The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Feb. 24, 1836

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p.3 Kingston Awake - We congratulate the town upon the erection of no less than three superb Wharves for the reception of steam boats and schooners during the ensuing season. The first at the foot of Store Street, to be called the "Commercial Wharf," is in a forward state of completion: it comprises the water lots belonging to the Hon. Messrs. Kirby & Macaulay, and when finished, will be the most magnificent in Kingston, with the solitary exception of the Town Wharf. It will extend 150 feet into the harbor, with a length of nearly the same, and in addition to the warehouses already erected, several new ones are to be put up. The wharf is leased for ten years to A. Truax, Esq. who with Mr. Barton Phillips, is reported to have made extensive preparations for a brisk forwarding trade.

The second wharf now building is at Garden, or Cameron's Island, on the opposite side of the harbor. This wharf is intended for the purpose of schooners and other crafts discharging staves and lumber, to be forwarded to Montreal and Quebec, by the "Kingston Stave Forwarding Company." The wharf is being erected at the south-east end of the Island, between that shore and Long Island, a situation remarkably well sheltered and easy of access to every description of vessels navigating the lake. The shore favors the erection of the wharf and harbor for the reception of the Staves. Nine piers, each fifty feet apart, are built running in an easterly direction, which are met at the extreme point of the Island by a wharf and two other piers, having a southerly direction, and the area enclosed is of sufficient magnitude to contain and secure all the staves and other lumber, that could possibly be accumulated for rafting in a reasonable period of time. Within less than a quarter of a mile from the works, is a commodious tavern, lately built by Mr. Cameron, for the convenience of parties of pleasure resorting in summer time to the Island. The house is handsome and abounds in conveniences unknown to country houses of entertainment. It is at present kept by a person of the name of Ellsworth. In respect to the stock of the Company,it is proper to observe, that it has long ago been taken up, and is already at a premium.

The third new wharf is, properly speaking, more an enlargement of a wharf, than a new one. It belongs to Mr. Counter, who in order to participate on equal terms in the anticipated summer trade, is now making some important additions to his lately erected wharf and premises.

In addition to these symptoms of wakefulness on the part of our townspeople, we have the pleasure of stating, that the Marine Railway Company is perfected, and means have been taken to procure a capable architect to superintend the work, which is to be immediately prosecuted. The site chosen for the Railway is the lake shore to the eastward of Mississagua Point, where nature is very favorable for the sheltering of schooners and steamboats waiting to be hauled up. We cannot approve of sending to the States for an architect, which we understand has been done by the committee, but if, as we learn, there is no person in this vicinity who thoroughly understands the formation of a durable Railway, there is some excuse for their conduct. The "fact," if uncontradicted by proof, is "lamentable."

For the Chronicle & Gazette.


Mr. Editor; - It is a fact, and a most lamentable fact too, that neither of the Canadas are possessed of one single mechanic, engineer, or man of talent or genius sufficiently capable of constructing a Marine Railway in Kingston, for the purpose of hauling up such crafts as navigate Lake Ontario, or our leading or enterprising men have got so opposed to encouraging British genius as to prefer that of Yankee Doodle's, for I understand that our wise-acres have already concluded upon sending to New York for a person of sufficient skill to construct this all but impossible piece of work, when there are men not so many yards from the spot, who are not only capable of making a railway to haul up schooners and Bay boats, but the St. George, Sir James Kempt, Commodore Barrie, and all the rest of our Kingston aquatic gentry piled in a heap on each other. But a British subject must not have the honor or the profit of such a job, - no, no, Yankee Doodle is the man who can and must do everything. He is the lad that can calculate and guess to a decimal. What have Britain done or her mechanics, compared with Yankee Doodle? They never made wooden nutmegs, and how could they make a Marine Railway. Oh! Kingston, Kingston, how long shall I weep over thy failings, thy blunders and thy partialities? Where is thy patriotism and where is your loyal spirit wandering? Where is your boasted pride of British or Canadian genius? If such examples of this sort as we have witnessed in this Province for some years back will be followed up, no British mechanics will remain among us who have any merit, and in case of another war we must have Yankees to build our forts and ships, etc. We had better follow up this example a little farther - with Yankee mechanics let us have Yankee magistrates, lawyers, justices of the peace, and members of Parliament, and we shall shortly shake the Executive Council and put an end to such titles as tories, patriots, constitutionalists, etc. If we want a spinning wheel of one mouse power more than ordinary, by and bye we must have a council of wise-acres assembled to find out if it is possible for a British mechanic to construct it, when of course it will be decided that none but a Yankee can do it. British mechanics are unquestionably insulted by their fellow citizens. The British genius which astonished the world is shamefully insulted, and let those who may think otherwise, but I think that such proceedings conduces as much as anything else to alienate the Canadian people of all grades, from the loyalty which they have so long evinced.

What does the Managers of the Marine Railway mean, or do they think that their job is such a difficult, complex and gigantic one as to be above the capacity of the mechanics of the Province? Bah! Let them go a month or two to study Ferguson or read Babbage, etc., and they will not, I hope, show to the world so much ignorance.

I am, yours truly,


p.S. If they are at a loss to know where these men alluded to are to be found in Kingston, a half dollar's worth of advertisement will bring them to light in fifteen minutes, with securities enough to back them.

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Feb. 24, 1836
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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), Feb. 24, 1836