The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Dec. 23, 1845


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p.2

THE STEAMER PRINCE EDWARD.

To the Editor of the Chronicle & Gazette.

Sir;- My attention has been directed to an article under the above heading, published in the British Whig of yesterday, said to have been copied from the Prince Edward Gazette, and having reference to a former communication which also appeared in each of the above named papers, and in both instances animadverting in most severe and unmeasured terms on the alleged conduct of the persons composing the committee of management of the Steam boat Prince Edward. The low and intemperate language set forth in these communications, the gross mistakes into which the writer has inadvertently fallen and the unblushing falsehoods which he asserts for facts, at once discovers him to be a person infinitely beneath the notice of the persons he dares to impugn; and one whose object appears to be the gratification of personal malice rather than the discovery of truth, or a desire for the protection of the interests of his constituents and fellow villagers. This appears to be the light in which he is viewed by the Kingston committee from the fact of a considerable time having elapsed since the publication of his first article on this subject, and no notice having as yet been taken of it by any one of them. As I, however, am by the writer made to share in the general odium, intended to be cast on the committee, I take this opportunity, the earliest afforded since my return to town, yesterday, to correct a few of the errors which have crept into the statements with which the sapient editor of the literary print that nobody reads, and but very few see, has thought fit to favor the public, and who is soley indebted to the kindness of a Kingston contemporary for the successful carrying out of his benevolent intentions.

He says; "A few years ago some spirited individuals were prevailed upon to purchase stock in a Steamer, which was afterwards built and called the Prince Edward. The Boat cost so much - made a little debt - cleared so much, and the next season realized the same money." All of which statements, as far as sums go, and a little debt, are wholly incorrect; but as shareholders alone, and not the public, are interested in matters of profit and loss, I shall, in reference to this matter content myself by simply stating - that duly authenticated accounts in my office, shewing the actual state of the Boat's affairs, are now, and ever has been open to the inspection of any stockholder, the assertions of the accredited Picton agent to the contrary notwithstanding.

The writer goes on to state that "not one of the shareholders here (in Picton) received their portion of the profits, nor was a dividend declared." Unfortunately for many of the people of Picton, the constitution under which this joint stock company was associated, contained no clause by virtue of which persons could become bona fide partners in the concern, without first having, in some way or other, contributed towards the expense of building, or by the actual purchase of shares. Those proprietors, whose sole title to shares rested in their names appearing in the stock ledger with a perfect blank on one side, should in all fairness be placed on a footing equally favorable with the holders of scrip for stock in Les Chateaux de Espagne. The limited number who paid a very small portion of their subscriptions, sustain a loss, wholly incommensurate with that of those who paid in full; and now, with that innate modesty peculiar to the Prince Edward editor, they ask why the heaviest sufferers have not reimbursed their partial loss?

"People here, (Picton) were induced to subscribe and pay money, by the fair and feasible promises of the Proprietors and now gulled, duped, deceived, and laughed at, they have the passiveness of disposition and tameness of spirit, to pocket the affront, etc., etc."

Here is a morceau, from the people of Picton, in their accredited organ, the Prince Edward Gazette, really too good to be lost or thrown away. "The people here," as also on other parts of the Bay of Quinte, certainly did subscribe their names for a large amount of the Capital Stock; but with a very few honorable exceptions, they uniformly neglected to pay any portion of it whatever, the consequences of which, to the Kingston Stockholders, were most seriously inconvenient, being obliged to contract a debt on account of the Boat, on their personal responsibility, equal in amount to the unpaid stock, which it is reasonable to suppose ought first to be liquidated from the proceeds of the Boat, before a division of the funds were made. These are facts in support of which I happen to be in possession of the most incontrovertable proof, with which I shall be happy at any time to furnish the Picton Editor. Now Sir, situated as I am - acting Agent for both parties, - allow me to ask the guardian of the commercial interests and intelligence of the District of Prince Edward, which of the subscribing parties are the gulled, duped, deceived and laughed at? Those who business-like and in good faith, paid over their capital, or those who saved their money at the expense of their honor.

In his last communication, the writer says, "We happened to be in Kingston on the very day the Whig was published, and learned something further, which is truly ridiculous: to wit, that we were in error respecting the sale of the Boat by the Committee; such was not the case: Mr. Greer sold the boat without their consent - Truly ridiculous indeed."

Now, Sir, I readily admit that it becomes an imperative duty on the part of the Committee and Agent, to clear themselves from the imputation of participation in the "foul transactions," such as "implied piracy," "robbery," "rascality," "embezzlement," "flagrant acts of injustice," etc., words of comprehensive and vilifying import, yet scarce naucious enough to suit the vitilated palate of the Gentleman, who caters for the literary taste of the Prince Edward public, or adequate to convey a just idea of the base conduct of the Committee of management towards the aggrieved Picton Stockholders who didn't pay. For the information of those who did, of whom honorable mention has been already made, and for the special edification of the Picton Editor, the Agent begs leave to give a few extracts from his minute book, omitting on account of its length, the resolution of the Committee authorising the sale of the Boat.

Extract from minutes of the general annual meeting of stockholders, 8th March, 1844.

Resolved, - That the thanks of this meeting be voted to Mr. Greer for his unremitting exertions, and judicious management of the Boat's affairs during the past year, under the peculiar circumstances in which he was placed; and that he be requested to continue his agency for the ensuing year.

From the general annual meeting of the stockholders held 21st February, 1845.

Resolved, - That the Agent's report, now read, be received and adopted.

Resolved, - That the sale of the Prince Edward effected by the agent to Jacob Bonter, Equire, be approved and confirmed.

Resolved, - That the agent's accounts, shewing a statement of the assets of the Boat on the 20th iinstant, be received and approved.

Resolved, - That the agent be empowered to pay his promissory note, granted to Messrs. Masson & Strachan, 19th December, 1843, for 704 Pounds 2 11 with the interest accruing thereon, from the means now in his possession.

(Signed) J.A. Krein, Chairman.

Thomas Greer, Secretary.

The spirit of these resolutions ought, I think, to satisfy the Picton Editor that the Kingston Committee, in discharge of their duties, have not carried matters with so high a hand, or treated stockholders at a distance so cavalierly as he would lead the public to suppose.

The latter resolution shews that even the agent's personal liabilities on account of the stockholders, though frequently allowed to remain long after due, were not paid without their general concurrence. The balance of assets, instead of being "pocketed by the acting committee," as the Editor impudently asserts, is among stockholders, generally known to consist of promissory notes in the agent's hands, unappropriated, and subject to the order of said Committee.

If I have now succeeded in convincing the redoubtable champion of the rights and privileges of the people of Prince Edward, that he has "impugned wrongfully," I trust he will shew his contrition, in making the amende honorable, by publishing this communication; and that the British Whig - to whose introduction his articles are so much indebted for the notice they have received, will follow the example.

I am, Sir,

Your obt. servant,

Thomas Greer

Agent for Stockholders of the Steamer Prince Edward.

Kingston, 20th December, 1845

Ed. Whig's Note - The above letter is severe, but not more so than the occasion warrants. The attack of the Picton Gazette upon Mr. Greer and the Committee of the Prince Edward, was most unprovoked and unjustifiable. In his anxiety to defend the conduct of those concerned in the management of this ill-fated steamboat, Mr. Greer omits to notice two things connected with the re-publication of these articles in the British Whig. The first is, that the insertion of the first paragraph was coupled with an unqualified contradiction, as to the truth of its assertions; and the second appeared only after the re-publication met with Mr. G.'s approbation. These are trifles perhaps, but we have a high opinion of that gentleman, and should be loth to hear even the appearance of publishing anything that might wound his feelings. To confess the truth, we should have passed both paragraphs without notice, had not a faint desire prompted us to see how a certain gentleman, known to be fond of fighting those ___ who don't want to fight with him, behave, when he saw his conduct as a committee man so openly coupled with the accusation of "rascality."

p.3 Found Drowned - On Friday forenoon, about eleven o'clock, one of the seamen of H.M.S. Mohawk perceived the body of a man floating in the water near the "Commodore's Wharf," Point Frederick. Upon reporting the circumstance on board, means were promptly taken by the seamen of that vessel to take it out of the water, which they immediately did, and laid it upon the wharf. An inquest was held on the body in the afternoon by George Baker, Esq., Coroner, but the Jury was unable to identify the body, the head being too much disfigured from long continuance in the water, and exposure to floating ice. The deceased, from his dress, was evidently a sailor: his two blue flannel shirts, and black silk handkerchief being still uninjured. Eight-pence in money, and three "plugs" of tobacco, unbroken, were found in his pocket; and there were the letters R.B. on his right hand, marked apparently with ink, and still perfectly legible. Verdict, "Found Drowned." [Chronicle]


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Date of Original:
Dec. 23, 1845
Local identifier:
KN.5335
Language of Item:
English
Donor:
Rick Neilson
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), Dec. 23, 1845