The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), June 10, 1882

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How Mr. Gunn Became A Vessel Owner.

The local Tory organ does not hesitate to fib if it can thereby make a point against the Liberal candidate. It stated on Wednesday that "every dollar's worth of floating property owned by Mr. Gunn, was obtained by foreclosing mortgages upon unfortunate men," and we branded the assertion as a deliberate misstatement. It now maliciously repeats the story, with the addition that the "reason why the vessels are allowed to remain in the name of a man who does not own them is far from being dictated by a large hearted spirit of self-sacrifice."

What are the facts? That in dull winters the schrs. Hyderabad, Bangalore and Singapore were built at the marine railway, the proprietor of which put into the vessels his available funds and obtained from Mr. Gunn sufficient to finish and outfit them. The construction of them gave employment to about fifty men and enabled these to keep their families, numbering perhaps 200 more, in comfortable circumstances. The times were bad, but it was thought that a revival of trade would speedily ensue - a hope that has not been realized. Mr. Gunn was requested to act as agent for the vessels, but despite his best efforts in soliciting charters the vessels sunk money rapidly rather than made it, and (misfortunes never come singly) the Hyderabad sustained an accident which, with the law suit respecting salvages, cost $4,000. Up to last fall the losses, we are informed, aggregated more than the original value of the vessel, and overtures were made by the builder himself to Mr. Gunn for a transfer of them, which was carried into effect on February last.

During the past few years the shipping business has been in a deplorable condition. The outlook is no better now - a circumstance which is not at all flattering to the national policy. Floating property cannot be disposed of even at a great sacrifice. The schr. Hyderabad, which cost $18,000 was offered for sale at $13,000; the schr. Bangalore, costing $20,000, could have been purchased last year for $16,000; and the schr. Singapore, costing $15,000 could not find a purchaser at $9,000. From first to last the vessels have been a bill of expense, and after thousands of dollars have been lost upon them, the whine of our contemporary is that they are not kept running, though there is little or no freight to carry and no prospects of them earning enough to pay wages and other incidental liabilities.

A word in conclusion. The builder authorizes us to state: 1 - That he was not charged usurious interest upon any money advanced to him by Mr. Gunn; 2 - that Mr. Gunn's aid was necessary in order to provide labour for the mechanics at a time when it was much needed and appreciated; 3 - that both he and Mr. Gunn have lost upon the vessels all that they are worth; 4 - that no mortgages have been or are to be foreclosed in so far as he is concerned.

Marine News.

The barge Montreal is loading 280,000 feet of deals for Montreal.

The schr. Wm. Elgin is discharging her cargo of iron ore into the schr. A.G. Ryan.

The prop. Celtic has arrived from Chicago and lightened 7,000 bushels of corn.

The barge Gaskin has left for Morrisburg to load 30,000 bushel of oats for Milwaukee at p.t.

Whats The News? - Who owns the barges lying in ordinary below the bridge? They don't belong to Mr. Gunn.

A dry dock will be built at Collingwood. The town gives a bonus of $25,000. Where is Kingston's dry dock?

Mr. Gunn's vessels are not assessed for what they cost. His floating property is assessed as high, however, as any other in the harbour.

A new ferry boat has been purchased to run between Alexandria Bay and Westminster Park, directly opposite. She has been named the Westminster.

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June 10, 1882
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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.
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), June 10, 1882