The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Monday, Sept.2, 1855

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Launch of the Brig W. Lewis

On Saturday morning, at 10 o'clock, a new brig named after one of her owners, Wm. Lewis, Esq. , of this city, was launched from the shipyard of Ald. Charles Rogers. A large number of spectators had collected to witness the event, and the launch was accomplished in a very handsome style. The National colors floated from the main mast head, while a broad pennant bearing her name, was displayed from the fore-mast head; forward, the stars and Union Jack floated harmoniously together, and with other colors displayed to the breeze, the vessel left the ways to grace her natural element, amid the cheers of the assembled audience. As she subsided into her natural level upon the water, there was a universal expression of admiration at her magnificent appearance, so perfectly representing the idea of a "thing of life, riding upon the waters. "

The Lewis, is of 314 tons, Custom House measurement, she is built after the clipper-model, and will stow fore and after, about 15,000 bushels of grain, with a draft allowing her passage through the Welland Canal. Capt. Charles Parker is the joint owner with Mr. Lewis, and the building of the vessel has been under his personal supervision, from the commencement. No pains have been spared, or any material omitted, that would add to her strength and durability in construction; and her master-builder, Mr. Rogers, may well feel a pride in accomplishing his work with such promptitude and satisfaction to himself and his employers.

The business of ship building in Oswego, is an important and valuable element in the varied pursuits of our commercial city, and we cheerfully devote space and attention to the subject. It gives occupation to a large number of artisans and laborers, and a degree of skill, ingenuity and enterprise is evinced unsurpassed in any port on the Lakes. We are pleased to see this branch of our business gradually increasing, and to learn that is is likely to become of much greater magnitude. We can say with confidence to commercial men generally, that at no point can they build their vessels upon more satisfactory terms, more promptly, of better model, and superior strength, than Oswego.

Entertainment to the Builders

In the evening, Mr. Lewis invited the mechanics and artisans of every class employed in the building of the vessel, to his residence, where a splendid and beautiful collation was prepared for their entertainment. About a hundred persons were present, and after a liberal discussion of the viands, there was a pleasant interchange of sentiment, and toasts proposed and rank to the health, happiness and prosperity of the host, the brig, and her owners, and the individuals in the several departments of construction.

Alderman Rogers, the master-builder, in answer to a sentiment which was offered him, spoke of the pleasure he had experienced in carrying on the work, and the satisfactory manner in which all employed with him performed their services; and he took this opportunity to express his on satisfaction of the promptness in which he had been furnished with means, the "back-bone" of all undertakings of this character; and if in all cases the "wherewith" was furnished as promptly and liberally as it had been in this instance, in his experience, builders would never suffer embarrassment in building vessels.

There had not been a single instance of complaint among those employed, and the best disposition had been manifested by all in pushing the work forward in a substantial manner. He appreciated the uniform kindness extended to him from the first and during the continuance of his labors, and he felt a pleasure in acknowledging it, by offering a toast to - "The health and prosperity of the owners of the brig William Lewis," - in which he was joined heartily by all present.

Mr. Hancock, one of the artisans, proposed - "The owners of the Brig William Lewis - may they have more hard--ships, and their enemies less. " The force and point of this double entendre, as it became apparent, elicited considerable merriment, and a brief and happy response from the worthy host.

He said that he understood the sentiment as a pleasant allusion to his political predilections, as well as any other construction which might be put upon it, as he was claimed among those politically termed Hards, and as such was proud of the appellation. In relation to the vessel, she might justly be called a hard ship, in point of strength and durability, as she could not be otherwise, coming from the hands of so capable and experienced a builder, as was his friend, Mr. Rogers - and not forgetting his junior partner, Capt. Charles Parker, to whom was due much credit for the real and unremitting labor he had bestowed in carrying out the work under his supervision.

It was particularly pleasing to him to receive this mark of consideration in the use of his name. He had been for over sixteen years an owner of vessels upon the Lakes, and this was the first time that his name had been thrown to the breeze, and he felt highly honored by its being displayed in so creditable a connection, which had been done without his fore-knowledge of the intent.

Capt. Parker, being called upon, he replied that speech-making was not particularly in his line, but on an occasion like this, he felt bound to say something, if nothing more than express his thanks to each and every one employed in the building of the vessel, for the uniform kindness they had shown in acceding to his wishes, in regard to the construction of the work, and he felt satisfied with had been done, and the manner in which it had been accomplished. He would propose, "The health of the ship carpenters, and other artisans employed in the building of the brig Wm. Lewis. "

Complimentary allusions were made to Mr. Robert Hayes, master-rigger; Robert Green, Sail-maker; Messrs. Rickett & Cullinan, Painters; Messrs. J. & G. A. Crolius, Ship-smiths; Mr. Stone, Carver, and other artisans, for the satisfactory manner in which each had discharged his duties.

Mr. W. P. McKinley, proposed the health of the host, Wm. Lewis, Esq. . - "May his pockets be always as full as our stomachs, after the splendid repast which he has set before us this evening. "

To this, a general and hearty response was made, and the party having paid their individual respects to their liberal host, retired in cheerful humor to their respective homes.

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Monday, Sept.2, 1855
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Richard Palmer
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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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Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Monday, Sept.2, 1855