The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Brockville Recorder (Brockville, ON), April 2, 1846

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(copied from Whig by Brockville Recorder, April 2, 1846)

(note: also appeared in Montreal Gazette, April 3, credited to Kingston News)

p.2 THE COMMERCIAL WHARF - This wharf being the depot of the Royal Mail Line of Steamers, and some alterations taking place, the stop will be longer. The Beauharnois Canal being finished, the River Steamers instead of stopping at the Coteau, as was usual last year, will now run down all the way to Lachine. Whether the boats will run the Cedars and Cascades Rapids, or pass through the Canal is not yet fully determined. The passage from Kingston to Lachine will be made in much the same time as heretofore; for although the transhipment and the delay of stages will be now avoided; yet as the Long Sault and other dangerous Rapids, must be run in daylight, as well as the difficult navigation between the Cascades and Lachine, there must be a detention somewhere on the way, as all the dangerous parts cannot be run with the same daylight; unless indeed, the time of leaving Kingston were altered from morning to evening, and the Long Sault be reached at early day-break; an alteration that would derange all the present arrangements of the Post Office Department.

The three well known steamers, Canada, Gildersleeve, and Highlander, will again do the business of the River this season, but some change takes place in the appointment of their commanders. The Canada looses its old and favorite master, Capt. Lawless, (who takes charge of another steamboat on another route) than whom a worthier or a kinder man never trod its deck; and Capt. Bowen, late of the Gildersleeve, assumes charge of the Canada. Mr. Ponton, late Purser of the Highlander, becomes Captain of the Gildersleeve; and that worthy gentleman, Captain Stearns, continues in his old command. Important alterations have been made in the fitments of these fine vessels. The promenade deck of each has been covered with elegant and commodious State Rooms, in the fashion of the North River Boats; an arrangement that must give great satisfaction to the crowds of American Travellers, who, accustomed to this on board their own vessels complained loudly in Canada of the want here.

Messrs. Macpherson & Crane - The office of this mammoth Forwarding House has been removed from opposite the Market Building to a new building adjoining the old Custom House, in front of the Rideau and Ottawa Wharf. As Messrs. Macpherson & Crane lose possession of their commodious Warehouses and Wharves on the Government Reserve, (now occupied by the workmen of the Royal Engineer Department,) they have leased the whole of that immense pile of Warehouses, known as Garratt's Wharf and Warehouses; which, in addition to the Rideau and Ottawa Wharf, will be amply sufficient for the very large increase of business expected during the coming season.


As soon as the navigation is sufficiently opened the great experiment will be tried, that of bringing up deeply loaded barges by the St. Lawrence, instead of by the Rideau Canal - in which experiment Messrs. Macpherson & Crane take a leading part. The intention is, for the steamer Albion to bring the barges from Lachine to the Beauharnois Canal; from which place the steamer Prince Albert is to bring them to the Cornwall Canal; passing which, the powerful steamer Shannon takes them in tow, and tugs them up to Prescott, through the only difficult part of the route, the rapids La Plat and Les Galoppes; and the steamer Ottawa is to perform the remainder of the distance to Kingston. To enable these tug steamers to accomplish this arduous undertaking, the machinery of all these vessels have been thoroughly overhauled, new boilers put in where needed, and sundry other alterations made to suit their intended occupation. Should the plan prove successful, (and of failure we can see but little probability,) the three great Forwarding Houses (Macpherson and Crane, Hooker & Henderson, and H. & S. Jones,) will equally participate in its advantages, for each House dedicates one steamer to this special employment. Be this as it may, the Rideau Canal route is not to be neglected or abandoned; for the small steamers of all the Forwarding firms are to be engaged as usual in making their weekly trips, running down the St. Lawrence and ascending via the Ottawa and Rideau Canals. But we cannot disguise one fear, which is, should the St. Lawrence route be found by experience the most practicable - that is to say, the cheapest and quickest - that the Rideau Canal route will be eventually discussed, and that Kingston will thereby lose those exclusive advantages which her position at the hither end of this great Canal at one time promised to secure to her for ever and a day.

Meanwhile, the steamer Beaver will continue to ply on the Rideau Canal, between Kingston and Bytown; and the other steamers belonging to Messrs. Macpherson & Crane, the Porcupine and the Otter, are to be employed on the Ottawa River, the former as a passenger vessel and the other in towing rafts.

Those three most excellent Lake Steamboats, the City of Toronto, Princess Royal, and Sovereign, belonging to Mr. Bethune, will form the Daily Line from Toronto to Kingston as in former years. Better vessels than these three can hardly be wished for; large, swift and seaworthy, they are unquestionably the finest boats of their size on the American or Canadian waters. All that is wanted by the travelling public is a reduction of the passage money to a rate commensurate with the service performed. Five dollars, Cabin, and two dollars Deck, are a little too much for a passage of 170 miles of easy navigation. We have no desire to see Steamboat owners ruin themselves, to serve so ungrateful a body as the public; and nothing could annoy us more, than to witness the threatened opposition of Captain Richardson, in the Chief Justice, bringing passenger rates down to almost nothing. Were the rate reduced to three dollars, Cabin, and one dollar, Deck, the public would be fully satisfied; and it might not be presumptuous to predict, that at this reduction, business would so much increase, as to leave no cause for opposition between the rival steamers.

The American line of Lake steamers will this year be composed of the Niagara, Lady of the Lake, St. Lawrence, and Rochester, all running between Lewiston and Ogdensburgh, and making a daily visit to Kingston, on their upward and downward trips in the afternoon. The feature this year in this Line, and a most important feature it is too, is its intended extension to Montreal, by means of two fast sailing steamers, especially adapted for River navigation. By the present laws, American vessels can pass through British canals and waters and convey Passengers, but Freight they are prohibited to carry. To avoid this latter difficulty, the proprietors of the Line we are writing about, are building their new boats on British soil; that is, at the foot of Long Island, within a short distance of French Creek. It is true, the vessels are built by Americans, with American capital, and will be owned and sailed by Americans; but still they will be British and be entitled to hoist the British Flag, and consequently to participate in all the privileges of British vessels. Of these steamers, one will be ready early in May, and the other in July next. Captain Chamberlain, late of the Chieftain, is to command one, and another naturalized American gentleman is to have the other. This Line, when in full operation, will greatly interfere with the River Royal Mail Line, as the passage from Ogdensburgh to Montreal will not be delayed by stopping at every little petty hamlet to land and change the mail. Capt. Moody, so long in the employment of the Royal Mail Line, has been appointed agent in Montreal for the new American Opposition. It has been asserted, but we do not vouch for its authenticity, that until the second steamer is completed, the steamer Express will be employed in her place, and together they will at once form a Daily Line. We do not regard with so much horror as many might do, this threatened participation of the Americans in the gains of the Canada Passage and Freight trade. We look upon the St. Lawrence as the natural outlet of the Great West, and the greater the amount of business done on its waters, whether by Canadians or Aliens, the greater the business accruing to the Province at large. If there be not capital or enterprize sufficient in Canada to make all out of the St. Lawrence that can be made of it, it is the soundest of policy to encourage others to come in and help us. The cry hitherto has been for British Capital - why will not a little American Capital be equally acceptable? - There is plenty of business for its employment.

The Bay of Quinte steamers during the ensuing term will be the Prince Edward & Prince of Wales. The former boat has been entirely renovated and re-fitted, not only with new boilers, but with almost every thing else requisite for the comfort and safety of passengers. She is to be commanded by that kind and obliging gentleman, Capt. Lawless, who returns once again among his Bay of Quinte friends. The Prince of Wales has also undergone great repairs and improvements, and will continue under her old and popular commander, Capt. Chrysler. Both these vessels did a most capital business last year, and the prospects of the coming season are fully as cheering as those of last. The Prince Edward has changed hands again, and has become the property of Mr. Greer, the Wharfinger.

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April 2, 1846
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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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Brockville Recorder (Brockville, ON), April 2, 1846