My impression is that the reason why it was supposed all these years that Canadian vessels could not use the New York state canals on an equality with the inhabitants of the United States, was because of this incident away back in the '70's. I have been unable to find any case of late years where a Canadian boat has been stopped from using the New York canals. The American Consul General in a letter which I received from him a few days ago says: The present constitution of the state of New York was adopted November 6, 1894, and went into force January 1, 1895. Since the adoption of this constitution it is my understanding that the canals have been absolutely free to vessels of all nations.
I took the opinion of a gentleman from New York who is conversant with the statutes of that state, and he says that he is unable to find any provision of law or Act of the legislature which discriminates against the free use of the state canals by Canadian vessels. That is his very positive statement. It seems that under this constitution of the state of New York which came into force in 1895 it is provided by article 97:
No tolls shall hereafter be imposed on persons or property transported on the canals, but all boats navigating the canals and the owners and masters thereof shall be subject to such laws and regulations as have been,, or may hereafter be enacted, concerning the navigation of canals.
This clause in the constitution seems to be a perfectly clear one, and it explicitly abolishes all tolls on persons and property transported on the canals. It seems evident that at least from the adoption of the constitution of 1895 the canals of the state of New York have been free to all comers, including Canadians. The constitution of the state places the management of the canals, and their control and operation as well as their maintenance and repair in the hands of the superintendent of public works in the state of New York.