The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), July 18, 1855

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Wolfe Island Ferry

To the Editor of the Daily News.

Sir: - As one of the channels of communication between the city of Kingston and the agricultural community, the manner of conducting this ferry is important.

Much exertion has lately been made to improve the roads into the surrounding Townships, by the Corporation, and by individual enterprise, with a view to the increase of trade, and the general supply of country produce in the city market. This is as it should be; yet, it is strange that a corresponding effort should not be made, on the same principle, to improve the means of transport and travel between the city and Wolfe Island. Several attempts have been made, from time to time, by individual enterprise, to keep a steamer on this Ferry, but they have always, from some cause or other, been withdrawn; and chiefly from the spirit of opposition manifested in keeping sail scows, and other description of boats, plying to share the profits. At present, we find a steamer running regularly four times a day, that is quite suitable for the service on which she is employed, the daily outlay of which is probably about eight dollars; and alongside of her, in opposition, a small scow, the outlay for which may be about two dollars, including pay to all hands. And, because this craft is permitted thus to share the profits of the ferry, the steamer must, probably, again be withdrawn as a non-paying enterprise. It were more conducive to the public good to grant the steamer the lease of the Ferry, and consequent exclusive right, and the protection of the law, than the present system.

By the present law in force, the Council of the County in which a ferry is situated regulates the management of such ferry by by-law, the government, in the first place, granting a lease. The County Council did pass a by-law years ago, and the Corporation of this city gave its concurrence; it is now required that the Government lease the ferry; then, with this by-law in force, any magistrate within the County may administer the law both in protecting the Lessee, and in exacting a regular performance of his duties.

It is urged that the Government are bound to advertise the Ferry to lease, and that it must be given to the highest bidder. This may be so, and may be productive of no injury to Kingston and Wolfe Island, provided the rent to the Government is not too high; but there is no good cause why the Government should tax the people of Wolfe Island for coming to Kingston market - and a rent for the ferry is but an indirect tax, operating injuriously in many respects - and there is no more equity in the levying of such a tax than there would be in the Government exacting toll on the several turnpike roads leading from the various other townships into the city. The Government don't care a fig for the amount of rent, and, no doubt, will at once grant the lease so as to give satisfaction to the citizens of Kingston, and the population of the country. The city and county municipalities, it is hoped, will immediately use means with the Governor General and Council to establish a steamboat on this important ferry. In addition to all the local interests connected with it, it should be borne in mind, that with a steam ferry the crossing of the mail would be rendered more safe and expeditious.

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July 18, 1855
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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), July 18, 1855