The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), July 27, 1849

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(from bound volume of originals at Queen's University - Special Collections)



We mentioned yesterday, and we did it with much pleasure, that the senseless Opposition between the rival steamboat lines of Messr. Hamilton and Bethune was wholly put an end to, and that the old boats and old prices would once again be the order of the day for the remainder of the season.

The steamboat proprietors on the River St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario have lost so heavily this season, and the public have gained so much by the foolish and useless opposition, that the former might be allowed to manage their own affairs, and fix the scale of their own remuneration, for the rest of this year at least, without receiving any advice from us, or without any attempt at dictation from the press; nevertheless, it seems so palpably clear, that with low rates and no opposition, steamboats would make more money, than with high rates and the same privilege, that we cannot restrain ourselves from demonstrating on paper the truth of this assertion. The old rates of passage from Montreal to Hamilton were six dollars, and five dollars from Kingston to Hamilton. If the passage be taken throughout ten dollars was the fare. Now with all due deference, this rate is too high, and few persons will travel but those who have real occasion to do so. It should be reduced at least to eight dollars, and all the intermediate rates be reduced in like proportion. If twenty persons could be induced to travel at an eight dollars fare, instead of fifteen persons at a ten dollars fare, how much would the steamboat gain? Precisely ten dollars. And this is only a calculation of 25 per cent increase from a slight reduction in the rate. But in the short distances, Kingston to Coburg, Kingston to Toronto, Toronto to Hamilton, Toronto to Niagara, and such like trips, the greater profit would arise. It is not saying too much to assert, that were the rates of passage continued at what the Magnet established them in the beginning of the season, the amount of money received would be two fold what it will be by the high rates of last year. One dollar from Kingston to Coburg, two dollars to Toronto, and three dollars to Hamilton are the best rates, both for the public and the steamboat proprietors. These rates are sufficient to secure clean and comfortable vessels for the public, and they would tell in the length of a season greatly to the benefit of the owner's exchequer. If when two boats were running at incredibly low prices, sufficient money was taken almost to pay expenses, what would be the case when one boat would receive all the travel at rates, which though very low, still would be much higher than what they have received up to the present time.

The steamboat proprietors have settled their differences. If before they determine to establish and to adhere to a high tariff, they would seriously take the subject of a low tariff into consideration, we feel persuaded that there would be but one opinion on the matter. Low fares would make them rich, while high fares will keep them poor.

Port of Kingston.

July 25th - Str. Niagara, Lewiston, gen. cargo.

Str. Cataract, Ogdensburgh, passengers and baggage.

July 26th - Schr. Perseverance, Oswego, gen. cargo.

Schr. Royal Susan, Oswego, in ballast, W. McKay.

Schr. Scotia, Sydenham, 16,000 staves, 9,000 feet walnut (no mention).

Str. Commerce, Cleveland, 163 bbls. flour, 400 do. mess pork, 37 do. tallow, Montreal and Quebec.

Schr. Woodman, Oswego, gen. cargo.

Schr. Prince, Wellington, 150 bbls. mixed flour, McPherson & Crane.

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July 27, 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), July 27, 1849