The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego County Whig (Oswego, NY), Wed. , May 30, 1838

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Steam-Boat Racing. - Our hearts have been pained time and time again within a few months past, at the thrilling accounts of the loss of life and destruction of property which have reached us from different sections of our country, through the pernicious practice of steamboat racing: and this hazardous and presumptuous business has been greatly increased by the mistaken policy of the public press, in praising the speed of different boats, thus exciting a spirit of rivalship and competition, which has resulted in the most disastrous consequences and cast a gloom throughout our land.

We are opposed to the practice, in toto, and deeply regret the course taken by our neighbor of the Herald, in noticing the recent strife between the Great Britain and Sir Robert Peel. They are both first rate boats, and the Great Britain one of the proudest in America - her commander perhaps the most experienced on the Lake. As to the speed of the respective boats, at present we would not hazard an opinion; and we hope and confidently believe it will never again be tested.

They are either of them, swift enough for any purpose for which they are designed. On the subject of the Peel's taking fire, gross carelessness is apparent, and a temerity unwarranted and unjustifiable. It appears that a pail of spirits of turpentine was immediate in the vicinity of the furnace, into which the wood was dipped prior to its being thrown under the boilers. In the confusion attending the excitement of the occasion, an ignited stick fell from the furnace into the pail, producing an explosion as instantaneous as from powder; and this naturally produced a general panic throughout the boat, especially among the female passengers, who were promptly taken off, on the alarm being given, by the Great Britain. We hope this is the last time we shall have to record any thing like racing on this Lake, and at all events, that this accident will put a quietus upon burning any thing but wood for fuel. The respective boats have our best wishes, and in the gentlemanly deportment of their able commanders, who, we understand, have expressed a determination not to run any more, the public may place the fullest confidence.

Media Type:
Item Type:
The arrivals and departures published in the Oswego County Whig at the time show that the Great Britain, (Whitney, master); Sir Robert Peel (Armstrong, master) and William IV (Jones, master) made regular stops at Oswego in 1838.
Date of Original:
Wed. , May 30, 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
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Oswego County Whig (Oswego, NY), Wed. , May 30, 1838