p.2 American Steamers & the Canadian Coasting Trade
It is well known that Canadian vessels are rigorously exempted from doing a coasting trade between American lake ports. It has also become a matter of notoriety that Canadian vessels on entering an American harbor are taxed very heavily, no matter whether they may enter to trade or to obtain supplies. A Canadian steamer if she casually puts into an American port for necessary fuel, must pay the tax that would have to be paid if the voyage had been made direct. The Americans, in fact, tax our steamers if they enter their ports in distress.
Notwithstanding these marked discriminations against Canadian shipping by Americans, the present Canadian government does everything possible further to aggravate the annoyances to which our trade is subject. Last summer and this present spring it has granted special dispensations, so to speak, to American steamers to engage in the Canadian coasting trade. These dispensations are not paid for; they are simply granted as a matter of favor; and the American vessel which pays no taxes to support our Provincial expenses is brought into undue competition with our own vessels, which are made to contribute towards the Provincial revenue.
Passing over the instances which occurred last year, we may state the facts which have been laid before us relative to the American steamtug Hector, which has been doing a coasting and towing business this spring. Our informant says he is ready with proof if the facts are disputed. The tug Hector came down here last week with a raft in tow from the head of the lake, either from Toronto or Hamilton, thus performing a coasting voyage. While the Hector lay at Garden Island, the captain was advised that he had better make the best of his way back to the States, or he would subject his vessel to seizure, as the traffic in which he had engaged was illegal. The Captain replied that he had permission to trade, and pulled out of his pocket a document purporting to be from the head of the department in Quebec, which gave his vessel the privilege of engaging in the towing business on the Canadian side of the lake. The same vessel is either now or is about to go up the Bay of Quinte for another tow.
Our steamboat operators have sufficient reason to complain against interpositions of this kind; and they cannot do better than institute inquiries and collect evidence as to the extent of the business. For our part we have inquired at the Custom House, and we learn that the Hector reported here on the 18th May as being for Oswego, and took her clearance from Ogdensburg. We are therefore led to suspect some evasion on the part of the captain of the steamer, though our informant is positive as to the nature of the permit under which the vessel sailed. It is undeniable, however, that permits were granted to more than one American steamer last summer, and Canadians have a real grievance in the fact.
A Raft Strikes The Victoria Bridge - Two Men Drowned - owned by Cook of Garden Island.
Proposed Ship Canal Around The Falls of Niagara - the American gov't has again purchased the old Lake Ontario steamboat Niagara, now called the Suffolk, to run in Louisiana.
Arrivals - 22,23; Clearances - 23.