The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Dec. 23, 1834

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p.2 The Cabal in Port Hope, against Capt. Harper and the St. George, have had another meeting, at which another series of resolutions were passed, about as creditable to them as the former. The public opinion has been too welled expressed respecting the motives which induced the gentlemen of this village to persecute Capt. Harper, to need any labored production to excite the public attention; nevertheless we shall not pass the matter by altogether unnoticed. The three annexed documents speak volumes; the gentlemen of Port Hope stand forth in shining colors - John Brown of orange notoriety more particularly. They appear to have copied the example of that respectable person, Mr. Wm. Gowan, and after having forged the signature of Capt. Burns, attempted by flattery, bribery, and threats, to induce the 2nd mate of the St. George to swear falsely. The threat made use of by Mr. J. Brown, which we have marked in italics, is fully worthy of his former fame. We wish the gentlemen joy of their present situation.

One fact in corroboration of the annexed documents came to our ears but a few minutes ago; we give it in the words of our informant, a seaman on board the Wellington. "The same night, Dec. 9th the schooner Wellington, drawing five feet, on hauling out from between the piers, struck heavily and carried away two chains, and was obliged to let go the third, and run ashore between the piers, where she was kept upon her bottom by means of barrels of salt, potash, and other ballast, taken from the store house."


Having seen a statement in the Port Hope Warder of the 16th December 1834 to which my name is attached, I hereby declare that I never signed that statement in the way in which it is there printed, and that that part of it which relates to what Capt. Harper is said to have told me, respecting the depth of water at Port Hope harbour, is not sanctioned by me; was never signed by me, and was not contained in the paper to which I put my signature. Capt. Harper never mentioned the subject to me at all.

Charles Burns.

Kingston, 20th Dec., 1834.

I, John Brown, late 2nd mate of the steam-boat St. George, and now of the schooner Wellington, hereby declare:

That on Tuesday, the 9th Dec. I was on board the schooner Wellington, then lying between the piers at Port Hope, when Messrs. J. Brown, Crawford, two Messrs. Smith and others, whose names and persons I do not know, came on board. Mr. J. Brown came up to me, and in a very condescending and familiar manner, shook hands and asked me how I did. After I had returned the compliment, he asked me to go with him and the other gentlemen and see the water sounded; I refused, whereupon he went to Capt. Burns, the master of the schooner, and asked permission, which being given, I took the lead line, and was stepping into the boat, when I was stopped by one of the gentlemen, saying, they had a pole of their own. Capt. Burns then accompanied the gentlemen and myself, and we left the schooner and went towards the west Pier; on the way one of the persons in company abused me in a most shameful manner; I told him to leave off, or I should quit, and he was stopped by the remonstrances of the others. One of the Messrs. Smith then said, I had done the town a great injury, by what I had stated in my evidence before the proprietors of the St. George in Kingston. I went with the party and saw the water sounded with the pole, and found the depth to be greater than that which I had found it to be, when I sounded at the desire of Capt. Harper on the 16th November. This I attribute to the late general rising of the lake, and to the late general prevalence of south westerly winds; the northern shore of the lake having more or less depth of water according to the state of the wind. To the best of my knowledge and belief, at the time I did sound for Capt. Harper, there were only six feet and a half water, at the very place at which I now found nearly eight feet.

On our return, some of the gentlemen declared, that it was high time to take a glass of grog together, and consequently we all went to a neighbouring tavern. Some of the company went into a room by themselves, while the rest of us partook of refreshments in another. After some delay, they returned with a paper written on both sides, which they read over to me, and asked me to swear to. I objected, saying I was unwilling to make oath. Messrs. Brown and Smith replied, that I need not fear offending Capt. Harper, or Mr. D.J. Smith of Kingston, for I might be master of a schooner out of Port Hope yet. I rejoined, that I did not care more about the St. George or Capt. Harper, than I did about them, for I was as able to gain my living in one port as in another. Not finding I was willing to swear, Mr. J. Brown said, "You know that I am a Magistrate, and if you refuse to make affidavit, I can put you into confinement." I told him, that were he to put me into confinement for three years, he could not make me swear to any thing I disliked. I then left the house, and on my way on board, I was followed and stopped, and my jacket torn by a man who said he did so by order of Mr. J. Brown. He held me until Mr. J. Brown and the others came up; they again asked me to swear to the document, and on my again refusing, they asked me to sign my name. This I refused, whereupon one of the Messrs. Smith said, he would do it for me. I then turned away, and went on board.

I moreover take this opportunity of saying, that the expressions attributed to me in a paper signed by Messrs. Brown, Smith and others, in the Port Hope Warder of the 16th instant, were not said by me, and that they are false and malicious.


Kingston, Dec. 22nd, 1834.


To the Editor of the British Whig.

Sir, - It was my intention to have replied at some length to the statements made in the Port Hope paper, which I saw on Saturday last, but having since seen the declaration of Capt. Burns and also of Mr. John Brown, I consider it quite unnecessary further than to remark, that if those declarations are correct, it is impossible for me or any individual to wage a satisfactory warfare, when such means and such weapons are used against him as those declarations unveil.

I have no wish Sir, that any part of my case should rest upon equivocation or error. If therefore my second mate in taking the soundings as I directed him, made a mistake, I regret it; but I could act no otherwise than I did, supported as his report was by the statement of 9 feet water contained in a letter to Mr. D.J. Smith, and also by the conclusive fact of the St. George having been aground at the Pier on the previous trips, and her having struck the ground on backing out with much less sea on.

The waters of the Lake are much influenced by the winds, and before the day in question there had been 3 or 4 days of strong northerly gales, which might cause the water on the north shore to be lower than usual. This seems probable, as Brown informs me that the water at Port Hope is now considerably higher than it was when he sounded according to my orders. I am informed by several masters of schooners, who from longer acquaintance with the lake have more knowledge of those peculiarities, that such ebb and flow (if it may be so termed) is by no means uncommon, the mud and sand may also have been partly washed away from the pier, which is a frequent case.

But whether Brown was right or wrong is not the question, although that seems to have been eagerly seized upon at Port Hope to the exclusion of every other part of the evidence. This is adroit - I am sorry that I cannot say it is fair.

I was charged with aiming a deadly blow at the interests of Port Hope by persuading the Captain of a schooner not to go there; this charge was rebutted, and completely disproved by the evidence, (not of Mr. Brown as the Port Hope paper says,) but of Mr. Kirkpatrick, a gentleman whose high sense of honor and integrity is too well known to admit of panegyric from me, yet in spite of this, a similar charge is again brought forward relating to another vessel with the Captain's name put to it; that charge is as false and groundless as calumny can make it; and how Capt. Burns treats it, you Sir have seen.

I shall not continue the subject further than again to declare, that I never entertained one sentiment hostile to the interests of Port Hope, and that every act of mine in relation to that town was performed solely with the view to the safety of the ship and great property entrusted to my care.

I consider that I have been most cruelly and harshley treated by the gentlemen of Port Hope, but strong in the conviction of my own integrity of purpose, I can afford to take leave of the subject without fear, and without self reproach.

I am, Sir,

Your obed't servant,


Kingston, Dec. 22nd, 1834.

*Extract of a letter addressed to D.J. Smith, Esq., by Capt. Kingsmill, dated Port Hope, Nov. 10th, 1834. "I took the trouble of getting the water near the west pier plumbed, and there were 9 feet, weather moderate."

To the Editor of the British Whig.

...During a late visit to Montreal I was credibly informed, that the Ottawa Steam Boat and Forwarding Company have it in contemplation to establish a regular and systematic conveyance for goods etc. between Kingston and Montreal, by which means Upper Canada Merchants may depend on their transport business both up and down done in future by this Company with regularity, despatch and safety. I had the pleasure of being introduced to one of the proprietors (Thos. Phillips Esq.) for the purpose of viewing a model of a Steam Boat on a new construction and upon the principle of drawing the least possible depth of water upon given dimensions, and suitable, more particularly, for the Rideau Canal navigation. I was informed by Mr. P. that many scientific gentlemen had examined the model, among whom was Dr. Dunlop who expressed his unqualified approbation of the principle. This Boat will be propelled by two engines of 56 horse power; and the Steam Boat Shannon plying between Grenville and Bytown is to have two new engines of 80 horse power. They will if necessary be enabled to put two new steamers on the Rideau. This cannot be but an improvement to the trade of Kingston and of the Upper Province generally, and I hope they will meet with the hearty co-operation of the influential and commercial community; and that their efforts will be crowned with success, which appears to be very necessary, their profits not permitting any dividend for some years past. The managing proprietors often descant with unreserved eulogium on the assistance they received the past season from the Government Establishments, on the route; of the exertions made by the officers in charge (Capt. Bolton and Capt. Hayne) and of their politeness in informing the Company, when any improvements to the navigation were required, and in consulting their convenience, causing thereby as little injury as possible. It might also be proper to state, that the cause of so much irregularity on that route last summer seems to have arisen from the unexpected change of the works at Carrillon. Capt. Hayne who succeeded to the command having by his skill and exertions, completed early last spring the work which otherwise might not have been performed for some years to come, consequently the Company were taken unawares and not prepared for the business. They had also to contend with the prejudices occasioned by the self-interested enemies of the route. I was sorry to understand that those who had, or assumed the management of the Lachine Canal were by no means accommodating, the Lock Gates being shut at particular hours causing much delay and unnecessary expense, when to the honor of Capt. Bolton and Capt. Hayne, the Gates, etc. under their charge were opened when required.

I am, Sir,

Yours respectfully,


Kingston, Dec. 16th, 1834.

The following Circular from the Inspector General's Office, relative to Seizures, has been sent to the various Collectors throughout the Province:



Chap. LXXXIX - [Section 25]

And be it further enacted, that all Vessels, Boats, Goods and other things, which shall have been, or shall be hereafter SEIZED, as forfited, in or near any of the British Possessions abroad, under any Law relating to the Customs, or to Trade or Navigation, shall be deemed and be taken to be CONDEMNED, and may be dealt with in the manner directed by Law in respect to Vessels, Boats, Goods, and other things, Seized and Condemned for breach of any such Laws, unless the person from whom such Vessels, Boats, Goods, and other things, shall have been Seized, or the owner of them, or some person authorized by him, shall, within one Calender Month from the day of Seizing the same, give notice, in writing, to the person or persons Seizing the same, or to the Collector, Comptroller, or other Chief Officer of Customs, at the nearest Port, that he claims the Vessel, Boat, Goods or other things, or intends to claim them.


The Stockholders of the Steam Boat St. George are requested to meet at my office on Saturday, the 3rd of January next, at noon.


Kingston, 20th Dec., 1834.


By R. Jackson.


The Steam Boats


(Belonging to the Estate of the late R. Drummond, Esq.)

With Engines and Furniture Complete.

The Sale of the above Steam Boats which was advertised to take place on the 21st inst. is unavoidably postponed until Thursday the 15th day of January next - when they will be positively sold without reserve, if not previously disposed of by private sale.

Those vessels are in good Sailing condition, and have been constantly used on the

RIDEAU CANAL during the present year - in fact, it is needless to say further in recommendation of them than to state, that they were successful during the unusual lowness of the waters of the past season, and during most of the time of their running, had three or four heavily laden barges in tow.


At the same time and place,

The Schooner Lady of the Lake



With Masts and Rigging.

The sale will take place on board the respective vessels which will be moored alongside of the late Mr. Drummond's wharf.

Persons wishing to have an interest in some of the finest water communications in the Canadas, would do well to embrace this opportunity.

The terms which are very liberal will be made known by applying to

R. JACKSON, Auctioneer.

Kingston, Nov. 22nd, 1834.

Conditions - 20 per cent Cash, and the residue in four equal payments, by appraised endorsed notes, at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months.

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Dec. 23, 1834
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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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British Whig (Kingston, ON), Dec. 23, 1834