The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Oct. 11, 1882

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The str. Passport, detained at Port Hope by the gale yesterday, passed eastward yesterday afternoon.

In leaving Gananoque with a barge yesterday the Glide struck a rock and chopped a piece off her wheel.

The schr. Pulaski sailed for Cape Vincent yesterday. She ran aground in the blow, and to her assistance the tug Conqueror had to go today.

M.T. Co. - The schr. M.L. Coyne had 126 bushels of grain damaged, and the schr. American 87 bushels. A protest was entered in neither case.

The Glide arrived last evening from Montreal with four barges, carrying 100 tons of rails, and the Active left with four, laden with 75,000 bushels wheat and 125 tons phosphate.

The schr. Pandora has been chartered to carry barley from Wellington to Buffalo at 5 1/2 cents per bushel. A tug will remain with her while loading at Wellington, on the lake shore, being exposed to stormy weather.

Munson's dredge was expected to reach Portsmouth this afternoon from Napanee. She will complete the work which she commenced in the spring. By the time the appropriation of $5,000 is expended the harbour will be capable of accommodating vessels of the deepest draught entering Lake Ontario.

A Verdict of Negligence in the Richelieu Inquest - Montreal, Oct. 11th - The coroner's jury in the case of the Richelieu disaster returned the following verdict: "We find that the death of the parties resulted from the criminal negligence of Mr. Samuel Tilgate, the owner of the steamer Richelieu; John Burgess, Inspector of steamboats, and Michael Frechette second class engineer, in charge of the machinery at the time of the explosion, and we recommend to the Government that steamboat machinery and boilers should be more frequently inspected and with greater care - at least in every two months."

p.3 A Steamboat Suit - R. & O. Nav. Co. vs Messrs. Lunt of Toronto - had an agreement not to run Rothesay and T.B. Maxwell in opposition to R.M. line.

Whats The News? - Capt. Taylor, Inland Lloyd's Inspector, inspected new str. Myles at Hamilton yesterday.


His Steamboating, Political and Social Career.

So live that, when thy summons comes to you,

The innumerable caravan that moves

To that mysterious realm where each shall take

His chamber in the silent halls of death

Thou go not like the quarry slave at night

Scourged to his dungeon but sustained and soothed

By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave

Like one that draws the drapery of his couch

About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

Bryant's Thanatopia

Hon. John Hamilton has been gathered to his fathers, having passed beyond his allotted span of three score years and ten and completed a career, remarkable alike for its unostentation and usefulness. His life, from beginning to close, was one of ceaseless activity, and although he was singularly modest and retiring in his disposition, absolutely shrinking from the notoriety which some men strain every nerve to obtain. His name has received prominence in the early records of Canada, and will be freshly inscribed with fitting tribute by the historian now that he has been translated from one realm to another. His face and figure were familiar to most of our citizens. Here he resided for 50 years, an occupant of the house which, on Maitland street, overlooking the harbor, he built in 1832, when Kingston was but in its infancy. He was, therefore, one of the oldest inhabitants, kind and courteous in his manner, expressing what he thought and meant more by deeds than by words, doing his share in moulding the destinies of the country, and meriting, by his irreproachable character, the profound respect of all who knew him. He was the youngest son of the late Hon. Robert Hamilton, of Queenston, Ont. He turned his attention, when still a young man, to commercial pursuits and became a pioneer in the steamboating business. He was owner of the Frontenac, the first steamer to ply on Lake Ontario. She was built at Finkle's Point, Ernestown, 15 miles from Kingston, in 1815, and was a great many years in service before she became his property, but she was still a substantial craft. Her architecture was peculiar, but as Caniff has stated, "the best of the kind in America." Her machinery was imported from England. The whole cost was 20,000 pounds. Then he bought the Queenston, about 1830, the history of which has been unwritten. In 1832 he built the Great Britain, which ran between Prescott and Niagara, a magnificent boat, the career of which was most successful. Prescott at this time was

The Terminus of Navigation

eastward. The canals had not been built and there were portages where such now exist. The passengers, of whom there were hundreds in motion even at that remote date - thousands during the immigration season - were conveyed from Dickinson's Landing to Cornwall in coaches, thence to Coteau by steamboat, by coaches to the Cascades, by steamboats to Lachine, and finally by stages to Montreal. When the cholera was epidemic it is said the Great Britain was frequently stopped and the bodies of the dead put ashore. Once, too, she was nearly destroyed by rebels. At Oswego, Bill Lett, a famous outlaw, who ruined Brock's monument by a gun powder charge, had three trunks put aboard, and a few minutes afterward one of them exploded and made a wreck of everything for some distance around it. About this time Mr. Hamilton removed his family from Queenston to Kingston. In 1840 he chartered the Henry Gildersleeve, and ran her between Toronto and Hamilton in opposition to David Bethune's line. Mr. Alexander Sommerville, who was engineer of the Gildersleeve, (Capt. Trowel, now of the Algerian, being mate) says that on the occasion of an important meeting at Brock's monument about fifteen steamers had a race up the river from Niagara. The Gildersleeve beat them all, including the Traveller, upon which the Governor General was a passenger, and which was also owned by Mr. Hamilton, built in the troublesome time of 1837-38 and used for conveying troops from one place to another. (The Traveller had two powerful engines, one of which is now in Calvin & Son's tug of the same name.) The Gildersleeve carried soldiers and ammunition to Prescott during the fight at the Windmill. She lay at Prescott when the flag of truce was hoisted by the rebels, and brought some of them as prisoners of war to Kingston for trial. The Gildersleeve (commanded by Capt. Bowen) afterwards ran to Coteau du Lac and was the first steamboat to run the Beauharnois Canal. She was on the Lachine route in 1847, when the Government chartered her to carry emigrants to Kingston, often as many as 1,000 being crammed aboard. When

The Fever Became Prevalent

among the poor incoming strangers it was felt desirable that special accommodation should be provided as a prevention against the spread of the contagious disease, and thus it came to pass that Mr. Hamilton secured the Fashion, which made connections between Montreal and Kingston. The emigrants being provided with a special means of conveyance were not allowed to travel upon the regular passenger boats. Mr. Hamilton owned the Ontario afterwards the Lord Sydenham; the Champion, later on a tug on the St. Lawrence, and chartered the Sovereign, Brockville, Ottawa and New Era (the latter a splendid boat, built in 1848, and commanded by Capt. Crysler.) All these ran on the lake and river route. Mr. Hamilton had also the management of the steamers Northern and New York, which he leased from an American company, and ran between Niagara and Ogdensburg, calling at Toronto. Then came the Passport (iron) built at Montreal at a cost of $32,000. Of her Mr. Hamilton was particularly proud. She was not only commodious but fast, and is indeed, the speediest at this moment of the line to which she is attached. It had been customary for the Captains to whistle as the str. Passport swept down and up the harbour front past his residence, and this practice, as a compliment to the old gentleman, was continued long after the boat had become the property of the Company. The str. Kingston (iron) was his last production. She was put together at the Marine Railway here, at a cost of $34,000, and some ten years ago was burned upon the River St. Lawrence. Her hull and engines were saved, however, and utilized in the construction of the str. Algerian. Mr. Hamilton was founder of the Royal Mail Line, which was composed of the steamers Corsican, Spartan, Magnet and other boats besides those named, and which for a long time was handsomely subsidized by the Government in connection with the postal service. In 1861 the Canadian Navigation Company was formed, Mr. Hamilton being General Manager, which position he held (with office at Kingston) until after the amalgamation of the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Companies. For some time he had been relieved of duty, but he was to the last deeply interested in the steamboating. By his death the link spanning the events of over half a century has been broken.

His Political Career.

John Hamilton will be missed from Parliament more than any other place. He was truly a patriarchal lawgiver. He sat in the Legislative Council of Canada as a life member, from June 1851 until the Union, and was, we believe, the only surviving one of that small Company of patriots summoned to the Senate by Royal proclamation in May, 1867, a circumstance to which he referred many a time in a very affecting way. He was a Conservative, but so inoffensive in the expression of his views as to win the friendship of those politically opposed to him. He made no pretentions to oratory, and did not pose as a great debater, but he was possessed of much good common sense, and in a quiet, practical manner, exercised an important influence upon the public measures ere they received the seal of the upper chamber. Two years ago a significant event occurred - the presentation to him by the Senate of an elaborately prepared address, in recognition of the 50th anniversary of his entrance upon public life. The kind words then spoken of him must be yet fresh in the memories of the citizens. He had been a regular attendant of Parliament, and at the last session occupied his seat as usual. But the House had only been fairly opened when ill health compelled his return to the city. It was then thought he was sinking, and that the end was close at hand, but he rallied, and though weak spent the summer reasonably well. Recently his health again gave way. He was not a sufferer but from infirmity. A week ago he was confined to his bed, and in the few intervening days life painlessly ebbed away. He was concious until yesterday at noon; death came at 5:30 o'clock.

Surviving Members Of His Family.

The late Mr. Hamilton was born in 1801 at Queenston (when that place was at the head of navigation), and educated there. He married the daughter of David Macpherson, Esq., of Inverness, Scotland, who bore to him eleven children - John, barrister and County Attorney at Sault Ste. Marie; Clark, Collector of Customs in this city; Herchmer, tanner, who died some years ago; David, physician, residing and practicing at Batavia, N.Y.; George, banker, who died recently in Brandon; Joseph, who departed this life at the age of 13; and Samuel, banker, who regretfully passed away in this city four years since. The daughters are: Mrs. John Paton, New York; Mrs. Dr. Mackenzie, Mrs. Foote, Denver, Colorado, and one who would have been the eldest, but died in infancy. Mrs. Hamilton died in 1878.

Holding Positions Of Trust.

The estimate in which he was held by the community is indicated by the various positions of trust to which he was elected. He was for 17 years President of the Commercial Bank, was for a very long time Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Queen's College, and President of St. Andrews' Society. He was also a veteran member of St. Andrews Church - a consistent Presbyterian and conscientious Christian. He contemplated the final dissolution calmly and resignedly. He felt that his life had not been spent in vain and that he had earned the reward of a good and faithful servant. While his death was expected it brings bereavement and sorrow to many friends, with whom the public will deeply sympathize.

There is no death! What seems so is transition.

This life of mortal breath

Is but a suburb of the life elisian,

Whose portals we call death.


Prosperous Fish Business.

Mr. N. Dunham, familiarly known as "Uncle Noah," arrived in the city this morning. He purposes remaining here over the winter, and again engaging in the fish business. During the summer he expended over $3,000 in the purchase of fish in this vicinity, but wishes it to be understood that the catch, principally of trout and whitefish, was made in American waters. The fishers are now removing to Salmon Point and Point Peters, where the best fising is to be had in the fall and winter. He represents the house of Clark & Robbins, the most extensive fish dealers on the lake. Their head quarters are at Sackett's Harbour, where they have an immense freezer, capable of freezing and preserving in good condition over 150 tons of fish. To keep the freezer properly supplied three ice houses are necessary. The firm deal only in a choice article of brain food. They have extensive business connections and do a very large trade.

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Oct. 11, 1882
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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.
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), Oct. 11, 1882