The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Feb. 1, 1888

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p.3 District Dashes - At the Deseronto shipyard workmen are busy putting a new deck on the steambarge Reliance, while the prop. Armenia is being fitted up with new tops, sides, and an arch inside.


The Evidence Taken At The Sessions of Yesterday.


Capt. Gaskin said the M.T. Co. employed 500 men in the summer season. Grain shovellers earned $15 per week during seven months. The men employed are Kingstonians. The spars and rigging of vessels and hulls were annually inspected. The company employed certificated masters. The vessels they launched were never overloaded. Skilled seamen were not necessary in propellers; unskilled labour would do. As to labor organizations he did not think they were necessary. They had a tendency to put men on an equality. Men, who were not as capable as others, were put on a par, and he believed in paying men what they were worth. He would not answer whether he would discriminate against union men in the hiring of labor. Up to the present time he had had no trouble from labor organization.

Capt. Thomas Donnelly said the wages of master mariners ranged from $70 to $90 per month. The wages of sailing vessel masters ranged from $75 to $90. Masters on steamers received as high as $100 per month. The average of wages paid by him to men before the mast was about $52 per month. There were 300 sailors shipping out of this port. Many of the men which Capt. Gaskin employed on barges did not belong to this city. He did not know of a propeller or sailing vessel that was not fit for service. He knew of some barges that were in good condition. Their outfit and management was not sufficient. A barge in tow of a propeller should have a foresail, a mainsail, and at least three jibs. The barges should have four men, a mate and a master. The men should be as competent as sailors on sailing vessels, but those employed were not proficient as a general rule. No matter, however, what kind of vessels are afloat men can be got to sail them. There was very little legislation affected on behalf of sailors. A labour commission without a sailor on it was a curiosity. He complained of the neglect of the government in amending the wrecking laws, and laid to them a great deal of the ill-feeling existing between the American and Canadian seamen. He intimated that the wrecking and coasting laws would have been amended long ago but for the interference of P. McCallum, M.P.

Isaac Oliver, shipwright, said the men were engaged about ten months a year at $1.10 to $2 per day. There were few apprentices in the business. Vessels did not leave the port generally in an unseaworthy state. He advocated a dry-dock here, and a more critical inspection of vessels. There were not many skilled shipwrights in the city and when men were required they were got "out of the bush." These are the $1.10 a day men. He favored an indenture system for apprentices who should spend five years before becoming journeymen shipwrights.

Incidents Of the Day - Judge Price will hold a session of the county court on Friday, in chambers. The case of R. Davis vs. Cook and Jones will be heard. It is a suit for repairs to the tug Maggie R. King to the amount of $336.10. The defendants put in a counter claim of loss by delay.

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Feb. 1, 1888
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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), Feb. 1, 1888