The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Monday, Dec. 7, 1874

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The Loss of Vessels

An extract from an article published by the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, which appeared in the Times of this city Friday, relative to the loss of canal vessels, was so full of dense ignorance that we cannot let the opportunity of replying to it pass. The Buffalo paper must have had some other object in view in publishing the article than to call the attention of ship builders to its untruthful statement that "nearly all of the vessels which have been lost with all on board belong to what are known as the canal class."

During the past season two or three of the mammoth class went down on Lake Erie, and that they did not carry their crews with them was due not to the seaworthiness of the vessels, but to the weather which permitted men to live exposed to the elements in an open boat.

To say that Welland canal vessels are not as strong and of as good model as the large upper lakers, is to state an untruth. Many a Buffalo vessel has learned to her sorrow that lower lake vessels can not be reduced to kindling by the mammoth hulks, while in sailing, the test of models, our vessels hold their own with the largest.

That passing through the Welland Canal weakens a vessel we can not think any sane man believes, and the great age attained by the majority of our lower lake vessels puts at rest the Buffalo theory. There might be an improvement in the model of our vessels, giving them greater beam on the transom, but the great and serious difficulty is our vessels are overloaded. If vessels loaded plankhire to, beyond their buoyancy, are caught out in a gale of wind and ship seas as they do, until the decks are filled with water to the top of the rail of course disaster must follow. Too little attention is paid by our captains to shifting boards, the first time she is struck by wind of sufficient force to heel her over the grain rushes to leeward and if the breeze is strong enough to hold the vessel down water rushes in through the cabin and forecastle scuttles and the vessel sinks. Probably two thirds of the vessels lost with all hands are lost in this manner.

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Monday, Dec. 7, 1874
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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 Palladium (Oswego, NY), Monday, Dec. 7, 1874