The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Sept. 23, 1882

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It is promised that the Department of Marine and Fisheries will institute searching inquiries into the circumstances attending the loss of the Asia and the boiler explosion on board the Richelieu. There is need not only of strict inquiry but of severe punishment as well, if it is deserved, and there is a very strong suspicion that it is. In this connection we present two extracts from the published interviews:

"James Shipp (one of the passengers on the ill-fated Asia, who left the steamer at Owen Sound, on overhearing a conversation between the Inspector and Captain) states that the former told the Captain that the boat was unsafe, and would never reach French River, words which unfortunately proved too true."

"Mr. Walbank, C.E., who has been since May engaged on a Government survey on the south side of the river, in the habit of crossing with his men every day on the Richelieu, states that on four or five different occasions the boat, owing to her defective machinery, was only prevented from going down the Lachine Rapids by throwing out the anchor. Mr. Walbank further says he has on several occasions warned those in charge that unless something was done to remedy and repair the engine, some deplorable accident would be chronicled, and he warned his men to keep well away from the engine. In his opinion she was also undermanned, and altogether by no means justified in having a certificate from the Government Inspector."

It appears as if the Government Inspectors are not all doing their duty. Indeed, a great many are at fault, or there would not be such an alarming increase of steamboat accidents in Canada. The public, viewing the growing danger with alarm, are now crying out for the punishment of a few owners and Captains and the dismissal of one or more negligent engineers. That will be one of the best safety valves the steam marine could have.


The Glide arrived this morning from Montreal with a tow of four barges.

The lessees of the steamer Asia are endeavoring to effect an arrangement with Capt. B. Tripp to lease the Rupert to take the place of the Asia.

The tugs Champion and Glide cleared today with eleven barges for Montreal, carrying 127 tons of soapstone, 55 tons of phosphate, and 200,000 bush. of wheat and corn.

The fastest time of any steamer on the Bay of Quinte was made last week by the Reliance. She left McDonald's Cove at 8 a.m. Friday for Oswego, where she unloaded a cargo of ties and shingles, took in fourteen tons of fuel, and arrived at Deseronto at 6 a.m. Saturday against a strong southwest wind.

The Welland Canal tug men, feeling that the agitation for a reduction in the towage bills was against them, have deferred their charges. A captain, who was charged $82 on a recent trip, was on the next passage through the canal billed for only $60. The agitation has done good. The Captains who "had given the thing away" in Kingston were threatened with "boycotting."

The rye to be transhipped here from the Floretta is said to be the tenth cargo of the kind arrived during some twenty years. The Canadian farmers are holding out for high prices, and in consequence rye from the west is being sent through to Europe. About 150,000 bushels afloat, between Chicago for Kingston. There is little doubt that the price of Canadian grain will be lowered.


Schr. Watertown, Chicago, 21,000 bush. wheat.

Schr. Floretta, Chicago, 20,071 bu. rye.

Schr. Abbie L. Andrews, Chicago, 21,000 wheat.

Schr. O.M. Bond, Chicago, 20,700 wht.

Schr. Shandon, Chicago, 23,848 corn.

Schr. Oliver Mowat, Sodus Point, light.


Action of The Government.

The Guilty Will Be Punished.

Orillia, Sept. 22nd - Captain Scott has been ordered to go up and investigate the cause of the prop. Asia disaster. Public sentiment demands that whoever is in the wrong shall be severely punished, and no whitewashing done. Human life is held too cheap by steamboat owners, and the law is violated almost daily.

He is to report as to whether the frequent fall disasters are owing to defective model or defective construction too much top weight or top water in proportion to the part under water, or owing to the common practice of loading the principal part of the cargo on the main deck instead of in the hold.

Orillia, Sept. 22nd - There were on the prop. Asia, besides supplies, horses, etc., 30 men employed by McDougall, lumberer, Orillia, A.D. McDonald, Orillia, foreman; Mr. Marshall, Port Hope, cook. Mr. Marshall leaves a wife and eleven children; John Duff, Wm. Heavener, Rame; two young McDonalds, Rame; John Boynton, North Orillia; J. Jordan, Rosseau, and 21 others from the East.

Mr. Risley, Chairman of the Board of Steamboat Inspectors, has been appointed by the Government to investigate the cause of the accident to the str. Richelieu. The investigation will be commenced at Lachine today.

p.3 The Picton's Wreck - As soon as the Picton struck the Captain and one of the crew set out for Morpeth having left instructions with the remainder of his crew to beach all the cargo possible before the vesse broke up, which was done. But the pounding of the vessel soon began to tell upon her, and the sailors had to abandon their task and seek refuge on shore. There is still a possibility of saving the hull of the Picton. The steamer Picton was inspected last spring by the Steamboat Inspector at Kingston and on the recent decision of the owners to run the vessel on Lake Huron they applied to the Kingston Inspector for a transfer of license. He referred them to Mr. Risley, the Inspector at Toronto, but refused to grant the transfer unless the vessel was re-examined by a competent person. Failing in this it was determined to remove the boat to Lake Huron without the transfer. Mr. Risley considered her unseaworthy, and her timely collapse, says the Globe, probably has been the means of preventing another disastrous loss of life.

A telegram this afternoon says the steamer Picton has gone to pieces. Most of the cargo has been recovered.

Whats the News? - Some wreckage was picked up by the tug Camelia off Charlotte is thought to be that of the dismasted schr. Mystic Star. The accident to this vessel, however, occurred off Walcott, N.Y.

The captain of the Clara Youell says that the former mate of the unfortunate Nellie Sherwood left her just before her last trip, and is now on board of his vessel.

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Sept. 23, 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), Sept. 23, 1882