The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Jan. 22, 1847

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To the Editor of the British Whig.

Dear Whig, -

Now that the "wars are over, and peace proclaimed," after the recent City Elections, permit me to call attention to the state of our shipping trade, and particularly to that of shipbuilding. While every obscure village and town, fronting our inland seas, are busily engaged in building craft of various kinds and dimensions, Kingston remains at a shameful stand-still. Where is the town or city in the Province, that has better facilities for shipbuilding than Kingston? And where is the town or city that has in its power to build, but is before-hand with Kingston? And how happens this - is it because they cannot be built at Kingston? The question is a very simple one. It requires no profound calculations, no remote abstractions; but a small degree of patient reflection and sober thought is required to measure the evil of the present system, and the benefit, such as it might be, attended on its destruction. It is a well known fact, that several of our Merchants and Forwarders are having built at other places, vessels intended for the trade of Kingston, and have for a number of years practiced the same. From whence, then, arise this evil - a serious evil to the experienced Mechanic? Is it because they cannot be built as cheap? No, there is some other reason, best known to those persons, from which, at present, I shall abstain. Surely, while we have such a Shipyard as the Marine Railway, and 3 most excellent ones at Portsmouth, we cannot lack of competency to build any class of Lake or River craft. Take, for instance, the Lila (Lilla) built at the Shipyard of Messrs. Collins and Power, last winter - there is not in fact, a better sailing or fast-built vessel on our Lakes, but instances of such are useless.

I merely mention the above facts as a feeler for those whose interest it is to fathom the cause of this evil, and come out boldly with their views respecting it; and I have no doubt but that there can be some light thrown on this much to be regretted draw-back to the Mechanic, and the public in general. When we shall hear the sound of the maul and the axe echoing from our Shipyards, then, and not till then, shall Kingston be on the road to prosperity.

Truly yours, A MECHANIC.

Kingston, 17th Jan., 1847.

p.3 The Weather - Cold weather has at last set in. The ice in the Harbor is getting strong, and teams have commenced crossing to Long Island...

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Jan. 22, 1847
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Rick Neilson
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), Jan. 22, 1847