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

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p.2 Opening of the Navigation - The Lake Steamer Princess Royal, Capt. Twohy, came down from Toronto on Thursday afternoon, and with some difficulty made her way through the ice. The same afternoon, the little Lady of the Lake from Prescott, came up to Cape Vincent, with some dozen of Members on their way home. The little steamer could not get up the Kingston branch of the St. Lawrence, on account of the ice. The Members reached Kingston yesterday and left in the evening for Toronto, in the Princess Royal. The Hon. Messrs. Macaulay and Macdonald, were among the passengers to Kingston. The ice is now nearly all out of the harbor, and the navigation may be said to be open. The Gildersleeve intends to run down the river next week; commencing on Tuesday.

Brockville, March 29th - First Arrival - The Steam Ferry Boat, Lady of the Lake, of Prescott, arrived this evening at about 7 o'clock, having on board 10 or 12 Members. She will proceed to Kingston at an early hour in the morning.



Resuming "Our Walk" opposite the Rideau Wharf, we have first to notice, that the Custom House has been removed from the City Buildings, to a stone house directly opposite the Exchange Hotel, kept by Mr. Irons, in Ontario Street. The new premises, if not more convenient, are more roomy than the old, with this great advantage, that underneath, and also in rear, are extensive Warehouses for the purpose of retaining goods until the duties are paid.

The premises leased by Mr. Alexander, and destroyed by the mysterious fire of the 14th of January, are in progress of re-building. Mr. Alexander, with laudable enterprise, intends to build two large and handsome Shops, in lieu of those destroyed, on the front; and in the rear, to connect, by continuous buildings, the Market Square with Clarence Street. In addition, he intends to build some extensive Shades, in imitation of the elegant Oyster Cellars of New York; his men being busily engaged at present in excavating for that purpose. May his enterprise be duly rewarded!

The Government Platform and Battery in front of the City Buildings, are of great ornament and utility. It must be the joint duty of the Engineer Department, and the City Authorities to see that that which was intended to adorn, is not converted into an abominable nuisance. One universal Temple to Cloaca seems to be erected at both ends of the Government Enclosure. The nuisance being outside the walls, it would be inferred, that the City Authorities are at fault in allowing its continuance. This is not exactly the case. Although the walls are completed, yet the spare stones and debris are not all yet taken away, and the ground levelled. Until this is done by the Engineer Department, the City Authorities are delicate in interfering and it is these said stones and debris which give cover to the accumulations of filth of which we complain. The Mayor should write to the Lieut. Colonel in command, drawing his attention to the fact; and should that officer decline the necessary action, that duty should be done at once, by and at the expense of the City.

Scobell's Wharf - This well established wharf, the oldest perhaps in the city, has this spring undergone a thorough repair. The wharf and storehouse, last season rented by Messrs. H. & S. Jones, is this year leased by Messrs. Glassford & Smith, Mr. Scobell retaining to his own use the large back warehouses and cooperage. Messrs. Glassford & Smith are a new Forwarding House, one of last year's growth; a prosperous one we should say, judging from the extensive premises they have now taken, and the additions they have made to their means of transportation. - They possess three steamers to tow their barges, and of these latter vessels, an addition of two has been made this spring, each capable of carrying 1800 barrels of flour. Mr. Glassford stays at Kingston, and Mr. Smith manages the business at Montreal.

The Commercial Wharf - This well known wharf is the Depot of the River Line of Steamboats, belonging to the Hon. John Hamilton. These vessels are four in number, the Passport, Capt. Bowen, the Highlander, Capt. Stearns, the Canada, Capt. Lawless, and the Gildersleeve, Capt. Maxwell. Of the first vessel we have already said a few words. The Highlander is lying at Lachine, receiving new boilers, made at St. Mary' s Foundry, by Mr. Perkins. She is intended to be very fast, some important improvements having been adopted to render her so. The Canada and Gildersleeve are lying at this Wharf. - Both vessels are in most complete order, having been repaired, fitted, painted, decorated, and refurnished in an unprecedented manner. Since they were launched, neither vessel has been in such excel lent condition as at present. We take advantage of the present opportunity to express our contrition, in mentioning the Gildersleeve in the first number of this, "Our Walk," as "aged and feeble." Old she may be, the present being the ninth season of her running; but feeble she is not. On the contrary, she is perhaps the strongest steamer on the Canadian waters, save the Government vessels; being built by Capt. Gildersleeve with extra timbers and extra pains to make her so. Three years ago she was lengthened at the bow, at which time she was thoroughly examined, and found to be as perfectly sound as when first launched. We have been thus particular, because her owners are naturally enough jealous of her good name, and expect her to remain a first class steamboat for the next ten years to come!

It is not improbable that this fine Line of River Steamers will run down all the way to Montreal, descending the Lachine Rapids, and ascending by the Canal. But as the Lower Lock of the Lachine Canal is not yet finished, some time must elapse before this intention can be carried into effect. Meanwhile, the Stages will be put on at Lachine, as formerly, giving the passengers the option of using the Lachine Railroad. A proposition was made some time ago, by the Managers of this Road, to convey all the Line Passengers up and down; but the terms were considered exorbitant. and, There not acceded to. Should a satisfactory arrangement be made with the Railroad people, it is not very probable that the Steamboats will risk the dangers and trouble of the Rapids and the Canal. It should be here our task to say something handsome of this superb Line of Steam-vessels, but we abstain. The boats, their commanders, their owners, and their agents, are too well known to need anything of the kind from our pen.

Hooker & Henderson's Premises - The business done by this rich and well-established House will be good, as usual. Wherever there may be deficiencies, it is not here that they will be felt. We know only of one addition to their Means of Transportation; - a large steamer, of the Pollywag species, now nearly completed at Lachine, and capable of carrying 3000 barrels of flour. The business done by Messrs. Hooker & Henderson will be chiefly by the River; it having been mathematically demonstrated to be cheaper, and quicker, than via the Rideau Canal. Mr. Francis Henderson remains at Kingston the managing partner.

The Quebec Forwarding Company - This Company expects to do a good business this season, whatever others may do. The shipment of flour, per the St. Lawrence, must eventually take place at Quebec, instead of Montreal; and those Forwarders who can carry all the way to the place of shipment, must be preferred to all others. Hence the increasing business of the Quebec Forwarding Company. Under this expectation, bad as the times and the prospects are, this Company have very recently purchased another large steamer, for the express purpose of towing their barges between Montreal and Quebec. This steamer will make the number four which the Company already possess - three for the upper route and one for the lower. In addition they intend to buy or charter a fifth steamer, to ply on the Ottawa, somewhere between Lachine and Bytown, in connection with some other vessel, thus making a line on that river. This arrangement is not however fully perfected. Mr. Donald Macintosh still remains the Kingston Agent.

H. & S. Jones' Wharf - Last, though not least, we come to this long established Firm. Being more a Brockville than a Kingston House, their place of business is not yet open; and any information we might obtain, we have not yet been able to get. Mr. William Macdonell, the Kingston Manager, is expected down from the upper country almost hourly, when the office will be opened and business commenced. The wharf and storehouses at Port Sydney are a great relief to the business of this House.

The Rideau Canal - This immense and most expensive water communication, extending 120 miles to Bytown, and connecting the two branches of the finest river in the world, seems now-a-days to be utterly overlooked, and unworthy of a newspaper paragraph; or if of the latter honor, one huddled in at the end of other matters. Thus goes the world. When the Rideau Canal was all-in-all to Kingston, then it was duly noticed, puffed, and be praised - now that Kingston can do with- out it, the tables are turned. Like the man of the world at Rome, who took off his hat to Jupiter in the Forum, bidding his Godship recollect, should he once again hold up his head, that he paid his respects to him in his adversity, we shall devote the remainder of this article to the little we know about the Rideau Canal, and the business to be done on it.

We mentioned in our last number, that Messrs. McPherson & Crane intended to do some portion of their Forwarding business via this route; and moreover, that the commodious steamer Beaver would be placed on the Canal, as a Passenger Boat. In addition we notice, that the Steamer Prince Albert, now owned in Bytown, will also be so engaged. In order to induce some portion of the travel to ascend and descend the Ottawa, instead of the St. Lawrence, the present owners of the Prince Albert have already advertised some of the advantages of so doing. We cut from a Bytown paper the following: "Passengers leaving Bytown on Mondays and Thursdays by the Albert will reach Kingston in time to take the Lake and Bay boats on Tuesdays and Fridays, and those leaving Kingston on Wednesdays will reach Bytown in time for the Ottawa Steamer on Thursdays, and arrive in Montreal the same evening - passing the splendid scenery at Jones Falls, and through Rideau Lake in the day time. Those leaving Kingston on Saturdays will spend Sunday in Bytown and have an opportunity of seeing the magnificent scenery at Chaudiere and Rideau Falls, and that grand work uniting the Provinces of Canada East and West, the Union Suspension Bridge. Passengers leaving Montreal on Saturday may spend Sunday in Bytown, and take the Prince Albert on Monday morning for Kingston." We also glean from the same paper the following intelligence: - "It has been well ascertained that there is no intention on the part of the Respective Officers of Her Majesty's Ordnance to close the Rideau Canal this season, the rumor that such was the intention we never paid much attention to, although it was generally believed in some quarters. The contract for the widening of the Deep Cut, or entrance to the eight locks, has been given Mr. Goodwin and he is now engaged in the execution of the work."

We have now to touch upon a delicate and disagreeable task, and we shall best do it, in the words of our Communicant: River Rideau, 27th March, 1848 "This and my former communication will completely show you the difficulty we poor people on the Rideau have in obtaining from some of their Kingston customers, payment for the Cord Wood their steamers use. In future, it is my intention to make them pay Cash down, and other dealers are of my mind. I would be glad if the British Whig would take notice of this, and give the trade the necessary hint, so that those in default may govern themselves accordingly."

p.3 Steamboat Notice - The Steamer Henry Gildersleeve will leave this port on Tuesday next, the 3rd of April, at 2 o'clock A.M., for Dickenson's Landing, touching at intermediate places - ice permitting.

Kingston, 31st March, 1848.

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April 1, 1848
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Rick Neilson
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), April 1, 1848