The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), Sept. 1, 1851

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p.2 Steamer Champion, Aug. 29th.

I timed my trip to Brockville so well that I could return to Kingston per this new and superb vessel, and judge with my own eyes of her speed and capacity. She is truly the "Champion" of Canadian steam packets; as splendidly fitted and decorated as the Passport, with a little more convenience. It was my intention to have given here a full and lengthy description of her, but I find on board yesterday's Montreal Gazette, with that same thing so well done in it, that for fear I should plagiarize any of its ideas or expressions, I prefer interpolating the whole article, to writing one of my own: -

"The Champion - This boat is well named, for she is the Champion of the St. Lawrence. For neatness, elegance, and above all commodiousness, she is not surpassed by any boat on the river. Being made to pass through the locks, she is not of the mammoth size of a Lake Ontario, or Lake Erie steamer; but from her dimensions, persons at a distance may form some idea of the great capacity of the Canadian Canals. She is 184 feet in length overall, 26 6 feet breadth of beam, and 44 feet over the guard, 11 6 depth of hold, and her Upper Cabin affords a promenade of 150 feet in length with ranges of State Rooms on each side.

On the main deck there is a most elegant saloon, elegant in its proportions, of width and length, and extremely chaste in its decorations. The capitals of the pilasters, which divide the sides into compartments, are surmounted by the national emblems of England, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, and the United States, carved and gilt. The light gilding of the scroll work, with that of the angels of the pilasters, while it affords relief to the uniformity of the white color of the walls, gives an air of chasteness to the saloon, which is wanting, when the profuse use of the gold raises the idea of a tawdry extravagance, as is the case on some boats, particularly in the United States. Simplicity and elegance, as in the Champion, form the true rule of chaste ornament. Opening from this Saloon is the Ladies' Cabin, superbly furnished. An excellent idea has been hit upon, in laying out wide commodious staterooms on each side, instead of following the old practice of lining it round with open berths. These state rooms are more like private parlours, and may be used as such, when a lady desires to be alone. The design of the window is also not common, - it slides into the framework, thus saving the room inside, which is taken up by a window opening on a hinge.

The upper Cabin is elegantly furnished, having couches, tete-a-tetes, etc., and a splendid Piano. In the forward portion is the dining-room, which with the doors open, and the boat under her usual way, must feel perfectly cool even in the hottest weather. This cabin has fifty staterooms much wider, and more commodious than is usual in boats of this class, and perfectly ventilated by the open work of the ( ) as well as by the window. Here too the gilding and ornamenting are on the same chaste idea of simplicity, and the saloon is lit by squares of stained glass, running the whole length of the chamber, on each side, with the national emblems in frost work in the middle. A plate glass of large size is placed in the casing, which encloses the engine, giving a view of its manoevring to propel the vessel.

The speed of the Champion is equal to her other accomplishments, she being found to be the quickest boat on the route. She has been built by Mr. Cantin, at the Canal Basin, in the course of the last eight or nine months for Messrs. Macpherson, Crane & Co., under the supervision of Mr. D. McPherson himself, the Joiner work having been executed by Mr. Shearer.

By an interruption from a jam of boats in the Lachine Canal, one of which, we understand, had grounded in the high wind, the Highlander was prevented from leaving for Hamilton, the first of the line, as advertised. The Highlander, possibly had an idea, that such an honor was due to the Champion of the fleet; and the Champion accordingly will lead the van, this afternoon at 1 o'clock, under the command of Capt. Marshall, an old servant of the Proprietors, and one whose experience is second to none on the river. We wish him good luck."

With respect to the Champion's speed, I timed her when she left Brockville, and with a strong head breeze, she reached Gananoque within two hours and thirty-five minutes, a distance variously estimated from 35 to 40 miles. She is detained wooding at Gananoque while I write, but Capt. Marshall assures me, the Champion has done the distance hence to Kingston, eighteen miles, in one hour fifteen minutes, and will do it in less time, when her engine gets used to its work. The running time from Brockville to Kingston will be three hours and fifty minutes, or allowing for ordinary detention at Gananoque, say four hours. This is good going for a vessel like the Champion, constructed for lake, river and canal navigation. She has some motion when going quick, as all fast steamers have, but she does not roll, as some envious persons have asserted, and in every respect she seems to be a strong and sea worthy vessel. May she prove prosperous!



30th - Schr. Mayflower, Wellington, 951 kegs powder, E. Hooker.

Schr. Lady Bagot, Chatham, 8000 standard staves, Calvin & Cook.

Schr. Peru, Sodus, 281 bush. apples, 1 bbl. pears, C.C. Wood.

Str. Bay State, Oswego, mixed cargo.


30th - Str. Ontario, Oswego, 59 bags oats.

Schr. Wm. Penn, Detroit, 350 bars railroad iron.

Str. Bay State, Ogdensburgh, passengers and baggage.

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Sept. 1, 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), Sept. 1, 1851