The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Oct. 13, 1888

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The water in the harbour has never been so low.

The dredge Munson, No. 3, is being docked at Portsmouth.

The prop. Glengarry and barges are loading iron rails for Duluth.

The schr. A. Foster has been chartered to carry grain from Gananoque to Oswego.

The schr. Ada Medora has arrived from Chicago with corn, and cleared this afternoon for Oswego.

Arrivals: schr. Ada Medora, Chicago, 20,069 bush. corn; prop. Algonquin, Washburn, 71,851 bush. wheat; schr. Kate, Sodus Point, 154 tons coal.

The S.S. Algonquin is here with grain. The Montreal Transportation company cannot handle it owing to want of the barges below the break in the Cornwall canal.

The schr. Sylvester Neelon, with iron ore for Cleveland, is aground between Swift's wharf and the shoal tower. Two lines were broken by a tug in trying to get her off.

Application has been made to the authorities at Washington to allow the Algonquin, in port with over 70,000 bushels of grain, to proceed to Ogdensburg and tranship her cargo into an elevator there until the break in the Cornwall canal is repaired.

The Kingston and Montreal Forwarding company has two steam tugs and nine barges at Prescott, detained by low water. The vessels are loaded with coal and corn. The company has also 1,000,000 bushels of grain waiting transportation at Kingston. The company's barges will all be kept during the detention as storehouses for grain.

The Ogdensburg coal company has 7,000 tons of coal en route to Montreal. Their tug Myra is in the canal, the tug and one barge being on dry land. The company will lose $10,000 if it takes two weeks to repair the break. The season of navigation closes on Nov. 15th, and the break virtually closes the canal for the remaining period.

Before the break in the Cornwall canal is repaired there will be a blockade of grain vessels. There are only sufficient barges in port to lighten 21,000 bushels. In talking over the situation this morning a prominent captain said that a standing elevator was greatly needed at this port, one with a capacity say of 500,000 bushels. Then vessels arriving here at a time like this would not be inconvenienced by delay.


The action of Townsend v. Paul was the most interesting one tried at the recent assizes. It was brought by Thomas Townsend against Capt. James Paul, the superintendent of the government works going on in the harbour, to recover $5,000 for injuries sustained by the plaintiff, in consequence of the alleged negligence of the defendant. Our columns contained a full account of the accident at the time it occurred. On Oct. 1st, 1884, the plaintiff and others were engaged under the defendant in drilling and blasting in the harbour. They were upon the scow employed for such purposes. The plaintiff was the blaster. On Oct. 1st three holes had been drilled and ready for the submarine blast; the first was fired successfully, the plaintiff and two men named Cushen and Morrison performing the work. When they were engaged loading the second hole for the blast some little difficulty ensued in finding the hole so as to charge it, and the defendant intervened to assist the men. The hole was charged as was supposed, the leading tube being drawn up through the water, the wires were connected with the electric battery, and the defendant fired. It turned out unfortunately that the charge instead of remaining in the hole must have been drawn out of the hole by the loading tube, and it was exploded near the surface of the water. The plaintiff was seriously injured, one lung being so damaged as to be of no use whatever, and sustaining other severe injuries. His life was despaired of for some time. He was laid up for some seven months. Morrison was also injured by the explosion, and Capt. Paul himself was laid up for a month. He was the nearest to the explosion, and it is miraculous that he survived at all. The government considerately paid the wages of the plaintiff up to May 1st, 1885, and also paid $100 for the medical attendant, and in addition granted the plaintiff gratuities of $150 and $120 each.

An intimation was conveyed to the plaintiff, however, that the government could not according to law grant him any further allowance, and then the plaintiff a short time ago brought this action against the defendant. The main evidence for plaintiff was himself and the other workmen Cushen and Morrison. The latter swore that defendant was distinctly informed by them that the charge was not in the hole, but was still in the loading tube, and that the defendant notwithstanding this notice fired, causing the injury. The defendant, on the contrary, who was shown to be a most careful and competent man, swore that in his judgement he thought the charge was at the time in the hole, and that when he asked if all was right the reply came back "All right." That as he was the nearest to the charge it would be sheer madness for him to have exploded the charge and so blow himself up. The learned judge went over the evidence and exonerated the defendant from any negligence. He could not credit the account given by the plaintiff's witness, but preferred to believe that it was a mere accident for which the defendant was in no way responsible, and so judgement was rendered in favour of the defendant with costs.

Mr. J.M. Machar for plaintiff; Mr. John McIntyre, Q.C. and Mr. Donald M. McIntyre for defendant.

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Oct. 13, 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), Oct. 13, 1888