The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Jan. 20, 1883

Full Text



It Discusses The Non-Arrival Of The Montreal Transportation Co.

Yesterday afternoon a Whig representative visited the Village of Portsmouth to investigate the effect of the Montreal Transportation Company remaining in the city. He found the people considerably agitated and somewhat chagrined at the turn of affairs. Some of the quid nunce said they had little idea that the Amalgamated Company would ever locate there. The inspection of the harbour by one who stalked around as though he was lord of all he surveyed was interesting, nothing more. This person made an examination of the property that had been leased by the St. Lawrence & Chicago Forwarding Co., visited a blacksmith and told him to whom he would have to look for pay in future, sought out the owner of a water lot and wanted a valuation placed on it, and talked of renting several houses. The villagers say the action was "too thin." They arrived at this conclusion in the following way:

Entering Into Explanations.

In 1879 the Company through their Secretary wrote to the Council of Portsmouth asking upon what terms they could secure a lease of the long pier. The Council prepared a plan of the harbour and at length pointed out the privileges they (the Co.) would receive. To this day no further communication has been had on the subject. The Clerk of the village had to write to the Company in order to get back the plan. Then again we are informed that Portsmouth did not offer the new Company inducements to remove. Our citizens have been in error when they thought that the lease given to the St. Lawrence and Chicago Company held good so far as the Amalgamated Company was concerned. Our reporter found the people incensed over the way the City Fathers had made mention of the village.

One gentleman remarked that "the Aldermen spoke as though Portsmouth was a long way off, an insignificant place, inhabited only by thugs and thieves."

"Kingston," said another, "has never shown this village any generosity. A spirit of hostility has rather existed. This is not the way to foster reciprocal feelings. If we are ever to be annexed to Kingston kindlier treatment is required from the city. Every word spoken against this village goes as a dagger to the heart of some one." This fact the reporter noticed subsequently at the meeting of the Council as remarks of leading City Fathers during many years were recalled and commented upon.

Meeting Of The Council.

About 7 o'clock the pencil pusher wended his way to the Town Hall where he found the Council in session. The members present were: James Adams, Reeve; Messrs. Jas. Halliday, John Gleeson, Alex. McLeod and Joseph Fisher. The business proceeded quietly and in the presence of a goodly number of ratepayers.

Mr. Adams, Reeve, said he had called the special meeting to consider the question of the removal of the Montreal Transportation Company's plant from Portsmouth. He read the letter of Mr. G.M. Kinghorn addressed to the Mayor of Kingston.

Mr. Gleeson said Portsmouth had given no inducements to the Montreal Transportation Company to remain in Portsmouth.

Mr. Halliday said that the Company were no doubt calculating on the lease granted to the St. Lawrence & Chicago Forwarding Company. This, however, was a wrong conclusion, as the Company that secured the lease had become defunct. The lease has again reverted to the municipality.

Terms Of The Lease.

Mr. Halliday read the lease which granted to the St. Lawrence & Chicago Company the use of the long pier for 10 years at a rental of $5 per annum the first five years and $45 per annum for the remainder of the time. The lease took effect in February 3rd, 1880. It was distinctly stated that the Company could not assign or sub-let the pier without the leave of the Council. Such had not been granted to the Amalgamated Company. Mr. Halliday said he thought there was little use of writing to the Company and suggesting the same privileges. It looked now as if they had made arrangements to remain in Kingston. He would not think of allowing them to make Portsmouth a place of refuge for their rotten barges. Unless they made Portsmouth the headquarters they could not have the use of the harbour at all.

Mr. Gleeson and the other gentlemen endorsed this position.

Mr. Halliday subsequently moved "that the Clerk be instructed to write to Mr. D. McPhie, late Manager of the St. Lawrence & Chicago Forwarding Company, relative to the lease of the long pier, which by the amalgamation of the Company with the M.T. Co., is now void."

The Reeve thought the Company had no intention of removing to Portsmouth; at least his conversation with Capt. Gaskin led him to form that opinion.

Mr. Gleeson said exemption from taxation would not retain the Company in Kingston if they had any desire to remove. He went on to say that the outside Manager of the Company in Kingston had been making a handle of Portsmouth to gain his ends.

Mr. Fisher - And of Kingston also.

Opinions Of The Ratepayers.

Reeve Adams asked the ratepayers to express their views.

Mr. Beaupre thought the Council had no right to listen to the utterances of Capt. Gaskin. He had been making "cat's paws" of the villagers. He believed that there were some men seated around the Kingston Council Board who were connected with the M.T. Co., and allowed the wealthy concern to fatten at the expense of the poor. He said Capt. Gaskin had told Peter Mitchell "they could not secure property in Portsmouth," while the Secretary of the Company, in his letter, said that the Company "owned property there." It was a strange thing that the Assessor could not find this property. The talk of removing to Portsmouth was simply to secure the remission of taxes. The poor carters were ground down in order to contribute to the Company's riches.

Going For The Captain.

Alex. McLeod said that Captain Gaskin had pulled the wool over the eyes of the Kingstonians. He wished they were able to pull it back again. (Laughter.) It seemed that Kingston was in mortal terror of the village being built up. The laborers moving to the village would reap the benefits of cheaper rent, water and purer air, and Mr. Halliday said that nearly every cent that made in Portsmouth would go to Kingston. "I know one thing; they won't pull the wool over our eyes."

Mr. Beaupre claimed that all the money made in Portsmouth went to the city. The Company, he said, would not locate in Portsmouth.

Minor Facts and Conclusions.

There was a desultory conversation about the condition of the pier, the merits of the two harbors, Kingston and Portsmouth, and the work to be done by the St. L. & C. Company to the village. There were whispers that this Company did not expend the amount they promised upon the pier. The barges of the new Company will also, it is said, come under the Assessor's eye. The Council were unanimous in the opinion that unless the M.T. Co. made their headquarters at Portsmouth they could not have the use of the pier at all. "We won't have a graveyard made of this harbour." The Council adjourned to be called together whenever a reply is received from Mr. McPhie.

p.3 Portsmouth Harbour - Portsmouth has spent $500 in removing sunken barges and crib work from its harbor, and the Government spent $5,000 in dredging the channel. The harbor is now looked upon as one of the best on the lakes. It is accessible in the stormiest weather. Vessels can sail in and out quite easily. The advantages of the pier and harbor will probably be advertised and inducements given a Company to locate there - if the M.T. Company do not remove from the city.

Here & There - The extension of the wharf at the Kingston Penitentiary has been begun.

Media Type:
Item Type:
Date of Original:
Jan. 20, 1883
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Rick Neilson
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
WWW address
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

British Whig (Kingston, ON), Jan. 20, 1883