The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), March 9, 1881

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p.2 Sale of Schooners - The schooners Lady Dufferin and Edward Blake were sold at public auction yesterday at St. Catharines. The Lady Dufferin was sold to Cameron & Campbell, of Lucknow, for $10,000, and the Edward Blake to Capt. H. Neelon, of St. Catharines, for $9,500.


Complaint of Its Inefficiency - A Number of Improvements Suggested.

To the Editor of the British Whig;

Dear Sir; - From reports appearing lately in your paper I learn that the existing lease of the ferry between the city and the island has nearly expired. While there has been a good deal of interest displayed in one way and another, both in the city and county, in the subject of free roads, the fact has been overlooked that there are other means of ingress and egress to the city that have been sadly neglected.

While a great outcry has been raised that the farmers approaching the city from the west and north have to submit to a petty tax of 5 or 10 cents, a vexatious tax that trammels the trade that should be free between the city and county, mutually dependent on each other, an encumbrance that has long since been abolished in more progressive parts of the country.

What shall we say, however, of the almost prohibitive tolls that have been imposed on the people of the island - rates that must make them almost self-dependent and isolated from the city? To call the means of transit we have been depending upon a ferry is surely a misnomer. If our City Fathers cannot be induced to take a practical interest in this matter then by all means let the Government place the control of the ferry in the hands of the islanders. Perhaps the best way we can be advised is by comparison.

Take the first city west, Belleville. They have a steam ferry, established between the city and the township of Ameliasburgh, across the Bay of Quinte. Belleville, though smaller than Kingston, displays a public spirit that we may well emulate in such matters. They have long since secured the removal of toll gates, and made all the roads leading to the city free. The corporation has always taken the liveliest interest in securing the best facilities for communication with their neighbours opposite.

In leasing the ferry they stipulated for an ample boat, capable of carrying a number of teams and loaded wagons, besides passengers, further stipulating the number of trips the boat should make daily and the tolls that should be levied. Passengers pay 5 cents and 20 cents takes over a horse, wagon and driver, and there is an agitation for a still further reduction of these charges. With these low tolls the farmer is enabled to drive directly from his home to the market place, or hotel, or to where his business may call him in the city, without leaving his seat, as the boat is so built that he drives on at one end and off at the other. The city practitioner drives from his own door directly to the house of his patient with comfort and little or no loss of time.

These light charges, together with the conveniences of the ferry, enable the farmer to visit the city much oftener than he otherwise would. The mutual advantages are too numerous and obvious to need comment.

At several other points on the Bay of Quinte there are horse ferries established, where a horse, carriage and driver are taken over for 25 cents, the boat usually making a round trip for one fare.

It will be a surprise to many to know that should they wish to cross to the island with their horse and buggy for a drive they would be met with a charge of 25 cents for crossing the wharf, in order to reach the boat.

Yet this institution is called a ferry! Once on board the inconveniences of the situation will deter a second experiment, while the tolls levied on the steamer are simply unfair. I wonder how many of the City Fathers could tell how much is levied on the island farmer for the privilige of bringing say a ton of hay to market and return with his team? Let them compare the charge with the value of the load. No wonder there is so little communication between the city and island.

I trust that the City Council will take an interest in this matter, that they will have a suitable ferry slip built, a proper boat put on, and reasonable tolls prescribed.

Kingston, March 5th, 1881 Pro Bono Publico

*Our correspondent starts out from wrong premises. The Islanders have hitherto controlled the ferry, with the concurrence of the Government. All that the City Council is now, or has been, permitted to do with it is to offer its opinion.

p.3 The Jackstraw Light - work progressing.

Marine - Capt. P. Ryan will command the Reindeer; Horace Bogart the str. Roanoke; and Capt. Calhoun the schr. Monterey. The schr. H. Folger will receive new decks and boous ? this spring. She is at Sheboygan, Mich.

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March 9, 1881
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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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British Whig (Kingston, ON), March 9, 1881