The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 8 Jul 1897

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The schooner Kate, Oswego, is discharging 200 tons of coal for J. Sowards.

The tug Walker with four light barges from Montreal, arrived in port last evening.

The schooner Merritt, Fort William, grain laden, is expected to arrive here this evening.

The steam barge John Milne called at Swift's wharf last evening on her way to Smith's Falls with a cargo of coal from Oswego.

The steamer Pilgrim was taken to Swift's wharf from her moorings yesterday afternoon and will be fitted out and placed on the Montreal-Kingston route.

The schooner Owen, consort of the steamer Ketchum, arrived today from Chicago with 51,000 bushels of corn. The Ketchum will discharge at Prescott.

The steam-yacht W.B., owned by W.B. Hayden, of New York, called at the Mutual dock last evening. She was on a trip from Alexandria Bay, where her owner is summering.

When the R. & O. steamer Passport reached this port on her way to Toronto from Montreal last evening two of her stokers quit work, declaring they could not stand the heat of the stoke-hole. Some little delay was occasioned by this, but the places of the two men were soon filled and the steamer then went on her way.


Were Acting For The City's Best Interests.

Kingston, July 7th - To the Editor:

I noticed in your issue of the 6th inst., a letter, signed "Heavy Taxpayer," attacking the board of trade for the action which it took on the evening of the 2nd inst., namely that of passing a resolution, asking the city council to appoint a committee to confer with a committee of the board of trade, re the building of another grain elevator at this port, and the offering of a bonus to the M.T. Co. for the building of said elevator, and for the retention here of their grain forwarding and shipbuilding business.

"Heavy Taxpayer" asks you, and presumably also the readers of your paper, to look at the list of names of the men who are pressing this project, and says that they are the men, with their personal aiders and abettors, who opposed the Mooers' elevator. Now, Mr. Editor, how much truth is there in this? I find in looking at the list, the names of the chairman of the city's elevator committee, who strongly supported Mr. Mooers, and also the name of Mr. Livingston, who is reputed to be a stockholder in the Mooers' elevator company. I also notice the names of several other prominent men who heartily supported the Mooers' elevator project and worked for it at the polls.

"Heavy Taxpayer" says that there is no danger of the M.T. Co. leaving this place, as it suits them better than any other. Now, this man must have a very short memory. Does he not remember that some five years ago, when this elevator talk first commenced, it was said by some that if Kingston did not get a storage elevator, the forwarding trade would leave here and go somewhere, where there was an elevator, and that while certain other individuals here were throwing cold water on the scheme and saying that the trade would never leave here and that this and no other was the place to do the forwarding business, that the town of Prescott stepped up, an elevator was built there, and today I am informed that the M.T. Co. are doing fifty per cent of their business there, demonstrating the fact that Kingston has no mortgage on this trade, and is liable to wake up some morning and find that she has lost not only fifty per cent of the trade, but the whole of it.

I remember a few years ago, when the late firm of Chown & Cunningham applied to the city council for exemption from taxes on the ground that firms in the same business east and west of them were receiving this benefit from the municipalities in which they worked, and that under the then existing circumstances, they could not successfully compete with these firms. There were at our council board then men who were foolish enough to oppose granting the Chown & Cunningham company this favor, saying that they were a rich firm who could pay their taxes, and who would not leave Kingston in any case. Now, what was the result? Why, from lack of encouragement by the city, the firm eventually failed and men who were earning from them good mechanics wages of $2 to $3 per day, are at the present time, either idle, or doing laboring work at $1 per day.

Now, sir, I think it would be the most forward step that Kingston has taken for years if the council and citizens should endorse heartily the action taken by the board of trade and go in hand in hand to do something to retain the business of the M.T. Co. here. I understand that this action of the board of trade was not taken at the instance of the M.T. Co., but was the outcome of information received by them to the effect that the M.T. Co. is now negotiating for an elevator already built down the river, and it was thought that some steps should be taken at once to head off the negotiations if possible.

Far from being in opposition to Mr. Mooers' project, I understand that at the meeting of the board of trade, Mr. Richardson stated that the only salvation for the shareholders of Mr. Mooers' company, was the retention of the M.T. company's business here, that once they established themselves at another point, Kingston would be a dead letter as far as the forwarding business was concerned; that every grain man in Montreal of any importance was connected with the M.T. company, and that in fact this company practically controlled the Montreal business, via the St. Lawrence route, and that where they went, the business would go, that it had a connection which neither Mr. Mooers' company or any other company could break.

I am surprised that "Heavy Taxpayer" should have made this attack on the board of trade. The meeting Friday night last was a representative one, and attended by some of our heaviest taxpayers, and men who no sensible man would accuse of being made catpaws of. Then, again, I look at the men who supported this resolution before the city council on behalf of the board of trade, E.J.B. Pense, B.M. Britton, M.P., Dr. Herald, and others. Are they men who can be made catspaws of? No sir, they are men who are deeply interested in the welfare of our city and have our city's best interests at heart.

Now a word with regard to what "Heavy Taxpayer" says of Kingston being the place best suited for the forwarding business. Today, grain is being carried to Prescott from the west, as cheaply as to Kingston, and can be freighted from Prescott to Montreal for a quarter of a cent per bushel less than from Kingston. That being the case, the M.T. company, when they find that they cannot have barge capacity in Kingston to meet lake vessels, send the vessels to Prescott and take advantage of the free storage time given there. Now, suppose there was an elevator here, but not controlled by the forwarding company, would they put grain into it when it could be taken to Prescott for the same money, and taken from there to Montreal for less? Certainly not. The only way to get the forwarders to do their storage business here is to get them to build elevators here and control the business.

It has been said by some, that when Kingston has an elevator here that freights to Prescott will be one-quarter of a cent higher than to Kingston. I do not believe this, for both Prescott and Kingston rank today as Lake Ontario ports, and freight from Chicago or Lake Superior to Lake Ontario, will be the same, irrespective of which Lake Ontario port the cargo goes to. Why, sir, the port of Duluth is 127 miles further from Kingston than Port Arthur is, but freights from Duluth to Kingston are no higher than from Port Arthur. If 127 miles at the western end of the route makes no difference in the rate of freight, why should half that distance at this, the eastern end of the route, make any difference? I am convinced that it will not. Any man who posts himself on this matter knows that vessel building on the lakes at present, especially among our neighbors across the line, is being overdone, and boats are going begging for freight, and are glad to get loads either to Kingston or Prescott, and this state of things is not improving by any means.

I have heard the rumor circulated in this city that the M.T. Co. is heavily interested in the stock of the Prescott elevator. Now, I have taken the trouble to find out if this is true or not and am in a position to say that it is not true, that as yet they have not any money invested in it.


To Form A Sailors' Union.

The agitation among sailors who make their homes at this port for the formation of a union to protect their rights as to wages, etc. is being kept up, and those who are interested in seeing the scheme carried out are sanguine of success. It is proposed to continue the agitation until the close of navigation, when a meeting of mariners will be called and steps will be taken to bring to fruition the hopes of those who desire to see the sailors more fairly treated than they have heretofore been.

p.4 The M.T. Elevator Scheme - should be encouraged.



Arrivals - steamer Rosemount, Fort William, 79,000 bushels of wheat; steamer Glengarry and consort Minnedosa, Chicago, 86,000 bushels of corn; schooner Fabiola, Oswego, coal; steamer Bothnia, Elk Rapids, timber; schooner S.H. Dunn, Toledo, timber; steamer Nichols, Dexter, N.Y., angle iron; schooner Acacia, Oswego, coal; schooner John Shute, Toledo, coal; schooner Nellie Hunter, Oswego, coal; schooner Fleetwing, Charlotte, coal; schooner Ballou, Wellington, 4,000 bushels of peas.

Clearances - steamer Rosemount, light, Fort William; steamer Glengarry and consort Minnedosa, light, Chicago; schooner Pilot, Picton, 3,000 bushels of wheat; schooner Fabiola, Oswego, lumber; sloop Laura D., light, Consecon; schooner Nellie Hunter, light, Oswego.


May Buy The Boats.

A rumor is heard that two boats to be put up at auction at Alexandria Bay will be bought in by the Richelieu & Ontario navigation company, and put into the Thousand Island service, which is at present controlled by the Folgers.

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8 Jul 1897
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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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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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 8 Jul 1897