An accident of a most melancholy kind occurred here last evening, about 9 o'clock, by the steamer British Queen running against the first lock-gate, at the entrance of the Canal below this town, by which, we are sorry to say, the Lockmaster, Mr. Beattie, lost his life, and the gate was smashed to pieces. It is very seldom, we believe, that the gate is found shut on the arrival of the evening boats, but upon this occasion, a barge was being put through the last lock, and, as a matter of course the gate was shut when the steamer was discovered approaching the Canal. There would appear to have been some carelessness on the part of those on the look out on board of the boat; for, we are assured, on the authority of two or three individuals, that lights were hung out on the gate, as usual on such occasions, but the boat still pressed on; and it was while in the act of calling to the hands on board of the steamer, from off the gate, that the unfortunate Beattie lost his life. Seeing the steamer approaching under a press of steam, Beattie ran upon the gate, and called out as loudly as possible to keep off; but he had only called out twice when the collision took place, and the unfortunate man precipitated into the Canal, and we believe he was not afterwards seen. On the boat striking one side of the gate, of course the latter was driven back, when the rush of water through the opening thus made was so great that the other side of the ponderous gate was smashed to pieces, and carried out into the river, along with the steamer.The steamer sustained no damage.
Mr. Beattie was a man of good character, and highly esteemed by the men under his charge. He had served his country in the army in various parts of the globe, and was in the receipt of a pension from his Sovereign. We are sorry to learn that Mr. Beattie has left a widow and three children unprovided for. The body has not yet been found.
The Superintendent of the Canal informs us that the gates will be replaced in about two days; at all events, that not more than a week will elapse before the Canal will be open to the public. [Cornwall Freeholder]