The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Kingston Chronicle (Kingston, ON), May 26, 1838

Full Text

We, the undersigned, Officers of the H. M. S. Inconstant, having been on board the Sir Robert Peel on the 16th inst. when she unfortunately caught fire, and having seen in the papers a statement which was both incorrect and unjust, and if which left uncontradicted would tend to injure the character of both the Captain and ship, we beg to say that the fire was purely accidental, was completely extinguished in ten minutes or a quarter of an hour from its commencement, and that we were highly satisfied with the anxiety and attention displayed by Captain Armstrong throughout the whole passage; and that but one gentleman appeared to be at all alarmed, who in throwing in his portmanteau on board the Great Britain, had the misfortune to lose it overboard.

We were very much delighted with the Sir Robert Peel, who in the short run from Kingston to Oswego had decidedly the advantage, and completely distanced the Great Britain.

Given on board the Sir Robert Peel on the 21st May, 1838, during our 2nd trip in her.

Alex. L. Montgomery, Lieut.
Benjamin Sharp, Mate.
C. Tailor.
Charles Tonge, Lieut.
J. H. Kerr.
Henry B. Harkey.

The above is a copy of a letter signed by six passengers who were on board of the Peel, when the last race took place with the Great Britain, and who voluntarily presented it to Captain Armstrong before they left the Boat, with a request that he would, if he saw fit, give it publicity, as they had noticed a statement in the last Kingston Chronicle, wholly at variance with truth, and calculated materially to injure the credit of Capt. Armstrong, as well as give the public generally an unfavorable impression of the boat. It will be observed that the individuals who signed the letter are Officers in the British Service, men of respectability and worth, wholly disinterested, but anxious that a correct version of the whole affair should appear before the public, as they were convinced a most unwarranted attempt had been made, without a shadow of a foundation, to destroy the credit of one of the finest steamers upon the Lake. The signers of the letter came out in her Majesty's Frigate Inconstant, have made since their arrival two trips in the Peel, as appears by their own statement and were highly pleased with the manner in which the boat was managed, as also with the general conduct of those on board, but particularly with the attention and urbanity of the Captain, who upon all occasions showed the greatest solicitude to please, and render every passenger comfortable. We do not by any means approve of Steam boat racing - it is always attended with more or less danger; but when there is a warm and spirited opposition between two boats, and both leave on the same day, as in the present instance, the natural consequence is, that each boat will exert itself to the utmost to obtain the advantage over the other, to carry away the palm, and acquire a name of being the swiftest boat.

It must be obvious to a discerning public, notwithstanding what may be said by Kingstonians and a few monopolists, that the Peel has by incontrovertible evidence proved herself to be the swiftest vessel, and a most desirable conveyance for passengers, notwithstanding the undue advantage that has been taken to endeavoring to lower her in the estimation of the community, on account of a trifling accident that occurred, through the negligence of one of the firemen.

The correspondent of the Chronicle stated that the Peel set off five minutes before her competitor, that being better prepared she held her own, by the aid of Turpentine, (forgetting to state that the Britain used some two or three barrels of Tallow,) and then goes on to say that at the time of the accident the Britain was only a length behind and that she would have passed the Peel long before their arrival at Oswego, which he says was five miles distant, also that the Britain took off her passengers. Not one of these assertions is, as we are informed, correct; there was not two minutes difference in starting; the Britain was about a mile and a half behind when the fire took place; the distance to Oswego was but little over two miles; and only two, out of the some fifteen or twenty cabin passengers, went on board the Britain.

The Kingston Chronicle will do an act of justice, to the parties concerned, by publishing the foregoing letter, with the signatures thereto annexed. - {Prescott Sentinel.

Media Type:
Item Type:
Date of Original:
May 26, 1838
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Richard Palmer
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
WWW address
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

Kingston Chronicle (Kingston, ON), May 26, 1838