The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Jan. 1, 1848

Full Text


(available on microfilm at Kingston Frontenac Public Library and at Queen's University - Stauffer Library.)

p.1 ad - For Sale - everything in the Ship Chandlery line by Wm. Donaldson.

p.2 The Weather - the harbour is open

City Council - The Harbor dues have paid the cost of erecting Light House, and defraying its expenses, leaving a balance of something over £30 in the Treasurer's hands.


The Meeting which was called by public advertisement to take into consideration the propriety and expediency of establishing a Steam Tug and Forwarding Company, took place on Monday at the City Hall, and was numerously and most respectably attended. We noticed several of our most respectable merchants and forwarders, and we have seldom seen a public meeting in Kingston conducted in a more business-like manner. John Counter, Esq., was called to the Chair, and Mr. Cull was requested to act as Secretary.

The worthy Chairman, in introducing the business of the meeting, described the growing prosperity of Canada, its rapidly increasing wealth, emanating from the efforts and the energies of the farmer. He stated that a very few years ago, in 1839, the whole export of flour from Upper Canada was under 90,000 bbls. whereas last year it amounted to a million and a quarter, and that the amount of produce was still rapidly increasing. He had no doubt that next year, unless some extraordinary casualty occurred the largest exportation of produce ever made would take place, and that it was the duty of merchants to provide for it. He had heard that it was the intention of some of the principal forwarders to remove their establishments from Kingston to Brockville and Prescott, and it especially behoved the inhabitants of Kingston to be up and doing, to take care of their own interests.

It was then moved by Mr. Mowat, and seconded by Mr. Drummond,

"That a Steam-tug Company will prove highly beneficial to the province in general, and to the vital interests of Kingston in particular."

Mr. Henderson entertained no doubt that if the requisitionists would guarantee the realization of the profits held out in their prospectus, persons fully confident to do so would be found to guarantee that the whole stock required should be taken up in a month.

Mr. Walker said he was of opinion that the stock already employed would be more than ample to do all the business which was required, and if the new Company chose to purchase that which belonged to the firm of which he was a member, he was quite ready and willing to sell it to them.

Mr. Thomas Wilson desired Mr. Henderson to inform the meeting whether or not it was the intention of the principal forwarders to remove their establishments to Brockville and Prescott.

Mr. Henderson would like to learn from Mr. Wilson in what quarter such a report originated.

The Chairman remarked that it was notorious that a report had been circulated that several of the forwarders were about to leave or intended at no distant time to leave Kingston, but he did not believe it; for it would frequently be necessary to tow laden schooners down the stream, and always up.

Mr. Jones said there was no doubt that the forwarders had contemplated a removal; that Messrs. Hooker & Henderson were the only forwarders who possessed real estate in Kingston, and they all had considerable property in Brockville or Prescott.

Mr. Henderson thought that persons were greatly mistaken in their estimate of the quantity of produce which would be brought down, as the tightness of money matters would greatly limit the purchases of grain; and that one company would be able to do all the business.

Mr. Cull said that he presumed although he had been requested to use his fingers as Secretary, he would not be precluded from using his tongue a little upon so important an occasion as the present; he rarely spoke at public meetings, for politics he had neither talent or taste, but he considered that on such a subject as that which occupied the attention of the meeting, every man who had formed an opinion for himself should come forward and state that opinion. He differed all together from his friend Mr. Henderson - the increased and still increasing amount of agricultural produce could not be cleared. It was well known that during the spring vast quantities of flour and wheat came down Lake Ontario, something like 500,000 barrels, before harvest: it was equally well known that we had a very productive harvest. As it is not to be denied that very little indeed has gone to market since harvest, that produce must then be in the hands of the farmer, the merchant, or the manufacturer. No doubt the money market has been tight, as had been remarked, and great inconvenience was felt; yet that produce must be brought to market; and it was no small proof of the growing wealth of the country that notwithstanding the tightness of the money market, probably a million of barrels of flour were still held by the parties he had named in hopes of better prices; but, added he, you may as well attempt to dam the St. Lawrence as to stop the progress of agricultural produce towards a market; to market it must go; and what that market will be depends upon the cost of transport. A great deal had been said about monopolies, and it was no uncommon thing to hear absurd and unjust imputations against the monopolies in the forwarding business No doubt monopolies had existed, but he believed there was not a man in that room who would not gladly have been a monopolist if it had been in his power: he heartily confessed that he would. The fact was, that every man was or would be so more or less; and where, he would ask, is that person to be found who would voluntarily give up such an advantage whilst he could continue to enjoy it, or would not make the most of it while it lasted. Nothing, however, continues for ever; and when monopolies of any kind cease to be beneficial, the voice of public opinion will, as in this case, put an end to them. It had always appeared to him that great mistakes had existed in regard to monopolies; they had been productive of great good as well as of evil; nor could it be denied that our large forwarding establishments had been attended with advantages by the facilities which their large capitals had afforded; but he believed the time had arrived when such monopolies were more productive of evil than of good. If we are to compete with our neighbors, the cost of production as well as of transport must be reduced; if not, our agriculture will be stunted and our commerce crippled: whatever causes such reduction increases the wealth of the farmer, and adds to the riches of the community. With such views he was an advocate for the establishment of such a company.

It was then moved by Mr. Wilson and seconded by Mr. Matthew Drummond -

That Messrs. Counter, Wm. Wilson, Thomas Wilson, H. Gildersleeve, John Mowat, John Watkins, and Wm. Craig, be a committee, with power to add to their number, to procure subscribers to the stock, to take the necessary measures to obtain a charter, and when one-half the required stock shall be subscribed, to call a meeting of the subscribers for the purpose of appointing managers and directors, and framing a constitution for the future government of the Company. Carried.

Thanks were voted to the Chairman, and the meeting adjourned to a future day to receive the report of the committee. [News]

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Jan. 1, 1848
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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), Jan. 1, 1848