The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), March 1, 1850

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p.2 Brighton - Harbor of Refuge - A good deal of fuss is kicked up in the rival towns of Port Hope and Cobourg, about the proper site for a Harbor of Refuge, on the northern shore of Lake Ontario. Doubtless if such a Harbor can be made at either place it should; for the safety of shipping on the lake demands a large pecuniary sacrifice at the hands of Government; but why overlook the merits of Presqu'Isle? Here is a harbor of refuge made by nature, that requires little or no outlay to render it the best and safest Harbor on the Lake. Simply a couple of thousand pounds or so, for the erection of a few small Lighthouses or Floating Beacons to assist vessels in finding the entrance to the deep channel. When this is properly buoyed out, Presqu'Isle Harbor will be complete, and become a real harbor of refuge in which all the vessels on the lake can lie at one and the same time, well sheltered from every wind that blows. Presqu'isle Harbor is better than Kingston or Toronto Bay; better than the Niagara River, better than Sackett's Harbor, and better than South Bay; for it is safe in every wind; it requires but little expense to render its entrance perfect, and the Government should be urged to do the needful. It is equidistant from Kingston and Toronto, and is a natural half-way place of rest in time of danger. On the bar at the entrance there are always eleven feet of water, and once in, there is abundance of room and plenty of water for all who come. The people of Brighton are asleep - they don't know half the advantages of their own noble harbor. If the Yankees had it what a place would Brighton become! Let the Brightonese wake up and be stirring. Let them petition both Houses of Parliament at the coming session, for aid to buoy out the entrance, and place in proper places the necessary Floating Beacons. There is already a good Lighthouse on the extreme point of the harbor, and all that are wanted are these buoys and beacons. Then in the darkest nights vessels running down the lake in a heavy gale will not endeavor to reach South Bay or Kingston, but make for Presqu'isle at once. If Presqu'isle Harbor were only at Cobourg or Port Hope - ye gods and little fishes! what a town, what a city would soon arise! The Brighton folks are asleep. Wake up! Wake up!!


The unprofitableness of lake vessels on Ontario and the Upper Lakes, of late years, must of necessity induce their owners to adopt a different method of manning them in future. In Europe the best sailors are the Greeks. Though most of their voyages are not longer than those of our sailors on our Lakes, yet they sail their vessels upon shares.

Every man on board their ships and feluccas is therefore interested in accomplishing each voyage with the utmost expedition. Hence they acquire habits of industry and energy, exceeding the slow and indifferent movements of the hireling sailors of our European nations. This method of dividing the profits with their employers, excites the best efforts and skill of the sailor to promote the interests of all concerned....

Upon this plan it may be safely predicted that those of our lake vessels that may be thus manned, will make three trips to two of those vessels that shall be sailed by the month. It is obviously then, the interest of both sailors and owners of vessels to abandon their former method of shipment, and "pull together." In the broad Pacific, as well as the narrow Mediterranean, the method of "dividing the spoil, or net earnings of voyages fairly amongst all interested, has been found to be the best. Why not then adopt it on our inland seas?

[Sackets Harbor Observer]

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March 1, 1850
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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), March 1, 1850