The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 30 Aug 1897

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The schooner Fabiola is discharging a cargo of coal at Swift's wharf today.

The steamer James Swift cleared from Swift's wharf for Ottawa this morning.

The schooner Nellie Hunter is discharging 375 tons of coal at Crawford & Co.'s wharf.

The steamer H.S. Pickands brings wheat from Detroit to Kingston at 2 1/2 c. per bushel.

The steamer J.C. Nichols cleared today for Montreal with 10,000 bushels of peas consigned by Richardson & Sons.

The tug Thomson arrived up yesterday from Montreal with six barges, light, clearing again this morning for the same port with four barges, grain laden.

The R. & O. steamer Algerian called at Swift's today on her way from Montreal to Toronto, and the Columbian called on her way from Toronto to Montreal.

The R. & O. steamer Passport, which unwittingly carried a smallpox patient from Belleville to Toronto recently, has been laid up at the G.T.R. wharf for the remainder of the current season of navigation and the coming winter in accordance with orders received from the headquarters of the company.

Welland Canal Report.

Port Colborne, Aug. 29th - Down: steamers, last night, Saturn, Toledo to Collins Bay, timber; Lake Michigan, Windsor to Montreal, general cargo.

Arrived down today: steamer Santa Maria, Chicago to Prescott, corn; Rosemount and barges, Fort William to Kingston, wheat.

Up: steamer Niagara, Kingston to Toledo, light.

Where The Mooers Stand.

Kingston, Aug. 28th - To The Editor:

I am opposed to the second elevator being bonused and built here at present. I think it is time enough when it has been proven that one is not sufficient, and I firmly believe it will injure ours. We will be glad to do any or all of the business of the M.T. company at present being done at Prescott, and in that way keep all the business here. I made a proposition to Mr. McLennan when here, and he thought it very fair on our part, and he expressed his desire to put his money in floating property rather than elevators. I do think it would only be fair to give the first elevator a chance rather than giving it opposition from the start.

Yours truly, H.M.



John Gaskin's Address At Board Of Trade.

At the meeting of the board of trade on Thursday night, Capt. Gaskin was requested to speak as to the work of the M.T. company. He said he was not present as a speaker, but simply to hear the views of others with regard to the elevator by-law. However, he remarked that the question of Kingston having an elevator had been advocated by him for some years. Previous to G.M. Kinghorn leaving Kingston he and the speaker prepared statistics showing the advantage that a storage building would be to the company, and, going to Montreal, laid the document before the board of directors, and strongly urged the erection of an elevator here in connection with their business. The directors answered by stating that the arguments used were all right from a Kingston standpoint, but that the mission of the M.T. Co. was not storing grain, but carrying it between Kingston and Montreal. The time had not arrived for an elevator in Kingston, because, with other reasons, there were no grain inspectors to classify the cargoes in order that they could be properly stored; hence the directors could not entertain the proposition made by the gentlemen named.

In the year 1892, previous to the erection of the Prescott elevator, gentlemen of that town wrote to Capt. Gaskin with a view to getting him to solicit the M.T. Co. to join with them in the building of an elevator in that place, and to secure the ultimate removal of the company's business from Kingston to Prescott. The communications referred to were placed in possession of the board of trade, which body consulted with the city council. A deputation was appointed by both bodies, to proceed to Montreal to interview the president of the M.T. company. Ex-mayor R.J. Carson and others composed the deputation. They asked him on what terms the company would erect a grain elevator in Kingston. He said that in his opinion if Kingston wished to retain the trade, storage would have to be provided, as other suitable places were moving in that direction. He further stated that the M.T. company was prepared to furnish $100,000 towards the erection of an elevator in Kingston, provided the city assisted him in procuring a site and afforded the usual exemption. The deputation was greatly pleased with the very liberal offer made, and on returning, secured the appointment of a deputation to go to Ottawa to endeavor to get the government to give the Tete du Pont barracks as a site. The deputation was unsuccessful.

Later certain persons ridiculed the idea of Prescott being made a transhipping point. It was contended that there was no depth of water, no safe harbor for boats, that large steamers could not go down the river, etc.; but since then what has taken place has proved that these people were entirely ignorant of the matter about which they were talking. An elevator has been built at Prescott, and, what is more, large boats are going there and the town is already feeling the effects of the trade. When the citizens of Kingston realized the situation, viz., that the grain trade was leaving, another deputation was appointed, and it interviewed president McLellan at Montreal. He pointed out that, an elevator having been provided at Prescott, he could not make the offer he did before. He would, however, for a bonus of $50,000 erect an elevator in Kingston and have all the M.T. company's business done here. When the deputation reported the result of the conference it was thought by some that the amount asked for was too much. Later, and after considerable discussion, the city council decided to give a bonus of $25,000 to any company that would build a half-million-bushel elevator in Kingston. Mr. Mooers accepted the bonus on the terms stipulated, and in doing so he argued that there was no reason that Kingston should not have several elevators, it was so favorably situated for the grain trade. Kingston, in fact, should be like Buffalo in this respect. After the by-law was carried it became generally known that unless the M.T. company operated a stationary elevator of its own here that provided storage, it would remove down the river. Another meeting of the board of trade was called, and the matter discussed. Finally ex-mayor Elliott and Mr. Chadwick, president of the board of trade, were authorized to again interview Mr. McLellan to get his terms for the erection of a second elevator in Kingston. The sum of $35,000 was agreed on, and, the result being reported to the council and the board of trade, those bodies approved of the amount. A by-law for that sum is now before the people.

It is said the M.T. Co. will not leave Kingston, because it has such good property here, including fine wharves. In reply to this, it might be said that the company is paying $925 rent here and for half that sum per annum it can get just as good property down the river. Others say: Why give Mr. Mooers $25,000 and the M.T. Co. $35,000. The comparison is unfair. One firm is already doing a large business. It has the best connections in the country. It has a trade within itself. It employs a large number of men. It has been employing them for many years, winter and summer. It has been building more boats right along than has been constructed elsewhere in Ontario. It has gone into steel shipbuilding, which industry will, no doubt, increase as the demand requires; it is now employing some 700 men, afloat and ashore, while Mr. Mooers, at the most, will not employ more than twenty when his elevator is at work. Another thing all the requirements and supplies for the boats that can be bought here are secured in Kingston. Between two and three hundred employees of the company are taxpayers of the city, not to speak of the number of ironworkers employed in building boats who are boarding in the community. Now, what about the comparison? Surely no reasonable man will make it in the future.

Others say, the M.T. Co. is a nice firm, it made money here and should provide the elevator storage. No doubt the company is rich, but as Hon. Mr. Tarte says, "Business is business." The company gets no business from Kingston or the surrounding country. By it being located here, trade is brought to Kingston from Chicago, Duluth, Fort William and other places, so that it is not necessary for the transhipping to be done in a city. It could be done at the foot of Wolfe Island just as well; but wherever it is done, it means the expenditure of about $1,000 per day. Circumstances now compel the company to take the same rate for carrying grain from Kingston to Montreal as from Prescott to Montreal, therefore, it will require a very strong company here with a large number of boats to compete with that place.

Again, it is said, why didn't the M.T. Co. take the $25,000 in the first place? The offer was never made to the company. Certainly, it appeared in the press, but no communication was sent to the company offering it $25,000 to build an elevator in Kingston. No offer, then, having been made, how could it be accepted? With respect to the statement that the passage of the by-law would increase the taxes, it might be pointed out that with the increase of business as a result of the elevator being built, the number of employees would be greatly increased also. Strangers coming to the city would find work, and, becoming citizens, surely pay the extra taxes. Under the circumstances, it is quite fair to assume that the by-law will fully take care of itself if carried. On the other hand, if it is defeated, and the company leaves, the loss in revenue to the city will necessitate the taxes being raised to meet the deficiency. Carrying the bylaw then means keeping the taxes as they are. Capt. Gaskin closed by claiming that the by-law was the most important measure that has been before the people in twenty-five years. Its defeat means that Kingston will cease to be a transhipping point and that some other place will reap the benefit of Kingston's folly. He believed that the good sense of the electors would prevail, and that the by-law would be carried by a large majority. If such were done Kingston would recover what it has lost, which is by no means a small item, and grow and prosper in marine business. It is the only interest that Kingston is specially adapted for. Then why neglect it? The opportunity of its life has arrived, and no doubt the citizens will take advantage of it.

p.6 General Paragraphs - The R. & O. steamer Bohemian, from Montreal, arrived at Swift's today. She was detained at Iroquois Sunday, owing to an accident to her rudder. The western passengers were transferred to the Grand Trunk.

Died At Amherstburg.

Amherstburg, Aug. 30th - Capt. Frank H. Parks, of the Mutual line steamer Corona, died at his home in Amherstburg yesterday morning at the age of thirty-four years. In spite of his youth Capt. Park had commanded some of the best of the lake craft having had command of the steamer R.A. Packer, of the Lehigh Valley transportation company when but twenty-six years of age. Later he commanded the tug Thompson, of the Thompson line, of Port Huron, and from there he went into one of the Menominee line steamers, leaving her to take the Corona.

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30 Aug 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), 30 Aug 1897