The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), Feb. 19, 1873

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To the Editor of the Daily News.

Dear Sir, - Some two weeks ago I noticed an article written by a sailor asking for something to be done to protect Canadian seamen; and I, as well as all men sailing in Canadian waters, will sanction his demand in asking from our Government that protection we believe they should give us. Here is a point I would bring to the notice of those who know not what we suffer, and more particularly to those who do know and could give us the required law if they chose, and press it through the next meeting of Parliament at Ottawa. For instance, whilst we have first-class men both captains and mates who hold the best of references as regards character and abilities, they are compelled to serve under American citizens sailing Canadian bottoms. Those Americans come to our shores and earn our money, and at the close of navigation return to their homes in the States, and spend it there, not leaving one cent of it in the country where it belongs, where it should be retained by our men. Those men have not the slightest interest in any shape or form in the country, only the salary they work for, and they laugh at their betters, the Canadians who serve under them on Canadian boats, and they deprive our men of promotion and of living, as if they were recognized by the laws of our country. Now a fact I know and can prove is that we will have this coming season of 1873 fourteen Americans as masters of Canadian boats belonging on and about Lake Ontario and the River St. Lawrence, not speaking of how many on all the other lakes and rivers where the Canadian flag floats, and that our seamen are so fond of. I would ask the country at large if this is fair that we have not in the Statutes of Canada a law to prevent those foreigners from coming and depriving our able seamen from rising to the only promotion they can look for during the many years of hardship and labour. There should be a law to this effect, and it would encourage the growing class of seamen to look forward to qualify themselves for promotion; and, perhaps, in some future day, if it were needed, we would have a body of able seamen, who could be found at home without going abroad to look for strangers to manage our steamers and vessels. Furthermore I would say that when they want an honest, industrious and smart men out of Buffalo or Chicago they make them out of Canadians, and why do our men go there and sail, because they are not protected at home on their own waters. Canada has lost many a good man through this, as they have to become American citizens and take the oath of allegiance before they can get their American papers to qualify them to any position higher than ordinary seamen. I hope some of our members representing the Dominion, and who get the support of the many men following Canadian waters for a living, will use their utmost influence in our behalf this coming season. Give us your assistance in preventing those foreigners from intruding on our waters, and give us a board of examiners to qualify our men, and you will be satisfied that we ask this with a good purpose. Yours truly,

February 10th, 1873 Nineteen Years Standing

p.2 Navigation - The evil complained of by a seaman in another column is one for which a remedy ought to be found without delay. It appears that on the American side of the lakes Canadians getting employment as masters and mates of vessels are compelled to take the oath of allegiance to the government of the United States, while Americans come over to Canada and are competent to take command or sail a vessel without any such requirement, the consequence of which is as pointed out by our correspondent that no less than fourteen American masters of Canadian vessels will be employed on Lake Ontario alone during the approaching season. What is "sauce for the goose, should be sauce for the gander" and we know of no reason why foreigners should be employed to do the work which our own citizens are competent to perform. By passing a law that captains and mates of Canadian vessels should be subjects of Great Britain our own citizens would be protected in what appears to be their just rights.

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Feb. 19, 1873
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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), Feb. 19, 1873