The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), Jan. 6, 1851

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The British Whig of Saturday most unexpectedly contained the intelligence of the untimely decease of this most excellent gentleman. Captain Lawless had been indisposed for some few days past, but his illness was of an ordinary description, and none of his many friends felt any alarm, or imagined any cause for alarm to be needful. On the afternoon before the day of his death his intimate acquaintance for the first time, began to apprehend danger which fear was unhappily realized in the course of the following night.

Captain Lawless was a man beloved and esteemed by all who knew him. He never had an enemy, because he never made one. Whether on board his steamboat, and for twenty long years he was the Pride of the St. Lawrence, or in private life, his winning and pleasing manners made him universally popular; and now that he has departed to that drear "bourne from whence no traveller returns," his loss will be deeply felt and bitterly lamented.

His burial took place yesterday at three o'clock P.M., and the numerous concourse of all classes of the community which followed his remains to the grave showed how correctly we have estimated his career.

For the British Whig.

At a public meeting convened on the 14th December last, by the magistrates of Brighton, in the school-room of this village, in accordance with a numerously signed requisition of the inhabitants, for the purpose of taking into consideration the best means of bringing before the proper authorities the improvement of Presqu'isle Harbor, and opening the Murray Canal, it was then:

Moved by Dr. Meade, seconded by Mr. H. Squier, that B. Franklin, Esq. do take the Chair, and that J.H. Proctor be Secretary of this meeting.

Moved by Mr. A. Martin, seconded by Mr. A.C. Singleton, that Messrs. T.H. Ketchum, H. Squier, Wm. Brown, C.E. Bullock, and Dr. Meade, be a committee to draft resolutions expressive of the sense of this meeting.

The following resolutions were then presented, and after discussion passed unanimously.

First - Moved by Mr. A.C. Singleton, seconded by Mr. T.H. Ketchum, that the opening of the Murray Canal from Presqu'isle Harbor to the Bay of Quinte, is a work of great importance, both to the Government and to this part of the Province, and that this meeting will do all in its power to promote a speedy commencement of this highly important undertaking.

Second - Moved by Mr. A. Martin, seconded by Mr. J. Maybee, that it is the opinion of this meeting, that if the situation of this Harbor had not been misrepresented, so as to convey the idea to the Government that there could not be a ship canal made here (and the people had done their duty) the work would have been commenced long before this time.

Third - Moved by Mr. H. Squier, seconded by Mr. Joseph Bettis, that in the opinion of this meeting, the report of Mr. James Lyon, Civil Engineer (as stated in his letter) conveying to the Government the idea that there is only 7 feet 6 inches water at the entrance of the Harbor, that the channel is a torturous and crooked one, and constantly shifting is false, and that Mr. Lyons acted upon other instructions than those of the Government when he made that report.

At this stage of the proceedings the following letters were presented by Mr. H. Squier, and the statements therein contained were corroborated by several nautical men present, who are well acquainted with the facts they contain.

Presqu'Isle Point, 1850.

Dear Sir, - I have been now a resident at Presqu'Isle upwards of forty years, having settled here in 1808, and during this time have frequently piloted vessels in and out of this Harbor, and sailed a schooner for several years myself, during which time I have never known the channel to fail nor shift, neither is it tortuous or crooked, making only a slight curve from the mouth of the harbor to the lake. I have never known any vessel to ground in the channel, but have frequently seen vessels ashore on the shoals of Salt Point and sometimes on the flats for want of knowing where the channel was, which might be easily defined by buoys and a Harbor Light. I have never known the water less than two fathoms in the Channel, and this Spring having sounded, I find there is thirteen feet and upwards all the way out. Dear Sir, if you think proper you may make use of this statement for the good of our much neglected Harbor.

Yours respectfully,


To Mr. Henry Squiers.

Presqu'Isle Point, 1850.

Sir - I have read Mr. Lyon's description of Presqu'Isle Harbor, and I must say I am a good deal surprised at it! My own observations here for the last ten years as Light House Keeper, do not lead me to the same conclusions. In the first place with regard to the Channel being a "tortuous and shifting one" and only 7 feet 6 inches water, I have only to say that I have sounded the channel from the harbor through to the Lake, and from twelve to thirteen feet in the shallowest part; and as to the channel twisting I found the depth of water in a straight course or nearly so, from the harbor to the Lake; with regard to its shifting I never heard of it before; my own observations as to the course the vessels take in coming into harbor will not admit of it, neither will the experience of the captainsof vessels that I have conversed with, those old captains who have long been acquainted with the harbor using the same landmarks to steer in with now which they ever did and moreover I suppose it will be acknowledged, that the late superintendent of the Light Houses and harbors, Captain McIntire, was as well acquainted with this harbor as any other man, both as to his own experience in sailing, and also from a survey which he made whilst in the employ of the Board of Works, now sir, if Mr. Lyon's opinions be correct, that "a channel defined by buoys today, would after the next gale lead vessels aground," would Captain McIntyre have sent buoys and cables here, only last year, to have the channel buoyed off, which was to have been done then, but poor McIntyre was suddenly taken off, and the buoys in consequence are lying here on the shore. Now here are both experience and science in favor of Presqu'Isle Harbor. - Facts are indeed stubborn things.


To Mr. H. Squiers.

p.S. So far as I can learn, the channel wants to be buoyed off and a small light placed on the extremity of Salt Point, to steer up the channel into the Harbor. This was also Capt. McIntyre's opinion, and which he was about to carry into effect. When the weather suits and my health will admit, I intend to give you some further statements of facts as to the present depth of water.

The following resolutions were then also passed unanimously:

Fourth - Moved by Mr. Wm. Brown, seconded by Mr. J. Betts, that this meeting has sufficient authority to state that the water is 12 feet deep and upwards in the channel, at the entrance of Presqu'Isle Harbor, and that it never changes or shifts as represented by Mr. Lyons, but is accessible for the largest class vessels on the Lake.

Fifth - Moved by Mr. T.H. Ketchum, seconded by Dr. Marsh, that it is the wish of this meeting, the Municipal Council of the Township of Cramahe should represent to the County Council of the United Counties of Northumberland and Durham, the expediency of petitioning the Government and Legislature for a grant of a sufficient sum of money to cut a ship canal from the head waters of the Bay of Quinte to Presqu'Isle Harbor.

Sixth - Moved by Dr. Meade, seconded by Mr. Spencer, that the Town Reeve of the Township of Cramahe be respectfully requested to communicate with other municipalities for the purpose of soliciting their influence in adopting measures to co-operate with each other for the speedy opening of said canal.

Seventh - Moved by Mr. C.E. Bullock, seconded by Mr. R. Spencer, that the Councillor of this Ward, J.H. Proctor, be requested to lay the proceedings of this meeting before the Town Reeve and Municipal Council of the Township of Cramahe, to be acted on forthwith.

Eighth - Moved by Mr. A. Martin, seconded by Dr. Meade, that the proceedings of this meeting be signed by the Chairman and Secretary and published in the Port Hope Watchman, Belleville Intelligencer, and British Whig.

A vote of thanks was then tendered to the Chairman and Secretary, and the meeting adjourned.

B. FRANKLIN, Chairman.

J.H. PROCTOR, Secretary.

Brighton, Dec. 24th, 1850.

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Jan. 6, 1851
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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), Jan. 6, 1851