p.3 The Queen on the part of Peter Gallego vs. Capt. James Sutherland of the Steamer Niagara - Assault.
This case, which was tried in Kingston on the 20th ? inst. under the provisions of the Summary Punishment Bill, by one of the Magistrates of the District, has excited a good deal of interest in the community. The case is of so novel a character that an outline of it may not be uninteresting to our readers and indeed to the Canadian public generally.
The Complainant Mr. Gallego, is a colored person, who was educated a few years since at King's College in the City of Toronto and is now travelling Agent of Emigration for the Island of Jamaica, in the West Indies. The following deposition taken before the officiating Magistrate shows the nature of his complaint.
Canada, Midland District to Wit - Appeared Peter Gallego who being duly sworn states, that he went on board the Niagara steamer, James Sutherland Master, at Toronto on the 16th day of August inst. bound for Kingston. During the early part of the passage he called at the Clerk's office and enquired the price of a cabin passage, to which the Clerk answered six dollars. Deponent took out the money and offered it to him - he said that he need not pay it then - that it would do as well by and by. Deponent then went to the cabin and there put down his name on the list of berths. From that time until dinner witness remained principally on the quarter deck of the vessel. On the ringing of the bell for dinner he went to the cabin and took his seat at the table. Soon afterwards one of the servants came to him and stated that the Captain requested that he should leave the table. Witness refused to comply with his request, and the Captain came himself and said that the American portion of the passengers had an objection to his sitting at table and insisted that he should leave it. Deponent said he would not leave the table excepting by violence. The Captain then assisted by some of the hands laid hold of him and dragged him from the table. Deponent went upon deck, and sometime afterwards the Clerk came to him and asked him for his fare. Witness said a cabin passage - but the Clerk observed that he could not have a cabin passage. Witness then paid two dollars for the deck passage from Toronto to Kingston. The Clerk at this time directed his attention to some notices which he had seen him just put up. The notices stated that deck passengers were not allowed abaft the engine. Complainant upon this went forward and found the place so uncomfortable that he left the boat at Port Hope and waited for the next boat the City of Toronto to get to Kingston, on board of which boat he was kindly treated as a cabin passenger.
Signed Peter Gallego.
Sworn before me at Kingston, this 19th day of Aug., 1841
J. Macfarlane, J.P.
Capt. Sutherland, (who by the way, is not only one of the best Captains, but one of the best men in every point of view, sailing on these waters) stated in explanation, that he had orders from his employers not to admit persons of colour as cabin passengers without the consent of the other passengers - and admitted having lifted Gallego off his chair - and for this assault upon his person, he, Gallego, claimed such redress as the laws of the land would afford him. It was admitted that Gallego's behaviour while on board was quiet and inobtrusive.
The Magistrate conceiving that the Laws of England made no distinction in respect to colour, nor the complexion of individuals - on the contrary, that Mr. Peter Gallego was equally protected by these laws as the fairest skinned gentleman then sitting at the table, and the assault having been admitted, imposed a fine on Captain Sutherland of 5 Pounds for the assault.
Notice - The Steam Boat KINGSTON, Capt. Harrison, will until further notice ply on the Bay as follows: Will leave Kingston for Belleville every morning at 8 o'clock.
Will leave Belleville for Kingston every evening at 5 o'clock.
Thus making the trip up and down daily, touching at the intermediate ports each way.
Kingston, 25th August, 1841.