The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Dec. 22, 1887

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St. Catharines, Dec. 22nd - At the investigation into the loss of the Oriental yesterday the first witness was J.J. Harrigan, of Port Dalhousie, first mate of the schooner Abbie L. Andrews. He saw the steamer Scotia, with the Oriental in tow, leave Charlotte. The Andrews passed the Scotia about thirty miles above Charlotte, at noon, and was in sight of her for about three hours afterwards. Witness saw the captain of the Oriental at the wheel. It was unusual to see a captain at the wheel, and he supposed there was no one else on her who could steer. It was blowing nearly a gale from the south-west about 10 to 11 p.m. When they passed the Scotia and the Oriental they were making to the northward, towards Toronto. The Oriental was a hard looking old hulk.She had a foremast, with foresail set, when they passed her. They seemed to have a good length of towline and appeared to be going all right, except the unusual thing of the captain being at the wheel of the vessel steering a little wild, so that during their passing she jibed twice. The Scotia was steering all right. The Oriental was down very deep. If she had 700 tons of coal on board she must have been overloaded. She was deeper than vessels of that class usually are. He did not believe that if the Oriental at the time they passed her had been left to herself she could have been handled by the crew or the canvas on her. The court adjourned to meet again in Kingston on the 27th.



The intimation that the investigation, touching the loss of the barge Oriental off Port Dalhousie, was in progress in St. Catharines created surprise here. The government, through its officers, has evidently done a serious wrong to Capt. Fraser, a citizen whose reputation makes him worthy of confidence. Without his knowledge, and without his being allowed to appear with counsel, as is the right of any man whose acts are under criticism, the investigation has begun and the unchallenged statements of men spread broadcast as truth. Such a style of way of investigating is an outrage. However, the public are asked to be indulgent in their opinions for the circumstances are not as bad as they are reported to be. When the investigation opens at Kingston the evidence of men will be presented which, it is said, will put a new phase on things. The statement of shipcarpenters who had worked on the barge, and only last spring, too, will carry more weight than men who looked at the boat in the most cursory manner.

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Dec. 22, 1887
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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), Dec. 22, 1887