The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Oct. 21, 1882

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Prop. Africa's Upper Route.

In a recent telegraphic despatch, printed in various newspapers, it was stated that while at Collingwood Capt. Scott, the Government's special agent, saw 150 persons embark for the North Shore on the Africa, a vessel licensed to carry only 40 passengers. The Inspector was powerless to prevent the vessel leaving, and the passengers, though warned of the danger, were so anxious to reach their destination that they were prepared to run any risks. There seems to have been very little ground for the statement, and an Owen Sound paper says the whole fuss has been made by a few people at Collingwood who are interested in doing all they can to injure the Africa, which is owned by Capt. Patterson of Kingston, and if we mistake not was bound here. We have it on good authority that the Africa has never carried more passengers than she has recommendation or accommodation for, and has never been overloaded. The same thing, however, cannot be said of the little boats of the Collingwood line, which, it is declared, frequently have more than their quota of passengers, and carry more freight than they should, without interference from any one. The Times (Owen Sound) says "so far we have not been able to get one boat on the line, but the great success that has attended her advent augurs well for the complete success of the route when the line is made complete."


The tug Active, with six barges, having 800 tons of iron, arrived during the night.

The tug Active clears this evening for Montreal with four barges carrying 80,000 bushels of wheat.

The schrs. Louise and Oliver Mowat will load iron ore for American ports at the K. & P.R.R. dock.

The tug Hiram A. Calvin is at Brockville with the barge Princess, which is loading lumber for Kingston.

Capt. Dix, of the schr. White Oak, has carried from Big Sodus and Fairhaven to Canadian ports this year upwards of 3,000 tons of coal at 25 cents.

The steamer Geneva, formerly owned here, has been tied up at Toronto as her certificate only entitled her to ply on Burlington Bay. She had been engaged in the fruit trade between Toronto and Niagara Falls.

The Brockville Recorder insists that the schr. Sam Cook has been sold. The Recorder, therefore, knows more about the vessel than the Captain will admit. Capt. Neelon would like to meet the Recorder man on a country road.



Quite a number of vessels are now being stripped of their canvass preparatory to going into winter quarters. This is an indication that the shipping season is about over. It can be said that so far as shipments from Chicago and Toledo are concerned they have virtually ceased. Owners of grain are not inclined to ship at this date for long trips. The steamboat lines are still running, and they will probably continue to do so until the insurances expire, on Nov. 15th. On Lake Ontario a few vessels will run so long as the ice does not prove a barrier. If the fall keeps open the ore and barley will be moved until a late date; but Captains consider a 2 cent freight on barley very low when sailors' wages are $2 per day. Delays, too, will be very expensive. A vessel cleared for Ogdensburg and her cargo is not yet discharged, the crew in the meantime drawing their $2 per day each, so that the vessel will be out considerably by the trip. The sailors cannot be discharged at Ogdensburg, as that is not a shipping port. Here they must be left. Altogether the season has not been a very profitable one, but it has paid some of the vesselmen very well. Freights at Kingston are controlled by local men so that outside vessels have had little show and were compelled to take low freights or leave here light. Many Captains ran wildly about picking up cargoes wherever they could. The rate on grain from Chicago and Toledo opened well, but quickly declined. Lately the rate advanced but at a disadvantageous time. The timber trade has been fairly remunerative, but too many vessels have been engaged in it. Steam crafts with tows seemed to largely monopolize it.

The season has been tolerably free of serious accidents. We cannot recall a single disaster on Lake Ontario. The winds have been generally favourable, and there have been but two or three heavy blows. The only loss sustained by Kingston men was that of the schr. Florida, which sank on Lake Erie and upon which there was no insurance. The Wrecking Companies have had little to do - at least on the upper lakes.


Engineers In Rebellion.

The engineers of boat touching at this port vigorously denounce the new regulations promulgated by the Board of Steamboat Engineers. A Whig reporter last evening encountered a couple of the former as they discussed the situation, and when asked for information one of them gave the following statement: "You are perhaps aware that annually our papers are renewed, that heretofore we have forwarded to Toronto an assessment of $1 each and obtained certificates good for 12 months from the date of their issuance. Our last communication from the Board intimated that hereafter the fee for renewal will be $5. Now, I object to this imposition, and my position is precisely that of every engineer of any account, in fact of all with whom I have conversed. Why? For the reason that good mechanics will not make up the deficiencies of incompetent men, they will not submit to over taxation in consequence of a change which is not only unwise but positively alarming. In the past those

Employed Upon Steam Craft

have had some sort of protection. All boats of any size have had to carry engineers holding certificates or permits, indicating that they possess some knowledge of the work at which they have been engaged, that they have been qualified to handle machinery placed in their charge. In view of latterday steamboat horrors, resulting in some cases from the inefficiency of their officers, a modification has been made in orders, one tending, in my opinion, to increase the dangers of navigation. Boats under 150 tons burden will not, next year, require certificated engineers, and will any one say that tugs, steambarges and pleasure craft shall be trusted to those who cannot possibly be equal to emergencies, whose only merit will be the cheapness of their labor. Is such a state of things what one would expect with the cries of scores who perished in the Thames and on Georgian Bay still ringing in our ears? Will the people not protest, against the demoralizing enactments, remembering the

Dreadful Steam Yacht Accidents

upon the river and almost within sight or distance of our own doors? It behoves the public to do something. We purpose rebelling against the iniquitous enactments, and, by petition, laying the matter before the Department of Marine and Fisheries, yes, before Parliament itself if redress is to be obtained in no other way. The old assessment of $1 was quite sufficient; it has been twice the figure charged by the Americans, whose engineers receive double the salary current upon the Canadian side. Now we are asked to contribute $5 each per year; first assistants are to be relieved of further examination, and given Third Class papers on payment of the same sum; and the field will be limited, since we cannot compete with labourers and work for the wages unskilled men will be willing to accept."

A Steamboat Owner Speaks.

Later on we met a steamboat owner and solicited his opinion on the new rules of the Inspection Board. He said: "I have not given them the thought which I would have done were I an engineer. I think, however, that any change is wrong which has the appearance of adding to the risks of navigation. I could, perhaps, get along with "handy men" but I am not disposed to do so. It should be the aim of everyone owning floating property to employ skilled labour, especially in connection with boilers and engines, and engineers' certificates, renewed annually, is an evidence of his qualifications. Without it I should not have confidence in any man."

Agitation For Reforms.

We call attention to the matter, feeling that it is one which affects the whole community. If we have properly understood the subject there is ground for an agitation such as has not occurred in marine circles during the season. Accidents on the water are frequent enough as steamboats are now managed. Let us hope that the action of the Government officials will not contribute to misfortunes from which all sensible people pray to be saved.

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Date of Original:
Oct. 21, 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), Oct. 21, 1882