The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), Aug. 14, 1866

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In the Legislative Assembly on Monday (August 13th) on motion for the third reading of the Supply bill,

Mr. McGiverin said it was his duty to call attention to the bill passed in Congress lately attacking some of the most important interests in this country. Section 20 of a bill passed in July provided that any goods, wares or merchandize shipped at any port of the northern, northeastern, or northwestern frontier of the United States by any vessel wholly or in part owned by a foreigner and taken hence to a foreign port to be reloaded and reshipped to any other point on said frontier of the United States by the same or any other vessel, foreign or American, with intent to evade the navigation laws of the United States, the said goods shall be seized and forfeited, and the vessel shall pay a fine of fifty cents per ton on her admeasurement. He believed this measure passed without the knowledge of the Canadian Government, while at the same time it would affect seriously the great shipping and shipbuilding and commercial interests of Canada. He believed it his duty to call the attention of Government to the fact that remonstrances ought to be made against this provision, which would tend to drive the whole Canadian shipping from our lakes. The English people had been flattering the Americans, and our Government had been pandering to them; we had given them various advantages without any consideration in return, including the important fishing privilege. On the other hand, Americans had during the past few years shown a most hostile disposition to this country. He deeply regretted we should occupy such a humiliating position. Instead of yielding and pandering to them, had we assumed a more independent position it would have been better for us today. (Hear.) Including steamers and propellers, we had now nearly 300 vessels on the lakes, with a tonnage of 52,000 tons and a value of nearly two millions. In consequence of the advantage our vessels enjoyed of conveying goods and produce from the Western States to Canadian and more easterly American ports, our shipping interests had increased to this enormous extent within the last few years. Then the American Government had imposed on Canadian vessels entering their ports a duty of 30 cents per ton measurement. While they were enjoying all the advantages of our trade arising from the bonding system, they had struck at the root of the bonding system, so far as Canadian interests were concerned. The time had arrived when the people of this country ought to take a firm stand in dealing with the Americans. If they endeavored to destroy our shipping trade, we had means of retaliating on their trade by closing our canals to them.

Atty-Gen. Macdonald - Is the hon. gentleman in favor of closing our canals and the Welland Railway to American shipping?

Mr. McGiverin - Yes, if it is necessary.

Atty-Gen. Macdonald - Is the hon. gentleman, I say, in favor of closing the canals?

Mr. McGiverin - I told you so already. (Laughter.) I approve of doing it, if it is necessary to bring the Americans to their senses.

Atty-Gen. Macdonald - Let my hon. friend say what he wants. (Laughter).

The hon. Mr. Howland joined in the regret of the member for Lincoln at the course of the American Congress in regard to this question, which must interfere to a serious extent with our shipping; but he feared that, it being an act of Congress, no discretion was left in the hands of the Executive, and no representations of ours would be likely to avail until the meeting of Congress. He believed this law was in accordance with what they believed to be the spirit of their navigation law. But he had hoped from the friendly expressions of both the American Cabinet and members of Congress, that no such law interfering with our commerce would have been adopted.

Hon. Mr. Holton said this Act went further than the United States Navigation Law, as it precluded British bottoms from taking in cargoes in Upper Lake ports for American ports of transhipment. No doubt it was a very severe blow to British tonnage. He would like to know if the Canadian Government's attention was drawn to this Bill while passing through Congress, of if they took any steps to protect British interests in the matter.

Hon. Mr. Brown said that to commence a policy of this kind would be worse than folly, after all the concessions we had made to the Americans of late. We had come down too much at the commencement of the reciprocity negotiations, and had thus, and by our subsequent course, led them to adopt such a policy towards us. From the first moment of our concessions, we have been treated with contempt, and the idea of changing our policy in regard to one point and not on the whole question would be simply folly. (Hear.)

Hon. Mr. Howland said the Canadian Government, of course, were in no way responsible for this Bill. It was called a bill to prevent smuggling, but it struck at a trade which was not the smugglers', and from the way in which it was hurried through Congress at the end of the session, it might be said to have been smuggled through itself. (Hear.)

Hon. J.S. Macdonald complained of the conduct of the American Congress in dealing with the colonies, advocating a retaliatory policy in the shape of tolls on American ships in our waters. (Hear.)

At a later stage,

Mr. Gibbs reverted to the serious blow to our shipping given by the recent Act of Congress. He pointed out, also, that the present policy of the United States by which their producers and millers were so thoroughly protected would damage our competing classes and transfer the milling capital from this side to the other side of the lakes. He believed the Canadian Government should have put a duty of 20 per cent on wheat, and $1 per barrel on flour to protect our producers and millers. This matter should be legislated upon before Parliament was prorogued, as the question was of vital importance to the country. [Globe's report]

Departure of the Gunboat Heron - Early last evening the citizens were startled by the report of a cannon fired in the harbor from the gunboat Heron. The firing of the gun was a signal for those of the crew who were ashore to return on board, orders having been received for her to proceed to Toronto. She left the city at nine o'clock, after making an addition to her armament at the railway wharf.

p.3 Imports - 13,14.

ad - Cheap Excursion To Cape Vincent and Watertown on the Public Holiday - 16th August on steamer Watertown.

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Aug. 14, 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. 14, 1866