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

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Every successive season the din of mighty preparation is heard, and the Bay of Quinte steamers are paraded in the newspapers, large as life, and ten times as natural. More boats have been expressly "built for the Bay," and more boats have been advertised to run on it, that if placed in a continuous line, would reach from Kingston to Belleville; and yet, when the season has fairly commenced, all the vessels gradually drop off, leaving the business of the Bay to a couple of ordinary steamers that can get no employment elsewhere, and yet are sufficiently potential to prevent better boats from taking their places and doing their duty. The plain fact of the matter is, that the Bay, although steamboat money has been made on it, is not the place for opposition; the travelling community are too poor and too few, to encourage aught but necessary loco-motion; and prices must be well maintained for boats to pay. Hence the cause of the indifferent Bay Steamers, and their still more indifferent accommodations. A change for the better is to take place, this season, and larger vessels, with more ample conveniences, are said to be preparing for the route. It is to be hoped that the facts will bear out the assertion; and that the inhabitants of the large towns and villages on the Bay (Belleville especially which is exceedingly bragging of its commercial greatness) will look to and encourage the efforts now making to supply them with steamers more suitable to their wants, and more in accordance with the excellence of their unrivalled waters. No less a number than six steamboats are known, or said, to be preparing for this well known route, all of which we shall describe or allude to. Last season, the project of a Bay Boat, making a trip up and down the Bay in twenty-four hours, was tried and found impracticable.

The Farmer - This smart steamer, under its bustling and energetic master, Capt. Chambers, made money on the Bay last season. She will make money again this season, but not precisely on the same route. Amid the crash of elements id est, the threatened opposition of the "big 'uns," this little handy boat would be lost, or found to be no where; consequently, Capt. Chambers, with admirable foresight, has chalked out a route for himself, that must be remunerative to the Farmer, however much the larger boats may fume and fret, and lose their money and their time. The Farmer is to be a Day Boat between Kingston and Picton, coming down in the morning and returning at night; thus ensuring to the people of Picton and that part of Prince Edward County, a convenience and accommodation for which they have long sighed in vain. That the people thus benefited will almost exclusively support their own Day Boat is a matter ascertained beforehand; and they will be wise in doing so. The Farmer is neither the largest, the handsomest, nor the fastest of steamers, though comfortable, convenient, and by no means slow; yet whatever her advantages or defects, the parties chiefly interested know, if the Farmer be properly encouraged for a season or two, that a swifter and altogether a better vessel will be built with her earnings, which shall prove an ornament to Picton Bay. If three fine vessels could be built out of the earnings of the old Sir James Kempt, why should not one fine boat be got out of what the Farmer will make? The Pictonese know how they have been neglected by the Kingston and Belleville steamboat owners, and while they have the chance, they should place themselves beyond the risk of future neglect. Like the old woman who bought a new pot, they should neither borrow nor lend, but use their own commodity.

The Gildersleeve and Prince of Wales - As these vessels will form one Line, and may probably do the great bulk of the Belleville, Kingston and Montreal business, we shall despatch them in one and the same paragraph. The intention is to run the Gildersleeve from Belleville to Montreal, twice a week; and for the Prince of Wales to make four trips a week between Belleville and Kingston; thus perfecting a Daily Line to Kingston, and a Bi-Weekly Line to Montreal. A vast deal of freight business is now done direct between Belleville and Montreal; and the Bellevillians think they should have vessels of their own to do it. They have the Gildersleeve and (it is reported) the St. Lawrence, and we hope to see them make a proper use of their present means. Both the Gildersleeve and Prince of Wales are on the Kingston Marine Railway, where they have been many weeks, undergoing the most extensive repairs, improvements and alterations. They are both in complete apple pie order, and will be afloat as soon as the ice is out of the harbor. The Gildersleeve will be commanded by Capt. Gilpin, as fine a fellow as his namesake of old, of whom the paraphrase might run:

"John Gilpin was a citizen of credit and renown,

A Steamboat Captain eke was he, of Belleville's famous town."

And were it not against our pledge, broken on one occasion, we might say a kind word about him; but let him slide, his own merits will do more for him than any eulogy of ours. Capt. Nosworthy will again take charge of the Prince of Wales, and the vessels thus working into each other's hands, must do a good business.

The St. Lawrence - This almost new steamer has been purchased by Capt. Chrysler, ostensibly for the Bay Route, but whether she will run on it is doubtful. She is certainly well adopted for the intended business, and her Captain and owner is well calculated to promote her interests, from his well bought knowledge gained in the school of experience. The following letter has been received by us, with a request for publication. It is in fact an advertisement and should be paid for as such; but in these piping days of bad business, parties wanting notices are much more inclined to slip in their advertisements edgeways, gratis, than to accompany them with anything like a douceur. 'Tis rather cruel to accuse the Canada Press of bribery, when the benefits are much too often conferred on the other side. Every newspaper publisher feelingly knows the truth of this assertion. Here is the letter: -


To the Editor of the British Whig .

Dear Sir: -

The Merchants of this town will be delighted to learn that our old and highly esteemed friend Captain Crysler, of the old Steamer Prince of Wales, has purchased that new and fast sailing vessel St. Lawrence, and that it is intended to place her on the Bay of Quinte, to run between the head of the Bay and Kingston, touching at all the ports. There is not the least doubt but that Captain Crysler (from his long experience, and the strong friendship entertained for him by every business man on the Bay) will monopolize the great share of the trade with his new boat. All merchants should now make up their minds to give him their full and undivided support, by doing so, will keep a new and fast boat on the route. The Bay people have too long been obliged to (put) up with the old refused boats of the River St. Lawrence. It is only when boats can get no further support on other routes, that they are placed on the Bay.


River Trent, 28th March, 1850.

The vessels remaining of the six alluded to are the Queen and Messrs. Davy's new boat, not yet launched. Of the Queen we positively know nothing, save that she is fitting out at Belleville. She is a good boat, and well suited to the Bay, but is expensive to run, and has not made money. We shall probably hear of her intended doings in a day or two. The new boat building at Bath cannot be got ready until late in the season, and when ready, it is more than doubtful whether she will venture on a route already overcrowded. Should she be placed permanently on the Bay, it is reported that her owners have offered the command to Mr. Wm. Swetman, once Captain of the Grenville; and a very excellent captain he was.

McPherson & Crane - This spririted firm we perceive has established a "Through Freight and Passage Line" from Hamilton to Montreal, on the opening of the navigation, calling at intermediate ports, and in connection with their Freight and Passage Line on the Rideau and at Montreal, and with their Daily Freight Line to ports on Lake Champlain and New York: consisting of the steamers Passport, Capt. Bowen; New Era, Capt. Maxwell; and Comet, Capt. Taylor: all expressly built for the Lake and River navigation, commodiously arranged and elegantly fitted up, - to which will be added on the 1st of July, another splendid boat now building at Montreal. Messrs. Macpherson & Crane have also established a Line of Freight and Passage Boats between Bytown and Montreal; consisting of the steamers Charlotte, Caledonia, Juno, Mercury, Beaver and Perth. The last will be kept at Bytown as a Tug for rafts. We wish the enterprising proprietors every success in their undertaking. [Montreal Herald]

Canal Tolls - new schedule and comments - Oswego forwarders think the changes will have the effect of sending produce through the Erie Canal from Buffalo. [Colonist]

Navigation Clear - Our harbor is now clear of ice and navigation uninterrupted. The steamer Niagara, we understand, is expected here the first of this week. We understand that the River is also clear. [Sackets Harbor Observer]

Steamer City of Toronto - This steamer, which is now owned entirely by Captain Thomas Dick, has, at considerable expense, been furnished with new boilers and iron paddles, and been refitted and put in such a state of repair generally, as to present the appearance almost of a new Boat. Her speed also will be greater, by 2 miles an hour than before - an improvement precisely in accordance with the progress of the times. The polite attention and the experience of Captain Thos Dick as a Commander are well known; and the expense to which he has gone, is an evident proof that he means to do every thing in his power to afford the best of accommodation to the public.



Customs House, Kingston,

March 28th, 1850.

The PUBLIC are required to take notice that hereafter it will be absolutely necessary that the Reports of Vessels bringing Goods to this Port, shall contain the names of the Consignees of such Goods, and not merely the marks on the Boxes and Bales, as has often been the case heretofore, and that the Consignees of all such goods will be strictly required to enter them for Warehouse, or for Duty, immediately on arrival.

All parties having Goods now in the Customs House Stores, not already entered for Warehouse, are required instantly to enter the same for Warehouse, or for Duty, otherwise such Goods will at once be sold for payment of Duties.


Buffalo, March 30th, 1850.

First Boat from Chicago - The Sultana left last evening for Chicago with a good load. The Keystone State is expected here tomorrow morning, to take her place on the Chicago line.

The Cleveland Herald understands that the Government of Canada will permit any vessels belonging to the United States to pass through the River St. Lawrence to the Atlantic Ocean, provided that application be made between this and the 1st July next.

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April 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), April 1, 1850