The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), Aug. 13, 1866

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p.2 Visitors To The Gunboat - Yesterday the citizens resumed their visits to the gunboat Heron, and some hundreds were shown over the vessel by the officers and crew. Every possible explanation was given visitors in regard to the working of the vessel, her armament, etc. What excited most attention was the Armstrong guns and the 110 pound shot intended to be used by the largest Armstrong in case it should become necessary for them to give "the liberators of Ireland" a taste of their quality in the event of another Fenian raid on the province. At one time there were as many as forty boats of various descriptions round about the Heron arriving and departing with visitors. Industrious boys having an eye to the main chance made a good day's work of it in conveying passengers to and fro.

Deputation to Ottawa - A deputation of gentlemen connected with the grain and forwarding interests, arrived here yesterday by the propeller Perseverance from St. Catherines, on their way to Ottawa. There being no train on Sunday the members of the deputation proceeded to Prescott in hired vehicles, so as to be in readiness there for the first train to Ottawa. The intention of the deputation is to confer with the government in relation to the recent action of the American Government which puts a stop to the carrying by Canadian vessels to the Welland Canal of cargoes shipped at Western American ports, and destined for Eastern American ports. Captain Robert Gaskin of this city left here this afternoon by train as a representative of the shipping interests, to join the deputation at Ottawa.


The Maintenance Of Gunboats On The Lakes

In the Legislative Assembly on Friday, while in committee of supply on the item of $124,000 for gunboats,

Mr. J.H. Cameron asked for explanations.

Mr. Macdougall said that during the late troubles the Commander of the Forces found it necessary in his discretion to arm the coast boats for the purpose of defending the waters of the frontier, and he stated that it was a very important matter to take them up immediately, as they would enable him to send a very much larger force of troops to the frontier. Of course on such a statement as that coming from him, the government could not hesitate to authorize him to take the necessary steps. Four tug boats were accordingly employed and armed with guns from the men-of-war Pylades and Aurora, which also supplied men with the exception of a few, such as pilots. They were armed with iron plates, and considerable expense thereby incurred. The parties employed showed a very laudable desire to assist the government in every way in despatching their work, and their charges were not considered extravagant. Upon the advice of Sir John Michel that two of these boats could be dispensed with, that was done as soon as possible, but the two others were subsequently secured on the lakes - the Rescue and the Michigan - for the protection of the western frontier, which were supplied with guns and men from the Imperial navy. There were four vessels now in service, two on the lakes and two on the St. Lawrence. Three other gunboats had been sent out by the home government, and were now at Kingston ready to be used at any point required.

Mr. Mackenzie asked if it was the intention to send any of these west.

Mr. Macdougall said it was impossible to say now where they might be employed. If they could pass through the canals they would be sent wherever necessary. So far the expense of armament, crews and fuel had been borne by the Imperial government, but it was believed that it would be more economical to buy these vessels than charter them and return them afterwards to their owners in the same condition as received, especially as they might be required for a length of time. Two were therefore purchased, one for $16,000. The gunboats on the St. Lawrence were still under charter. The money in this vote might be given to buy them or to pay the charter. He confessed he was in favor of buying them as most economical in the end.

Mr. J.H. Cameron thought it desirable to have some statement as to the portion of the expense of defences to fall on the province, and the portion on the empire.

Mr. Macdougall said it was understood the Imperial government should undertake the defences of the country, when it was expected it would be again exposed to the attack of an enemy. But this case was one not anticipated. It arose suddenly, and it was absolutely necessary for the colonial government to take the steps it did. As to the matter in suspense, the position of the government was that the whole of this expense should be borne by the Imperial government. But in the meantime it was absolutely necessary that the government should meet the accounts, reserving for subsequent discussion with the Imperial government the whole question of defences.

Mr. Brown - Has any representation been made?

Mr. Macdougall said communication had taken place with Sir James Hope, indicating the position of the Canadian government.

Mr. J.S. Macdonald said it was clear that the position of this question remained in the old unsettled state. It was important that the question should not longer remain in abeyance. We were bound to bear the first brunt of the attack, and we should know what share the Imperial government would assume. This was a new feature to vote money for gunboats. The House was this session called on to vote one-sixth of the revenue for defences. This state of things could not continue.

Mr. Macdougall held that the expenses for gunboats were as economical as spending money for bringing out large hordes of troops. It was evident that certain parties in the States had adopted the policy of encouraging parties engaged in the scheme of invading our territory, and we must be prepared to resist such attacks, and he was sure the people of the country would not grudge the amount asked for. (Hear, hear.)

Mr. Mackenzie asked if the gunboats were to be sent to the Georgian Bay and Lake Huron, as they would be as much required there as on Lake Erie.

Mr. Macdougall said the matter had received the attention of the government.

Mr. Brown urged the necessity of the settlement of the question, what part of the expenses this country should bear.

Mr. Morris agreed as to this point. If we, in consequence of our position, were subjected to attack, and those in the British Isles were free from it, it was only right that they should bear the expense. He hoped the government would not fail to impress on the Imperial government our position, and that while the people of this country had shown their willingness to do everything that could be expected to defend the soil, yet that the British government would be expected to do its share. (Hear, hear.)

Mr. Dunkin said rules laid down for a long future would always break down. We must do what was reasonable, and what was not reasonable the Imperial government must do. The limit respecting shares must be settled from time to time.

Mr. Dorion said it would soon come to this, that the Imperial government would say it was our duty to defend ourselves. Very nearly the whole expense was now thrown on us, and confederation was no doubt forced on, so that they could tell us now, "You are strong; defend yourselves." He held that the system now being adopted here was much more than was necessary as against the pirates who threatened us, and wholly useless as against the United States.

Mr. Morris said the sentiments of the hon. gentleman would not meet with general approval. They had heard the statement made on the floor of the British parliament that should conflict arise with the United States, the full power of the British empire would be exercised in our behalf. He pointed to the prolonged struggle a handful of people in the Southern States sustained against a much larger power, and said we might judge from this example what British America sustained by the shield of the British empire could do.

Mr. J.H. Cameron maintained that the quarrels of Great Britain must be our quarrels, so long as we gloried in her name. He repudiated the sentiment that we were not to raise an arm in our defence.

Mr. Dorion challenged any member present to say that we alone could defend ourselves against the States.

Mr. Mackenzie did not believe in these repetitions of our weakness. We were not so weak when war existed before between this country and the States. We were as one to twenty; now we were as one to ten. He did not believe we had any right to contemplate the contingency of having to fight alone. He did not believe there was any chance of our having to do so.

Mr. Cartwright maintained the importance of these provinces to the empire. We ought to think more of our own value. We should be most careful how we assisted a party in England in getting rid of these provinces. All he could say was that if she did ever get rid of them she would soon be reduced from the position of a first class to a second or third class power.

The item was then passed.

Imports - 11-13; Exports - 11-13.

Detroit, August 11th - The schooner America, of Milwaukie, capsized and abandoned, was found near Grand Haven, Lake Michigan, today. Crew supposed to be lost.

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Aug. 13, 1866
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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), Aug. 13, 1866