The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), March 30, 1876

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To the Editor of the Daily News

Sir; - The City Council has no business with the discussion of any such question as that involved in the closing of the canals on Sunday. The objections urged in the interest of the forwarders may be disposed of thus:

1 - The detention of grain in transit at the Port of Kingston, when the quantity coming in is large, is greater than would arise if the canals were closed, if the facilities for transhipping grain here were what they should be. The elevators do not work on Sunday, and if a vessel is detained here on that day there can be no reason why she should not be detained in the canal.

2 - One would think the Welland Canal to be lined with grog shops to read the remarks on the danger there to sailors from the Sabbath rest. Kingston is quiet on Sunday, let there be any number of vessels in port. If the law against the sale of liquor on Sunday were enforced there would be no cause of complaint. It is the fault of municipal men that such a law is not enforced. As a general rule, they are not temperance men, or they go in for the whiskey business, or they have no concern in the moral regeneration of their fellow beings. The experience of municipal vessel owners with refractory crews has not been affected by any effort to elevate the men's condition. They have not paid sixpence towards any religious services for their men; they have not supplied them with books for Sunday reading.

3 - The sailor has a right to the Sabbath rest in any case where it can be got. If there was as full an observance of the day as on a well-regulated ocean steamer, something might be said by the advocates of Sunday labour on the canals. But there is nothing of the kind on the Welland Canal.

4 - Trade has its duties as well as its rights. The coal miner has no right to risk the lives of his workmen that he may win money for his lusts. As a community we spend as much as any country in the world on education. The city fathers who advocate Sunday labour say that sailors are in fact Sunday rap-rascals and Sunday drunkards. If so the greater need for active effort to enlighten and moralize the sailor community. In the prosecution of the business of getting money no man has any right to do that which notoriously tends to demoralize and degrade his fellow men. The wise and good in the Kingston City Council to the contrary.

March 29th Yours, A Citizen

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March 30, 1876
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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), March 30, 1876