The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 27 Jul 1897

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The schooner Pilot cleared last evening for Bay of Quinte ports.

The tug Jessie Hall arrived from Montreal last night with four light barges, clearing again this morning with four grain laden.

Last evening the cylinder covering of the engine of the steamer Paul Smith was broken, necessitating the steamer laying up for a couple of days for repairs. In the absence of the steamer Jubilee, up the Rideau, the steamer Princess Louise was secured to run the island ferry service.

Welland Canal Report.

Port Colborne, July 26th - Down - steamer Inter Ocean, Chicago to Kingston, corn; barge Winslow, Chicago to Prescott, corn; steamer Monteagle, Chicago to Ogdensburg.

Port Dalhousie, July 26th - Up - steamer Bothnia, Kingston to Toledo, light; steamer Blanchard, Kingston to Buffalo, light; steamer Tecumseh, Collins Bay to Ashland, light; schooner Marengo, Collins Bay to Ashland, light; schooner Case, Collins Bay to Ashland, light; steamer Smith, Ogdensburg to Chicago, general cargo; steamer Marquette, Prescott to Chicago, light.

Down - steamer Nicaragua, Chicago to Prescott, corn; steamer Myles, Superior to Prescott, wheat; steamer Haskell, Chicago to Ogdensburg, general cargo.


To Vote On A By-law Granting A Bonus.

Ald. Elliott regretted the absence of Ald. Donnelly, chairman of the special committee to deal with the proposed bonus to the M.T. company. In the chairman's absence Ald. Elliott submitted the report of the committee:

The joint committee appointed by the city council and the board of trade of the city beg to report that at our request and with the approval of a majority of the aldermen Messrs. Chadwick and Elliott proceeded to Montreal and interviewed the president and general manager of the Montreal transportation company. They have reported the result of their interview to this committee substantially as follows:

"After full discussion with the officials of the company they were convinced that its business was rapidly passing from Kingston and that if it is to be retained in the city it will be necessary to have an elevator built here by the said company; and they were given to understand that if a bonus of $35,000 was offered for the construction of a half-million bushel house it would be accepted and the company's business of ship-building and transhipping grain would be retained in the city."

"This committee accordingly respectfully recommends, after consideration of the report of their delegates, that a provisional agreement be entered into with the Montreal transportation company, and that a by-law authorizing such a bonus be prepared for submission to the people."

The report was signed by Alds. Ryan, Elliott, Stewart, Livingston, Richardson, and Messrs. A. Chadwick, E.J.B. Pense, E.T. Steacy, James Minnes, James Redden and George Richardson.

Ald. Elliott gave the council considerable information touching the scheme mentioned in the report. The whole finding of the committee was embodied in the report. All the committee asked for was authority to submit a by-law and agreement to the council, after which the electorate was to pass judgement upon the same. The bonus provided for the building of a 500,000 bushel grain elevator by the M.T. Co. It might be claimed by some about the board that the scheme was opposed to the Mooers elevator company. Such was not the case. The speaker always favored the Mooers company and did all in his power to secure the company the $25,000 bonus. He considered it in the interest of the city to have another grain elevator. Citizens did not understand that when they voted $25,000 to the Mooers company it was to be the only amount they would be asked to grant to an elevator company. There is room for another elevator. Citizens dealt liberally with the Mooers company; it is provided for and citizens are dealing with another company and the Mooers company is not considered in the deal. The speaker wished to emphasize the fact that Mr. McLennan did not say that the M.T. Co. would leave Kingston unless it received a bonus. What he did say was that the policy of the M.T. Co. was to follow the grain trade, which is passing Kingston and going to Prescott. It behooves Kingstonians to wake up and not let so important an industry pass from their city. Regarding the amount needed for the retention of the M.T. Co.'s business here, there is no use in offering a sum less than the company is willing to accept. The deputation was given to understand that if the council was willing to offer a sum the M.T. Co. officials were prepared to consider it. The speaker expressed himself as being convinced that if the council granted a bonus of $35,000 it would be accepted by the company. "I have stood at this board and opposed schemes brought forward to aid the M.T. Co., but as citizens we must admit it is a lively industry, and we would regret its leaving the city. I will not, so far as it lies in my power, allow the company's plant to be removed from here. So far as it is in the power of either company to repay the citizens for the expenditure incurred in making the bonuses, there is no comparison between the Mooers and the M.T. Co. The last named company is long established. It employs a large number of men all the year around, and in winter when most other industries are closed down the M.T. Co.'s ship yard is open and work is being carried on. If the company is willing to invest here a further sum representing $75,000, I want no better guarantee that the M.T. company will become a permanent institution, and if he can secure that for an expenditure of $35,000 I consider that a good investment.

"The objection may be raised that the burden of taxation may become too heavy on the working man should the rate be increased over the granting of this bonus. In reply to this I might state that should it be found necessary to raise the rate of taxation one-fourth mill, the additional outlay to the taxpayer will be very slight. A man having a house taxed at a valuation of $500 would pay about sixteen cents extra; on $1,000 he would pay about thirty-two cents and so on up the scale. It would not be to the interest of any citizen to allow the M.T. Co. to leave the city when so slight an expenditure would retain the plant here. If a merchant retains only one customer, and adds one to his list, he more than pays his taxes in the order he receives. The M.T. company has a large fleet, and in addition there are a number of boats consigned here with grain that have to be sent on down to Prescott. These will be sufficient, or nearly so, to keep the proposed elevator running. If it is intended to use patent steam scoops for shovelling it will mean increased traffic, as boats will go to discharge where they can get the quickest dispatch."

Ald. Carson pointed out that in 1896 a committee from the council, in conjunction with a committee from the board of trade, considered the matter of granting a bonus, and reported to the council that all they could see their way clear to recommend was the granting of $25,000. This fact was advertised, and the Mooers company accepted the bonus, being bound down by a hard and fast agreement. If this additional bonus is grounded the M.T. company should also be similarly bound. But until such time as it is shown that the Mooers company cannot handle all the grain that comes here for transhipment, no steps should be taken to provide a bonus for the erection of another grain elevator. He objected to the manner in which the committee held its meetings, styling them "hole and corner affairs."

Ald. Elliott defended the action of the joint committee. The meetings were held in the board of trade rooms, and were above board. True, there was certain business transacted that could not be given to the public until it had matured. Ald. Carson had been notified of all the meetings, and could have attended them. It was not supposed that any company should have a monopoly of the grain transhipping trade. There must be opposition in all lines of business; it was the life of trade as all wholesale merchants would admit. Besides, Ald. Mooers had said he would hold up both hands for another elevator.

Ald. Mooers - "At the proper time I will."

Ald. Elliott - "The action of this year's committee in advancing from $25,000 to $35,000 shows a progressive spirit. Two elevators here will greatly increase trade."

Ald. Carson still maintained the report was a "hole and corner affair" and he was opposed to it, on the ground that the committee of the council did not have a chance to consider the matter alone. The deliberations in the matter were always in conjunction with the committee of the board of trade, and "the board of trade is composed of the greatest lot of wire-pullers in the world." He moved in amendment, that the report be referred back to the committee of the council for further consideration and to report.

Ald. Ryan - "If Ald. Carson desires to object to the report it is his privilege to do so, but as he had full opportunity of attending committee meetings and becoming conversant with all the facts in the matter, I think it would only be decent for him to now keep quiet. It is too late to object to the committee's finding; he should have done so at the committee meetings." The speaker defended the action of the committee, saying the same tactics were followed this year as were employed by the committee in 1896. It was always in the mind of the old committee to consider the matter of another bonus. He considered it strange that the Mooers company should give the present bonus scheme opposition, especially so as Ald. Mooers at his place in council said he would be willing to have other elevators erected here. If the M.T. Co. is allowed to go the city will be giving the bird in the hand for the one in the bush. The Mooers company had stated that it had large interests in Duluth and other western points. If so another elevator here would not injure the interests of the Mooers company.

"If we grant the sum of $25,000 to one man, who does not own a punt in the harbor, why should he block a scheme to support a company with a magnificent fleet? If the people by their vote say to the M.T. Co., 'Pull up and get out; we do not want you here.' That will be a matter for the company to consider."

Ald. Mooers denied that he had made use of the words attributed to him by the previous speaker, but Ald. Ryan maintained he did. Ald. Mooers enquired if the M.T. Co. had asked for a bonus of $35,000.

In reply Ald. Elliott said it did not behoove the city council to sit idly by and see the M.T. Co.'s business safely established at Prescott or elsewhere. The M.T. Co. had been several times turned down by the council. Mr. McLennan had said, "If the citizens of Kingston think the retention of the M.T. Co. is of interest to them, we will consider the proposition of a bonus." The speaker quoted figures which went to show that each vessel of 60,000 bushels' capacity left not less than $400 in the city on every trip. In addition, many carry passengers, and in this way add to the revenue of the city.

Ald. Tait asked when the M.T. Co. had asked for anything from the council and had been turned down.

Ald. Elliott replied that within the past two years the company had offered to build a half million bushel elevator if granted a bonus of $50,000. A few years previous the company had offered to build a million bushel elevator if granted a bonus and the council assisted in securing the site of Tete du Pont barracks.

Ald. Tait was of opinion that in the event of the M.T. Co. receiving a bonus it should be bound to an agreement as was the Mooers company. In any case the limit should be $25,000.

Ald. McKelvey thought it would not require any argument he could bring forth to convince the council of the necessity of submitting a by-law to the people, providing for the granting of $35,000 to the M.T. Co. for the retention of its interests here and for the building of the 500,000 bushel elevator. He took exception to the words used during the evening by Ald. Carson that the board of trade was composed of wire pullers. It is made up of citizens of the most influential grade, the heaviest taxpayers and all gentlemen. It was ungentlemanly on the part of Ald. Carson to use such a term towards members of the board of trade, especially so as they had no opportunity of replying. Regarding the M.T. Co., it distributes a lot of money in the city, and it is to the interest of citizens that the plant be kept here. If the Mooers elevator was erected it would not prevent the M.T. Co. leaving the city.

Ald. Tait did not desire to place the two elevator companies on the same footing, only the bonuses. Each company should be bound alike. The M.T. Co. now enjoys exemption on its plant to the valuation of half a million dollars.

Ald. Richardson desired to correct a statement made by the previous speaker. The M.T. Co. is exempt on property valued at only $30,000 or $35,000, and on that it pays school taxes. The plant would not be worth much is not used by the company. It would not do to let the company leave the city. The Rathbun company left Belleville and that city has not yet recovered from the blow. Exemption which the company enjoys will not hold the grain trade. An elevator is wanted to retain that. Grain carrying vessels are likely to increase in capacity, so that the need of increased transhipping facilities will soon be felt here.

Ald. Livingston favored the erection of a second grain elevator. At first he thought $25,000 a sufficiently large bonus, but he considered it would be a mistake to submit a by-law for less than $35,000. For the sake of $10,000 the city should not lose the M.T. Co. A second would be the means of recovering the trade now going to Prescott.

Mayor Skinner also spoke on the report, favoring its adoption. He was given to understand by Mr. McLennan that if the city desired to retain the M.T. Co., action would have to be taken quickly. He closed by taking Ald. Carson to task for the words he used in reference to the board of trade, being sorry that he could not prevent that alderman making use of such expressions at the council board.

Ald. Carson would not take back anything he said about the board of trade. It was composed of wire pullers. If the members had not "pulled" Ald. McKelvey it was because they knew they had him sure. They had interviewed the speaker, evidently thinking he was not so "easy" as Ald. McKelvey. Ald. Carson moved in amendment, seconded by Ald. C. Robinson, that the report of the joint committee, re the proposed bonus to the M.T. Co., be referred back to the special committee of the council for further consideration and to report.

Ald. Elliott could not see any ojbect in referring the report back to the committee. It would only be returned in the same form. Five aldermen out of seven on the committee signed the report. At the next meeting of council, if the report was adopted, the aldermen would have the privilege of objecting to any clause in the by-law or agreement between the council and the company. Further, the speaker volunteered to see that a clause was inserted that only Kingstonians be employed in the building of the proposed elevator. He was informed by Mr. McLennan that the company valued its Kingston property at $30,000. Ald. Tait said he had been led to believe from remarks dropped by Capt. Gaskin that the company's property here was worth half a million dollars.

Ald. Carson's amendment was placed before the council and defeated. Yeas and nays being asked for by the mover of the amendment the vote stood:

Yeas - Alds. Carson, Mooers, C. Robinson - 3.

Nays - Mayor Skinner, Alds. Bell, Elliott, Johns, Kent, Livingston, Minnes, McKelvey, Richardson, Ryan, Stewart, Taylor, Toye, Walkem - 16 (sic).

The original motion to adopt the report was then put before the members and carried, only Alds. Carson, Mooers and C. Robinson voting against it.


To Have Railway Connection - the Mooers elevator company have asked permission to lay rails down Ontario street from William to Gore street and city council accedes to request.

p.6 General Paragraphs - The steamer D.D. Calvin and consorts cleared today from Garden Island to Lake Superior ports to load timber.

The R. & O. steamers Corsican, Montreal to Toronto; Spartan, Toronto to Montreal; Columbian, Montreal to Kingston, and Hamilton, Hamilton to Montreal, called at Swift's wharf today.

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27 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), 27 Jul 1897