The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Sept. 27, 1882

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Since the Asia disaster the press has vigorously discussed the misfortunes of navigation, and pointed out how greatly they are increased in consequence of unpardonable slackness in the observance of the laws in existence. Each season is inaugurated and closed by accidents whose details it is painful to read, and Government officials and shippers make the fresh resolve that henceforth there shall not be a repetition of them if they can be prevented by vigilance and a strict compliance with regulations. It is the disposition of human nature to drop into indifference, to risk too much when the appearance of danger is absent, and it is especially the practice of public officers, as experience has proven, to perform their duties perfunctorily and with the least degree of trouble. In the case of the Asia, as in previous instances, circumstances are advanced in consideration of which the Marine Department and those acting under their instructions are said to be undeserving of the censure that has been passed upon them. The Inspector of Steamboats specified the conditions under which the propeller could, with the sanction of law, run upon a certain route, and there his responsibility seems to have ended. The Department of Marine and Fisheries is held exempt from blame because the Act makes it optional with the head thereof, upon the report of a competent officer, to declare a vessel unseaworthy. A very serious subject should not be dealt with triflingly. Canada wants a Plimsoll, whose purpose in life it is to secure legislation having a tendency to prevent the overloading of craft and their engagement in trade for which they are not fitted and equipped. The time has come when there should be nothing optional about that which deeply concern the public weal. The Marine Department should have increased power to deal with the shipping, and the Inspectors should be clothed with authority to say to the Captain of a steamboat which does not meet legal requirements, "You shall not leave port until properly licensed." Mariners do not court danger; sailors think as much of their lives as any people, but they will venture too much, unless checked, some times because they cannot help themselves. From the Georgian Bay a hundred voices, "This should no longer be."

Fall Assize Court - Queen vs David Griffith, Wm. Cassidy and David Roach, assault re. the schr. M.L. Higgie.

p.3 Shipwrights Annoyed - A Portsmouth mechanic writes us: "The shipwrights here are very much annoyed about the convicts being allowed to do work upon the schr. Oliver Mowat, lying at the Penitentiary wharf. Many men, with whose labor that of the prison should not compete, will be obliged to look elsewhere for employment. Is this right?

Whats The News - str. Magnet being sought to replace Asia.

Local Interest - salmon spawn being collected off Pigeon Island for hatchery at Newcastle.


- grain elevator of Richardson & Sons, grain merchants, foot of Princess St.; str. Maud and tug Metamora had to be moved for safety.


The frame of the new barge at Garden Island is well advanced.

The schr. George Thurston is discharging, at Collinsby, a cargo of staves, taken in at Hamilton.

The tug Conqueror left Portsmouth last night with a tow of barges laden with ties for Oswego.

The new barge now being built at Deseronto is a very large one. It has greater dimensions than the Reliance.

A new iron steamboat will be put on the American Line next season, to run between Kingston and Alexandria Bay. In this way it is hoped to catch a share of the travel by the Mail boats.

The Mystic Star was towed through the Welland Canal in eleven hours - the quickest time yet made. Her towage bill was, of course, as much as if she had been 48 hours on the way. The tug demands are out of all proportion to the work done.

Tug McArthur cleared from Collinsby with the seventh raft sent east this season. It contains 18 drams, or 500,000 feet of timber, one of the largest ever despatched to Quebec. The Company will have another raft ready before the close of navigation.

The practical engineers who examined the machinery of the Richelieu report that the explosion which resulted in the loss of four lives was caused by the defective condition of the water jacket and the check valve. The machinery generally showed great negligence.

The Captain of the schr. Prussia is stripping the vessel at Brockville, preparatory to laying her up. P.D. Conger has had a conference with the Captain, but it did not lead to a settlement. The latter, however, consented to let sufficient coal be taken off to get into Wilkinson's dock, in case it was decided to discharge the full cargo. About one hundred tons will be lightened. The Captain claims $40 per day demurrage.

Capt. H. Zealand, of the prop. Glenfinlas, has written a letter to the authorities at Washington, thanking them for the good conduct of the life savers at Thunder Bay Island, Lake Huron. The Captain says that on the night of the 7th of September the shaft of the propeller broke in a heavy sea. He whistled to other steamers, but received no assistance until the life-boat came out. They were three miles off shore and drifted ten miles before their anchors held. The night was cold and stormy, but the life boat staid by them until morning, when they left and rowed to Alpena, 10 miles, whence they sent a tug which brought the Glenfinlas to that port.

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Sept. 27, 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. 27, 1882