The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 13 Sep 1897

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The tug Bronson, with four grain laden barges, cleared last night for Montreal.

The steamer Jubilee will not lay up for two weeks yet, having several engagements booked ahead.

The schooner Nellie Hunter, Oswego, arrived this morning with 375 tons of coal for Crawford & Co.

The steamer Erin and consort Danforth, Chicago, arrived in port yesterday with 75,000 bushels of corn consigned to the M.T. Co.

The tug Walker, with two light barges, arrived from Montreal last evening, clearing again this morning for the same port with four barges grain laden.

The steam barge Bothnia is lying at the K. & M. forwarding company's wharf, Portsmouth, with a cargo of 42,000 bushels of corn, brought from Toledo, Ohio.

The steamer North King yesterday made her last run to Alexandria Bay. She had a fair sized passenger list for so late a period. Quite a number embarked here for Rochester. The steamer will continue to run between Rochester and this port.

The steamer Merrimac and the Kingston & Montreal forwarding company's barge Iroquois collided on Saturday morning while the steamer was leaving the port of Montreal. The barge sustained considerable damage and alderman James Stewart, the company's local manager, has been given carte blanche to make the necessary repairs at Portsmouth.

Welland Canal Report.

Port Colborne, Sept. 11th - Down: steamer S. Superior and barge, Cleveland to Kingston, corn; Aragon, Kate Butteroni, Chicago to Ogdensburg, corn; Frost, Chicago to Ogdensburg, general cargo; Seguin, Duluth to Prescott, wheat; schooner Nassau, Detroit to Ogdensburg, wheat.

Port Colborne, Sept. 12th - Arrived today: steamer H.S. Pickands, Detroit to Prescott, corn; Gov. Smith, Chicago to Ogdensburg, general cargo.

Lend A Helping Hand.

Kingston's interests are closely wrapped up in the success of the elevator by-law. The city's continued prosperity depends largely upon it; its defeat means losses and discouragements which will demand great sacrifices of means to overcome. Adoption of the by-law means continued work for shipbuilders and repairers, for foundries and machine shops, and a great circulation of money in the stores. Defeat means greater idleness along the wharves, and if vessels are not consigned here the dry dock will be used less than now, with consequent loss of work. Every vote for the by-law is for Kingston's prosperity, and all should lend a helping hand.

One Thing Or The Other.

Kingston will either continue or cease to be a transhipping point, and the voting on the elevator by-law on Wednesday next will decide the matter. Those who want it to remain a transhipping port should vote for the by-law; those who want the trade to leave should vote against it. It does seem that there is only one choice to be made. Any person with half an eye can see this.


What An M.T. Company Elevator Will Do.

Kingston, Sept. 13th - To The Editor:

Permit us to say a word or two in reply to "Taxpayer's" letter which appeared in your last Friday's issue.

At first one would suppose that "Taxpayer" was discussing the matter of increased taxation on the ground of the bonus to the Mooers' elevator and the proposed bonus to the M.T. company's elevator, but on reading the article through we find that what he is driving at is the proposed bonus to the M.T. company's elevator, because if it was the city's interest he had at heart and that which was troubling him he would have written his letter on taxation, municipal debt, etc., long ago and especially before the vote was taken on the Mooers elevator. Enough has appeared in the press of late touching the municipal debt, increased taxation, etc., and we think the public are conversant with these matters and hence we will add nothing more.

Now to the point, Taxpayer writes as follows: "I do not wish to say that more than one elevator would be good for the city, but rather to hold off for a short time, say about one year, until we have a fair illustration of what increased business we are likely to receive, instead of putting up two and not knowing whether we are justified in so doing." Now this argument is weak, extremely weak on the face of it. What guarantee has Taxpayer of the amount of business the Mooers elevator is to receive, let alone the question of increased business? Then why ask the citizens to hold off for about a year? What is to be gained? or rather what may not be lost. The city has lost enough during the last five years, and especially in the last year, by this policy of delay. "Delays are dangerous," "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," and in our judgement the M.T. company are not working on such uncertain lines as Taxpayer suggests when they offer to erect a half-million-bushel elevator by receiving a bonus of $35,000. They know, and we know, the trade they have and that they are figuring on increasing an already large trade by the erection of their elevator as well as to bring back to this city the trade that has gone elsewhere for the want of proper storing and shipping facilities here. By the way let us say here to do all this the M.T. company shall require every barge and floating elevator now used by them in the trade and the new elevator and more new barges as well.

The fact of the whole matter is this, that every well-balanced business man in the city and every right-thinking property owner must readily see that the retention of the M.T. company's business here, as well as the prospective increase of that business, to say nothing of the work that may be brought to the city indirectly through the permanent location of the M.T. company here, all must tend to rather diminish the rate of taxation rather than increase it.




Duluth, Minn., Sept. 13th - Judge Moer handed down a decision of great importance to vessel interests. For years boats carrying grain have suffered shortages in their cargoes, the loss involved in which they have had to stand. In some seasons these losses have been exceedingly heavy, but the vesselmen have had to grin and bear it. Judge Moer has shown them a way to get even.

In 1890 the steamer Frontenac, owned by the Cleveland iron mining company, was chartered to carry a cargo of No. 1 hard wheat from West Superior to Buffalo. The Frontenac was loaded with what was supposed to be 81,000 ? bushels of wheat. When the boat arrived at Buffalo the cargo was found to be 1,502 bushels short. The consignees brought suit against the ship owners for the value of the grain in the United States court at Buffalo, but that court held that as the grain was never put on the boat the vessel owners could not be held. The case was taken to the United States court of appeals at New York and that court reversed the lower court, holding that under the peculiar form of the bill of lading the ship was liable. The vessel owners, therefore, had to pay the consignees the amount of the shortage. They immediately demanded the balance of the wheat or its value from the Great Northern people, but the latter refused on the ground that the weight was weighed out of the elevator by the state grain inspection department of Minnesota, and that if there was a mistake the state officials were liable and not the elevator.

The steamship company began an action in the district court here against the Eastern railway company of Minnesota, the owner of the elevators, to recover the value of the shortage. The defence was the same as that made to the former demand made by the vessel owners, that the state officials were liable. In deciding the case judge Moer finds that the mistake was mutual between the parties and that the shortage actually occurred. He finds that not having loaded the full amount the boat was entitled to receive, the elevator company is liable, even though the loading was under the supervision of the state. This is the first case of its kind ever decided by the courts, and vesselmen and grain shippers all over the lakes will look to it as establishing a precedent.


Kingston To Toronto On The Steamer Algerian.

There is no more picturesque nor interesting holiday trip than that from Kingston to Toronto via the R. & O. navigation line. A member of the Whig staff made the journey, starting at three o'clock on Sunday afternoon last by the big steamer Algerian. Capt. Dunlop, the genial and capable skipper, was at the wheel as the big boat slowly threaded her way from Swift's wharf, among the smaller craft, schooners, sloops and barges, lying at anchor in the harbor, and, under his skilful guidance, the Algerian steamed safely out past Portsmouth, and the foot of Amherst Island into the waters of the picturesque Bay of Quinte. The "westering" sun," as Kingston slowly receded, threw a golden haze over the many spires and towers of the historic limestone city, and filled with golden glory the ambient autumn air; huge masses of dark clouds, fringed with deep purple, and pierced by quivering lances of light flung by the retiring god of day, were piled above and behind the city, which was given an altogether indescribable appearance of aerial splendor.

Out into the calm waters of the Bay of Quinte the staunch Algerian steamed, with increasing speed, her powerful machinery throbbing and her ponderous wheels striking with more vigorous strokes into the bosom of the blue water. The sun sinks lower, and the golden haze of approaching autumn more noticeably permeates the air; past shores, dark with timber, rugged, precipitous and rocky, and mysterious with the unrecorded history of an almost extinct race, the stately vessel ploughed her way. Standing on the hurricane deck in the "gloaming," the mystic stillness of an autumn evening "brooding o'er the scene," and broken only by the measured motion of the engines and the swish and swirl of the water in the vessel's wake, watching the splendid panorama of upland and glade, farmland and orchard, with here and there a tall spire in the distance, one's thoughts naturally turned to days long gone by, days when no white man's foot had ever trod yon ground, when no huge steamer or white-winged schooner had sped over the bosom of this broad expanse of water, but when the dusky hunters and warriors were the only denizens of the then unbroken forest, and their canoes, bound on missions of peace or war, the only craft that navigated the river or the bay. For on these shores, along to Port Hope, were fought "the fiercest and most relentless battles for the possession of the Midland region of Canada." Here was the "dark and bloody ground" whereon Huron and Algonquin in alliance fiercely and bravely, though unsuccessfully, opposed the onward advances of the brave and lordly Iroquois. Along these shores, when the deep, dark forest reached to the water's edge, the Indian spies made stealthy journeys to the camp of their foes; from many a point set out a flotilla of war-canoes, bound on a voyage of conquest. There,

"Centuries ago,

The red men fought and conquered, lost and won.

Whole tribes and races, gone like last year's snow,

Have found th' eternal hunting-grounds, and run

The fiery gauntlet of their ancient days."

How different is it all today! The coming of the "palefaces" and the march of civilization have well-nigh swept the Indians from the face of the earth, and the once wild hunting grounds and the scenes of the olden battles now yield golden treasure to the plodding, industrious farmer and gardener.

As the vessel forges steadily along, night comes on apace. The golden dusk is succeeded by darker shades, and night drops her sable mantle over the scene. Lights begin to twinkle along the shores in far-back farm houses, or in villages or towns along the route. On the dark blue of the sky can here and there be seen areas of pale, quivering illumination - the reflection of the electric light in town or village. Dimly seen through the as yet, light mist that rises from the bosom of the bay are the beacons of different light houses, that guide the mariner on his way and warn him of the location of dangerous rocks or shoals. The full-orbed moon rises slowly and majestically, throwing a line of shimmering radiance on the water. With her lamps, red and green, lighted to show her position to other vessels, the boat continues on her way as steadily, and in as true a line, by darkness as by day, guided by a sure and skilful hand at her helm.

In the saloon a fair passenger has taken her place at the piano, others accompany her with their voices, and a concord of sweet sounds floats out upon the night. Other passengers, disposed in various easy postures, seek amusement in different ways, and the scene is a bright and homelike one.

The speed of the vessel is slackened as the entrance to the Murray canal is neared, and she glides along at much less rapid rate until the narrow channel has been passed. Midnight comes and goes. The boat is silent now, except for the pulsations of her machinery, the occasional ringing of the mate's signals from the wheel-house to the engineer below, and the foot-falls of the night watchman as he makes his rounds. The hours pass, and by and bye there comes a faint grey light in the eastern horizon, the sky gradually pales into pearly light, then the edges of the clouds are tinged with crimson, amber and gold; the tints deepen and become warmer; long lances of mellow light are cast upward and the sun comes up, in all the glory and splendor of an early autumn morning. Toronto is in the near distance, and having passed through the narrow strait that connects the harbor with the blue expanse of waters that stretch in all directions, farther than the eye can reach, the passengers can see the heavy cloud of smoke, from factory and forge, that hangs, in early morn, like a pall over the city. Hanlan's Island and the new break-water are seen on the one side; on the other the Don valley and Rosedale ravine, clothed in all the glory of nature's green. Skilfully the helmsman guides the big boat through the hordes of smaller craft, yachts, row-boats, canoes, steam launches, ferry boats and schooners, and brings her safely to her moorings at her own wharf - her journey ended.

Capt. Dunlop, of the Algerian, is one of the ablest and most reliable officers on the great lakes. He has been sailing for many years, and has been in the service of the R. & O. company for a longer period than any other captain. He is of a kindly and genial nature and all who take passage on his vessel once, are eager to "go with him" on all subsequent trips. On his last trip to Toronto - Sunday last - his home was visited by the grim destroyer - death, and his wife, after a long and patiently-borne illness, was called to her eternal rest. The sympathy of all the members of his crew went out to him, in the hour of his affliction, and their regret was tenderly expressed.

The captain is ably seconded by his officers, in securing the comfort and safety of his passengers, and he has every reason for the pride he takes in his vessel, his officers, and his crew. First mate, D. Mills; second-mate, McPhee; steward, W.T. Prittie; purser, H. Dubois, and engineer Wadsworth, are Capt. Dunlop's officers, and each in his own department cannot be excelled.

Workingmen, Anchor It Down.

The voting on the bonus on Wednesday means not alone the providing of elevator capacity but the retention of the Montreal transportation company in Kingston, and the doing here of all the forwarding business they control for twenty years, under proper guarantees. This means the continuance of ship-yard and repair shops, of a large fleet for outfitting annually, which have relieved the workingmen and helped the merchants through many a dull winter. The loss of this company would be a calamity, materially decreasing the city's population and business strength, leaving many empty houses and profitless stores. The company cannot remain without a storage elevator; the bonus grant will not only provide the means of doing business here but will anchor it down as it never was before.


Some Plain Facts Given - a letter to editor saying that if bonus for elevator is not given, property values will drop. signed M. Campbell.

Both Gone To Sorel - The steamers Columbian and Algerian have been ordered into winter quarters at Sorel. The line is controlled by Quebec province sharelholders who are not disinclined, as a rule, to turn patronage to their own province and kinsfolk.

When It Is Most Needed - From the month of November to March, under ordinary circumstances, ship carpenters and joiners are generally out of employment. In Kingston it is different, because the M.T. Co. is located here. That firm employs this class of labor during the winter as well as summer. Large numbers get work during the winter, when it is most needed. Isn't it fair that a firm that supplies this need should be encouraged? Certainly it is. Then there is the steel shipbuilding just commenced here. If the M.T. Co. was to leave, no more steel boats would be built in Kingston, and an industry that promises large proportions would be strangled.

Another Lesson For Kingston - Some years ago Alexander McDougall, the famous whale- back boat builder, carried on his works at Duluth. He asked for concessions from the municipality, but they were refused. West Superior, about a mile and a half distant, then a small place, offered him a site and a bonus, and he accepted. The result is that today Mr. McDougall is employing from 1,000 to 2,000 men in building whalebacks and other steamers in West Superior. This is another lesson for Kingston.

The City Makes A Good Deal - Some years ago President McLennan, of the M.T. company, asked the city to give $50,000 and he would build a 500,000 bushel elevator here. The city said no. It gave $25,000 to the Mooers company to build one. Now it offers $35,000 to the M.T. company for another elevator and retention of company here, so that for $60,000 it secures 1,000,000 bushels capacity. The city makes on the deal for $10,000 additional gives it twice the capacity McLennan offered for $50,000.

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13 Sep 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), 13 Sep 1897