The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), May 17, 1850

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p.2 Steamer for Toronto - This evening the fast sailing steamer New Era will leave for Toronto and Hamilton. It is certainly a great privilege which the people of Kingston and vicinity have in the choice of two steamers for the head of the Lake, three times a week. Instead of being hurried away in the middle of the day by the Mail Steamer, they have now the option of staying till the evening, and going by the Through Line. The New Era is the fastest vessel on the Lake, and in all probability, those persons who go by her will arrive at Toronto fully as early as those who go in the Mail Steamer. The Through Line is all the rage - on Wednesday evening the Passport went up loaded to the water's edge. This fine steamer left Kingston on Wednesday Evening at six o'clock, and arrived at Toronto at 8 o'clock yesterday morning, having touched at Cobourg, Port Hope, and Windsor on the way.


With respect to the above, we have been informed that the testimony of Captain Cochrane as to the praiseworthy conduct of Captain McLavin after the unfortunate collision took place, is fully borne out by that of others of the survivors of the accident. The Despatch is said to have been so much injured that the passengers insisted on the Captain making the nearest port without delay, and without attempting to rescue the passengers and crew of the sinking vessel - this the Captain refused to do, and persisted against remonstrance and opposition in his humane object, - a few minutes more would have rendered his aid almost unavailing, as the Commerce settled down, a minute or two after the last of the troops had been taken off, - the total number of lives lost is said to amount to 41, and among them, were those of the surgeon of the regiment, the second engineer, and two of the crew of the vessel - with some of the wives and children of the soldiers. The sufferers are supposed to be those who were unable to reach the deck before the vessel settled down, and others who ascended the rigging and were cast into the lake as the vessel careened over, among them was the surgeon; others were lost in their attempts to save their wives and children. The troops displayed most praiseworthy coolness and obedience to orders, and to this excercise of discipline is to be attributed, under Providence, their escape from a watery grave. The remnant of the company reached London on Saturday, making but a sorry figure in the way of accoutrements - their arms and baggage having been all lost. A large amount of specie (9,000 pounds) was reported to have been on board the Commerce, this, however, has proved not to be the case, as the same was forwarded by the Earl Cathcart. We purposely forebear remark on the circumstances of this most distressing occurrence; culpable negligence is said to have existed somewhere - where has not yet been shown; the facts of the Commerce buring two lights at her mast head, is corroborated by others on board. [Colonist]

We are indebted to a passenger for the following:- A woman, with her little child, was thrown into the water when the boat careened over, and the Despatch was still at a considerable distance; the woman, however, with true maternal affection, clung to her child, supporting it above water, and swam to the Despatch, almost exhausted, and just ready to sink when she and her child were taken on board. The colored cook took a plank and jumped overboard, as soon as he discovered the boat was sinking, and made his way to the shore, which he soon succeeded in reaching, after which he footed it some miles farther to Port Maitland, arriving there but a few minutes later than the Despatch. [Buffalo Com. Advertiser]

Kingston Imports.

May 15th - Schr. Miranda, French Creek, in ballast, N. Gaffett.

Str. Ontario, Rochester, gen. cargo.

Schr. Adrian, Montreal, in ballast, J. Lewis.

Str. Passport, Montreal, gen. cargo.

May 16th - Str. Sovereign, Toronto, 9 bbls. ashes, 36 hhds 15 bags and 10 bbls. potatoes, H. McLennan.

Schr. Mayflower, Wellington, 2,000 bush. malt, 154 bbls. flour, 40 bbls. sal., James Morton.

Schr. Primrose, Wellington, 365 bbls. flour, Mr. McIver.


Capt. Bowen.

Leaves the Commercial Wharf for Montreal on Saturday morning the 18th inst., at 7 o'clock, calling at Brockville, Prescott, and Cornwall.

For Freight or Passage apply to the Captain on board, or at the Steamboat Office, Commercial Wharf, foot of Princess Street.

May 17th, 1850.

Cleveland, May 16th - The steamer America is on fire at the pier - it took in the hold - he has just arrived from Buffalo.






Ottawa, Capt. Lawless.

Canada, Capt. O'Connor.

Lord Elgin, Capt. Stearns.

Passengers by this Line will leave Kingston every Morning at half-past five o'clock, touching at Brockville, Prescott, Cornwall and intermediate places, and arrive at Lachine the same evening, in time for the Train to Montreal, passing through the Thousand Islands and the Rapids of the St. Lawrence, in 14 hours.

The above Steamers are commanded by the most experienced Captains, and their Saloons and State Rooms on the Upper Deck are fitted up in the most modern style, no expense having been spared to render them unequalled for elegance and convenience, as they are unsurpassed for Speed and Comfort!

N.B. - The above Mail Boats carry no indigent or sick Emigrants. Passengers paying their Fares receive Tickets for the Cars.

For Passage or Freight apply to the Captain on board, or at the Royal Mail Steamboat Office, Commercial Wharf, Princess Street.

May 17th, 1850.



This Evening at Six O'clock.

The New and Fast Sailing Steamer


Capt. Maxwell,

Will leave for Toronto and Hamilton, this Evening, at 6 o'clock.

Commercial Wharf, Kingston. Friday, May 17th, 1850.

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May 17, 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), May 17, 1850