p.2 Marine Notes
There is not much doing in the harbour today, and vessel men say that very little will be done for eight or ten days yet.
At the St. Lawrence & Chicago Forwarding Company's dock the Caroline Marsh has arrived from Port Hope with 16,114 bushels of wheat, and the propeller Calabria from Toronto with 20,665 bushels of wheat.
Vessel Agents and Insurance Agents - The propriety of employing vessel agents who are also insurance agents is being discussed here by vessel owners, and the more the subject is investigated the more it becomes apparent that the positions cannot be filled with strict impartiality to the two interests. A meeting of vessel owners is contemplated to consider the matter, and if possible compass a relief from this agent thraldom. It seems the vessel owners are completely at the mercy of vessel agents at Chicago and Milwaukee for down cargoes. These men have a powerful influence in regulating the rates of freight. They are all good business men undoubtedly, at least we do not understand that they are charged with fraud or are implicated in the whisky ring. But it is claimed that too many of them are also agents of insurance companies, and that as such, their private interests frequently lead them to acts detrimental to the best interests of vessels for which they are engaged to act. Their fees are according to the capacity of the vessel, being $20 to $25 for a fifty thousand bushel craft. Therefore the fee for providing a vessel's cargo is not governed by the rate of freight. The inducement for an insurance agent to work against the best interests of the vessel lies in the fact that he gets a larger fee from the insurance than he does for the vessel, while at the same time his action does not effect a reduction in his vessel fees. The insurance on a 50,000 bushel cargo of wheat, Chicago to Buffalo, at $3 per $100, would be $1,500, ten per cent of which, say $150, goes to the agent as commission. Suppose a 50,000 bushel vessel to Chicago waiting for a cargo. Rates are low, say 3 1/2 cents on wheat to Buffalo, with only a few vessels in port. The masters agree to hold for an advance to 4 cents with every prospect of getting it. Now is the agents' opportunity; he approaches the master and with professional skill, only acquired by long practice in this branch of business, he asks the capacity of the vessel as though ignorant of it. The master replies 50,000. "Just what I want," the agent responds, "but I am limited to 3 1/2 cents." The master stiffly contends for 4 cents, but the agent insinuates that the others are weakening, besides, he can ship it readily enough by splitting the lot. In this way the master is finally induced to load at 3 1/2 cents, making the freight money $250 less than it would have been at 4 cents. [Buffalo Express]
Captain's Wives Must Come Forward - Orders were received in Chicago yesterday by the captains of three vessels against the employment of female cooks. Thus the good work goes on. But in order that female cooks may be thoroughly swept from the lakes it will be necessary for captains' wives to speak their minds to their husbands, and to their husbands' employers, and to act. If a master must have a tidy woman cook "who can prepare meals cleanly and nicely, as should be," let him take his wife with him, and the children too, if there are any. The wife and children will be in no greater danger on board than they would be ashore while the captain is sailing with some other woman as cook. [Chicago Inter-Ocean]
The Canal Inspectors recommenced their arduous labours on the new line of the Welland Canal today for the summer campaign, and we presume that in a few days work will become general all along the line. [St. Catharines Journal]
No Business But Abundance of Ice at Buffalo - Capt. Higgie, who arrived in Detroit on Saturday from Buffalo, reports the foot of Lake Erie full of ice. Water is not visible at that port, and vessel men have very little faith in anything getting out of Buffalo before May 1st. Capt. Higgie also states that business is unusually dull along the docks there, and among the marine men generally, there is no coal or up-freights of any kind offering. [Detroit Post]
The steamer Kincardine was towed in to port from Mill Point on Monday morning last, where she has been undergoing repairs and will be made ready, as soon as possible, for a start, which it is thought, will be in about four weeks time. [Napanee Express]
The Norfolk left on Monday afternoon, for the first time, on her regular trips between here, Picton and Belleville. Her regular days of leaving here will be on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. [ib]
The Shannon arrived here this morning from Picton, and left again in the afternoon, being her regular days. She will leave here on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays of each week. [ib]
The Utica, Capt. Porte, plying between Trenton, Belleville, Picton and Mill Point, arrived at the latter place on Thursday. She will make regular daily trips during the season over this route. [ib]
Port Colborne, April 28th - Up - schrs. S. Neelon, Toronto, Bear Creek, light; Azov, Oswego, Windsor, do.; M.F. Merrick, Clayton, Toledo, ice; Trinidad, Oswego, Milwaukee, salt; Monteray, Ogdensburg, Cleveland, iron ore; Bessie Barwick, St. Catharines, orders; Pride of America, do., Alpena, light; British Lion, American, C.C. Mixer, A.J. Dewey.
Down - schrs. Fanny Campbell, Wallaceburg, Kingston, timber; Jennie Graham, Bear Creek, Clayton, do.
In Harbour - schrs. Pulaski, Nashua, G.M. Case, Trinidad, Bismarck, W.B. Phelps, Eliza Allan, Shandon, H. Dudley, S. Neelon, Montcalm, T.D. Barker, Victor, M.F. Merrick, Monteray, Bessie Barwick, British Lion, Azov, Farwell, Montgomery, Grace Whitney, Montblanc, Clayton Belle, Russian, Sloan, Copley, Seaton, Alexander, Pride of America, Gold Hunter, Ayr, American, A.J. Dewey, C.C. Mixer, Niagara, prop. Dromedary, steambarge Pittsburg and 3 barges.
No departures today. The tug Hector started out today and has picked up the schr. Annandale left in the ice yesterday and is now nearly out.
Two sail and a steamer in sight bound in.
Wind today southwest fresh, forcing the ice closer together, and making it more difficult to get through. Wind this evening more to west and north, vessels expect to leave tomorrow.