The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), Oct. 25, 1852

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p.2 The Seizure of the Detroit - We (Toronto Colonist) have already alluded to the seizure by the Custom House officer at Detroit, which Mr. Thompon of this city had chartered from an American named Ward for the season, and employed her in running between the Sault and some port on the Georgian Bay. The charge against the boat was smuggling, and at the time we took occasion to say that Mr. Thompson and those connected with him, were above the suspicion of being guilty of any offence. A strange light has been lately thrown on the matter by a Detroit correspondent of the Canada Oak; and if the statements of the writer in the Oak are true, the Detroit Custom officer, and Ward, the owner of the boat, have been guilty of the most scandalous act of swindling. The writer commences by describing how a British boat in which an American may have a share, is quietly turned into an American boat to the injury of the British owner, but to the entire gain of the American owner. The American represents to the Custom House officer at his port that he is anxious to have the transfer made, and the keen official accordingly advises him to smuggle a little trifle of something in the boat, but previously to give him information of the fact that he may be prepared to make the necessary seizure. This done, the boat is appraised and sold; the British owner losing all, but the Yankee gaining all; for after a little additional jugglery and perjury between the American owner and the obliging Custom House officer, the former is placed in quiet possession of the British boat. The writer says that this was the course pursued in relation to the Steamers Canada, London, Despatch, and the propeller Earl Cathcart, and found to work well. In relation to the recent seizure of Mr. Thompson's boat, the writer says: -

"Mr. Charles Thompson, the enterprising owner of the British route on Lake Huron, unfortunately lost his steamer on her first trip this season. Mr. T., knowing that Mr. Eber B. Ward had several steamers, some of which would answer his purpose, applied to him to charter one; the result was that Mr. W., having more steamers than he could profitably employ at the time, chartered the Detroit to him. Some few months elapsed, and Mr. Ward's habitual good luck in the meantime failing him - he having lost two of his best boats - the Atlantic and Caspian - it occurred to him that he could now profitably employ the Detroit in his own service, if he had not made that foolish charter to Mr. Thompson, which must be annulled by some means or other. How can it be possibly brought about ? He has it. He at once despatches his fast (firm) friend, this same Detroit Collector (who, by the way, as some are ill-mannered enough to say, is a partner of Mr. Ward's in divers speculations, such as dry-docks, etc.) all the way up to the Sault Ste. Marie, a distance of between four and five hundred miles, to bring her down under color of his office, although there is a collector there, and another at Mackinaw, within ninety miles of it. The Detroit Collector accordingly brings her down here for an alleged infraction of Uncle Sam's revenue laws. After being towed about from Dock to Dock in the harbor of Detroit, by Mr. Ward's steamers for two or three days, she takes her departure with a full cargo and a fresh crew, for the Sault, on Mr. Ward's account, and, as it is confidently said, without her having gone through the ceremony of being bonded. How did she get her clearance and what kind of a one could it have been ? We have now shown how a bad bargain on the part of a citizen friend of the Collector of Detroit, with an unfortunate Britisher in respect of a vessel can be summarily cured."

Mayor's Court - James Campbell was charged by Archibald Smith, in his capacity as Harbor Master, with refusing to move a boat, which was empty, to make room for another to come to the wharf to unload. Fined 2s. 6d. and costs.

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Oct. 25, 1852
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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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Daily News (Kingston, ON), Oct. 25, 1852