been the aim of the Imperial statute to confer upon them. Capt. Cameron concluded by moving, seconded by Capt. Gaskin, to resolve as follows:

Resolved, 1. - That by the Provincial law, as at present construed and enforced by the Custom House Department, the owners of British vessels navigating the lakes of Canada West and river St. Lawrence are deprived of the advantages intended to be secured to ship-owners in all parts of Her Majesty's dominions.

Resolved, 2. - That by the Imperial Statute 6th Geo. 4th, chap. 100, sec. 10, it is enacted "That no goods shall be carried from any British possession in Asia, Africa, or America, to any other of such possessions, nor from any one part of any such possessions to another part of the same, except in British ships."

Resolved, 3. - That lumber cut and dressed for market on the shore of Lake Erie and throughout the Western part of Canada West, is there purchased by foreigners, carried by them in foreign vessels to French Creek, a port in the United States, rafted there, afterwards brought into Canada, entered at the Custom House at Coteau du Lac as foreign lumber, nominally paying a duty of five per cent, and again shipped for the British market as Canadian lumber.

Resolved, 4. - That by the construction put upon the provincial act 4 and 5 Vic., which permits the introduction of foreign lumber into Canada on payment of five per cent ad valorem duty, and by the past practice of the Custom House officer at Coteau du Lac, that provincial act is a complete evasion of the Imperial Statute above quoted, and thereby has long deprived the owners of British vessels of their just rights.

Resolved, 5. - That the Provincial Act in question not only evades the Imperial law, as to the rights of ship-owners in Canada, but also covers another evasion of the Imperial law, by sending from this colony into the British market foreign lumber in the character of colonial.

Resolved, 6. - That the Provincial Act 4 & 5 Victoria, in itself an evasion of the Imperial law, as hitherto acted upon at Coteau du Lac, is also so evaded as to render the duty of five per cent imposed thereby on foreign lumber merely nominal, since those foreigners have been allowed to fix its value near Lake Erie, and have been allowed further to underrate such lumber in making erroneous entries by irresponsible subordinates to the Custom House at Coteau du Lac.

Resolved, 7. - That in the opinion of this meeting it is unconstitutional to attempt by provincial legislation, and the construction of such legislation by the Provincial Custom House, and hitherto sanctioned by the Executive Government, to deprive the British ship-owner of the rights and privileges intended to be secured to him by the Imperial law.

Resolved, 8. - That this meeting, from the above stated facts, fully concur in a portion of the Report of Malcolm Cameron, Esq., late Commissioner of Customs, laid before the Legislature in October, 1843, wherein it is stated that in Montreal "the officers of the Customs particularly remarked upon the partial and inefficient examination of vessels, and informed me that so little confidence had they in the clearances produced from Coteau du Lac, that they put a tide waiter on board of every craft that arrived from that port."

Resolved, 9. - That even in position of their full right as by Imperial laws established, the owners of British vessels on the lakes of C. West would be competing with foreign vessels at a disadvantage since a large quantity of up-freight is obtainable on the American side of the river and lakes, especially in the article of salt, for a vast extent of improved country in the western States, which upfreight so remunerates the American ship-owner as to enable him to carry the British lumber at a cheaper rate from Lake Erie to Quebec.

Resolved, 10. - That as it is known to this meeting that some few vessels of American build have been purchased by British subjects, in expectation of such vessels being allowed, according to the past practice, so injurious to the commercial interests of the Province, so to perform a part of the carrying trade thereof; and as this meeting are of opinion that the owners of such vessels hitherto engaged carrying lumber as above explained, would suffer loss and injury by a sudden change, which it would be desirable should be effected in the Custom laws on this subject, this meeting are of opinion that their peculiar case should be favorably considered.

Resolved, 11. - That since it appears the Legislature is about to introduce some alterations in the Custom Laws of this Province, during the present session, it would be advisable these well founded grievances of the ship-owners should be duly represented, and a petition be forwarded to each branch of the Legislature, praying that they should be restored to their original rights as enacted by the Imperial navigation laws, by levying such duty on lumber coming from the United States, to the amount of 25 per cent, or such other amount as in their wisdom they shall deem right and necessary; and that Capt. Patterson and Capt. Gaskin do form a Committee to draft a petition founded on the above resolutions, procure signatures, and forward the same.

These resolutions, having been put from the chair, were adopted unanimously, when after a vote of thanks to Capt. Patterson and Capt. Cameron, the meeting adjourned.

We have no doubt that the subject requires only to be brought under the notice of the Legislature to the adoption of a remedy against the evil complained of. Indeed, we understand, that in anticipation of such interference by the Legislature, the company more especially alluded to in the resolutions, have made arrangements for the coming Season by which timber will be conveyed in British vessels to the foot of Long Island and there rafted in British waters. It would, however, be more safe to render this arrangement not a matter of choice but of necessity to those engaged in the trade.

We have no objection to foreigners embarking their capital in any enterprize which may be offered to them in this Province; but in this particular case we claim for British subjects engaged in the carrying trade, the maintenance of those rights which it was the intention of the Imperial Legislature to secure to them in the enactment of those laws which regulate the navigation of British waters. The Coasting trade of the British and American frontiers has been secured to the exclusive use and benefit of the subjects of each country; it is the duty of our legislature to see that in this colony the advantages which naturally belong to its people are not taken from them under a mere fiction of law - or by any species of evasion whatever.

p.3 The Welland & Erie Canals - trade of Rochester and Buffalo being hurt by Oswego, whose forwarders benefit from Welland Canal; includes extract from American Railroad Journal of 1842 which mentions Ericcson's propellers, and an account of a meeting held at Rochester on 29th January, 1845 taken from Commercial Advertiser. (full column)

Laborers on Public Works - about canal workers causing problems on Trent canal works, including two items from [Belleville Intelligencer]

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Jan. 9, 1845
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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 News (Kingston, ON), Jan. 9, 1845