The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Dec. 7, 1880

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Relics From the Sch. Norway.

The clothing of Frances Quinn, a sailor lost off the sch. Norway, was found yesterday in the hold of the vessel. They were delivered to the sister of the deceased. The vessel has discharged all her cargo and is now having her new spars put in.

Mr. C.W. Crowley, President of the Sailors Union, has now in his possession several interesting relics from the Norway. They consist of letters, papers and Union cards. The card issued by the Welland Canal Branch to Francis Quinn is in a good state of preservation. Accompanying it are the Union rules. Various articles belonging to Peter Burns have also been found, including 2 letters, one of which was sent him by a young lady in Barrie and the other by a lady in Kingston. The latter he had evidently received on his last trip down the lakes. Upon the back of the card, issued by Mr. Crowley, of the Kingston Union, is an endorsation of Thomas Price, of Toledo, dated the 28th of October. The entire correspondence is very legible, considering that it had lain in the water for nearly a month.

The clothing of Peter Burns was also found in the sch. They were handed over to his mother on Saturday last. Mrs. Burns lives in Little's Lane.

Wind Wafts - The sailors are to have an assembly of the 27th inst. in Victoria Hall.

This winter the str. Kingsford's cabin will be removed and she will be made into a freight barge with accommodations for crew only. As a pleasure steamboat she was not a success.


Plimsoll Wanted

[Owen Sound Times]

The foundering of the Simcoe, with the sad loss of life connected with it, brings up again a question often coming to the surface when this or some similar calamity has aroused public attention, but only to die away till it is brought up by some fresh disaster - the question of whether some system of vessel inspection could not be devised which would prevent many of these catastrophies and save the lives of brave men now annually sacrificed through the foundering of old crafts at sea. We have no wish to reflect on owners, many of whom, were they to make a personal examination, have not the necessary skills to know whether a vessel is seaworthy or not; and stockbrokers, while a vessel floats and a crew are willing to go on her, may not be aware that she is unsafe; but nevertheless there is a strong feeling in the public mind that more than one vessel lost on the lakes within a short time has been unfit for sea, and men have been sent to their graves through lack of proper inspection to prevent vessels of this character going out heavily loaded. To take the case of the Simcoe, for instance, we believe it was a fact tolerably well known amongst seafaring men that, although with powerful engine and well equipped in other respects, she was totally unmanageable in a sea with a heavy load on, and it is current rumour that captains of other boats gave her a wide berth in passing because they knew this peculiarity. That being the case she should never have been allowed to leave port at this tempestuous season with the heavy load she carried on her last fatal trip.

We have, it is true, a Board of Steamboat Inspectors, but their inspection is confined to the boilers and machinery; while the hull is not looked after unless it may be by the underwriter, anxious to take a risk and often not too particular if the owners have other vessels whose insurance he would lose if he were critical about one which appeared to be not so good a risk. It is contended by some that sailors may be safely left to look after themselves, as they have the remedy in their own hands, and need not ship on vessels they believe to be unseaworthy. But it must be recollected that men have their living to earn, that they cannot be certain that the vessel is going to go down, that if they refuse to go others will take their places, and if the vessel comes through all right they will be looked on as cowards, with their situations gone and diminished prospects of getting another berth. And so brave men take their lives in their hands and go on venturing until they find a watery grave.

Will not some member of the Dominion Parliament take up the cause of "them that go down to the sea in ships," and secure such a system of navigation as will in a great measure prevent the appalling loss of life we witness every season?

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Dec. 7, 1880
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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. 7, 1880