p.3 The St. Lawrence Rapids - I embarked on board the Charlotte steamer, to go down the St. Lawrence rapids. This route, though now the ordinary one, was never taken by steamers till this year. There is now a line of small boats which make the entire round, starting from Montreal, going up the Ottawa to Bytown, thence by the Rideau to Kingston, and then down the St. Lawrence to Montreal. The mail still goes by the large steamers, which correspond with a line of stages at every portage, but passengers generally prefer going down the rapids, as being quicker, less troublesome, and cheaper, besides the excitement attending upon a "feat. " By going the last rapid, at Lachine, the steamers forfeit their insurance, consequently only one or two do so, and these do not insure; the others go by the Lachine Canal to Montreal. The rapids are four in number - the Long Sault, the Cedars, the Cascades, and Lachine. All of them are, to a novice, very formidable- looking. At the last, in particular, there is a pitch which fairly hits the stem of the boat and plunges her bow into the spray so as to cover the deck with water; but, it having been once ascertained that she will live through it, there is no further danger than that of missing the channel, which is narrow, and running on the rocks at either side of it. We took in an Indian Pilot at each rapid. These fellows have been in the habit of taking down timber rafts and bateaux, and are now employed by the steamers. A barge was lost last week from the foolhardiness of the captain, who refused to take in a pilot; and, indeed, there is no water to spare, even in the channel, at this time of year. Our boat, which only drew three feet ten inches, is the largest that attempts it, and though provided with the best possible pilotage, we struck once slightly. I confess to a momentary palpitation when I felt the bump, for we were going at the rate of twenty-five miles an hour, but it was merely a scrape, showing, however, that it is "touch and go." But we were made to arrange ourselves in regular positions on deck, so as to keep the vessel on an even keel, and the steam was slackened to half speed as we went down the rapids. [Godfrey' s Letters from America]
ad for str. Charlotte, for Montreal Direct - Nov. 15th, 1844.