The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), April 18, 1849

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No. V

The wretched dullness of the times, and the absence at anything like business, until within the past two days, have prevented us from prosecuting "a Walk," that in former seasons, was always more of a pleasure than a task. Our last resting place was at McPherson & Crane's Wharf, next to which is "Counter's."

Counter's Wharf - These extremely convenient premises have this season been leased by Mr. Glassford, (formerly Glassford & Smith) who, in addition to his Forwarding Business, for which he is well prepared this season, will add that of General Wharfinger and Warehouseman. The Black Mail Line of Lake Steamers intend to make this wharf their regular stopping place, and Mr. Glassford, we believe, will act as their Agent. This Line of steamers, consisting of the City of Toronto, Capt. Gordon; Princess Royal, Capt. Twohy; and Sovereign, Capt. H. Twohy, will continue as usual, under the direction of Mr. Bethune, of whom report adds, that anticipating some opposition on the lake, he is preparing to carry the war into the enemy's camp, by engaging or chartering the two fast river boats, the Fashion and the Lord Elgin, to ply between Kingston and Montreal. But in all probability, there is not any truth in this rumor, nor perhaps, in that more extensively circulated, viz: that the Hon. John Hamilton intends to place the New Era and the Passport (to which Capt. Sutherland is to add the Magnet,) as a new and independent Line on the north shore of Lake Ontario. It is so much the fashion for the public to busy themselves with the concerns of steamboat proprietors, that all kinds of reports and rumors are afloat at the opening of navigation. We have alluded to the most prevalent.

Of the Black Mail Line, two of the vessels, the City and the Princess are making regular trips. The Sovereign is to join on the 20th inst. All the boats are in most capital order, and look, as the jew would say, "better as new."

Scobell's Wharf - The next wharf to "Counter's," that of James Fraser's, once the Rideau Wharf, being untenanted, (at least not to our knowledge, we pass to Mr. Richard Scobell's wharf, which this year he has taken into his care and management. (See advertisement.) This wharf, one of the oldest, is also one of the best and most sheltered in the harbor, and when business begins in earnest, will doubtless be fully engaged by the various propellers and schooners which ply from the head of the lake to places below Kingston, and need a convenient resting place.

Devoting No.6 (sic) of "our Walk," to the River Line of Steamers, we pass the Commercial Wharf, and proceed to "Hooker & Henderson's," of which we can say little else, than that everything is proceeding at this old Forwarding Establishment as in former seasons. Good years and bad years to Messrs. Hooker & Henderson are alike - they jog on with an easy ambling pace, and when they have little forwarding for others to do, they buy produce and ship it to a market themselves.

The wharf known as "David John Smith's" has been leased by Mr. Armstrong, the Wharfinger, and seems intended solely for the reception of steamboat wood for the Black Mail Line.

The wharf next adjoining, built by Mr. James Brown, Junr., for the Quebec Forwarding Company, and used as such for several years, is now occupied by the Messrs. McCuaig, Brothers, to which they have very recently removed. Certainly, the wharf and premises are much more spacious, commodious and convenient than those abandoned and we heartily trust that the industry and enterprise of this brace of active men of business may meet with proportionate success.

The only public wharf remaining unnoticed is that known as "H. & S. Jones" which we believe, will be occupied by that highly respected and well known firm this season as usual. They retain besides their large shipping premises at Sidney Cove (two miles down the St. Lawrence,) which in the present depressed times, may be more than sufficient for any Kingston business.

As Mr. Counter has recently notified his intention to commence business as a Warehouseman, if not a Forwarder, we must make a sudden jump from "Jones' Wharf" to the pile of massive stone buildings, put up last year by this gentleman, near the Marine Railways. All these buildings are, as Mr. Counter states them to be (see advertisement,) isolated and fireproof, and are remarkably well adapted for the purpose for which they have been constructed. All we regret is, that the enterprise of a man who could devote so much capital so laudably, should be so ill requited by the present times. "Mais le bon temps viendra," with which trite, but cordial hope, we conclude the present number of "Our Walk."

Unpleasant Situation - During the height of the recent heavy gale, the steamer Lady of the Lake, Capt. Eggleston, was coming down the lake towards Rochester, when she broke her shaft. This happened on Friday night about 35 miles above the mouth of the Genesee River. In this predicament, the anchors were let go under a faint hope of their holding, which hope was fortunately realized. Here the vessel lay for 40 hours in the open lake, exposed to all the vigor of the storm until Sunday afternoon, when the steamer Ontario, Capt. Throop, came to her assistance, and the crippled vessel was safely towed to Rochester. Communication with the shore while the Lady lay in this dangerous situation was by means of a letter fastened to a bucket, and allowing the bucket to be driven on land, where it was luckily picked up.


To the Editor of the British Whig.

Dear Sir,-

We contemplate with pleasure and satisfaction, the arrival of the fast sailing steamer Eclipse, commanded by Captain Harrison, upon our waters. Not only are we gratified to learn that we shall have a steamer inferior to none in speed and accommodation, but a commander whose nautical skill, and obliging disposition, have already secured him universal popularity. With such a steamer and such a commander we have no doubt of the success he inevitably will meet with from us. Already a requisition is in circulation among us, urging Captain Harrison to lose no time in cleaving the resistless waters of our Bay with his "thing of life," and, at the same time, pledging him our united support and influence. The requisition will be respectably and numerously signed by our merchants and neighboring farmers, who ship large quantities of produce and other freight, annually. It does appear to me rather extraordinary, that the enterprising capitalists of the Bay, however few they may be, should so long have submitted to the present monopoly. Opposition has been spoken of for some time, but that interest which is so characteristic a feature of the Canadian people, has merged the temporary agitation which it created. If we glance at the other side of our waters, there we find energy and opposition viewing with each other - there we find floating palaces without number, whose speed is only equalled by the Telegraph, and whose accommodation is only surpassed by the splendour of their magnificence. With such examples, it is almost impossible to believe that the present boats with which we are encumbered, are so far inferior. Are we to be taxed with the refuse of Lake Ontario steamers, (not referring to the Eclipse,) and shall we be obliged any longer to contribute towards the aggrandizement of monopolists? No, the time, I trust, has arrived when the spirit of enterprise shall shew forth in this enlightened era, and our future steamers may eclipse even the St. Lawrence Line. The proprietors of the present boats, if such I may call them, have determined not to run to the head of the Bay oftener than twice a week, and why? because they are monopolists, and flatter themselves that, notwithstanding the inconvenience and annoyance to which they subject us, we must succumb to any imposition, as we have no alternative. This may be all very well, but when this monopoly is destroyed, and when there are boats on the Bay worthy of our notice, they will, perhaps, too sensibly learn that such conclusions merit the contempt which they will justly meet with. The reason they assign is, that the expense of running to the head of the Bay is not liquidated either by the passage money, or by freight. This, I think, is incorrect, as the head of the Bay is the outlet of many small villages bordering upon it, or in its vicinity, viz.:- The Trent, Carrying Place, Consecon, Brighton and Frankford, as well as some other villages in the interior. In each of these villages there are several stores which are supplied with goods from Kingston or Montreal - the freight upon these goods must amount to something considerable; in exchange, we ship our produce, and it is an indisputable fact, and the large cargoes of wheat, flour, and ashes are annually shipped for market; and again, there are many who travel from Colborne (a flourishing village about 18 miles from the head of the Bay) to Kingston or Montreal, and invariably take the boats at the Trent; but all this freight, and all the travel is not sufficient to liquidate the expense of the cordwood which these boats consume. Now, I ask any reasonable man who has ever visited the head of the Bay and its vicinity, whether or not there is business to pay, and that handsomely, all necessary expenses, besides, leaving an overplus? But the present monopolists are hard to satisfy, and it is always the case when such nuisances as monopolies are tolerated. It is true that they consume immense quantities of wood, but this is owing to the snail's gait at which they move; and even if it were so, would it be surprising that it "does not pay," as the monopolists say. When the boats move slowly they must expect to do slow business. Let us have good and efficient steamers and they shall receive our united support.

By giving publicity to these few remarks in your widely circulated paper, you will confer a favor upon

Yours very truly,


Trent Port, April 14th, 1849.


Port of Kingston.

April 16th - Schr. Edith, Port Whitby, 1411 bbls. flour

Schr. Shannon, Hamilton, 1251 bbls. flour, E. Browne & Co.; 340 bbls. flour, Quebec Forwarding Company; 10 bbls. ashes, McCuaig & Co.

Str. Prince of Wales, River Trent, gen. cargo.

Str. Canada, Ogdensburgh, gen. cargo.


The Subscriber having anticipated the permanent establishment of a


By Government, from Montreal to Kingston,

has reserved

Isolated Stone Fire-Proof Buildings,

Sufficient to Store

25,000 BARRELS.

The Contract now being entered upon by Government, and an equal certainty thereby afforded of speedy towage to all who may engage in the transportation of property, put the operative River man who has a Barge, on an equality, if not on a better footing than the capitalist who formerly required his services.

From this very circumstance salutary competition of freight has already sprung up here, which to the merchant and miller of the West will result profitably.

Shippers of Produce cannot fail to see the advantage which will accrue to them from


Their produce in Kingston, that the lowest freight which the competition will warrant may be secured to them.

A competent Warehouseman, who will render every facility for discharging and shipping, will be kept on the premises.

All produce or merchandize which may be consigned to the subscriber, will be stored and shipped, at extremely low prices, and every possible aid given for despatch of business.


Kingston, 16th April, 1849.

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April 18, 1849
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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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Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), April 18, 1849