The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
St. Catharines Journal (St. Catharines, ON), April 29, 1839

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The Port Colborne Affair

The officers who was sent express to Cleveland, by Col. Baldwin, passed through this village on Thursday last, on his return. He stated, that he arrived in Cleveland, four hours before the Stephen Girard, and that as soon as she came into port, he waited on the captain, presented him with the new colours mentioned in the letter of apology, together with a request, that a bill of damages should be made out, which was done, and the amount prompty paid. The captain expressed himself perfectly satisfied, and ascribed the outrage to its proper source - whisky layalty.

The conduct of Colonel Baldwin, in this affair, is highly honourable, and which, we hope, will be duly appreciated in the proper quarter. We give below, the letter of Col. Baldwin to Capt. Hugunin, accompanied by another from James Black, Esqr. Collector, at Port Colborne.

Port Colborne, April 23d, 1839

Sir - I have the honour to inform you that having called a meeting of the officers of this battalion, on the subject of the outrage suffered to your vessel and flag last night, at this port, it was unanimously resolved, that a subscription should be raised from among themselves, forthwith, to purchase a new colour for your schooner, which they request your acceptance of, and beg of you to receive the assurance of their deep and unfeigned regret, at an occurrence so calculated to destroy confidence and interrupt the return of better feelings on this frontier.

In conveying to you this expression of their sentiments and feelings, I beg to assure you, that by no one is this late transaction more deeploy deplored than by myself; and that I am extremely grieved, that I was not appraised in time to offer you my apology, before you quitted the shore.

On learning of it, although the weather was hazy, night setting in, and no boat at hand, I dispatched a canoe, with two men to return to you the flag, and express my deep regret at the affair. I immediately placed in confinement, those charged with the offence, and have instituted a Court of Inquiry relative to it.

Trusting that you will receive this unanimous and immediate reprobation of this transaction, from the officers of this battalion, together with the new colour, as an earnest desire on our part to repair the injury inflected.

I have the honour to be, sir, you most ob't humble serv't.

C. J. Baldwin,
Col. & Lt. Col. Com 6th Prov. Bat. Militia
To Captain Hugunin, of the Stephen Girard

Port Colborne, April 23, 1839
Capt. J.C. Hugunin:

Sir - I am very sorry for the unfortunate affair, which took place on board your vessel, last evening, and lament that I did not accompany you down, when you brought me your clearance. Those of the men who could be identified, were immediately put under arrest, and will be punished for their folly. They were elated with the idea of having been disbanded, and had indulged in taking too much liquor. They are preparing to march from hence to-morrow evening.

I understand your boat was injured, the repair of which, and any other damages you may have sustained, I will engage to remunerate, on behalf of the Welland Canal Company. I hope you will not allow this event to prevent your returning through the canal, or influence others thereto, as you may be assured, every endeavour will be exercised to facilitate your transit through the canal, and prevent any obstacle upon your route.

I remain, sir, you most ob't
J. Black, Collector, Welland Canal Co.

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April 29, 1839
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Peter Warwick
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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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St. Catharines Journal (St. Catharines, ON), April 29, 1839