The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
St. Catharines Journal (St. Catharines, ON), May 16, 1839

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Outrage On The Stephen Girard

The Canadian authorities have promptly disavowed all countenance of the recent outrage on the American schooner, in the Welland Canal; and the following document, handed us for publication, by the Collector of this port, gives strong assurance, that nothing will again occur, to interrupt the peaceable transit of American shipping through that important channel. The efficient and prompt steps taken to punish the authors of the mischief and insult, as well as to assure the business community that their interests will not only be safe, but carefully looked to by the Welland Canal Company, are alike creditable to the provincial government, and conducive to a speedy return of former respect and good feeling along the lakes. Lieut. Jones, the bearer of the letter, assures us, that the treatment experienced by Capt. Hugumin and his crew, is sincerely regretted, not only by the officers, but by the intelligent citizens of the province, who earnestly desire quiet, and a return of confidence, good will, and all the amicable relations growing out of a free and friendly intercourse between the people of contiguous countries. The desire will no doubt be met by an equally concillatory spirit, on this side of the line. Further aggressions on either side can do no good - the events of the former one have been traced in blood. They teach a stern lesson - a lesson that years of peace cannot efface.

Capt. Hugumin's vessel sailed this day, for Oswego, via the Welland Canal; and we are pleased to be able to state, that the late unfortunate occurrance, promptly disavowed and appreciated as it has been, by the Canadian authorities, will not in the least affect the business operations of this section, through the canal. - Clev. Her. May 5

Government House, Toronto 25th April, 1839

Sir - An account has just reached the Lieutenant Governour, that a gross insult was offered by some militia, on Monday last, to the master of the American schooner, "Stephen Girard", of Oswego, while that vessel was lying at Port Colborne, on her way to Cleveland. No official report of the reprehensible proceeding has yet been received, but a letter from the Collector of Port Colborne, to a director of the Welland Canal, it would appear that some militia men cut the penant halliards and by threatening language compelled the mat to throw them on shore. They also endeavoured to impede the progress of the "Stephen Girard" through the canal, and in this attempt her jolly-boat was materially injured.

His Excellency trusts, that it can hardly be necessary for him to express the great concern he feels on this occassion; not is it his wish to pallate an offence, the commission of which has excited his highest displeasure.

He hopes, however, that you will do every thing in your power to allay the angry feelings to which such an outrage is calculated to give rise, and by the publication of a true statement of the facts of the case, to divest it of that false colouring with which it will, probably, at first be represented. It will, likewise, perhaps, be regarded by you as a part of your duty to direct the attention of your countrymen to those lawless and cruel aggressions on this province, which have provoked an act of retaliatory character, from a few drunken soldiers; and his Excellency doubts not, but that every proper means will be employed, by the publick functionaries of Cleveland, to compose and tranquilize the publick mind. In the same spirit, he authorizes me to assure you, that the perpetration of this outrage shall be visited with the severest punishment our laws will permit; and that such efficient means shall be immediately adopted to prevent its recurrence, as will enable your vessels to pass through our canal without the slightest danger of interruption, or annoyance of any kind. For your further satisfaction on this point, his Excellency had directed an intelligent officiere to proceed instantly to Cleveland to afford every explanation that can reasonably be required on the subject of my present communication.

I have only to add, that it is the particular desire of the Lieut. Governour that the master of the "Stephen Girard" should come here to substantiate the charges against the militia men, who are now under confinement, and that he may rely on experiencing protection and kind treatment from us.

I have the honour, to be sire, your most obedient, humble servant.
R.D. Tucker, Prov. Secr'y
S. Strakweather, Esq., Collector, Cleveland

Media Type:
Item Type:
May 5 the Stephen Girard passed through the
Welland Canal.
Date of Original:
May 16, 1839
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Peter Warwick
Copyright Statement:
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), May 16, 1839