The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), May 14, 1856

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p.2 Ice In the Lake - huge field of ice on south side of lake.

The Exhibition of 1856 - Kingston wharfingers donate use of wharves for Fall Provincial Exhibition in Sept.

-There is a law of the United States, which on the one hand renders it compulsory for masters of ships and vessels of every description, to pay into a certain fund, out of the wages of every man employed by them, a quarter dollar monthly; and on the other hand, in consideration of such payment, the seaman is entitled as a right to go into a Marine Hospital when sick or disabled from accident, and to remain there till cured. The experience of our neighbors has proved the law to be most beneficial to this most numerous class. Indeed its advantages are so great that many instances are known where seamen under the British flag, frequenting American waters, voluntarily avail themselves of it, and thus secure to themselves an asylum in sickness.

The nature and excellence of this American law are so generally known and appreciated by merchants and other intelligent Canadians, and especially by ship owners, that an exclamation of wonder may often be heard, that we have not now a similar enactment in Canada.

As many of the best laws of the United States are borrowed from the English, so many of our best laws in Canada, are borrowed from the Americans. This results in the natural order of things; as the wants of a great civilized people, such as the Americans, are in a large number of particulars identical with those of the English, so more particularly are our wants identical with theirs. This is especially the case with seamen and men following the water.

Surprise is, therefore, expressed that no philanthropic member of Parliament has yet introduced an act similar to the one in question. But it is hoped that before another year such will be the law in Canada, modified to suit our particular circumstances. Thus, we might suggest a provision in the act, that all vessels clearing from ports east of Cobourg and west of Cornwall should pay their hospital dues to Kingston and all west of Cobourg, to Toronto and Hamilton. In Kingston, Toronto and Hamilton, there are general hospitals as well arranged and conducted as any in Great Britain. There hospitals receive an annual grant from the public chest, and if their respective trustees should hesitate to accept the marine fees on the conditions proposed, the government could dictate terms as a condition of their grant. Then each hospital should keep a debtor and creditor account with the "Marine Hospital" fund, charging only of course for actual disbursements, so that in course of time, it might happen that there would be a large accumulated fund, which fund might effect another grand object, to wit, a pension, justly regulated, to the widows of deceased water craft men, who had contributed during their lives to this fund.

But how is it now? Who has not remarked the fact, that the moment an improvident watercraft man meets with sickness or a casualty, he becomes a public charge - from receiving $20 to $30 a month, he, from sickness or an accident, which his class is most liable to, suddenly drops to the position of a pauper, or dies of neglect, and the provident seaman, under a similar misfortune, loses all his hard-earned savings to satisfy his landlord and his doctor.

If these facts were duly placed before members, and if shipowners and those most interested in the sailor's welfare, were to petition the House, there can be no doubt but that a law, that has been so largely tested by our neighbors, would immediately be enacted in Canada, and thus, for a sum of 8s 9d or 10s annually, our sailors and boatmen would secure to themselves the right of an asylum and treatment, in case of sickness or injury.

-G.T.R. steamer Muskrat arrived with 3 barges, laden with ballast carriages for Belleville and Napanee..

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May 14, 1856
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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), May 14, 1856