The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), June 24, 1834

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p.2 Launch - Last Thursday at 12 o'clock A.M. the Rapid Steam-Boat constructed on Mr. Sanford's plan, was launched, the instant she started on her ways, the band commenced playing God save the King. As one third of her length entered the water, a part of the ways broke. And to the regret of a vast concourse of people, she suddenly stopped. The Cobourg Steamer, after making three ineffectual efforts to drag her into her destined element, went away in a pet and left her to her fate. The Kingston, commanded by Capt. Ives, resumed the task, and on the very first attempt, took her off in fine style. On her arrival at Mr. Norton's Wharf, she was cheered by a vast concourse of spectators. - appears as light as a feather, swims like a duck, and draws but 15 inches water. Upwards of 300 persons went aboard to honor her with additional cheers, the weight of whom, scarcely sunk her 3/4 of an inch. She is surely a rara avis in terris, the only one of the kind in America, perhaps in the world, - of a beautiful model, strong as iron and timber could make her, buoyant as a piece of cork, steady as the hills. It is the opinion of almost every person who saw her in the water, that she cannot fail answering the purpose for which she was made. A very sumptuous collations was got up, for the occasion, by the building committee, open to all who chose to partake. A number of loyal and appropriate toasts were given, the band playing to each, in fine style. The greatest glee and hilarity prevailed through out the day; no accident of any kind, or disturbance of any nature took place. This certainly was a very singular circumstance, considering that there were between three and four thousand persons present. The middle of July is the time appointed, for her trial trip. Great praise is unquestionably due Mr. Sanford, for the expeditious and masterly manner, in which he has executed the duties devolving on him as a superintendent, and master builder. - May success attend the Rapid. [Grenville Gazette 17th]

We regret to learn, that the United Kingdom broke her shaft on Sunday morning, on her return trip this side of Kingston; the Sir James Kempt towed her back into port. We are informed that she will be in a very short time, resume her regular trips. [ibid]

contracts to be given out on 16th July for St. Lawrence canals. [ibid]

p.3 About ten days ago and prior to our late absence from home, the U.C. Herald published some accusation against the Captain of the Steamboat Wm. Avery. Knowing the contemptible character of that paper, and believing that no respectable person credited one word in its columns, we gave ourselves no trouble to enquire into the facts. Since our return we have seen that the Chronicle, a paper that has some character to lose, has copied the same article, vouching for the truth of it, and the following placard has been extensively circulated about town.


Assuming the circumstances stated in the following paragraph, (which we copy from the Herald of Wednesday,) as facts of which no doubt can be entertained, knowing as we do, the respectable source from which the information emanates, we cannot too severely reprobate the conduct of the Captain of the William Avery. It affords us, however, much pleasure to learn that His Excellency the Lieut. Governor has, with his accustomed regard for the encouragement of Emigrants, appointed our fellow townsman, Mr. Manahan, Emigrant Agent for Kingston, under whose direction and advice a recurrence of such shameful and wicked deception need not be apprehended. The gentleman's appointment has given general satisfaction. Chronicle of June 14th.

"We have seldom found a more flagrant instance of dishonorable cupidity than has been brought under our notice in the following facts. Last Sunday fortnight the American Steam Boat William Avery took on board a number of English Emigrants at Kingston, and the Captain engaged to take them to Toronto. Instead of doing this, he took and landed them at Rochester, and, after staying there two or three days, they had to take a boat and come to Port Hope, and pass from there up to Toronto. But this circuitous route and consequent delays and expense were not all the evil. By being landed at Rochester, the Emigrants had to pay the States heavy duties on all their goods, paying on a gun more than it cost in England. On the following Sunday the same Steamer was again here, and engaged other Emigrants on a similar promise of taking them to Toronto; but a respectable tradesman of the town happened to go on board, and hearing the statement, told the Emigrants that they were deceived, as the Boat never went to Toronto. On finding this, one of the party said that he would go ashore, and made preparations for it; but when the Captain saw and heard this, he rung the bell, and pushed off the Boat immediately. This conduct is the more detestable because, if the Emigrants had been allowed to wait two or three hours longer, the William IV would have come up, and would have taken them to Toronto in gallant style. We hope that some of our townsmen will attend the William Avery when she comes, and prevent her Captain from entrapping our countrymen in his toils. And we would request the Lower Province papers to notice this, and place the Emigrants on their guard before they arrive here."

On our table we have found two letters in explanation. The first is a document dated Genesee River June 16th signed by fifteen individuals (apparently emigrants,) stating their thorough satisfaction at the usage received on board the Wm. Avery; but as it is evident, that these persons have no knowledge of the matter which occurred on a former passage, and as the document ought to be considered as an advertisement and paid for as such, we decline its publication. The 2nd letter which we willingly admit, is addressed to us by the Collector of Customs at Rochester, and completely falsifies part of the accusation, viz.: that of British Emigrants paying duties for their luggage in transitu and also, contradicts the detention of Emigrants. We should be happy to see British Steamboats have a preference over those of a Foreign country, but we should be sorry to see that preference occasioned by false or exaggerated statements.

To the Editor of the British Whig.

Sir, - Having learnt that reports are circulated by certain prints, that passengers are subjected to much delay in passing the Custom-House at Rochester, and that Emigrants have been compelled to pay duty on their baggage, I deem it proper to state that any and all such reports are utterly false. The Captains of all the Steamboats, and of all other vessels (British or American) touching at this port, can testify that not the slightest delay has this season been occasioned here; and that no passenger or emigrant has ever been charged any duty on his baggage. On the contrary, it is believed, that all the above Captains will sustain the assertion, that the greatest care has been taken to offer every facility (consistent with official duty) to emigrants arriving at Rochester on their journey westward.

While on this subject, it is not irrelevent to state, that passengers arriving here in the Ontario Steamboats can be forwarded to Buffalo in good canal conveyances for one dollar - a sum so low, that emigrants coming up the Lake, and destined for the "far west," will find it a matter worthy of attention in selecting their route towards Lake Erie.

Respectfully Yours,

HENRY O'REILLY, Dep. Collector.

Custom-House, Rochester, June 16th, 1834.

Since the above was set, the following letter has been handed to us for publication. The letter is very conclusive in every point except one; it does not point out where the writer may be found or heard of. A full explanation of this affair ought to come from the pen of the Captain of the Boat attested by his officers, for under the present circumstances some such document is imperiously called for. We also recommend him to wait upon Mr. Manahan the Emigrant Agent upon his next arrival, who we are pursuaded will take every means, consistant with his duty, to undeceive the public, should he find that no blame is to be attached to the steam-boat or her crew.

To the Editor of the British Whig.

Sir, - Having seen an article in the Kingston Chronicle, much to the prejudice of the steam-boat William Avery, and having been a passenger on board said steamer at the time the occurrences alluded to have taken place, I therefore beg leave to state, that it is a most malicious and false representation. I am the person to whom the Gun mentioned in said paragraph belonged, and I am willing to certify, if necessary, that I never paid one fraction of duty for the same, but merely asked what the duty would be on new English guns. The Collector informed me it would not be an object to bring them out as the duty would be so much more than the intrinsic value of the same, and I furthermore beg leave to state, that I was treated with every mark of civility and respect by the Captain and all hands on board, and likewise I can state on the part of the rest of the passengers on that trip, that I heard no manner of complaint; on the contrary they all seemed to be as I was, perfectly satisfied with the treatment they had received.

I remain Sir your ob't servant.


June, 1834.

The efforts that have been made and are still making to depreciate the merits of the Rideau Canal, and prevent emigrants and merchandize from entering the Upper Province by that route induced us to make a journey to Bytown last week, for the express purpose of using our own eyes and examining personally into the truth of those charges against the canal's utility so industriously circulated. Owing to a mass of information, cheerfully afforded us, from the humble lock-master to the men high in authority, we have been able to collect together a number of facts sufficient to convince the most sceptical mind, that this far-famed canal, instead of having had its advantages overrated, has not had bare justice done to its outward merits, letting alone those which escape the superficial observer, but which powerfully strike the mind of every person who considers the immense advantages which must accrue to the province generally, from opening the extensive chain of lakes which intersect this beautiful country in every direction. The time which has been bestowed upon a subject of such paramount importance (to the town of Kingston especially,) and which time it may be said, we have stolen from our readers, will not warrant us to hurry into publication those notes, which a little more attention and information will enable us to render less unworthy of the public eye. We therefore request permission to take our own time in arranging our material, more particularly as we have it in contemplation to extend our observations to the size of a pamphlet of some 70 pages, believing that the ephemeral appearance, in a newspaper of limited circulation, of a few editorial articles will fall far short of creating that impression in the Canal's favor, which humble as our production will be, still we hope it will effect; since we have nothing to mystify, nothing to excuse, and the truth only plainly to relate. But although we intend to postpone our general remarks, still we cannot at present avoid alluding to our late tour.

We left Kingston in the Margaret on her trial trip, and after some small delay on account of her engine not working well, arrived in Bytown. This vessel when her engine is perfected, will sail uncommonly fast, and will most probably effect the passage from the one place to the other in about 30 hours or even less. The Rideau, the week before last, performed the same distance in 34 hours. On Friday morning at 8 o'clock, we left Bytown in the Rideau having on board 135 deck passengers, besides 10 cabin do. Two barges had been that morning brought up the Ottawa by the Shannon, but the lading of one was placed upon the deck of the Rideau, and only one barge (Durham Boat Sir John Jarvis) was taken in tow for Kingston. With this heavy load we left Bytown, and arrived in Kingston at half past one o'clock on Sunday afternoon. During the whole route no scarcity of provisions was experienced; at almost every lock, milk, butter, eggs, etc. were to be procured, and at Merrickville, Smith's Falls and the Isthmus other kinds of provisions might readily be obtained. No single passenger was ill, nor did we hear of any sickness along the line. The water in the Rideau Lake and some lakes is as pure as any in the province, and where the water in consequence of the dams is partially stagnant, springs of the best water are bubbling up at each lock. Before we arrived at Kingston Mills, the Captain accompanied by several cabin passengers, went round the boat and enquired particularly as to the comfort and satisfaction experienced by the deck passengers, and to a man, they expressed themselves in the warmest manner. On board the boat among the passengers were the following gentlemen: Messrs. Philips & Redpath of Montreal; Mr. D. Ruttan of Adolphustown, Mr. Wm. Burke of Kingston, Mr. R. Smith of Kingston Mills, Rev. Wardrop of Scotland; Mr. Elias Brown and Mr. T. Finder of England.

As we can only speak of the passage on the canal, we attach the certificate of the Master of the Durham Boat in tow, as to the actual time on the whole journey.


This is to certify, that the Durham Boat Sir John Jarvis, left Montreal on Wednesday morning 18th inst. at nine o'clock, heavily laden with merchandize, having 53 passengers on board, and arrived at Bytown in tow of the Shannon at 12 o'clock on Thursday night. That she left Bytown on Friday morning at 8 o'clock in tow of the Rideau, and arrived in Kingston on Sunday afternoon at 1/2 past 1 o'clock. Time on the whole journey, four days, four hours and a half.


Kingston, June 23rd, 1834.

Mr. Hill of Chronicle jumps into water to save child while travelling on Enterprise in Rideau Canal.

St. Lawrence Canal.

The Plans, Profiles, and Specifications for Constructing a canal from the Head of the Long Sault to Cornwall, will be ready for inspection at the Office of the resident Engineer, Mr. J.B. Mills, at Moulinette, on the 12th day of July, and Sealed Tenders for Contracts will be received by the Engineer till the 16th day of July next, at eleven o'clock.

A form of the Tenders, and the Terms of the contract will be made known on application at the office.

Dated at Cornwall, this 14th day of June, 1834.

By order JAMES HUME, Secretary.

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June 24, 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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British Whig (Kingston, ON), June 24, 1834