The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Milwaukee Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI), 24 Jul 1846, p. 1

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Steamboats.--We are happy to learn that our merchants, and business men generally, are about to address a letter to the President and Directors of the Steamboat Association, setting forth the evils and inconveniencies [sic] which this city suffers from the present system and practice of running boats on the upper lakes. It has been signed, we understand, by all to whom it has been presented, and we hope that all who have not yet affixed their names to it, will do it without delay. The season for the heavy fall business is approaching and it is highly important to Milwaukee that facilities should be afforded equal to the amount of business to be done. What these facilities should be, is best understood by the business men who practical experience has made them competent judges; and we cannot doubt that suggestions coming from them, will be listened to with attention, and have due weight with the association.

The letter which we refer to, and which we shall publish, after it has had a general circulation, represents, as the two most prominent evils under which our city suffers, - the very limited time which boats stop at our piers, and the rule of charging fare. The first of these -- the short stops of boats -- besides being decidedly inconvenient and annoying to emigrants and travelers wishing to land or take passage here, is also a source of serious damage to our retail dealers in fruits, groceries and provisions. Many of these dealers depend upon purchasing their supplies on the boats as they pass. But the short stops of the boats give them no time to examine the quality or condition of the articles they are about to purchase, or to discriminate in the lots offered for sale, much less to regulate as to the prices they are to pay.

The second point -- the rule of charging fare -- is of general complaint, not only in our city, but with the traveling public generally. Under the present system, the passage is as much if he goes no further than this port, as if continued on a hundred miles to Chicago; and, landing here, if he concludes to go on to Chicago in another boat, he is charged a sum of $3.00 -- or one fourth of the whole fare from Buffalo to Chicago, for traveling about one eleventh the distance. this is a discriminating tariff with a vengeance!

When the association take into consideration the fact, that there were landed in this city, from their boats, six thousand passengers, between the first day of June and the first day of July, of this season, we think a sense of justice, as well as a motive of policy, will induce a thorough reformation of these abuses. Many other ports on Lake Michigan have taken cause of complaint and we hope they will follow our good example and enter a vigorous protest.

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Date of Publication:
24 Jul 1846
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  • Wisconsin, United States
    Latitude: 43.0389 Longitude: -87.90647
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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