The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 27 Mar 1900

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The first case tried at the assizes yesterday was that of Capt. T.J. Craig vs. the Montreal and Cornwall navigation company; Dr. R.T. Walkem, Q.C., for plaintiff and Mr. Leach, Q.C., Cornwall, for defendants. This was an action for commission on sale of the steamer Rocket owned by the defendants who had placed the steamer in the hands of Capt. Craig for sale. The plaintiff claimed that when he was about to make the sale, the defendants took the steamer out of his hands and sold it themselves, but it was through his instrumentality that the sale was effected.

Capt. Towers, St. Catharines, was the first witness. He had written to Capt. Craig early in January, 1899, about some vessels the plaintiff had for sale. The latter sent a list of boats which were indicated by numbers. Witness was at that time acting for Charles Cameron, manager of the Northern navigation company of Ontario. The price of the steamer as given by Capt. Craig to witness was $20,000. At that time he was not aware that the steamer was called the Rocket. Later on, Mr. Cameron had told him that his company had decided not to purchase the steamer. The outcome of the matter was that Mr. Cameron and the defendants made a trade, the former paying a sum of money and giving another steamer, the City of London in exchange.

Mr. Cameron's evidence showed that he had appointed Capt. Towers to look out for a vessel for his company. Capt. Towers did so, and after finding out about the steamer for sale, witness went to Cornwall to look over the vessel when there. The managing director of his company wrote him that they had decided to purchase the Rocket for $18,000. The deal was completed by the vice-president of the Northern navigation company. For the steamer Rocket, the latter named company paid the defendants $5,000 in cash, $5,000 in stock of the Northern navigation company, and the steamer City of London. At first the defendants did not want to trade, but to sell for cash. Witness had no knowledge whatever of Capt. Craig being connected in the affair at all.

The plaintiff, Capt. Craig, gave evidence regarding his engagement by the defendants to sell their steamer. He was given to understand by Capt. Towers that he (Craig) would accompany the representatives of the Northern navigation company to view the vessel. Defendants by letter agreed to pay plaintiff $500 commission and whatever over $20,000 he sold the vessel for. Plaintiff urged the sale of the Rocket on Capt. Towers, and had no communication with any other parties regarding a sale.

For the defence, Ernest Kemp, one of those interested in the steamer Rocket, testified that the only agreement with Capt. Craig and the defendants was that the former was to get a commission if he sold the boat for $20,000 cash. The next witness, Capt. Gillespie, said that he sold the steamer City of London, given in exchange by the Northern navigation company, for $5,000, losing by the sale. Previously, however, witness admitted to plaintiff's counsel, the sale was for $11,000, but as the steamer did not meet the requirements, the purchasers refused to pay that sum and a law suit resulted. Finally $9,400 was realized from the City of London.

The judge held that the plaintiff was instrumental in bringing together the parties between whom a sale was eventually arranged and took place. The defendants got benefit from the work done by the plaintiff. His lordship, however, reserved decision. The main point to decide will be the amount which the plaintiff should get under the circumstances.

p.5 Incidents of the Day - Capt. Randall will arrive in the city next week from Seeley's Bay to fit out the tug Maggie May.

A gang of ship carpenters and caulkers went down to Gananoque today to work upon some boats wintering there.

Capt. Patterson has added many improvements to the schooner Two Brothers, wintering at the Grove Inn.

Capt. Oliver has placed a new spar in the schooner Eliza White. The spar has already seen considerable active service on the great lakes, having for many years held a position in the old schooner Hyderabad.

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27 Mar 1900
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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pd [more details]
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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 Mar 1900