The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), Jan. 23, 1860

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p.1 Iron Ore - from Chaffey's mine in South Crosby, close to Rideau Canal, can be landed at Erie, Pa. for $3 per ton, cheaper than ore from Lake Superior. [Rideau Gleaner]

p.2 Early Opening of Navigation In Toronto Bay - sch. Meteor of Wilson and Alida of Toronto arrive. [Leader 21st]

The Shipping Trade of the Lakes

The past season, while it cannot be said to have been profitable to the vessel interest, has been much better than that of 1858. Though the rates of freight have been high, still vessel owners, from the experience of the previous season, looked more closely to the running expenses, and thus reduced the amount of their bills payable. In numerous instances a fair profit has been realized, and there are but few cases where the earnings do not exceed the expenses, unless where accidents and mishaps have occurred. Still, there is nothing in the year's business to render lake craft attractive to capitalists for investment. Few, if any, bottoms have been laid during the year; and it will not be long before the present fleet of grain carrying vessels will have passed away.

Every year that passes brings to vessel owners more convincing proofs that they cannot successfully compete with the propeller interest. Added to the superior advantages of steam, which at most seasons of the year is a great desideratum with the shipper, there is also the fact that they monopolize the carrying of merchandise as up freight, and so long as they can do this, they can afford to take down freight almost as low as by sail. The experience of the past few years justifies the prediction that, during the next decade, three-fourths of the capital invested in building lake craft will be expended on propellers.

During the past season, many of the owners of said vessels, of the proper capacity and trim, instead of waiting to take their chances on the Lakes, fitted themselves out for the ocean trade, some for European ports, and others for the Atlantic coasting trade. Several of these have made profitable trips, and most likely they will continue in the trade, at least till business on the lakes becomes more attractive than at present.

The lower lake trade during the past season has been less profitable than usual, on account of the completion of the Welland Railway, the owners of which took a large proportion of the grain to Oswego last year at one or two cents less than the vessels could carry it. This enabled Canadian bottoms, also, to compete with those of the United States, in a trade of which they formerly had no share.

At the opening of navigation at this port there was quite a large fleet of grain-carrying vessels in port, and an unusually small amount of grain on hand. The prospect, therefore, for paying freights was rather gloomy, and but a small proportion of them were fitted out till the season was advanced. The first charter was made on the 17th of March - the schooner Valeria, with corn to Buffalo at 4 1/2 cts. Towards the close of that month several vessels were engaged to take corn to Kingston at 6 cents, and oats to Buffalo at 33 cents. The first wheat charter was made on the 20th, the schooner J.H. Tiffany, to Hamilton at 7 cents - the cargo to be unloaded by buckets; and on the 30th two vessels were engaged to take wheat to Oswego at the same price.

About the beginning of April several vessels were taken for Montreal at 10 cents for wheat, 9 to 9 1/2 cents for corn, and 42 1/2 cents for flour; while the rates by propeller to Buffalo were 4 1/4 for wheat, and 15 cents for flour. From this time to the end of August the rates were low - ranging from 3 cents to 3 1/2 cents for wheat to Buffalo, and 5 1/2 cents to 6 cents to Oswego - the propellers being obliged to take cargoes at about the same rates as vessels. During the greater part of this time the railroads leading to the East took a large portion of the rolling freight at 30 to 35 cents per 100 lbs for provisions, and 60 to 70 cents for flour to New York - a rate with which neither propellers nor sail vessels could possibly compete.

About the end of August and the beginning of September the receipts of new wheat began to accumulate, and there was a good demand for propellers at 5 to 5 1/2 cents for wheat to Buffalo, and for sail vessels at 3 1/4 to 4 cents - rates advancing before the close of the month to 6 1/2 cents for wheat by sail vessels to Buffalo, and 9 1/2 to Oswego. In October the rates advanced to 7 1/2 cents to Buffalo, and 10 1/2 cents to Oswego, and about the beginning of Nov. 8 cents was paid for wheat to Buffalo, and 11 cents to Oswego - the highest rates of the season. Several vessels, however, were engaged for new corn to Oswego, at 11 cents, and to Ogdensburg at 12 cents to 12 1/2 cents; and just previous to the close of navigation, two propellers were engaged at 10 cents for corn to Buffalo. [Chicago Press]

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Jan. 23, 1860
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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), Jan. 23, 1860