Lake Ontario, off Rochester,
On board Propeller "Granite State,"
Aug. 16, 1868
Dear Blade: We were twenty-four hours getting through the Welland Canal, met and passed a great number of steamers and sail vessels. It is a burning shame that we have not a ship canal on our side. The cost of transportation through this route is a great tax on the products of the West. The Northern Transportation Co. alone pay the British capitalists over $60,000 in gold annually, which is only as a drop in the bucket; and then the canal is too small to admit vessels of a proper size for the grain trade. It costs nearly as much to run a small propeller as a large one. They must employ the same number of high priced men, all which takes so much from our Western products.
Quite a number of our party took carriages and went to the Falls and spent a number of hours and came back in time to join us before we got through the locks. I spent the day in St. Catharines, quite a nice business place. It has a nice water cure establishment, where there are many people stopping from the States. I saw many rheumatic patients; they claim to be benefited. It is a good place to spend a few weeks in summer.
The crops about St. Catharines have suffered much from drought and grasshoppers.
We are having a fine run to-day; the weather is very pleasant. On the whole, this is a nice Lake shore trip. Ever yours, B.