The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 20 Dec 1906

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He Makes His First Utterance On The Wrecking Of Bavarian.


Mr. Lesslie's Reply.

In reply, Mr. Lesslie said:

"Mr. Chairman and members of the Board of Trade of the City of Kingston: Gentlemen, I have to thank you for your very kind and flattering reception, your beautiful and valuable present, and your very eulogistic address with reference to my work on the S.S. Bavarian, and to somewhat justify these I will mention a few facts, not that I think they are required to convince those here that I am entitled to any credit that may be due, for having conceived the plans and supervised their carrying out, for your address quite assures me on that point, but that you may know from first hands exactly what occurred.

"In December last, after those who had been engaged in trying to recover the Bavarian had failed, I entered into correspondence with the London Salvage Association, agents for the Underwriters, submitting offers for the salvage and delivery in Quebec of this steamship, which were not accepted at that time, and it was only on July 3rd last, after they had repeatedly failed in getting a contractor who was willing to assume the risk of a contract made on the basis, "No cure no pay," that they cabled, accepting my offer and confirming the contract.

"Within three days, say July 6th, I had closed contract for the purchase of most of the necessary plant and machinery which I had under order, subject to telegraphs confirming the orders, and by July 19th, I had organized and completed a syndicate of ten Canadian businessmen, who agreed to join me in the venture, or gamble as some of them described it,

and furnish the necessary money to carry out the work, (please note the date, July 19th), and it was not until August 21st, that the agreement with the American gentlemen was made, that they should join us and form the North American Wrecking company, to which company when it had been duly incorporated under the laws of the Dominion of Canada and complied with the conditions agreed on, I and the members of the Canadian syndicate agreed to transfer the contract for the salvage of the Bavarian and in the meantime I proceeded to push on the work on the ship. This transfer was not made until November 30th, ten days after the Bavarian had been safely landed at Quebec.

"This, gentlemen, is quite enough for me to say on the subject, and I will just say I have never as yet taken any part in the newspaper controversy as to who was entitled to the credit, as I felt I could afford to ignore the claims of those who said they did the work or might could or would have done it as those interested knew quite well to whom if any the credit was due.

"I have now only to express the gratitude of my wife and myself to you for this beautiful present and I can assure you it will long be kept by myself and handed down to my children as a reminder of the great kindness and appreciation of my fellow citizens and their keen interest in my work, and will I trust be an incentive to do greater things."


During the past season 3,912,392 bushels of grain were transhipped at this port, 674,015 bushels at the Prescott elevator, and 1,372,653 bushels transhipped from western vessels at Montreal.

Isaac Oliver, Ogdensburg, N.Y., marine diver on the St. Lawrence river and Lake Ontario for forty years, was drowned while supervising wrecking operations in the Long Sault Rapids.

Hon. Charles L. Knapp, appeared before the river and harbors committee, and submitted a strong argument for appropriation of $1,000,000 for the permanent rebuilding of the outer breakwater at the port of Oswego.

Damaged grain aggregating 5,400 bushels of wheat and oats, a part of the cargo of the steamer Prince, which stove a hole in her bow while entering Ogdensburg harbor a week ago, were sold to the Ogdensburg Roller Mills.

Forty-nine vessels, valued at $1,072,000 passed out of existence on the great lakes in the season of 1906. The aggregate tonnage of these vessels was 43,522, indicating a carrying capacity of about 75,000 tons each trip. Their average age was about twenty-five years and five months.

p.7 Very Profitable - Detroit, Dec. 17th - It is estimated that fully sixty-one million dollars have been paid for carrying freight in lake vessels during the season just closed, coal, iron ore, grain and lumber forming the cargoes. All classes of boats have found the year a very profitable one, none more so than the old style wooden vessels, which their owners three years ago considered useless, and which in many instances this year have earned more than they could have been sold for and the owners still have their boats.

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20 Dec 1906
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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), 20 Dec 1906