To force an American steamship company from operating vessels between Seattle and points in British Columbia, and to give Canadian companies control of the traffic, a few Victoria business men are now making an effort to have the Puget Sound Navigation Company either withdraw the 'Whatcom' from the run or change the present schedule.
Victoria merchants contend that the new steamship 'Princess Beatrice' went on the run across the straits to improve the service. Instead of placing the vessel on a schedule which would give Victoria a night and day boat, the Canadian Pacific Railway Company arranged a time card almost identical with that of the Puget Sound Navigation Company.
Victoria merchants are not satisfied with the running schedule of the two boats at the present time and desiring a change, have appealed to the officers of the American company to better the service.
Instead of improving the service the 'Princess Beatrice' is now looked upon as an opposition craft in American waters, making an effort to control business which has been in the hands of American companies for the past twenty years.
The Canadian company operating the 'Princess Beatrice' did not announce its intention of placing a boat on the run until the steamship 'Clallam' foundered in the Straits January 8th. At a time when the Puget Sound Navigation Company was short of boats, this company despatched the 'Princess Beatrice' to Seattle to take the old schedule of the 'Clallam'. In marine circles the move on the part of the Canadian company has never been looked upon with favor.
The first news of trouble to the steamship 'Clallam' reached Seattle Friday afternoon, January 8th. The following morning the steamship 'Rosalie' went out in the 'Clallam's' place. The vessel continued on the run until Tuesday morning, when the Alaska steamship 'Dolphin' took the run and continued operating between Seattle and Victoria until the 'Whatcom' left the shipyards.
As an excuse for placing a vessel on the Victoria run under such conditions, the officers of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company announced that the merchants of Victoria demanded that another vessel be added to the traffic.
Before the company would place the 'Princess Beatrice' on the Seattle-Victoria run the merchants pledged themselves to give all their freight to the new boat.
The fight between the two companies has reached the acute stage and Seattle merchants are coming to the support of the American company. Contracts are now being signed and pledges made that every pound of freight reaching Victoria for shipment to this port will be carried by the American steamship company's vessel.
During the course of a year many boxes of liquors from Scotland, England and Ireland reach Victoria in bond. Upon being taken out by dealers in that city the goods are shipped to Seattle in large quantities. In the future that trade will all go to the American boats.
It would be impossible for the Puget Sound Navigation Company to send the 'Whatcom' out on a night schedule because of a United States mail contract. It provides that the mails shall be delivered in Port Townsend not later than 12 o'clock each day and be on the dock at Victoria by 3 p.m.
Local merchants and shipping men assert that if Victoria residents want two boats a day it is proper for the last vessel on the run to arrange the schedule in accordance with their wishes and not try to drive an American company off the route by refusing to support when previous government contracts make such a change impossible.
The 'Whatcom' and 'Beatrice' leave each morning for Victoria.