The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), May 9, 1849

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No. VI.

We have waited patiently until this late season for some indications of how matters were going on in the River St. Lawrence. The advertisement of the Fashion tells the tale; that the same extravagant and worse-than-useless Steamboat Opposition, at present in existence on the Lake, is to be the watchword of the River. In other words, that Mr. Bethune, in return for Mr. Hamilton's having placed the New Era on Lake Ontario, has chartered the Fashion to destroy the River business. This is like "cutting off one's nose to be revenged of one's face." But, amongst them be it - our duty is to chronicle events as they are, and to prevent Steamboat people's getting into our books; for most assuredly, if they destroy themselves, they will also destroy all who have connection or dealings with them. "There's many a true word said in jest" - let our readers bear this in mind. Monopoly is one thing, but carrying for nothing, with a dinner and a bottle of wine into the bargain, is quite another. To continue "Our Walk," which was last stayed at

The Commercial Wharf - This very commodious Wharf, at the foot of Princess St., is the well known depot of the River Line of Mail Steamers, under the control of the Hon. John Hamilton; and this season, is also the stopping place of the New, or Opposition Line of Lake Steamers. The River Line is composed of four vessels, the Passport, Capt. Bowen; the Highlander, Capt. Stearns; the Canada, Capt. Lawless; and the Gildersleeve, Capt. Parker; all well known favorites, both Steamers and Captains. They run down daily to Lachine, leaving in the morning at 7 o'clock, and arriving at Lachine, about the same time next morning, or sometimes earlier. These vessels, though not new, (save the Passport) are large, handsome, clean and commodious, and it is rare indeed that any accident befalls any of them; although the passage of the St. Lawrence, its rapids, eddies, shoals, and canals make it the most troublesome, if not the most dangerous navigation of any river in the civilized world. Mr. Hamilton, knowing all this, and having had the experience of twenty-five years, provides the best of Pilots, Captains, Men, Vessels and Appointments, and so easily and so safely is the duty carried on, that people think less of making a trip to Montreal than to Oswego or Toronto.

There is another Line of Steamers on the river, partly British and partly American in name, but wholly American in ownership and interest. This is formed by a daily steamboat from Oswego to Ogdensburgh, there to meet one of two River Steamers, the British Queen and British Empire, who between them, contrive to make a daily trip between Ogdensburgh and Montreal. These vessels are handsome, almost new, well appointed, and under the charge of good and careful men. Mr. Moody, long and well known in Western Canada, is the Montreal Agent of this Line. Between the old Line and this American Line, there is no ill-will, or opposition; but both work amicably into each other's hands, as reasonable and sensible men should do. Which is not the case with the New Line, or Mr. Bethune's River Line.

The Fashion - This vessel has been chartered expressly to run down to Montreal from Kingston in daylight; which from her extreme speed and excellent build, she can very well do. She is intended to leave Kingston immediately upon the arrival of the morning Lake Boat, and not having to stop for the Mail at all the little paltry villages on the route, will easily reach the Lachine Rapids in time to descend them in daylight and in safety; thus shortening the time of reaching Montreal by full twelve hours. This she intends to do three times a week; and might perhaps make money thereby, were she unopposed in these her daylight trips; but this Mr. Hamilton does not by any means intend to allow. The new and equally fast sailing Ottawa has been chartered expressly to oppose the Fashion. She is receiving her new furniture at the present moment, and will be ready about the same time as the Fashion is so that when the one starts, the other will be close at her heels. The devil take the hindmost, say we, for if men will be fools and throw their money away, the sooner the race is ended the better. And so say all sensible people. Meanwhile, our town and country friends who may wish for a cheap journey to the Seat of Government, to view the ruins of the Parliament Buildings, and see the Montreal Lions, had better make ready their York shillings, for to that low sum will the fare fall. Unless, indeed the Steamboat Proprietors patch up their quarrels and behave like men of business who have debts to pay.

Free Navigation of the St. Lawrence - cost of a trip from Detroit to Boston by St. Lawrence. [Oswego Times]


Port of Kingston.

May 7th - Str. Niagara, Oswego, gen. cargo.

Str. Cataract, Ogdensburgh, pass. and baggage.

May 8th - Str. Queen Victoria, Belleville, flour, grain, potatoes, brooms, E. Browne & Co.

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May 9, 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), May 9, 1849