The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), April 14, 1852

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No. IV

Next to Portsmouth, we must refer to Garden Island, and the large establishment of Messrs. Calvin & Cook there. At this establishment there are undergoing repair and fitting out twelve vessels, including schooners, barges and steamers, besides a splendid new vessel on the stocks expected to carry 400 tons. On her bow we see stuck up the name Challenger. Whether the challenge is for burthen, strength or speed, we are incompetent to form an opinion. Of the steamers are three employed last season on the Tug Line, namely, the Charlevoix, Chieftain and Traveller. The former two of these steamers are apparently quite ready for operations, and the latter is about being supplied with two new boilers, which are about ready for their berths. This craft having been hauled out and thoroughly repaired during the winter, will come out in good running order soon after the opening of the navigation. This company have their own Marine Railways and Ship-Yard, and can haul out the heaviest vessel on the lake. The Traveller is now there undergoing repairs. Between the ship-yard, boiler shop, blacksmith shop, sail loft, saw pits, etc., there is at least one hundred and fifty men employed even during the winter; and in summer when the rafting business is going on, there will be many more. Two large piers have been built during the winter, on which are built two capstan-houses for the hauling of square timber out of the vessels, to be made afterwards into rafts. This denotes favorable anticipations of the Timber Trade.

Having already shown that Kingston is amply provided with ship-yards furnished with ready stores of material for the wood-work of vessels of any size, whether intended for the navigation of the lakes, river, or ocean, we shall now proceed to show that all the other requisites for furnishing and fitting a ship or steamboat ready for actual service, can be had, of the best description, within the precincts of the city. The Kingston Foundry is an establishment wherein all the iron work necessary for the above purposes, from a spike to an anchor, is manufactured, as well as the machinery for steamboats in all its details. The premises belonging to this Foundry are very extensive, divided into spacious distinct departments, wherein the different branches are carried on. The machinery used in the finishing workshop is varied, and some of it very ingenious and expensive. The whole is propelled by a powerful steam-engine, which is also used for the purpose of casting. Six or eight fires in the blacksmith shop are, generally speaking, daily in operation, altogether forming a perfect establishment, wherein, as we have already said, every description of machinery is manufactured, whether adapted for steamboats, mills or factories; and we can further add, without any fear of contradiction, that there is no other manufactory in the Province devoted to this description of business, that is possessed of the means, that is to say, the postulate, or matters necessary to finish the finer or more intricate sorts of machinery used for certain purposes, but this Kingston Foundry. There is an establishment at Niagara which we believe does a larger amount of business, and doubtless a more profitable one, but it is not calculated to complete a series of machinery suitable for the full equipment of a steam-vessel to enable her to go to sea. The engine of the Bay of Quinte steamer is now in process of manufacture at this foundry - cylinder 37 inches diameter; 12 feet stroke; and two boilers on the low pressure system. This vessel, it is anticipated, will in point of strength and speed prove equal to any other boat now navigating the inland waters of this Province. The new boiler for the Novelty is now also being finished at the same establishment, and will cost upwards of 500 pounds. The Kingston Foundry manufactures from 175 to 200 tons of pig iron yearly, and from 80 to 90 tons of boiler plate and maleable iron in the same period. Sixty-three is the average number of mechanics employed, whose wages amount weekly to 90 pounds. Here is a manufactory perfect in all its ramifications, doing a prosperous and extensive business, and is calculated and provided for any increase which may offer. What then becomes of the assertion of the member of the Board of Trade ? In the face of this fact, will he still maintain that it is impracticable to make Kingston a manufacturing city ? If the experiment has been tried in one instance and has been found to succeed, is it not fair and reasonable to argue that other manufactories, it matters not of what sort or description, with a similar application of spirit, energy and perseverance, may not be equally successful ? But it is vain to follow up the argumentation farther.

Kingston presents no natural or local obstruction to its progress towards manufacturing celebrity; on the contrary, it possesses manifold inducements to encourage the extension of this department of national industry, and only wants the exercise of the virtues above mentioned on the part of those interested in its welfare, to establish for it a character as a manufacturing city on a firm and lasting basis.

Manufactories of canvass and cordage are all that are wanting in Kingston to enable us to complete the equipment of a ship from the produce of home industry. These articles are, however, to be had of the best description, and any quantity that may be required, at Messrs. Bryce & Co.'s, and other commercial houses in the city.

We have now satisfactorily, we trust, shown that in this very important department of commercial traffic, viz., Ship-building in all its branches, Kingston is provided with all the essentials to compete with any other city in the Province; and when in connection with this advantage we consider the favorable position of Kingston as a shipping port, capable of receiving into its harbor and along the sides of its wharves the largest and deepest laden vessels that navigate the western lakes; and when we take into account the probable impulse which our shipping trade will receive by the completion of the Rome and Cape Vincent Railroad and the projected Canal across Wolfe Island, which together will necessarily induce a great additional amount of shipping to the eastern termination of Lake Ontario, the conviction cannot be resisted that with a corresponding exertion of enterprize and energy on the part of the people, with the advantages of which they are already possessed, and those in near prospective, Kingston will attain a position of shipping and manufacturing prosperity equal to the warmest and most sanguine hopes of those who advocate and promote its welfare.


In the Whig of the 10th inst., there appears a communication against the employment by the Government of a Tug Line of Steamers, and the writer says, "there is little danger now-a-days of too high rates of freight being levied in Canada on goods, either inward or outward bound." On the truth of this, the public, if not already satisfied, will soon have many opportunities of judging. The consequence of discontinuing the Government Tug Line is, that forwarders are now demanding eighteen pence per barrel for flour from Toronto to Montreal, in place of ten pence last year.

The Tug Line cost the country last year 1,750 pounds; this amount will be lost to the country and pocketed by forwarders on the freight of the small item of fifty-two thousand barrels alone; the above mentioned distance, if they succeed in obtaining their present demands, namely 1s. 6d. per barrel, being 8d per barrel of a rise. This is but about one eighth part of the flour expected to be freighted downwards this year, let alone all other exports from the Province by the St. Lawrence.

It is true the people pay the Government bonus to the Tug Line, but it saves them from eight to sixteen hundred per cent during the season's business, because there is probably eight times the above quantity of flour to be carried, and at least eight times as much more of other descriptions of goods, and this is very far under the mark, as we say nothing of the up freight.

Yet notwithstanding these plain facts, the correspondent of the Whig assures the public, "there is little danger now-a-days of too high rates of freight being levied."


Navigation - Within the last two days a very large quantity of ice has disappeared from the waters between this city and Wolfe Island. Fully one-half the channel is clear from a point near Garden Island down the river; how far down we cannot yet say; but it is very evident that the existing obstructions to navigation in this quarter are pretty well at the mercy of the first brisk breeze. It is not at all improbable that in two or three days we shall have access to the lake. Of the vessels in harbor we observed yesterday a party of men employed on board the brigt. Mohawk, bending sails, etc.

An advertisement appears in our columns from the St. Lawrence Inland Marine Insurance Company, announcing their readiness to accept risks. This is a Canadian Company, and has been in existence since 1834, and has always borne a high reputation. R. Deacon, Esq., is the Kingston Agent.

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April 14, 1852
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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 News (Kingston, ON), April 14, 1852