The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), Oct. 14, 1851

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It was the intention to have made a personal inspection and given a description of this handsome Steamer; but unfortunately, or rather fortunately, we find the duty done to our hand. While the vessel has been lying at Montreal, taking on her splendid Furniture, and being otherwise fitted for her route, the Montreal papers have done the amiable, and left the British Whig nothing to do but copy their remarks. Excepting this much - that the Master, Capt. Patterson, who for three seasons has commanded the Phoenix on the Ottawa River, is one of the kindest and most obliging men in steamboat employ, and one whose popularity will yearly increase:-

The New Through Line - This Line, which although but recently established, has made such rapid progress in public favour, is, we perceive, about to be strengthened by another elegant and capacious boat, in addition to those already on the line. The May Flower - for this is the title of the new comer - is distinguished by the same liberal expenditure in her decorations and appointments as her fellow Through Liner, the Champion, and like her, she evinces the marked determination of her energetic proprietors, to spare neither labor nor expense in rendering their vessels worthy the patronage of the travelling public.

Like the Champion, the May Flower is of the largest capacity admissible by the canals, and her accommodations for passengers are arranged nearly on the same plan. Her saloon is a noble apartment; having double engines the machinery does not occupy the centre of the vessel, and a clear view of nearly one hundred and fifty feet is afforded from end to end. Stained glass panels, of Canadian manufacture, embodying many tasteful devices, afford a pleasing and mellow light, and, in accordance with the excellent plan introduced on board the Champion, the saloon of the May Flower is divided into dining and drawing room, the separation being effected by elegant drapery, surmounted by a handsome gilt cornice, which can be either raised or lowered at pleasure. The furniture and carpets, etc., are of the same costly character as those of the Champion, and we were pleased to see, as on that boat, an excellent chosen piano & an assortment of music judiciously chosen. Where there is so much competition, as on the St. Lawrence, these minutaie cannot be too closely attended to. The staterooms, both in the saloon and ladies' cabin, are large and airy; the cabin below is exceedingly commodious, and, what is of great importance to the poorer classes, the steerage accommoation is better than we remembered to have seen it in any other boat.

To those who have travelled from Grenville to Bytown and vice versa in the Phoenix, mere mention of the fact that Capt. Patterson, formerly of that boat, is appointed to the command of the May Flower, is sufficient; but to those who have not had that pleasure, we may state, that in the skilful management of his vessel, and close attention to the comforts of his passengers, he is second to no commander on the Canadian waters.

The extraordinary punctuality and despatch which has characterised the Through Line since its establishment has attracted much public attention, the Highlander has maintained the high position she took at starting for speed and comfort, and the Champion has realized the most sanguine expectations which were formed of her. We understand that on her last passage from Toronto, she encountered the new crack steamer Maple Leaf, and in a friendly trial she distanced her at the rate of one mile in ten.

The May Flower starts today on her first trip, and we wish every success to this excellent boat and her popular commander.


13th - Str. Niagara, Ogdensburgh, mixed cargo.

Str. Mayflower, Ogdensburgh, mixed cargo.


13th - Str. Niagara, Oswego, passengers and baggage.

For the British Whig.

Mr. Editor, - As you appear to be such a stickler for the Through Line of Steamers, putting them above every other class of vessels allow me to make you acquainted with one fact. I came up from Montreal last Friday in the New Era, River Mail Line, and left Brockville for Kingston in company with the Champion, one of the vessels you crack up so much. When the New Era reached the wharf at Gananoque, the Champion was nowhere, and did not arrive at Gananoque until full six minutes afterwards. And when the New Era arrived at Kingston, it was nearly half an hour before the Champion made her appearance.


Kingston, Oct. 11th, 1851.

*Note - The British Whig eulogizes the vessels belonging to the Through Line because they deserve it, but does not do so at the expense of other Lines. On the occasion alluded to, the Champion competed with one of the fastest steamers afloat, running light; and although deeply laden, she only lost six minutes in a distance of 36 miles. As to the gain between Gananoque and Kingston, that is easily accounted for, when it is recollected, that the Champion had to wood at Gananoque for her long trip across the lake, detaining her nearly an hour.


The folowing description of a scene that recently was enacted in Kingston Harbor, on the occasion of the collision between the Reindeer and the Ottawa, is taken from the Montreal Herald:-

The escape of the passengers was indeed providencial. Between twenty and thirty children, with their parents, nurses and female relatives, were on board. The night was unusually dark, and the cabin floor had just been cleared for a dance, when the shock of collision was felt. The Captain of the vessel announced the extent of the sudden danger, by exhorting all, "for Heaven's sake to help themselves" ! The confusion and terror, heightened by the simultaneous screams of women and children, may be better conceived than described. The Captain and Purser did all they could to assist the frightened passengers, but the crew, we have been informed, quitted the sinking vessel at the first alarm, betook themselves to the barge, which was providentially alongside, and both commands and entreaties were alike unavailing to induce them to return to the wreck and assist. One of the manly beings answered a lady's appeal to him by observing, that his life was as valuable as hers. As a noble contrast to such conduct, we record with pleasure the behaviour of the Stewardess, who refused to quit the ship until every lady and child had succeeded in getting clear. Her conduct, under most trying circumstances, was heroic and most praiseworthy, and should not pass unnoticed or unrewarded. One lady was drawn out of her berth through the rent made in the Ottawa by the Reindeer - others had similar hairbreadth escapes. The wonder is, how so many lives were preserved under circumstances of so much danger. [Montreal Herald]

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Oct. 14, 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), Oct. 14, 1851