The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
A Plucked mariner
Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), 1 Apr 1884

Full Text
A Plucked Mariner
The New Canadian Examining Board - The Way the Examinations Were Conducted - Partiality - How Skilled Mariners Were set Aside.

Capt. James McDonald, of Howland, an old an well known navigator, who was refused a certificate by the new marine examining board at its recent sitting in Kingston, writes as follows to the Whig in regard to the partiality shown by the board.

Sir - I was one of the candidates at late mariners' examination, held in Kingston, and I think I have a right to complain of the way in which the examiners handled a practical seaman. I commenced sailing in 1860 and I have sailed on the lakes forty years, the rest of my time spent at sea, in different country ships. I have been made, second mate and master for 12 years on the lakes. I was master of a Canadian vessel for 2 years, and I was for one year on a steamer under tonnage, but she did service on the lake. And I was told that my recommendations were no good by the examiners, and what the custom house officer at Wallaceburg, Ont., Mr. Fraser, would certify to anything I would ask him.

In the years that I have been at sea I was mate of American and Australian vessels. Those captains took me from the forecastle because they considered me a good man, although not a passed mate That there was partiality shown I am satisfied. A Kingston captain was only asked one question, and that was in regard to distinguishing of colors, and he failed to answer it and yet passed the board.

I say give every Canadian a chance. Many a skilled mariner knows well that I have not got justice. If every lake captain was put to the same kind of examination that I received not many would have passed. They would then, I supposed, have to send to England for navigators. Would then men sail the vessels safely? I say no. But then every man will get equal justice and when thee is a chance for every man to compete. This is a true statement and I defy contradiction.

Media Type:
Item Type:
Date of Publication:
1 Apr 1884
Richard Palmer Collection
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.2303667924696 Longitude: -76.4798641204834
Creative Commons licence:
pd [more details]
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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A Plucked mariner