The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 19 Aug 1898

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A Few Points Under Mariners' Consideration.

That troublesome pier at the lower end of the Morrisburg canal still remains in its dangerous condition, and the rough treatment which boats receive on it is costing some owners and companies a penny or two. The attention of the canal superintendent has been called to the undesired location and build of the pier, and overtures have been made to the government but apparently the appeals of those interested go unheeded. Promise after promise has been given but the grievance still remains. The pier is a new one, built on the starboard side entering the canal, is strongly finished with square end, the corners strapped with iron bands. It is a model pier, but unfortunately made worse than useless by its location. At that point the river currents are strong and sweep around the end of the river bank with great force, cross the channel to the lock entrance, and strike the pier almost broadside. The south winds, prevalent in summer time also blow almost directly against the side of the pier, and boats with high sides to the weather, and tows of barges attempting entrance to the canal when the wind is high are driven against the pier, and it is practically impossible to control the boats against the opposing influence of the wind and current. Consequently boats forced against the heavy iron-girthed timbers suffer more or less damage. The pier should have been placed on the south side of the channel leading to the lock, where it would ward off the inrush of the currents and form a calm basin for boats to rest in when waiting entrance to the lock.

Another grievance to mariners is an old wharf at the foot of the Cornwall canal. Through age the old piers are breaking up, stones have disappeared from the cribs, and old timbers project above the water in a dangerous position. Vessel owners and the forwarding companies feel that they should receive better treatment, and more provision made for the safety of their boats. They pay canal tolls, according to the tonnage of the vessels as well as of the freight, and when these glaring traps exist they are burdened with additional expense. On windy nights the Richelieu & Ontario navigation company's boats have frequently suffered damage in being forced against the pier at Morrisburg, and the grain forwarding companies have also suffered much, in fact, so much that vigorous protests have been sent into the department of railways and canals. The superintendents of canals should be practical men, familiar with the ways and needs of navigation.

Welland Canal Tolls.

James S. Dunham, president of the lake carriers' association, says Lake Ontario vessel owners are working hard to have the tolls struck off the Welland canal. The matter will be brought up for consideration before the commission which shortly meets in Quebec to settle differences between the United States and Canada. The association will recommend that the tolls be taken off, but that is about all it can do. The present tolls are two cents a ton on vessels, ten cents a ton on grain, and twenty cents on coal.

No Danger Apprehended.

Leading mariners and managers of freight boats fear no danger from the possibility of direct shipment of inland lake freight to the old country when the enlarged canals are completed. Some steamers may sail from the lakes across to England, but, it is claimed, the trip will not pay. James S. Dunham, of the lake carriers' association, does not share the belief that vessels will sail all the way through. The plan has been tried before and owners lost more money than their vessels were worth. Export freight will naturally find its way to Montreal or Quebec for transhipment to ocean liners.

News of the Vessels.

The schooner Acacia arrived from Oswego today with coal.

The schooner Fabiola cleared last evening for Oswego to load coal for this port.

The steamer Bothnia is in the Welland canal with wheat from Toledo to Kingston.

The steamyacht St. Emile, bound for Ottawa, coaled up at Swift's wharf last night.

The schooner Fleetwing, Charlotte, arrived today with a cargo of coal for James Swift & Co.

Elevator No. 2, M.T. company, is on the government graving dock for inspection and repairs.

The tug James A. Walker, from Charlotte, with three barges laden with coal, reached port today.

The steamer Bohemian, from Montreal, and Corsican, from Toronto, touched at James Swift & Co.'s wharf today.

The steamer Bothnia, from Detroit, arrived at the M.T. company's elevator today with 42,000 bushels of wheat.

The tug Maud L., owned by Capt. Hurley, and which was sunk in Anglin's Bay, was raised yesterday by the tug Fearless.

The tug Active sailed for Prescott with two grain-laden barges last night, where she exchanged tows and returned this morning with six barges light.

Capt. Edward Bennett, foreman of the M.T. company's floating elevators, piloted the steamer Cambria on her trip to Alexandria Bay, the regular pilot, Capt. W. Ryan, being ill.

The coal rate to Lake Michigan ports from Buffalo has been reduced from 30 cents to 25 cents. Consigners say vessel owners are to blame for the reduction, being too eager for cargoes.

On Monday the steamer Maggie Duncan with tow collided with the Mutual liner Coralia on Lake St. Clair. The latter was struck just forward of the after starboard gangway, and sustained about $1,500 damages.

The report that the city elevators are idle is uncalled for. Both the M.T. company's and Richardsons' elevators are kept busy. The former's fleet is actively engaged in transporting grain, and the elevator has been the means of avoiding delays.

The schooner Maria Annette, which waterlogged opposite Ogdensburg the other day, arrived in port yesterday and was placed in Davis' dry-dock for repairs. When rounding Point Frederick the captain hugged the shore too closely and the schooner ran aground. She was released without damage.



[Toronto Star]

"This has been so far the worst and dullest season in the history of the Canadian vessel-owning business," said H.J. Haggerty, of the Toronto and Montreal steamboat company. Continuing, Mr. Haggerty said that there were several reasons for the present poor condition of affairs. One was the largely increased tonnage which was now available on the lakes. Vessels are now being built of so much larger capacity than formerly that the carrying conditions of the business have entirely altered within the past few years.

"As regards the north-west business in particular? Well, there is no doubt but that the new Parry Sound line of steamers chartered by Mr. Booth, of the Ottawa and Arnprior railway has very seriously injured the Canadian business. They have simply been carrying grain at rates that could not be touched, to make a profit."

"Have they been carrying for the mere fun of the thing?"

"They are not carrying for fun, but it is certain they are not carrying for the profit there is in it. There can be no profit when their chartered vessels are paid for at a rate 3 1/4 and 3 1/2 cents, which is what they have been carrying for. They must lose money. But there is a general impression among vessel men that the intention is to sell out to the government, and that the chartering of these vessels and securing the business at any price is a part of the game."

"Business will be better when the movement of this season's grain sets in, but at the rates which are going no money can be made. We should have been better off had we not fitted our vessels at all this season."

John Matthews, of the J. & J.T. Matthews firm, said this had been their worst season they had ever gone through. Mr. Matthews also attributed the falling off largely to the increased tonnage of the vessels which were now built. Vessels are now built of 7,000 tons, while a vessel like the Rosedale, for instance, is from 1,800 to 2,000 tons. Mr. Matthews' business is largely in lumber and coarse freight, and so has not been so afflicted by the Parry Sound line of steamers. But he agrees that the low rates of the Parry Sound have completely demoralized the north-west business.

"Is not that line a new condition which is likely to last ?"

"Well, it may last, but there may be some means of bringing the companies together and agreeing upon certain rates. It is certain there can be no profit for anybody at the rates they are carrying for now."

p.6 Late Afternoon Events - Two pinflats were loaded at Richardsons' elevator this afternoon for Montreal.

The steamer America left the locomotive works wharf this afternoon, a new crank pin having been fitted to her machinery.

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19 Aug 1898
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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.
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 19 Aug 1898