The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Kingston Spectator (Kingston, ON), July 2, 1835

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p.2 Steam-Boat War - Yesterday morning, Kingston was in a bustle at the water side, occasioned by the competition between the Steam-Boats Great Britian and St. George, which ended in a fight between the crews, to obtain possession of some baggage belonging to the emigrants on one of the Rideau barges. At first it began between a few men who were cuffing each other until one, if not two of them, got knocked over the low rail of the barge into the water and two others were scalded by water from the cooking stove which they upset. Reinforcements were constantly arriving from each of the boats to the different parties when the fight began to assume a violent appearance. Some of the men were seen to be providing themselves with bludgeons, and one had a piece of iron as an implement of war, when the men were called off by the Officers of the boats.

It is to be observed that the St. George does not go down to Prescott as the other boats do, but regulates her trips so as to accommodate the passengers and freight coming by the Rideau Canal, and for that reason should be encouraged. She had been waiting since the day before for that express purpose, when the Great Britain came in, and held out inducements for the passengers to go by her, instead of the St. George, and made an offer to take the deck passengers to the upper ports for 3s. 9d.; as they did not succeed in getting them for that, they further reduced the price of the passage. We are well aware how necessary it is for the emigrants to husband well their little effects, but it is necessary to guard them against being grossly imposed on by a certain description of persons.

We are informed that many times opposition runs high between the boats and offers are made to take passengers at reduced fares by persons connected with the boats, but on the passage the clerk calls for the regular money and denies having any instructions to receive a sum less than the regular passage. It often happens that they cannot find out or remember who made the promise, and if they do, they are told he had no authority to do so, and being strangers they cannot help themselves, and have to pay.

Opposition is said to be the life, and soul of trade; it is good to prevent imposition and extortion, but there is no sense in carrying on a ruinous opposition. We are informed that another Forwarding Company is to be formed on the Rideau Canal to oppose the present one. There is one thing to be considered, the St. Lawrence always kept the Rideau Company in check in the price of freight.

A queer looking thing, a sort of steam boat, called the Nonsuch, made its appearance in our harbor the other day, with a paddle wheel in the middle. This is intended for the Ottawa River, and supposed to have sufficient power to pass up the rapid water with ease.

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July 2, 1835
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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 Spectator (Kingston, ON), July 2, 1835