The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 23 Sep 1905

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Letter Concerning St. Lawrence Steamboats.

James Stone, supervising inspector of steamboats for the ninth district, of Cleveland, Ohio, has written the following letter to John R. Molther and Robert Chestnut, local United States inspectors of steam vessels, in regard to the disturbances on the St. Lawrence this season, resulting from the rivalry between the Folger and Visger lines. The letter is written in reply to the report of the Oswego inspectors made to him and is drastic in its conclusions. The letter follows:

"Yours of the 11th came to this office during my absence going through the district, inclosing your report to the supervising inspector general at Washington, accompanied by a letter from Deputy Collector Lowe, of Clayton, which were forwarded to General Uhler.

The report is explanatory of disturbing conditions existing along the St. Lawrence river, between the Folger and Visger lines of steamers, greatly annoying the steamboat inspection service, and detrimental to the interests of both lines, through the circulating of false reports regarding the condition and seaworthiness of the opposing lines of steamers, in leading the travelling public to believe that lives are continually in danger while travelling over the waters of the upper St. Lawrence river.

Having had occasion to investigate several of these reports during the past two years, can say that I have not found one of them sustained by fact.

In my opinion the steamers on the river compare favorably with river steamers in any part of the country. The masters and pilots are skilled in their profession, as the absence of accidents will attest.

Deputy Collector Lowe, of Clayton, assures us that overcrowding of passengers on these steamers is not allowed. Nevertheless the overheated spirit of rivalry between the licensed officers of the respective lines is a matter that should engage your attention, and believe that the indecent, wordy manifestations of such rivalry while on duty, as is no doubt truthfully reported, might lead up to disastrous results. Therefore, such conduct would furnish sufficient grounds for suspension of license, and upon proof of such further indulgence in this line, would advise that you excercise full authority to the credit of the service and the assurance that public safety is being guarded."

A Captain Suspended.

Captain Bongard of the steamer Turbinia is suspended for nine months, from August 12th, and if he resumes command of a passenger steamer at the end of that time, he must have a proper certificate, though he is not blamed officially for having acted under his present credentials. Briefly, the foregoing is the net result of Commander Spain's enquiry into the collision between the Turbinia and the Toronto ferry steamer Primrose in Toronto harbor on Saturday, August 12th.

Capt. Bongard holds a certificate of service as master of a fore-and-aft rigged sailing vessel in inland waters. This certificate is endorsed to permit him to act as master of a steamer also, but Commander Spain finds that it does not entitle him to command a passenger steamer.

Marine Notes.

The steamer Toronto entered the dry dock this morning.

The M.T. company barge Quebec is out of the government dry dock.

The steambarge Westport arrived at Crawford's wharf from canal ports.

The steambarge Navajo will load feldspar at Richardsons' wharf on Monday.

Craig's wharf: propellor Persia up tonight; steamers Alexandria and Waterlily up last night.

M.T. company wharf: S.S. Rosemount due tomorrow, from Fort William, with 80,000 bushels of wheat.

The steamer Simla and consort Burmah are at Deseronto unloading iron ore. They will come down to Garden Island and then clear for Fort William to load grain.

Swift's wharf: steamer Rideau King from Ottawa; steamer Belleville up; steamer Hamilton down; propellor Lake Michigan up; steamer Aletha from bay ports.

Gilbert Johnston, chief engineer of the R. & O. N. company, is here to superintend the repairs to the steamer Toronto, which entered the government dry dock this morning.

p.3 Picton, Sept. 22nd - Messrs. H. Clapp and M. Trimble, who have been on the steamer Chicora this summer, have returned home.

News of District - The remains of the late Martin Stainton, drowned in Lake Superior by the foundering of the steamer Iosco on September 3rd, were brought from Marquette, Mich., by his father, and buried at Deseronto.

p.5 Incidents of the Day - The steamer Idler is at the Kingston Foundry marine railway for repairs. She broke her keelson, which has been replaced. Other repairs will be made.

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23 Sep 1905
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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), 23 Sep 1905