The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), July 29, 1882

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Effects of Customs Regulations on Vessel Shortages.

The Montreal correspondent of the Globe telegraphs the opinion of a shipper upon the imposition of duty on vessel shortages.

"Suppose," said he, "a vessel comes into Kingston carrying 50,000 bu. of grain; is there no allowance to be made for her? The common idea is that the shortage exempt from the payment of duty is one bushel in the thousand, yet if that vessel of 50,000 tons carriage should have a shortage to the extent of one bushel in every thousand, she will have to pay for 50 bushels that she has not brought into the country, simply because she carries more than twice as much as the smaller vessel, and her bill of lading says she has that amount on board or should have it. But the smaller vessel that carries twenty thousand bushels and has a shortage of one in a thousand goes scot free of paying a cent. Now do you see any logic in that? It is in the first place wrong to charge a vessel owner customs dues on goods he does not land, quite as bad as if a package of twenty bushels entered in a miscellaneous bill of lading were detained and never shipped, but were charged as dutiable goods just the same, because they were on the bill of lading."

"How do our Customs officers act in Montreal?"

"There never is any such thing done here. Suppose a vessel were charged 20 tons shortage here, do you suppose she would come back for another such dose? The thing is monstrous, and why it has not been changed before this I am at a loss to know."

"Are they principally American vessels that are engaged in the grain trade to Kingston?"

"I suppose American vessels are most numerous. I can tell you no American captain or owner wants to pay for what he does not land, and the upshot of it will be that there will be retaliatory measures taken by the American Customs officers when we commence to ship our barley. They are threatening that already. You will not catch a Yankee paying to Her Majesty's Customs for $40 worth of grain he does not land, when he can retaliate upon the Canadian carrier of Canadian barley by making him foot a shortage bill. There are, of course, more Canadian vessels in the barley business than American vessels, and when these vessels go to Oswego they will have to pay the piper."

"What has been the practice in American ports?"

They never charge a cent upon goods except those that are landed, no matter what the bill of lading may say. They pay no attention to any except actual freight landed. This is the correct commercial course. They are now threatening to make reprisals, however, and it behoves our Customs officers at Kingston to be careful in their extravagant demands for shortages."


The schr. White Oak is delivering 405 tons of coal at Swift's, brought from Fairhaven.

The prop. Prussia, from Chicago, lightened 6,000 bushels of wheat this morning, and then went on to Montreal.

The tugs Seymour and M.J. Cummings came in last evening from Oswego with several light barges. They load ashes and other material.

The barges Gaskin and Glenora, arrived in Chicago from Milwaukee yesterday. The Gaskin is chartered for wheat to Kingston at 5 1/2 cents.

The steam barge C.H. Starke has arrived from Milwaukee with 17,640 bushels of wheat. After her discharge she will clear for Oswego, there to load coal for Milwaukee at $1.50 per ton. Her trip will pay well.

Canadian vessels, trading with American ports, have to pay tonnage dues at the rate of 30 cents per ton. American vessels evade the tax by clearing for American ports when they are actually going to Canadian ports.

Mr. Hadden, known as the Port Hope giant, is in the city. He is a mammoth sailor, but can get around a schooner, on land or sea, as nimbly as any light weight. He is over six feet high and heavy in proportion.

ad - Second Excursion - Brockville and the St. Lawrence - The fast palace steamer F.B. Maxwell, Capt. Gillespie, of the new American Line operated by the St. Lawrence Steamboat Co., invites the citizens of Kingston and vicinity to Another Of Those Grand And Delightful Excursions - 50 cents round trip.

p.3 Whats The News? - A Government Engineer has been making a survey of the shoals, preparatory to commencing operations for their removal.

Arrival Of The Business - steambarge commanded by Capt. Wm. Chamberlain.

p.4 Canal Experience - on str. Gipsy, Capt. Fleming.

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Date of Original:
July 29, 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.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), July 29, 1882