The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), May 5, 1835

Full Text

p.3 Steam-Boat Excursion - On Saturday afternoon a gay party of ladies and gentlemen assembled on board the beautiful steam packet Commodore Barrie, to enjoy the delightful recreation of sailing round Kingston harbor, it being the day appointed to try the engines of the boat, preparatory to the assumption of her regular business for the season.

Before we say a word concerning the excursion, it may not be improper to refresh the memories of our readers with a slight mention of the capabilities of the vessel. The Commodore Barrie was built last summer in Kingston, by a select number of stockholders, under the immediate superintendence of Capt. Gildersleeve, the late Captain of the Sir James Kempt. In form she is symmetry personified: light, graceful and elegant. In size she is somewhat smaller than the St. George, but her deficiency in bulk is amply compensated by the admirable arrangement of her cabins, and the comfort and splendor of her costly furniture. About fifty cabin passengers of both sexes can be entertained without inconvenience to themselves, and her accommodations for deck passengers are on a par with any of her competitors. In speed, the Commodore Barrie takes the foremost place among all the steam boats on Lake Ontario, the Great Britain not excepted; she is furnished with two low pressure engines of 35 horse power each, (made by Ward & Co. of Montreal, ) which considering her size, give her a great preponderance in power over many of her rivals. Of these engines we should observe, that they were taken down last fall and put together again this spring in a most workmanlike manner by the present engineer; (a self taught mechanic,) and the speed with which she cut through the water on her first trial, with but two inches of steam up, and the ease with which the engines worked, are promising indications of the future fame of the workman. If we remember rightly, we were shown last summer a model of an improved steam engine made by this young man while assistant engineer on board the St. George, a model which several more competent judges than ourselves pronounced to be highly ingenious.

The Com. Barrie will be commanded by Capt. Sinclair, a well known veteran in the service, whose return to active life is hailed with enthusiasm. As far as we can learn, the arrangements made for the present season are as follows, viz: To leave Kingston every Monday morning for Niagara, touching at Oswego, Cobourg, Port Hope and Toronto; to leave Niagara on Wednesdays, and touching again at all the before mentioned places, to return to Kingston on Thursday nights. On Friday morning to start for the head of the Bay of Quinte, and return on Saturday evening, ready to perform the Lake journey on the following Monday. This route appears well adapted to the boat, and her probable success has our best wishes.

Now for the excursion. As few persons had knowledge of the intended trial, the company was more select than numerous and consisted of about thirty gentlemen with part of their families, including Messrs. Strange, Yarker, W. Wilson, Kirkpatrick, Counter, Gildersleeve, and other shareholders. At four o'clock the boat left the wharf and made several graceful revolutions round the harbor, and returned to her place of starting with an apparent intention of lying up; when to the consternation of some, the approbation of many, and amid the sly laughter of the initiated, word was passed to the helmsman and engineer to make the best of their way to Bath. The evening was lovely;... hardly a breathe of wind could be felt, and the usual coldness of a Canadian spring seemed exchanged for the balmy mildness of an English autumn. Discontent in the minds of the few was speedily subsiding, when as if to make assurance doubly sure, and charm more senses than that of seeing, the proprietors on board gave the signal for the company to repair to the great cabin, where an elegant cold collation, hastily prepared, regaled the eye and tempted the appetite even of those who had previously dined. The presence of Capt. Sinclair being required on deck, the head of the table was taken by John Strange, Esq. M.P.P. while Mr. John Counter officiated as croupier. Dinner passed off lightly; the gentlemen took wine with the ladies, and the ladies hobb'd and nobb'd with the gentlemen, and barring an awkward mistake or two, every thing was comme il faut. Before the ladies retired, "Success to the Commodore Barrie," was proposed from the chair, and need we say, the toast was drunk in bumpers with three times three; as was also the case with "the health of Capt. Gildersleeve," proposed by Mr. Counter, and for which the worthy Captain returned his thanks in a neat and appropriate speech. It was five o'clock exactly when the steamboat passed Cartwright's wharf, and it had hardly reached to half past six, when she arrived at Bath, a distance of more than eighteen miles. Staying there about an hour, the company re-embarked, and after again partaking of refreshments in the shape of tea and supper, were landed in safety long ere 10 o'clock, at the place of starting, highly delighted with the unexpected pleasure of the trip, with the attentions of the proprietors, with the boat, and with themselves. "And when John Gilpin rides again, May we be there to see!"

The state of trade in Kingston imperiously demands from every Journalist, his most strenuous endeavors to induce the inhabitants to regard the Rideau Canal with the importance it deserves, as the only means to prevent the town's ruin and bankruptcy. To patronize any other mode of receiving merchandize from below than by the Canal, will be committing an act of suicide, as unprofitable as reprehensible; and yet we grieve to say, we have already heard of several orders given to forward the spring goods per the the St. Lawrence. However it may suit the present convenience of those Kingston merchants we have alluded to, to pander to the prejudices of their Montreal correspondents, we feel persuaded that on calm reflection they will see the necessity of encouraging the Rideau Navigation, and take an early opportunity of countermanding the route of their expected goods. No man who has the smallest desire to see Kingston become, what Nature and man intended, the site of the Forwarding trade, will hesitate for one moment to contribute all he can towards so desirable an object.

The Enterprize, Capt. Richards, arrived from Bytown on Sunday noon. This boat is the first that has made the trip from Bytown this season.

Most of the New York papers of a late date have contained variegated accounts of the late gale on Lake Ontario, together with the destruction of the Great Britain, steam packet! It is somewhat singular that events of such magnitude should occur under our very nose, and we be none the wiser, which of course is not true.

Official Gazette contains a new list of tolls on Ottawa Canals, starting June 1st. [Montreal Herald]

Media Type:
Item Type:
Date of Original:
May 5, 1835
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Rick Neilson
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
WWW address
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

British Whig (Kingston, ON), May 5, 1835