The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), March 25, 1848

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The readers of the British Whig for some years past have been accustomed to see, during the month of March, some account of the preparations making to carry on the Forwarding Trade, that main stay of Kingston' s prosperity. during the coming season of navigation. This being the case, we shall, without further preface, proceed with "Our Walk;" and the first place we shall go to is

The Marine Railway and Ship Yard - This place of very extensive business is now solely tenanted by Mr. S. D. Fowler, formerly Messrs. Fowler & Hood. Two large steamboats are on the Large Railway, and several smaller vessels on the Small Railway. One of these steamers is the Queen. This vessel resumes her business on the Bay of Quinte, as soon as the navigation opens, under the command of Mr. Henry Corby, of Belleville, one of her owners; - Capt. Barry, her late commander, having transferred his services to the Eclipse, running between Hamilton and Toronto. In rear of the Queen, on the same Railway, is the large Propeller Ireland, belonging to Capt. Patterson of this city, who intends, this season, to command her himself. She will be employed in the flour trade, between the head of the Lake and Montreal, being too large to pass through the Welland Canal. She has been thoroughly repaired, and is in excellent order. On the stocks adjoining, is Capt. Gildersleeve's new steamer, nearly ready for launching. Like all the steam vessels built by this gentleman, this elegantly modelled boat is intended for the Bay of Quinte; but it is very problematical, whether she will be placed on that route. She is a remarkably handsome vessel, built to run, of the size of the Passport, and when her engines, said to be very powerful, are in her, her draft of water will be very light. In all probability, she will be put on the River Line, in lieu of the Gildersleeve, now growing aged and feeble. - But should her destination ultimately prove to be the Bay of Quinte, one long wished-for desideratum will be accomplished, viz: a Day Boat on the Bay; that is, a steamer which can leave Kingston for Belleville in the morning, and return within sixteen hours; a feat which the new vessel can easily perform. She will be ready to launch early in June, but it will be the end of July, or the beginning of August, before she will be ready for business. Her command will be offered to Captain Chrysler, now of the Prince of Wales, whose vessel, in apple pie order, lies handy to commence operations on the Bay, as soon as the ice will permit. With the exception of a few barges undergoing repair, these are all the vessels at the Marine Railway. We must not forget to mention, that the new Light House, built by the Corporation at the extremity of the Railway Wharf, is now being raised twenty or thirty feet higher. Even with this addition to its height, the Kingston Light House will prove but a very sorry affair. How much better would it be to apply to the Home Authorities, for permission to erect a wooden tenement on the top of the Martello Tower, on the Shoal, a tenement that could readily be demolished, in case of the Tower being needed for war purposes.

In the immediate vicinity of the Marine Railway are two Forwarding Establishments, that of Messrs. J.A. Walker & Co., and that of the Messrs. McCuaig Brothers. Of the former House we can say but little, inasmuch as some dissolution of the present firm is contemplated; and when the large Stock is sold or divided, two or more Forwarding Establishments may be formed out of the materials. Before "Our Walk" is ended, we may have it in our power to speak definitely on this head. Of the other Firm, that of the Messrs. McCuaig Brothers, we are happy to say, that several large additions to their means of transportation and stowage have been made to meet the emergencies of the coming season. The large Steamer Transit, purchased last Fall when sunk at the foot of the Railway, has been raised and thoroughly repaired, with the new top, sides, paddle boxes, phalanges, etc. Her top and deck hamper has been removed, and she is converted into a perfect tug boat of great lightness, power, and speed. Consequently her draft of water is so much lessened, that it is expected not to exceed 5.5 or 6 feet, at the utmost. She will therefore descend all the Rapids to Montreal, returning with her tug by way of the Canals. The Messrs. McCuaig Brothers have engaged a large storehouse at Garden Island, capable of holding 12,000 barrels of flour, in addition to the premises on their own wharf. This has been done, more with a view to save Insurance Rates, now so exorbitantly high, than for any other purpose.

Before leaving this scene of our labors, to take a look at the Passport, lying alongside Mr. Bowen's Tannery wharf, we stepped into the Kingston Foundry. We found it, of course, in full blast, the men working double tides, and every thing indicating a highly prosperous state of business. Speaking with Mr. Masson, the Manager, that gentleman assured us, that not withstanding there were five Foundries now at work in town, some of them doing an almost equal stroke of business with their own, yet so much had the shipping business increased in Kingston, that they were busier now, and employed more men, than they did six years ago, when they had the whole shipping trade to themselves. This speaks whole libraries for good old Kingston.

The noble Iron Steamer Passport looks handsomer than ever. She is being painted, fitted, and decorated under the eye of her able commander, Capt. W. Bowen; and when afloat, will again prove "the Queen of the Canadian Waters;" for unquestionably, she is the most elegant Steam-vessel in Canada - at least in Western Canada. We shall speak of her arrangements for the season, when mentioning the other Steamers of the Line, in a future number.

Beaupre's Floating Dock - This novel invention, here at least, does not seem so much known or appreciated as it should be. We recommend the curious, now the ice is good, to take a walk to the far end of Ontario Street, and look at this Dock. With its three Caissons it is now capable of lifting and retaining vessels of 150 tons burthen; but as the Messrs. Beaupre are busy building a fourth Caisson when that is completed, the Dock will be able to raise and repair all vessels not exceeding 300 tons burthen; and as the trade of the port increases, and larger ships are built, by the addition of one or more Caissons, the means to raise and repair them can readily be effected. On the stocks, in the Ship Yard adjoining the Floating Dock, the Messrs. Beaupre are building for Mr. William Anglin, a Schooner Scow of large tonnage, for the purpose of carrying to Oswego, Cleared Lumber, an article much wanted in Yankeeland; - a new branch of the Lumber Trade that must prove lucrative from the constant demand of the article.

p.3 Government Contract - tenders called to supply coal for the use of Her Majesty's Steam Vessels on the Lakes, viz. 500 tons at Kingston Naval Yard,

150 tons at Port Maitland, Lake Erie,

150 tons at Penetanguishene, Lake Huron.

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March 25, 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), March 25, 1848