The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), July 17, 1877

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p.2 For Well's Island - Steamer Flight trips to camp ground.

p.3 The Pilgrim - A new steam yacht called the Pilgrim has been placed on the route between Mill Point and Napanee. She is fifty feet keel, and was built for the Messrs. Rathbun & Son.

Collision - A telegram from Oswego says: The schooner Speedwell, bound to Toronto with coal, collided with the steamer Magnet last night between the piers. The Speedwell lost her bowsprit and jibboom, and had her bow opened up. The vessel is now in port. The Magnet was not materially damaged, and she proceeded on her route.

p.4 Canal Enlargement

To the Editor of the Daily News.

Sir; - While no one will question the wisdom of the enlargement of the Welland Canal and the undertaken expenditure upon the St. Lawrence River from the foot of the Lachine, it is more than questionable if the commercial necessity, or the finances of the country, would justify the large - almost unknown - contemplated expenditure upon the upper St. Lawrence. It must be a heavy draft upon the resources of the country, requiring an annual expenditure of at least $400,000 a year in its maintenance and management. Unless it can be shown that it will afford such advantages to shipping in the lessening the cost of carrying as to justify the expenditure, it should not be undertaken. The present accommodation is quite sufficient for barge transportation from Kingston, and it resolves itself into the question whether or not it can enable heavy freight, such as grain, to be carried in larger vessels in preference to barges, so as to perceptibly increase our trade. Supposing that means could be afforded to schooners of say 20,000 bushels capacity to go down to Montreal the figures would stand about as follows:

Cost of a new barge of 20,000 bushels capacity, $10,000, or 50 cents per bushel.

Cost of a schooner of same capacity, $20,000, or $1 per bushel.

Difference of capital amount at 8 per annum, $800.

Cost of barge for towage account say $65; of schooner, $85.

Cost of navigating schooner per month, crews and their board, $432; of navigating barge, crews and their board, $145 - both carrying the same amount of freight.

Add to the above figures the difference of costs of insurance, and we have, I think, as near as can be calculated, the comparative cost of barges and schooners of capacity for river service.

But taking the items of tonnage and cost of handling alone, we find a saving of $317 out of $517 per month in favour of the barge, showing that the barges are the cheaper vessels, and that the schooners cannot live in competition with them.

Besides this, there must be added to the capital account one-eighth of $400, which is $50, and this will bring the sum up to $367 in favour of the barge.

It is, I believe, admitted that the benefit to the grain is equal to the small cost of elevating at Kingston.

The round trip can be made about the same time by either vessel, and the delay that must frequently take place at Montreal, is not as damaging to the barge as to the schooner.

If we are to retain, if not increase, the grain trade of the West, we must do so by applying the cheaper means of carrying. If the above figures are correct, can there be any doubt that barges must continue to afford the cheapest carriage through the long river stretch from Kingston to Montreal? This being the case, would it be wise in any government to undertake the expenditure of many millions of money, the interest of which would more than cover the whole cost of river carriage of the largest trade that could be hoped for in a great many years to come.

Yours, An Old River Man

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July 17, 1877
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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 17, 1877