The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), April 3, 1872

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To the editor of the Daily News:

Sir, As a member of the committee appointed by the Board of Trade, to report on the best means of improving the harbour, I feel called upon to make some explanations, in reply to your editorial of 30th March.

It was unfortunate that there was not time at the meeting of the Board on Thursday last, to discuss our report, as well as that (with its accompanying propositions) of the committee on manufactures, however, as we were almost an unit in our opinion, perhaps there was the less need for discussion.

These were to make an opening near the centre of the present bridge, sufficiently large for all purposes, and extend the harbour to the north and northeast of it, when by some artificial assistance from dredging, etc., we would have what we have with more vanity than truth heretofore said we had, viz., "the best harbour on Lake Ontario."

As we did not believe the Dominion Government would build a breakwater, it was unnecessary for us to "utilize convict labour."

Your statement that Capt. A. Ford's chart of Lake Ontario shows very clearly the depth of water in the harbour was made without correct information. I would as soon expect to find the depth of water in Loughborough Lake laid down on it.

If you will allow me space, I will throw out a suggestion or two about the harbour, and to get rid of the much talked of breakwater would just say that if any person or persons think that by petitioning the Dominion Government it can be built from Murney's Point, Morton's Distillery, or the Penitentiary wall, with or without convict labour, by all means let us petitition; but as I believe we must find the ways and means ourselves for improving the harbour, I would recommend that harbour commissioners be elected, harbour regulations made, and a competent harbour master appointed, to enforce these regulations. He should be able to take charge of any vessel, and should have full power when necessary to do so, as is often the case when business is as brisk as it was last season.

Forwarders tell us their business was much retarded from vessels unnecessarily crowding round the docks, and that they had no means of compelling masters of such vessels to make room for those which should have been loading or discharging.

In order to raise a fund for payment of harbour master's salary, and also for improving the harbour, I would levy a toll on all vessels doing business in the harbour, or on imports or exports, or on all three, as might be thought most expedient.

All other Canadian ports on Lakes Ontario and Erie collect tolls, most of them on all three. Hamilton excepts coal; Toronto collects on all imports; Ports Dalhousie and Colborne, Government harbours, on all imports, not going over the Welland Railway, and if our harbour is to be improved artificially, there is no good reason why Kingston should be an exception to a general rule.

I would object to any person being allowed to build a pier on Point Frederick Shoal; light vessels can now beat over it to or from the Ducks. The building of a pier would not only stop that, but would materially obstruct navigation. We would occasionally have three or more vessels lying abreast on each side of it, thereby dangerously narrowing the passage into the harbour.

One word on a subject not connected with the harbour. Perhaps it would be well, if those having the power to prevent it, would make themselves thoroughly acquainted with the nature and qualities of Nitro Glycerine, before they allow a building for its manufacture, to be located too near us.

Lewis Middleton Kingston, April 3rd.

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April 3, 1872
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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 3, 1872