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

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Chart of Lake Ontario. - The following communication is upon a very important subject to that part of the community which navigate our lake, or do business upon its waters. The chart here alluded to, by every one who has examined it, is spoken of in the highest terms, and is afforded at so trifling a sum as to place it within the reach of all. We understand that on the other side, so convinced are they of its utility, that scarcely a Canadian captain is without one; and we are at a loss to account for the tardiness of our own captains and others in providing themselves with this preservative from danger. There is such a thing as being "a penny wise, and a pound foolish," and this looks very much like it. The charts can be obtained at the book store of James Sloan in this village, ad we should think the editors in the different ports on Lake Ontario, would subserve the public interest by directing the attention of captains and ship owners to this subject.


Sir - I am an old sailor, have had much practical experience, and for twenty-five years have navigated Lake Ontario. I have had my mind upon a subject for a long time, that I wished to call the attention of Masters and owners of vessels to; and I shall ask the use of your columns to do so, as it is a matter in which the public, too, are very interested.

I have carefully examined a Chart of Lake Ontario, made by Capt. Augustus Ford of the U. S. Navy, and cannot but express my great surprise that this Chart is not used on board of every vessel upon the Lake; and I should think that every person who owns a vessel or is in any way concerned win the navigation of Lake Ontario, would have one of these Charts hanging in his counting-house, or some other place where constant reference might be had to it. I have examined it very particularly with regard to its correctness, and I have no hesitation in saying that the courses, distances, soundings, harbors, shoals, and islands, are very correctly laid down. - This i say from my own knowledge and observation, and I have heard many of the Lake Captains make the same remark.

I have been out five or six days together in a thick fog, sometimes wind blowing heavy and again light and variable - then I found use for a chart. I was once out in a violent snow storm two days, bound from Niagara to Kingston. The first land we saw after leaving Niagara, was the east end of the False Ducks, not more than a cable's length from the Island. Had we had a Chart on board we should not have been so near losing the vessel, and perhaps our lives, as we were. Capt. Murky, of the schooner York, from Toronto, bound to Kingston, was castaway on the Devil's Nose. Afterwards, Capt. Murky was lost on board the Washington, with all hands. Captain Parker, of the Speed, was lost with 23 souls on board, off Prosaic Isle. There is no doubt in my mind, that if the masters of these vessels had been provided with Capt. Ford's Chart, not only one of these terrible disasters and loss of lives would have happened. I could give a great many more instances.

My object is to call the attention of masters and owners of vessels to the use of these Charts. I believe a great amount of property and many lives would be saved if they were more used and better understood. I have been informed that Capt. Ford has been to great pains and expense in making this Chart, and that it has cost him much time and money. They are offered for sale at the trifling price of three dollars. I should think every man who is in any way concerned in the navigation of the Lake should have one for every day reference. (unsigned)

Oswego, May 25, 1838

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May 30, 1838
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Richard Palmer
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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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Oswego County Whig (Oswego, NY), May 30, 1838