The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), July 31, 1882

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p.2 Pressing For Attention - editorial on grain shortages.



A Dangerous Practice.

The recent reported steamboat race between the Hero and Varuna is being discussed in the west, and one journal rises to remark that that "the steamers of the Bay of Quinte indulge in races, and the papers describe these contests with the same eye as they would a foot race or similarly harmless trials of endurance." Then follows the Belleville Ontario's account of the race. Upon this the first named paper observes: "All who are concerned for the safety of steamboat travel must feel a hearty dislike to racing trials of speed between chartered steamers, which are perilous, and should be made indictable. So far as the owners of certain boats are concerned, they can doubtless stand any pecuniary losses resulting from explosions, burnings, collisions, or any of the minor accidents to which the habit of racing their steamboats lays them open. There are others, however, to be considered. The passengers and the crews have their lives imperilled, and, besides, the moral effect is bad. Our lake and river craft, as shown by numerous and painful calamities of late years, have by no means earned the best reputation. Let steamboat racing, then, be frowned upon as a needless courting of danger."

The last issue of the Ontario has the following to say about the matter: "The race between the Hero and Varuna, as reported by an admirer of the latter was an entirely one-sided affair. Acting strictly upon orders Capt. Craig would not increase the speed of his vessel even to gratify a strongly expressed desire by his subordinate officers to "take the conceit out of Captain Porte." The writer is in a position to know the facts in the case, and asserts that the Hero was not racing last Monday evening when the Varuna passed her. The latter, too, did not make any stops en route between Picton and Belleville, whereas the Hero made several. We admit that the Varuna is a fast boat, and a neat one, too, but we very much doubt whether she can show her stern to the Hero in a fairly contested trial of speed."


The schrs. Speedwell and A.G. Ryan are loading ore.

The prop. Argyle, from Montreal, delivered 41 crates of crockery for Robertson Bros.

The yacht Oneida was here Saturday evening with a party of tourists. They went eastward for a week.

The clearances are: Schrs. Ocean Wave and Oliver Mowat, for Charlotte, the latter with 480 tons of iron ore.

The late arrivals of coal vessels are: schr. L.B. Sloan, from Oswego, 106 tons, and schr. Wm. Elgin, Sodus Point, 283 tons.

The Kingston schooners Julia and Annandale are employed in carrying iron ore between Belleville and Fairhaven.

Three barges are unloading ties into the schr. M. O'Gorman for Oswego. The schr. W.T. Greenwood also loads ties for an American port.

The prop. Lake Ontario, from Toledo, has lightened 7,000 bush. wheat, as also did the Dromedary from the same place, 2,600 bush. wheat.

The str. Junita brought up an excursion party from Clayton today. The Norseman brought excursionists and freight from Charlotte.

The tug Bronson reported last evening from Montreal with five barges. She clears tonight with a tow, carrying 100,000 bushels of grain for Montreal.

The schr. John Magee, from Toledo, with 22,000 bush. wheat, and the schr. Millard Fillmore, from Chicago, 18,601 bushels of wheat, arrived this morning.

Captain McBride has gone on the steambarge Business as mate for the balance of the season. The huge craft has cleared for Oswego, where she loads coal for Milwaukee at $1.50 per ton.

The steam barge C.H. Starke will tow the schr. Watertown to Cape Vincent, where they will report. They then go to Oswego to load coal for Milwaukee. The Starke will tow the Watertown through.

The arrivals from Toledo since Saturday evening are: Steam barge Erin, 7,959 bush. wheat; barge Maggie, 5,370 bush. wheat; schr. Rival, 14,500 bush. wheat; schr. Belle Hanson, 22,600 bush. wheat. The first two were lightened and proceeded to Montreal.

The crew of the yacht Cleo returned to Toronto by train on Wednesday. The little yacht was thrown high up on land at the Ducks by Tuesday's gale. Two small schooners are lying quite near her also disabled. After stripping her on Wednesday morning she was abandoned.

The dimensions of the new steam barge for the Deseronto Navigation Company are 130 ft. keel, 28 ft. beam, 10 1/2 ft. depth, capacity about 325,000 ft. of lumber. Her motive power will consist of twin screws propelled by compound engines. She is built entirely of oak.

Mr. H.A. Warner, of Rochester, N.Y., writes us that he has not sold his new steam yacht, the Siesta, to a Toronto gentleman, as a clipping from the Montreal Witness stated. The yacht is one of the handsomest and fastest on Lake Ontario, as we will probably have the chance of judging personally some of these days. We gladly make correction of an annoying rumour.

The tug Metamora and barges Manley, Russel and Benson are loading 1,500 tons rails for Algoma Mills. These rails are for the Lake Superior Section of the C.P.R., over which there is so much talk. The tug and consorts took up a cargo some time ago and a quick round trip. They brought back timber from Lake Superior for the Collinsby Rafting Company.

The cargo of the schooner Watertown, when discharged, ran 60 bushels short, and the duty at 15 cents per bushel amounted to $9. The Captain feels indignant, of course. There is an impression amongst shippers that the Kingston officials are to blame, but this is not true. The so-called bungling originates in the Department over which Hon. Mackenzie Bowell presides. He issues the orders and the officials carry them out. Another point: the orders are not issued for Kingston alone, but hold good wherever grain is transhipped. Kingston being the principal transhipping port in Ontario, chiefly feels the effect of the law. A Captain, who has had wide experience, says that Kingston must lose its trade if the Customs authorities persist in their present course. Instead of retarding trade everything should be done to develop it. The vast sums of money voted for the improvements of canals will be thrown away if our business with Chicago and Toledo is curtailed by such exactions as duty on grain shortages. This captain, who is a good tory, declaimed against the Minister of Customs, who, he said, knew nothing about marine affairs. The question of shortages and overpluses he holds should rest entirely between the shipper and consignee. When a vessel left a harbor her hatches should be sealed down and opened by a credentialled official when about to be unloaded. Then the forwarding companies should not do the weighing; it should be done by supervisors, as on the American side. If such were the case there would be less crying. Will the Minister of Customs ponder over these facts and without delay do something to save our shipping?

p.4 A Question of Shortage - How Grain Dealers View It - Injustice of Customs Officials [Montreal Witness]

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July 31, 1882
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Rick Neilson
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), July 31, 1882