The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily Times (Oswego, NY), Monday, July 14, 1890

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The Effect on the Coal Trade

Another disastrous effect of an increased rate of duty on foreign barley, will be the loss of freight facilities for hundreds of thousands of tons of coal shipped annually from Buffalo, Oswego, Sodus and Fair Haven to Canadian ports.

The exclusion from the United States of Canadian barley - the result of a prohibitive duty - will, in a very large measure, deprive lake schooners of inward cargoes.

As an unavoidable consequence, these schooners will have to seek employment elsewhere. At the present time they are the reliance of shippers for the transportation of coal across the lakes to Canadian ports. With these schooners driven out of the barley carrying trade, how will coal destined for Canada be transported? It is mild to say that the trade in that article on Lake Ontario, will be very greatly embarrassed, and its volume diminished.

New ways will have to be devised, notwithstanding the fact that if the existing ways are undisturbed they are the cheapest and best that can be provided. The meaning of this is, that either double freight rates will be exacted for carrying coal, or else rail shipments around the lakes will have to be resorted to. In such a dilemma, the probability is that the ports we have named will be deprived of the benefits of the transfer, and that, of course, bears hard on labor.

When large sums of money disbursed at the coal trestles for handling expenses along are remembered, and the incidental traffic of various kinds arising from the coming and going of these schooners out is estimated, the question shows subordinate effects of no small magnitude. Looking at these features, by themselves, it is bad enough, but infinitely worse, when the full scope of the consequences of a twenty-five cent rate of duty is considered.

The loss of labor at the elevators where all of the Canada barley is discharged from the schooners, and delivered to canal boats and railroads, will leave a void in very many pockets; in fact about all the pockets in Oswego directly or indirectly will be made to feel the depleting effects of the measure if enacted in its present form.

Hence it is that the Times continues its faith. It has faith to believe that, when these consequences are well enough understood to be appreciated, in their full significance, the senate will reduce the rate of duty to fifteen cents. The present rate is ten cents. The highest rate ever levied - the war rate - was fifteen cents. If it should now be fixed at fifteen cents again, can there be possible ground for complaint? How can there be? With the war rate conceded, and a treasury overflowing, what more can be demanded? Surely nothing, unless it be the earth, and the earth is to be for the enjoyment of all the people, and not for the exclusive enjoyment of any portion of the people.

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Monday, July 14, 1890
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Richard Palmer
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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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Daily Times (Oswego, NY), Monday, July 14, 1890