The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Kingston Spectator (Kingston, ON), May 22, 1834

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(from microfilm available at Queen's University - Stauffer Library)



During the past week the character of this interesting place has begun to develop itself. Our steamers have commenced their summer work; and other signs have shewn themselves clearly demonstrating the fallacy of that prediction, so industriously spread by some, namely, that "Bytown would cease to be a place of importance when the Rideau was completed," and clearly shewing it is from its locality, fitted to be the centre of a great and important trade.

Our old friend the Shannon, under the command of the public favourite Capt. Kains, has made several trips from Grenville to Bytown. In one of the last she brought two loaded barges in tow, which had passed through the locks of the Grenville Canal. The public are indebted to the exertions of Capt. Haynes, who has been in charge of the works on this last place, for the removal of this obstruction, so long an impediment in the route between Montreal and Bytown.

On the 1st, the steamer Rideau, with her enterprising proprietor, Robert Drummond, Esq. on board, a full cargo and two barges heavily laden, in tow, reached this place from Kingston, via Rideau Canal. Previous to opening this canal to the public it had been inspected by Captain Bolton, Commanding Engineer, and from his report, as well as that of others who have passed through it, the whole works on the line are said to be in excellent condition for service. Besides several passengers in the cabin of the Rideau, there were a number of families on deck, who disembarked at different points on the line, for settlement or to join their friends already settled in the interior. Her cargo, among a great variety of articles, comprised 95 bbls. pot ashes, above 90 bbls. containing beer, cider and whiskey, a number of barrels of pork, hams, cheese and other articles in the provision line. The two barges in tow contained above 3000 bushels of wheat for Mr. McKay's mills at New Edinburgh. It deserves to be further noticed that the steamer left Bytown on the evening of the same day, on her return to Kingston, with a cargo of merchandize for that place and the intermediate stations on the line.

It is stated there will be no less than five steamers on this Canal during the present season, and now that the obstructions at Grenville are removed, when the lower rate of freight, superior accommodations, and greater expedition which this route possesses over that by the St. Lawrence are taken into consideration, there can be no doubt there will be sufficient employment for that number of boats. The proprietors are confident of their expectations in this way being realized, and are using every exertion to prepare for the coming emigration season, and to direct a share of the carrying trade by this line. It was to make arrangements to this effect that Mr. Cushing, an agent for the Ottawa line had a late meeting with Robert Drummond, Esq. in the same character for the Rideau line, at Bytown.

Among the numerous superior advantages the Ottawa route holds forth over that of the other, the following are not the least important. An examination of their different advertisements will at a glance show the lesser freight by the Ottawa. The merchant has here another advantage, the total absence of risk on the latter line (there being no rapids) supercedes the necessity of insurance and saves him that. Now that no delay occurs at Grenville, they propose to run from Montreal to Kingston by the Rideau Canal in four days. Expedition in consequence is always a main object to the carriers of freight or passengers, and when the latter takes into consideration that by the Ottawa route, there are none of the vexatious detentions arising from shipping and reshipping, they will not hesitate to give it the preference. To those engaged in the lumber trade, this route has many advantages, while the Quebec and Montreal merchants can bring their provisions by the Rideau Canal in summer, have them stored at Bytown, and from thence issued to the shanties above in winter. The freight from Montreal is thus saved to the consumer; and the risk and insurance down the St. Lawrence is saved to the merchant, admitting the freight from Kingston down by this last route was equal to that by the Rideau Canal to Bytown. An equal saving to the lumber-men will be made upon the flour he uses. The extensive mills at New Edinburgh near Bytown, the property of Thomas McKay, Esq., will manufacture an abundant supply of this article for the trade, and from these the lumber-man can get his supplies without paying the freight from Montreal to that place. Under all these circumstances, added to Bytown's local position in the centre of a country rapidly settling, and so forming the only market for the disposal of the produce of the surrounding settlers' industry or the purchase of their wants; no one acquainted with it will withhold their assent to its promising fair to be at no distant period, a city second to none in Canada in point of commerce.

Yours etc., etc.;


Bytown, April 3rd, 1834.

p.2 On our first page will be seen a letter from "An Ottawa Settler," first published in the Montreal Gazette. The writer describes in glowing terms the superior advantages of the Rideau Canal over the route by the St. Lawrence river for transporting freight, as well as for the speed, ease and convenience it affords to Emigrants and other passengers. We have no objection to hear and to experience the cheap freight and good accommodations by the Canal, if it was only for one motive, and that a selfish one, namely, the benefit it would give to our Town.

Arrived by Canal on Sunday last the Enterprize Steamer from Bytown, with a durham boat in tow from Montreal, loaded with Emigrants.

p.3 Yesterday afternoon the Rideau steamer from Bytown with a barge in tow from Montreal, having together 225 passengers, 41 of whom were in the cabin. The barge left Montreal last Saturday morning, and passed through the Lachine and Grenville canals and thence into the Rideau, without the freight or passengers being once removed.

We are informed that runners are employed at Montreal to persuade the Emigrants to go by the St. Lawrence. They state that by the Rideau they will be in constant danger of the boat being stove in by the stumps, or of themselves being tormented by mosquitoes and black flies.

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May 22, 1834
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Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Kingston Spectator (Kingston, ON), May 22, 1834