The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), Oct. 3, 1835

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p.1 To the Editor of the Montreal Herald.

I have noticed of late in the Montreal Herald a good deal of discussion about and complaints against the Ottawa & Rideau Forwarding Company; and as I am acting agent to that Company at Montreal, and these complaints attach blame to my conduct in very strong language, and as one charge in particular is supported by a certificate from those who considered themselves aggrieved, I think it my duty, in behalf of myself and those for whom I am acting, to publish an explanation of it. The Reverend gentleman who seems to have headed the said certificate, acted at the Company's stores, when about leaving Montreal, in a way very unbecoming a man of his cloth, by an unnecessary display of litigiousness, and erring a good deal in his statements, the particulars of which I am not disposed to bring before the public, because it is not my wish to injure any person, particularly a man who may yet be employed to teach others to speak the truth; I saw from his conduct that he was likely to prove a troublesome customer, therefore I requested him the favor to allow me to take his luggage out of the boat, and that he would procure his passage another way; to which he would not agree. These people being taken from Kingston in the Great Britain for the same price that passengers are taken by the steam boats friendly to our line, (which was half a dollar less than their customary charge,) was a piece of friendship or charity that could not be easier repaid, than by signing a certificate, even if it should not be perfectly agreeable to truth, as was the case. The opportunity seemed to be considered, by those who embraced it, of great consequence, as this certificate was seized with avidity, and published, with a view to build up one line at the expense of another. Probably the Great Britain folks forget while they were publishing their generosity to those strangers, that they were also publishing that they charge emigrants half a dollar more than is charged by the other boats friendly to the Ottawa line.

If more is requested about the gentleman whose name figures at the head of this highly prized certificate, it can be obtained at the Ottawa and Rideau Company's Office. As to the reverend gentleman's being told that they would arrive in Toronto in five days, they were only told that we generally deliver goods and passengers at Kingston in five days, and sometimes less. We have had goods and passengers arrived at Toronto in five days from Montreal; any person doubting it can be satisfied of its correctness by calling on me.

As to the barge Noah or any other boat, striking against a rock and receiving injury, I think there was no need of saying so much about it, for we never said or insinuated, that no accident could possibly happen to our boats passing from Montreal to Kingston and back; but I can and do often say, that our boats are better calculated to carry goods and passengers without injury than those by the St. Lawrence only - and this, I feel, will not be denied by the principals in the business of that line.

If I have not published certificates of bad treatment of passengers received in passing up the St. Lawrence, let the forwarders not suppose it is because they never gave offence, or that I had not the power. No, I thought too meanly of such a transaction; but that it may not appear that I am stating what is untrue, I beg permission to publish the following unsolicited certificate from an entire stranger, in his own language. I have more at hand, but hope they will not be required.

Toronto, U.C., August 29th, 1835.

"Having come to the Upper Province this season by the Rapids of the St. Lawrence, and having experienced the most insulting and brutal conduct from Captain ____, also from Mr. ____, contractor for towing the boats, inasmuch as they, contrary to the verbal promise of the owners, ______, we were forced repeatedly to go ashore, and sometimes to drag on the tow rope; but in consequence of my refusal to do so with my family, and resisting their demands, had my bedding damaged by water in bucketfulls poured down upon it, also the above Mr. ____ coming down below to me with a drawn knife, to force me out.

"I have sent a detailed account of the whole to my friends in Edinburgh, that the public may be aware what they have to experience when coming by the Rapids of the St. Lawrence.

Wm. March.

I have thought it best to leave out names, and many other observations relating to the treatment complained of, and refrain from making any comments about the matter, as I can see no good in lengthening or aggravating this subject - for I do not think that mere matters of rivalship in business are of much consequence to the public, and I wish to live in friendship with my neighbors in the same trade, as I always have done, giving and receiving favors from each other.

I deny that any unfair means have ever been taken to get passengers, and would confidently appeal to the masters of steam-boats and others, as to who began the plan of enticing passengers to go by this or that route, or which party tells the toughest stories - certainly it is not the Ottawa Company.

The Ottawa Company has done a very heavy business this season, and has probably met with as few accidents as the varied nature of their route could possibly lead any one to anticipate. If, by their extensive operations, they have prevented a monopoly, and cut down the enormous profits heretofore realized by the River Forwarders, the public, who are gainers, will not complain that two routes are open to them instead of one.

I remain, Sir, Your obedient servant,

Emery Cushing.

Montreal, 21st September, 1835.

p.3 The Great Britain - "The steam boats Great Britain and Niagara, on Lake Ontario have been stripped of their machinery and rigged as ordinary craft with sails, for commercial purposes."

The above paragraph we copy from an Albany paper. We are happy to say that as far as the Great Britain is concerned, the assertion is incorrect; that noble vessel being at present performing her trips on Lake Ontario with her usual promptness, and is certainly the largest, most commodious, and the swiftest steam boat on the Western waters.

The Albany editor no doubt meant the United Kingdom, which has lately been converted into a schooner.

Act of Provincial Parliament passed during the last Session "to establish a standard weight for different kinds of grain and pulse in this Province." (see article May 20th)

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Oct. 3, 1835
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Rick Neilson
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Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), Oct. 3, 1835