The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), April 19, 1844

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The abundant Harvest of the past year has given an impetus to the Canadian Commerce of the present. The quantity of Wheat and Flour in the Upper Province now awaiting transportation seawards is greater than ever has been recorded since Canada was a country; and the prices at which all kinds of bread stuffs are held are sufficiently remunerating to encourage the Canadian farmer to increased exertions. Upwards of 200,000 bbls. of flour, (it is computed by competent authority,) will find their way to Montreal in the course of the present spring; a most astonishing surplus, when it is recollected that the population of the producing portion of the province does not exceed half a million of souls. To transport this unusual surplus, together with the ordinary produce of the province, proportionate means have been prepared by the various Houses engaged in the Forwarding business, the head quarters of which are at Kingston; and in order to disabuse the minds of those persons at a distance, who out of envy or jealousy, are too apt to underate the pretensions of our good town to rank and consideration, maugre its loss or retention of the Seat of Government, we shall take a succinct review of the Means at the disposal of the Kingston Forwarders.

The Ottawa and Rideau Forwarding Company, the leviathan of the Trade, is no more. After a turbulent and many-phased existence of a dozen years, it has gone the way of all flesh. Peace to its manes! Let who will rail against it or its management, Kingston owes to it a debt of deep gratitude, which during its lifetime, it never felt itself properly disposed to pay. But although virtually deceased, the Company may be said yet to live. Messrs. McPherson, Crane & Co., its late managers and partners, became last winter the sole purchasers of the stock, and retaining possession of all the late Company's Wharves, Warehouses and Depots, are precisely in "loco suroris." To them must be awarded the post of honor.

Messrs. McPherson & Crane - The most important feature of this Forwarding House's intended operations, will be the running of a Daily Line of Steamers between Kingston and Montreal. - The line is to consist of three low pressure Steamboats, the Charlotte, Capt. Maxwell, the Bytown, Capt. Sughrue, and the new steamer Caledonia, Capt. R. Patterson. These vessels will leave Kingston on alternate days, and will make the trip within the week. During the winter, the cabins of the two first named vessels have been rebuilt, with sufficient height to allow passengers plenty of room for air and comfort, and affording an ample prospect of all the Rapids hence to Montreal, without the smallest exposure to the weather.The Caledonia is an entirely new vessel, built this year at Kingston, on the most improved model of a canal steamer; and although of the confined dimensions of 85 feet by 20, will in addition to its machinery, carry the large freight of 800 barrels of flour. None of these vessels make a practice of towing, but confine their business to passengers and freight. To complete the Daily Line, three propelling steamers, with improved machinery, the Juno, Mercury, and Meteor, will leave on the intermediate days. On the Rideau Canal, the roomy steamer Beaver, Capt. J. Patterson, will resume her station, to be followed, should occasion require, by the steamers Otter and Hunter. The steamboat Porcupine will be held in readiness to assist on the St. Lawrence and Bay of Quinte, in expediting the general business. On Lake Ontario, five first class schooners, the Rose, Thistle, Shamrock, Wm. Cayley, and Henrietta, expect to be fully employed for some months to come, discharging their various cargoes at Kingston into myriads of barges and durham boats. So far, all the vessels we have enumerated belong to and rendezvous at Kingston; but speaking of the expected doings of Messrs. McPherson, Crane & Co., it will not be amiss to add, that on the Ottawa River, the fine old steamboat Shannon, will be re-commissioned by Capt. Lightaul, plying between Bytown and Grenville, while the lower part of the route will be resumed by Capt. Robins in the Ottawa. The wharves of this House are the City Wharf and the Rideau Wharf. Mr. John McPherson will manage the business at Kingston, Mr. Crane will do the needful both at Prescott and Montreal, Messrs. David McPherson and Patterson will remain stationary at Montreal, while Mr. Francis Clemow will continue his agency at Bytown. The operations of this single House are of so extended a nature, as to cause some degree of astonishment to persons unacquainted with the business and resources of a Canadian Forwarder.

Messrs. Hooker, Henderson & Co. - And Messrs. H. & S. Jones - These old and well established Houses, although distinct Firms, having separate interests and establishments, must nevertheless be considered, in our category, as one Forwarding House, from the community with which they hold the several steamers employed on their Line. Their Line hence to Montreal may almost be considered as a Daily Line. It will comprise the steamer Lily, Capt. Smith, the steamer Pilot, Capt. Gilpin, the steamer Grenville, the steamer St. David, and a new steamer lately completed. On the Rideau Canal the commodious steamer Prince Albert, Capt. Cumming, will resume its business, making a weekly trip to Bytown, while our old friend Capt. Chambers, in the steamer Albion, will do the work between Grenville and Bytown. The steamer Oldfield will be stationed, as last year, on the lower end of the Ottawa Route. The schooners owned and chartered by these two Houses are numerous, but their names have escaped us. In Messrs. Hooker, Henderson & Co.'s establishment, Mr. James Henderson does the business at Montreal, Mr. Hooker at Prescott, and Mr. Francis Henderson at Kingston. In Messrs. H. & S. Jones' Firm, Mr. Henry Jones remains at Brockville, Mr. Sidney Jones at Montreal, and Mr. Wm. McDonell is the Kingston Agent. Messrs. Hooker, Henderson & Co.'s Wharf and Warehouses are at the foot of Princess Street, while those belonging to Messrs. H. & S. Jones are as usual on the wharf near the Tete de Pont Barracks, known as Strange's Wharf. The latter House has another establishment two miles down the St. Lawrence, at a place called Sidney Cove.

Messrs. Sanderson & Murray - This House has been making great preparations to carry on the war this season with vigor. Their Line of Steamers between Kingston and Montreal will comprise the Dart, Capt. Willoughby, and the propellers Ericson & Propeller, each vessel departing on alternate days, and making a weekly trip. On the Rideau Canal, that old favorite commander, Capt. Thos. Drummond, will take charge of the steamer Vulcan, the fast sailing steamer Swan, Capt. Swetman, will ply between Grenville and Bytown, and the Gem, Capt. Hays, will do the business of the Firm between Lachine and Carillon. Four fine schooners, well adapted to the trade of the Upper Lakes, the Prince Albert, Juno, Louise, and St. Patrick, are owned or chartered by this House, while twenty-two barges, many of the first class, will materially assist in reducing the surplus amount of produce in Upper Canada. This firm has lately shifted its quarters from Scobell's Wharf to the Stone Fire Proof premises belonging to the Marine Railway Company, near the present Government Offices, occupied last season by the Quebec Forwarding Company. Mr. Sanderson stays at Brockville, Mr. Murray remains at Montreal, and Mr. Wm. Gunn is their Kingston Agent.

The Quebec Forwarding Company - This House, in its second year of existence, is making daily progress in obtaining the public good will. The number of Steamers owned is but small, comprising the Aid, Capt. Redmond, stationed between Grenville and Kingston, and two small Steamers, the Quebec and Huron, making the round between Kingston and Montreal; but its engagements with other Houses to do its Towing overcome that deficiency. The names and number of its schooners are unknown to us; but the Company has 24 fine Barges, newly built, and remarkably well adapted to the trade. The premises occupied by the Company this year are on Mr. James Browne's Wharf, where very great improvements have been made lately, rendering the Warehouse the most commodious in Town. Mr. Alexander Ferguson, (late of the Firm of McGibbin and Ferguson) is the Company's Agent at Montreal, and Mr. Innes does the Kingston business.

Mr. John H. Greer - This gentleman, from a simple Wharfinger, has risen to the rank of a Forwarder, and deserves a passing notice. The Wharf long known as Cartwright's Wharf, and formerly occupied by Messrs. McPherson and Crane, has been entirely rebuilt by him during the past Fall and Winter, and with extensive improvements and additions, has become the largest in town. - Mr. Greer's Forwarding is chiefly confined to various Agencies connected with that business. He is the Kingston Agent of the Pioneer Line of Small Steamers, to Montreal, comprising the Pioneer, Union and Gleaner, which Line acts in concert with the People's Line, of which Mr. George Henderson is Agent, consisting of the Britannia, Capt. Maxwell, Favorite, Captain Jones, and Rob Roy, Capt. Dickinson. These Six Steamers will make a Daily Line, leaving Greer's Wharf every evening at six o'clock, Sundays excepted. Mr. Greer is the Kingston Agent of the Royal Mail Line of Steamers to Toronto, of whom more anon. Mr. Greer in addition to his new Premises, still retains the Custom House Wharf, at which the American Steamers do their business, and of which Line he is also Agent.

The above concludes the notice of what is strictly the Forwarding Trade of Kingston, but while we are upon the subject, it will not be amiss to notice the several Lines of Steam Packets belonging to our good town, and first and foremost is the

p.3 Royal Mail Line of Steamers - This most superb Line consists of six First Class Steamboats. The City of Toronto, Captain Dick, the Princess Royal, Captain Colcleugh, the Royal Sovereign, Captain Elmsley, the Canada, Captain Lawless, the Highlander, Captain Stearns, and the Henry Gildersleeve, Captain Bowen. The first-named three boats are Vessels of 500 tons burden, well adapted to contend with the storms of Lake Ontario, and form a Daily Line to Toronto, leaving Kingston in the evening, and arriving early in the morning. Mr. D. Bethune is the principal Proprietor, but the stock is owned by various individuals. As we are not writing puffs, all we have to say of these splendid vessels is, that they must be seen to be properly appreciated. The last named three vessels, are not so capacious, but as their service is confined to the River St. Lawrence, they are of a lighter build. They form a Daily Line to the Coteau du Lac, descending the Rapids of the Long Sault, and ascending by the way of the Cornwall Canal. This portion of the Line is chiefly owned by the Hon. John Hamilton, whose Kingston Agent is Mr. Menielly. The line commences operation tomorrow morning at seven o'clock, by the departure for Dickinson's Landing of the Canada. On the 25th instant the Cornwall Canal will be opened, on which day the Highlander will ascend to Kingston, and the Line will then be completed to the Coteau.

Owing to the improper interference of the American Steamers with the business usually transacted at the Head of the Lake, by Captain Richardson's Line of Steamers from Toronto to Rochester and Coburg, that gentleman intends this year to give the intruders " a Roland for an Oliver," in the shape of running a Line from Kingston to Oswego, and the Niagara Falls. The Steamer, Chief Justice is expected down daily to commence business on the intended route, to be followed by the Admiral and other Steamers, and the Premises lately vacated by Messrs. Sanderson and Murray, on Scobell's Wharf, are rented for the Agency. More power to their elbow we say.

On the Bay of Quinte, the steamer Prince Edward, Capt. Bonter, and the steamer Prince of Wales, Capt. Chrysler, are already in full operation; to be followed, as soon as some alterations are completed, by the steamer Frontenac, belonging to Messrs. Ives.

The Union, Capt. Burns, will this season ply as usual on the old route to Oswego, and Niagara, touching up and down at Wellington, Prince Edward District.



The Montreal Mail Line of Steamers will commence plying daily on Saturday next, the 20th instant, leaving Kingston every morning at 7 o'clock. They will go as far as Coteau du Lac if the Cornwall Canal be open.

Steam Boat Office, Com. Wharf,

Kingston, 17th April, 1844.

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April 19, 1844
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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 19, 1844