The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), April 20, 1836

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p.2 Welland Canal Report - enquiry presents report. [Toronto Correspondent]


At this particular season of the year, when every person and every thing connected with Navigation is busily engaged, the careful journalist who wishes his readers to be informed of the nautical doings of his town, cannot employ his time to more advantage, than in perambulating occasionally the busy parts and narrating what he sees, and is told. Under this impression, on Tuesday we took a professional stroll through that part of Kingston, dignified by us, with the title of "Dockyard," and in the order the ideas and information were conveyed to us, so shall we detail them.

Commencing our stroll at the Chief Wharf of the Ottawa & Rideau Forwarding Company, we stopped on board the Bytown. This steam-vessel, built last season, is the largest and most commodious of the Rideau Boats. Her late Captain, R. Robins, having been translated to the command of the Ottawa, plying between Lachine and the Grenville Canal, the Bytown has been given this season to Capt. Bowen, formerly of the Rideau, under whose care, she makes at present a very handsome appearance, being newly painted and decorated, and put in a state of forwardness to depart upon the instant opening of the navigation. The Rideau and Margaret are repairing, and a new boat (of which more anon,) is building. The Captains of these vessels this year are not yet fully appointed. A nephew of the late Mr. Drummond will probably have one, and a younger brother of Capt. Chambers have another. Capt. Chambers of the Thos. McKay has entered into business at Smith's Falls with Mr. Carr, late agent for the Company at Bytown, and Capt. Moorehouse, late of the Margaret, is occupied in fitting a steam-engine into a boat belonging to the Messrs. Weatherhead of Barbadoes, to convey lumber along the canal, intended for the Oswego market.

The O. & R. Forwarding Company are making extensive preparations for a brisk trade. In addition to their own Warehouses, they have engaged those belonging to Messrs. Cartwright, J. Counter, and T. Kirkpatrick, which taken collectively, are capable, one would think, of containing half the merchandize in the province. Several barges belonging to the Company are getting ready to depart upon the earliest opportunity, of which number, Mr. Myers in the Trader, ever "pushing ahead," will take the lead.

The steamboat building by the Company is a sister vessel to the Bytown, 108 feet long, by 32 feet breadth of beam. She is so far forward, as to be capable of launching at any moment, (probably about the 1st May,) and her engine, (that belonging to the Thomas McKay) will be fitted for use towards the end of the month. According to report, the Rideau navigation will not commence until the first or second week in May. The Kingston officers of the Company are the same as last year. Capt. G. Brush, Agent, Mr. W. Craig, Bookkeeper, and Mr. J. Alley, Shipping Clerk.

Leaving the Company's premises, we visited the Sir James Kempt. This excellent and never-failing steam-boat is in high order, and looks "better as new. " She remains under the command of Capt. Baker, while the nautical doings of the vessel are confided to Mr. Wm. Shaw, as Sailing Master. She is quite ready to depart, and will leave Kingston for the Head of the Bay every Tuesday and Friday mornings. It is more than probable, that while the Lion & Tiger (the Kingston and Brockville) are quarrelling about engrossing the whole freight of the Bay, the Sir James will walk in quietly and take away more than her full third.

The Commodore Barrie was the next object of our visit. Some very extensive alterations and improvements in the construction of the boilers of this vessel have been lately perfected under the immediate superintendence of Mr. Irvin, of the firm of Irvin & Workman, Montreal. The old boilers have been entirely removed, and the new ones constructed on a novel principle, which if successful, and of which not a doubt can be raised by competent individuals, must firmly establish the reputation of Mr. Irvin, as an engineer. Capt. Robert Patterson, late of the schooner Union, has taken the command of the Commodore, and if we know anything of human nature, we can foresee for that gentleman both success and fame in his new undertaking. He is a first rate fellow, and will make a slap-up captain of a steam-boat, on board of which, nothing is more wanting, than a high determination of character, good humour, and general urbanity; characteristics which Capt. Patterson possesses in a high degree. The Commodore will leave Kingston for the Head of the Lake twice in every week, but will not go below Kingston, nor touch (we believe,) at any of the American ports. She will be patronized greatly by the 0. & R. F. Company. The preparations on board this vessel are in a high state of forwardness, and she will be ready by the second or third week in May.

From the Commodore Barrie, we stepped on board the Great Britain. What shall we say of this splendid steam-packet, or its urbane and ever-attentive Captain? Shall we repeat the adulation of former years, or shall we pass the matter over, subsilentio? Neither. No praise that we could bestow, either upon the vessel, or Capt . Whitney, could make them better known or better liked; and yet we utter no more than the truth in asserting, that the splendor and elegance of the Great Britain infinitely surpasses that of past years, and that her gallant commander seems to have taken a new lease of its existence, and outvies his former self in attention to his duty. In order to strengthen the guards six substantial pillars have been erected, which with their gilded tops, making a flaming and gallant show, add much to the imposing appearance of the vessel. She is quite ready to leave us for Prescott, there to receive her Furniture and Stores, and departs on the first opening of the ice. Until the 1st June, she will leave Kingston for Oswego and Toronto every Wednesday, and return from thence, every Monday. Mr. Moody remains as purser.

Last but not least comes the Kingston. This elegant and swift vessel has always been a pet of ours; we have been at particular pains, and have had particular pleasure in pointing out her merits to the public, and the public have been much obliged to us for so doing; since all who have journeyed in her, have reason to be pleased with the fruits of their experience. The Kingston is the fastest boat on her own waters, and being Kingston property, we feel a deeper interest in her welfare, than in some others. She loses this year the services of Capt. Calder, who assumes the command of the Brockville, but she gains those of Capt. Jacob Bonter, well known on the boat's route, as a man of urbanity, enterprize and ability: - one who, to use a Yankee phrase, is always anxious to be "going ahead." Under the care of such a man, we have no fears for the Kingston's success. Mr. James Watt is engaged as Purser for the season. The Kingston is advertised for the same days as those of last year, being those chosen by the Brockville, who comes on the Bay of Quinte route this year. -With respect to the dispute, as to the right of the Brockville to take the day of any other boat, we shall say nothing now, but when the war begins, as begin it will, we perceive we shall have some trouble in steering the middle course, and please both parties. She will leave for Prescott as soon as the ice permits.

Several schooners have been ready for sea some days: among these the Union and Princess Victoria are the most conspicuous. Mr. Ives has built, now almost ready for launching, a very handsome vessel of this class, about 150 tons burden.

James George, Esq. of Quebec, has been in town a few days, for the purpose of superintending the repairs of his diagonal barge, Quebec, but owing to the scarcity of shipwrights he will have to wait a short time. Whether he intends to sail for London or Chicago, we have not yet learnt.

The Marine Railway Company are about commencing their undertaking. The plan of Mr. Malcolm has been adopted by the committee, and should his tender be accepted, he will in all probability execute the work. While the company have been considering what they should do, a private individual, by name John McIntyre, has taken time by the forelock, and almost completed a Marine Railway of his own invention, for which he has received Letters Patent from the Lieutenant Governor Having obtained permission from the magistrates to occupy the water in front and waste ground, forming part of School Street, he set to work, projecting his inclined plane by a very gradual declivity to a depth of water of 20 feet. The Railway part of his plan is not new, but the vessel when raised out of the water, by a singular contrivance is carried to its appointed place. He will be enabled thus at a very moderate expense, to have more than a dozen vessels hauled up and undergoing repairs or inspection at one and the same time. The scale of Mr. McIntyre's Railway is somewhat contracted, but it will answer very well for small steamers and schooners. The design is admirably calculated to effect the contemplated object, and it is to be regretted that the New Company did not avail themselves of the services of so skilful an architect.

Messrs. Truax & Phillips are busily occupied in putting their new wharf in a state of forwardness for the ensuing summer trade. When completed the "Commercial Wharf " will be the most commodious in town, being situated at the foot of Store Street in the very centre of business. These gentlemen will have a competitor in the Forwarding business, in the person of Mr. John Counter.

Being in the vicinity, ere we returned home, we looked into the extensive Iron Foundry of Mr. Yarker. This establishment consists of five departments. A Smelting house and Casting room; a work shop, containing an infinite number of lathes, turned by a steam engine of ten horse power; a blacksmith's shop with four forges, all at work; a pattern shop, and some other buildings, the use of which does not at present recur to our memory. Living as we do within less than half a mile of this Cyclopean Factory, we had no idea of the immense work manufactured here daily. To judge from a hasty glance, between 30 and 40 men appeared to be employed in the various departments of the business; and if we construed rightly the words of the proprietor, he has more work upon his hands than he can execute for some time to come.

The works of the Stave Forwarding Company at Garden Island are in a high state of completion, and the Company are now ready to receive consignments.

Such is the present state of the Port of Kingston and its Dockyard .

letter to Editor about navigation of Trent. (over a full column) [Chronicle]

To Lumber Merchants - 25% ad valorem duty charged on lumber in American ports will not also be charged on cost of freight as before.

harbor at Oswego free of ice. [Oswego Observer]

Committee appointed to investigate charges against Welland Canal Co. directors finds nothing wrong.

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Date of Original:
April 20, 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), April 20, 1836