p.2 A Depressed Trade - Our marine business is in a deplorable condition. Its dullness is oppressive and ruinous. Many in it would like to get out, but they cannot do so without making sacrifices suggestive of desperation. The grain trade of recent years has not been very profitable, the railroads having taken away a great deal of the freight of which the carriers by water had formerly a monopoly. The bulk of the trade remaining is being captured by the Americans, not because they have a better route to the seaboard, but because their charges are less, and this is a most important consideration at the present time. Canada must suffer until it can compete with the United States in point of cheapness, and this cannot take place so long as the present obnoxious canal tolls remain. When the Erie canal taxes were removed it became very apparent that those using it would have a great advantage over those using the Welland and St. Lawrence canals, and it also became apparent that sooner or later these latter important links in our system of navigation would have to be made free. The time for action has come. Trade cannot be had so long as the high taxation of vessel men continues. The Premier was asked to receive a deputation during the session, and hear the representations of a delegation on the subject; he could not then give the matter close personal attention, but he is now ready to discuss it. He will be waited upon some of these days by men whose advocacy of the subject will probably be successful. Something must be done, not only by the Government but by the owners of vessels and tugs and barges and elevators. There must be a reduction of rates all around, and the sooner the better.
To show what the feeling on the subject is elsewhere we copy the following from the Chicago Tribune: "Carriers are not anxious to accept cargoes for Lake Ontario ports at the present condition of rates. They claim that the excessive charges imposed upon them by the Canadian Government shuts off the slightest possibility of profit to the vessel. A 20,000 bushel vessel is assessed about $150 for the privilege of locking through the Welland Canal, and her tow bills will amount to $100 more. Added to this are tow bills at each end of the route, wages, insurance, provisions and Custom House fees. It does require an expert mathematician to deduct the vessel's expenses from the freight money and compute the length of time she can run before the marshal overtakes her. The inference to be drawn is that the Dominion Government must either abolish the tolls on her canals or suffer the loss of her grain trade."
The steamer Varuna broke her shaft while leaving Picton yesterday.
The sloop Two Brothers is at Rathbun's with 68,000 feet of pine lumber.
The sloop Murray has arrived at Rathbun's from Trenton with bunch wood.
The schr. Oades, Capt. Hurley, cleared last night with 245,160 feet of pine lumber.
The steamer Hastings took the Hero's place yesterday after the break of the latter's crank.
The boiler for the steamer St. Lawrence was taken from Oswego to Clayton on Thursday by special train.
The schrs. Bangalore and Hyderabad have been chartered to carry grain from Chicago to Midland at 11 1/2 cents per bushel.
The steamer Empress of India ran from Picton to Deseronto on her trial trip yesterday. She will begin running between Port Dalhousie and Toronto on the 22nd.
Ferguson Bros., Napanee, have purchased a steam yacht and are fitting it up. On Friday last James Ferguson came up from Kingston in her and reports a splendid run.
The pilot in charge of the Magdala says that the vessel went on the shoal at the Narrows owing to a head wind, but so lightly as to swing herself off. The tug Chieftain was not employed.
M.T. Co. - Arrivals - schrs. Parthenon, Grafton, 2,200 bush. peas; Fabiola, Port Hope, 9,425 bush. peas; tug Thompson, with barges Senecal, Iowa, Eagle, Montreal, and Kingston, light. The tug left this afternoon for Charlotte with barges Eagle, Iowa and Senecal to load 1,600 tons coal.