TUG BOATS ON THE ST. LAWRENCE
To the Editor of the Daily News:
Sir - In your issue of the 27th instant I find an extract from the Pilot of the 12th, in which the Hon. J. Young pretends to have gathered from the masters of American vessels a large stock of information condemnatory of the Tug Line. He says, "in every instance they complained of detention."
I am a little surprised that with all the diligence manifested by the hon. gentleman in the matter for now more than two years, he has not been able to select one case sufficiently reasonable to send forward to the Board of Works, else I am sure we should have a copy sent to us as in other cases.
As regards the schooner Lowell which he alludes to, a little explanation may not be amiss, although we have given it before, not only to the Board of Works, but also to the hon. gentleman himself, upon an occasion which I shall mention below. In 1850 (the time of the accident alluded to), Messrs. Macpherson & Crane had become co-partners with us in the contract, and the arrangement between us was, that their steamer Porcupine should be placed on the line, which they failed to do, and consequently some disorder ensued; but no time was lost on our part in endeavoring to rectify the evil, although attended with a good deal of inconvenience to us.
It is notorious, that in many instances vessels preferred sailing to avoid the small cost of towing, and, relying too much on the word of their pilots, ventured on with a fair wind as far as they might, and then would look out for a tug, when, perhaps, she could not be had; and in several cases these vessels got into trouble; and the tug-boat must come in for her share of the blame, because she was not at hand just when they needed her. Now, as we said in our letter to the Montreal Board of Trade, we had every right to suppose that any complaints lodged against the line were satisfactorily explained and we think it hardly fair to have them alluded to again and again as a pretext for withdrawing the government aid.
The public may easily discover that the antipathy manifested by the hon. gentleman savors strongly of personality. It is plain enough that the interest of the Forwarders is his aim, and this the following may serve to show. In August 1850 I asked him for his signature to a memorial from the people of Quebec, Montreal and Kingston, for the extension of the line to Kingston. He refused, and remonstrating with him, I said I hoped he would reconsider his answer; but he said he should consult Mr. Holton on the subject; and as I knew Mr. Holton to be one of the principal Forwarders, of course I thought it quite unnecessary for me to call again. In the extract from which I quote, I also find the following: "Mr. Young, in reply to the first complaint, stated that the steamers, though not in the employment of the Government, were still in existence, and he doubted not, would be glad to tow at the same rates as last year." The unreasonableness of this may be seen from the fact that, notwithstanding having received a Bonus of 1,750 pounds, we have actually lost in the business of last year, which we showed in detail in our letter to the Board of Works last December; and our reasons for proposing to take the line again were, that circumstanced as we were with a large stock of Boats, expressly prepared and fitted for the work, we thought they might be applied in this way with a less probability of loss than otherwise, and also in the hope that the Towing business would be better the ensuing season.
Capt. Henry Twohy.
Will leave this Port for Toronto and Hamilton on Monday next, 3rd May, at 3 p.m., calling at intermediate places (weather permitting).
Kingston, 30th April, 1852.