The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Black Rock Gazette (Buffalo, NY), 14 June 1825, page 2

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LAUNCH.--On Thursday last, at eleven o'clock, in precise conformity with the previous notice, the Steam Boat, Henry Clay, was launched from the dock yard in this villlage into the new harbor. The day was beautiful, and the occasion honored by a great concourse of citizens and strangers, whom curiosity of business had drawn together. The wharves and ware-houses on each side, and the pier in front, of teh yard, were filled with admiring spectators; and the new Steam Boat, Pioneer, was moored in the most convenient place to view the scene, and appropriated to the use of the ladies, who crowded her decks.

The Henry Clay is a beautiful boat, of the first class, and measures upwards of 300 tons. She was built by Mr. E. Meritt, a young artist of great promise, who served his apprenticeship with Messrs. Eckford & Brown, in New-York, and who built, last season, at that place, the new Steam Boat Constitution, now running between Troy and New-York. The size and model of the Henry Clay are precisely the same as those of the Constitution, with the exception of some trifling modifications, suggested by the builder, by way of improvement. The engine, which is on the low pressure principle, was made at Birbeck's Factory, in New-York, and was cast in the same moulds with that of the Constitution. As the navigation of the Lakes is somewhat hazardous, the owners have spared no pains or expense that would contribute to her security. In the quality of timber, strength of fastenings, and, we may add, neatness of workmanship, the Henry Clay is not surpassed by any vessel afloat. She is intended to ply, as a passage boat, between this place and Detroit, touching at the intermediate ports, and will probably make her first trip about the first of August.

After the launch, and a national salute fired from a six pounder on board the new boat, the owners and artificers, with a number of the gentlemen who had been launched in her, amongst whom were the Canal Commissioners, (General Van Rensseleer, Mr. Seymour, and Mr. Bouck) and several other distinguished strangers, repaired to Mr. Thayer's Hotel, and partook of a handsome dinner, provided by the Directors. The following, among other toasts, were drank at the dinner, which was marked by hilarity and good cheer.

By Gen. Porter, (President of the board of Directors)--The Henry Clay. May her future course be marked by the gallant and lofty bearing that distinguishes the Statesman after whom she is named.

By Gen. Van Rensselaer--The Ohio Canals. Success to the enterprize and public spirit which projected them.

By Mr. Seymour--The Commerce of Lake Erie. May it richly reward the enterprising spirit of our countryment.

By Mr. Beack--The memory of Robert Fulton.

By Mr. Mathews--The extremes of the Grand Canal--Black Rock Harbour and the Albany Basin.

By Major Barton--The Territory of Michigan, Her increasing population gives life and spirit to the commerce of Lake Erie.

By Mr. Meritt, (the builder)--The Steam Boat Henry Clay. May she prove as advantageous to the Stockholders, as her namesake has to his country.

By J.L. Barton, (vice president)--The Steam Boat Henry Clay. Her elegant model and structure are the works of Meritt--In speed she stands not in fear of a Superior.

By J.G. Norton--The village of Black Rock. Its growing prosperity is evidence of its future greatness.

(After the canal commissioners had retired.)

By Major Frazer--The President of the canal board--Gen. Stephen Van Rensselaer In war, the citizen soldier--in peace, the patron of merit. His wealth is the Bank of the widow and orphan.

By Mr. Joy, of Buffalo--The canal commissioners of the state of New-York. May other states be equally successful in selecting officers to construct their works of internal improvement.

By Judge Slosson--The canal commissioners. Assailed by the rancor of political and local interest--may they continue to deserve well of the state by pursuing a course which has no other object than her prosperity and glory, and no other rule but that of equal and exact justice to each of her citizens.

By a Guest.--Nathan S. Roberts, Esq. Principal Engineer at the west. His skill in the construction of the Locks and canal on the Mountain Ridge, and his fearless stand in favor of the Black Rock Harbor, prove him, at once, the able Engineer, and honest Man.

By Mr. Andrews, (principal blacksmith)--The Henry Clay. May she last as long as the iron that binds her together.

By a Guest--Our Wives and Sweethearts. Pure as the waters of the Niagara--Beautiful as the model of our boat.

Media Type:
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Column 6
Date of Original:
14 June 1825
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Language of Item:
Richard Palmer
Copyright Statement:
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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Black Rock Gazette (Buffalo, NY), 14 June 1825, page 2