The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Bytown Gazette (Ottawa, ON), Aug. 28, 1839

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(copied from British Whig)

p.3 Steam packets To & From Bytown - In noticing the intention of the Government of Lower Canada to construct a lock at St. Ann's, the Bytown Gazette indulges unnecessarily in some ill-natured remarks respecting the Ottawa and Rideau Company. It is well known that the whole of the Forwarding of the Upper Province is now transacted by means of this Company's steamboats, via the Rideau Canal, and that consequently passages from Bytown to Kingston must be somewhat tedious, by the reason of the lockage of the many barges in tow. The Bytown Gazette complains that this "economising Establishment will not be at the expense of putting on a light boat, and appropriating her to the conveyance of passengers." This accusation is not founded on fact. Last year the Company placed an additional steamboat on the route, with the intention of confining her to the passenger trade, but the increased business of the country prevented her being solely devoted to that purpose. This year the Company took the Endeavour off the Grenville Canal, and brought her to Kingston, where her engine has been completely overhauled and new boilers constructed, for the special purpose of relieving some of the larger steamboats from the towing of barges; but the unfortunate break down of the Bytown, the still increased business of the country, and the slowness of the repairs of the Endeavour, have as yet prevented any of the Company's steamers from being confined to the passenger trade. But so far from economy having caused the delay, it has been solely occasioned by unavoidable accident and unforeseen increase of business. Messrs. M'Pherson & Crane, the Managers of the Company, instead of being blamed, should have the proper credit given to them for their endeavours to increase the facilities in travelling of the good people of Bytown, notwithstanding their endeavours have not been crowned with success. The repairs of the Bytown and the Endeavour are nearly completed and the Boats will soon be on the Canal, but as the season is now far advanced, it may not be deemed advisable to try the experiment of a passage boat this year, but we are sufficiently advised that next spring a steamer will be devoted to that purpose, and will afford the Bytownians an opportunity twice a week of leaving their good town for Kingston, without the drag or delay of towed barges.

The public at a distance must not misunderstand us. We have been speaking of passages from Bytown to Kingston; - the passage from Kingston to Bytown is always made with dispatch and certainty, hardly ever exceeding thirty hours, and the steamers have every convenience their size admits.

The foregoing remarks from the Kingston Whig, reached us too late to be noticed in our last week's paper; but we are happy to take the earliest opportunity of defending ourselves against the imputation of "indulging unnecessarily in any ill-natured remarks against the Ottawa and Rideau Forwarding Company." It was the observation of an old and experienced Highland Chief, "May God defend me from my friends, my enemies I can take care of myself." Our friend the Doctor has placed himself and the Ottawa and Rideau Forwarding Company in the former position. The Bytown Gazette reprobated, and justly, the miserly policy of leaving the St. Ann's Rapids, without being locked up for the free transmission of Boats, and thereby leaving the key of the Rideau Canal in the hands of a monopolising Company. We also complained, and in that complaint, we were not singular, that the delay occasioned by towing so many barges, was severely felt by those whose object in travelling was despatch, and prevented many from passing by this route, who could otherwise do so. We further suggested that as a remedy, the 0. & R. Forwarding Company ( for none else could do it, while they held the monopoly,) ought to place a light boat on this route, for the transport of passengers exclusively. Such is the head and front of our offence, and which the Editor of the Whig says, is not founded on fact. What then are the facts? By his own shewing, it appears the 0. & R.F. Company were sensible of the necessity for a boat to accommodate the passenger trade, as they last year placed one for that purpose. The reason of her not being exclusively confined to this branch will appear singular to some readers, - namely, "from the increased business of the country." To many plain thinking men, it would appear that an increase of business called for an increase of boats, rather than that one branch of the trade should suffer; and to what but their economising schemes can we attribute the want of a sufficient number of boats? It would appear further, that the Company are still impressed with the opinion that there is a necessity for more boats on this part of the line. For this reason they placed the Endeavour on it; and had it not been the length of time necessary to put her in repair; and the breaking down of the Bytown, this writer alleges, all would have been right this season. So the public are to suffer, because this economising Establishment choose to spend a whole season in repairing one of their boats, or because they don't choose to have a sufficient number to meet a break-down, or any casualty. We would beg to give this writer a little more information. The Endeavour, under the best repair, cannot carry an engine of sufficient power for towing barges - still less is she, from her accommodations suitable for passengers, so that the story of removing the evil complained of, by running her between Bytown and Kingston is all humbug.

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Aug. 28, 1839
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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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Bytown Gazette (Ottawa, ON), Aug. 28, 1839