The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), April 7, 1838

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In accordance with the promise we made last week we took our annual walk on Thursday through the maritime part of our good town, and the result of the perambulation we lay before our readers.

The ice is entirely out of the harbor, and the navigation, to and from all parts of the Lake and River, is perfectly free and almost unimpeded by floating ice. Whether the Bay of Quinte is navigable to its head we have not learnt, but it is open to Adolphustown. Several schooners have left the harbor and one arrival (from Cape Vincent ) occurred on Thursday.

A great alteration in the shipping business will take place this year. The Hon. John Hamilton, who either by charter or purchase, has become master of six steamboats, viz. the Great Britain, Traveller, St. George, Cobourg, Commodore Barrie, and Hamilton, intends that none of his Lake Boats shall descend below Kingston and consequently this town will become the centre of transportation between the Upper Country and the Lower Province. The plan we believe is as follows: - The Great Britain, Cobourg, and St. George will make two weekly trips to the head of the Lake, thus forming a daily line, (Sundays excepted;) and two Bay Boats, probably the Brockville and Kingston will each make three weekly trips to the head of the Long Sault, and in that case, two other Bay Boats, possibly the Sir James Kempt and Hamilton, will perform similar trips to the head of the Bay of Quinte - all the several boats making Kingston the pivot on which they turn. This in connection with the Forwarding establishment of the Ottawa and Rideau Company, under the management of Messrs. McPherson and Crane, will create a commercial bustle on our wharves hitherto unprecedented. Such is the outline of the intended plan of operations. In the meanwhile, the small brick building, near Mr. Counter's Bakery, (late the Custom House) is taken by the Hon. John Hamilton, as a General Steamboat Office to be under the superintendence of his agent, Mr. Minelly.

The Great Britain will be commanded as usual by Capt. Whitney, while his late purser, Mr. Moody, assumes the charge of the St. George, and Mr. Bethune (late of the O.& R. Company) steps into the vacant pursership. Lieut. Harper, R.N., will retain the command of the Cobourg, as will Messrs. Sutherland and J. Herchmer of the Traveller and Commodore Barrie. The latter vessel is ready for sea (the Traveller has left port,) but it will take two or three weeks to complete the outfits of the former.

The Brockville has been chartered by the Marine Railway Company, and will be taken charge of by Capt. Calder. This handsome vessel has undergone a complete repair during the winter, and will be ready to commence her trips in the course of a week or so. The Kingston will be commanded by Capt. Lawless, and is nearly ready. The Sir James Kempt has also undergone extensive repairs during the winter, and is in about the same state of forwardness - Capt. Sheriff takes charge.

The Ottawa & Rideau Company's boats, the Cataraqui, Bytown & Rideau, will be severally commanded by Messrs. Drummond, Hunter, and Morin. They will be ready by the opening of the Canal Navigation. Captain Brush relinquishes the superintendence of the out-door department of this extensive Forwarding Establishment, and is said will be succeeded by Mr. Ferguson, of Montreal.

Touching the other Lake Boats, we see an advertisement in the Oswego papers, stating that the following vessels will run in connection:- The William IV, Capt. Hilliard; United States, Capt. Van Cleve; Sir Robert Peel, Captain A. B. Armstrong; and Telegraph, Capt. Child, - the three former from Prescott to the head of the Lake, and the latter to and from Oswego, Kingston and Rochester. This line may be called the opposition line to that of the Hon. John Hamilton's.

The Wharf Business will be divided this season between Messrs. Counter and Barton Phillips. The wharf of the first named gentleman has undergone a substantial repair, and is in excellent order for the reception and shipment of goods; while the latter enterprising man of business has taken and repaired the large wharf lately in the occupation of Mr. John MacGuire, adjoining and in addition to that extensive platform, known by the name of the Commercial Wharf.

The Marine Railway Company has recently been incorporated, and a statement of its affairs will be found in our advertising columns. The inhabitants of Kingston are much indebted to the enterprise of a few public spirited gentlemen for this great addition to the importance of their town as a maritime depot.

The above is all we have been able to glean respecting the arrangements of the coming season, but as each boat makes ready for business, we may then say a few words about it and its Captain, giving credit where it is due, and withholding it where it is undeserved.


At a Meeting of the Stockholders of the Kingston Marine Railway held at the Br. A. Hotel on this day, for purpose of electing five Directors agreeable to the Act of incorporation; the following persons were duly elected:-

H. Gildersleeve,

J. Counter,

A. McNabb,

J. Strange,

H. Cassady.

The Directors having adjourned till 5 o'clock, met at the house of Mr. Counter, where H. Gildersleeve was elected President, J. Counter Treasurer, and A. McNabb Secretary.

Kingston, April 2nd, 1838 A. McNabb, Secretary.



Dr. £ s. d.

Amount of Stock, paid in 4350 0 0

Profits, 1837 and '38 to the present time, including

Steamers on the Ways, 1125 9 0

Cash borrowed from Commercial Bank. 1000 0 0

Bills payable, Budden & Vennor 198 13 10

J. Watkins & Co. 144 3 1

G.W. Yarker. 317 4 0

G. & J. McDonald. 400 0 0

H. Earle for Land, 125 0 0

Work required to be done to finish Wharf, House,

etc., estimated at 350 0 0

Kingston, April 2, 1838 £8040 10 0

Cr. £ s. d.

By debts due and materials on hand 1378 0 0

By cash paid in, 348 shares at

£12 10s. each 4350 0 0

185 Shares in Market for sale 2312 10 0

£ 8040 10 0

The Stock Book will be opened at the office of the Treasurer on the 10th inst. Persons wishing to take stock, will have the privilege by paying 10 per cent on the amount subscribed, and the remainder by Notes at 3, 6, and 9 months, with interest. The President and Directors have no hesitation in stating, that should the balance of Stock be taken up, the present prospects will warrant a dividend at the close of the season of at least from 15 to 20 per cent.

J. COUNTER, Treas'r. K.M.R.

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April 7, 1838
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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 7, 1838