LETTER FROM THE EDITOR.
Bytown, Aug. 21st, 1850.
My Dear Whig:-
I left Montreal yesterday at half-past seven o'clock, Lachine at eight, and got here in twelve hours. Pretty good going this for the Ottawa River. But when the steamers which do this fast work are considered, the feat need not be wondered at. The Lady Simpson, Capt. Sheppard, which runs the Lake of the Two Mountains part of the route, is the prettiest and most tastily fitted up boat on the Canadian waters. Not quite so fast as her sister vessel, the Ottawa, but far more elegant and convenient; having an abundance of state rooms for the travelling public. And the Phenix (sic - Phoenix ?), Capt. Patterson, is the most capacious and most comfortable river steamer between Montreal and the sources of both branches of the St. Lawrence. It is true there are no state-rooms on board the Phenix, but as she is intended solely for a Day Boat, there is no great occasion for this necessary accommodation. Otherwise, the Phenix can't be matched for speed, comfort, elegance and real convenience. Her owners, Messrs. Macpherson & Crane, have spared no pains or expense in rendering her unique, and they have succeeded to their heart's content. It need not therefore be a matter of surprise, that the distance between Montreal and Bytown, 130 miles, including a portage by stage 12 miles, is got over in 12 hours.
I have long advocated the propriety of putting down the tariff of steamboat fares to its lowest remunerative level. Formerly it cost $5 to go from Montreal to Bytown; now the fare is $3, and the travel is more than doubled. There are other parties' interests to be considered in steamboat arrangements, beside the publics'; but if owners can make more money by adopting a low scale of fares instead of a high one, it almost becomes a crime not to do so. I hope shortly to see the day when the fare between Montreal and Kingston will be $3, and the same thence to Toronto. Steamer Proprietors would find it to their interest to make this change at once, instead of being forced into it, with an ill grace, by the operation of the Ogdensburgh Railroad.
Although both boats ascending the Ottawa today were crowded with passengers, there was not a single American tourist among the whole. Strange that the people of the United States should feel so little interest concerning the Main Branch of the Great St. Lawrence - one of the mighty arteries of their mighty continent....
We recently copied from an American paper a notice that several ports on Lake Erie such as Black Rock, Tonawanda and Dunkirk, had been closed to foreign shipping by order of the United States Custom House - by foreign shipping, Canadian shipping being of course intended. We do not know whether the American authorities had other motives than to place our shipping in an inferior position to their own by this regulation, or whether that was the object; but we are sorry to say that the effect will be to exclude our forwarders, in favor of Americans, from a very considerable opening for trade. The closing of the other ports is of little consequence; but Dunkirk happens to be the Lake terminus of the New York and Erie Railroad, and inasmuch as large quantities of the iron for that work is coming through our waters, there arises a transport trade from Montreal or Quebec to this very port. The effect of closing Dunkirk to foreign vessels, is therefore, to throw the whole trade into the hands of American ship owners. If this policy be carried out, we shall soon see it applied to Cleveland, where there is also a large demand for iron for another railway. We hope, though against hope we confess, that the restriction has not been made with a view to our injury; and that upon due representation by our Government, that Dunkirk will be again opened. We in Canada have shown every desire to cultivate commercial relations on terms of equality with our southern neighbours. They have been permitted by proclamation to pass St. Regis and come to Montreal; they are permitted to pass St. John's, go through the Richelieu and up the Ottawa for lumber; in practice they transport a number of articles besides lumber - indeed they are as free on our waters as ourselves. We wish that they should be so; but it is only right that they should treat us with the same liberality. Are our Government people at Toronto looking out on this subject? Will they make any efforts to obtain a relief from the present restriction?
p.3 Gov-Gen. leaves Toronto for Upper Lakes on Mohawk. [Patriot]