The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), 12 April 1852

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Spring Walk

One could think that fine weather would never come again. Winter lingering in the lap of Spring conveys but a faint idea of the stern reality of this Twelfth of April. Although the day is tolerably fine and the sun shines warmly, yet the roads are still filled with snow,-the streets lumbered up with filthy frozen masses, and the harbor one street of continued ice. And this is the day chosen to commence the Annual Spring Walk of the British Whig! In former seasons this sort of thing was ended and forgotten ere March was well out; steamers on their trips, schooners away for flour, and every nautical man as busy as the devil in a gale of wind. But all in good time . Where shall the commencement be made? There's a lot of steamers lying at the United States Wharf--suppose that spot be the starting place.

THE UNITED STATES WHARF. --This wharf, the very best in Kingston Harbor, has passed into new hands, and received an addition to its old name--it is now called the "United States and Bay of Quinte Wharf." Since the death of Mr. William Ware, the Wharves and Warehouses have been leased by John Carruthers, Esq. the Wholesale Merchant. whose premises are on the street above. Mr. Carruthers is so thorough a man of business, that we feel persuaded, the interests of the Wharf will suffer nothing while under his guardianship. The Warehouses are built of stone, roomy and fireproof; the main Queen's Warehouse is on the wharf; the Emigrant Agent has his Office here; and in addition to the premises proper of Mr. Carruthers, the Saloons of Mr. S(e)rle and Mr. MacSurley are here located. Altogether, the Wharf and its appendages are some pumpkins. It is here that the Line of American Steamers stop on their upward and downward Trips. Of these something will be said when that some thing is fully known. And here also stop the Bay of Quinte Steamers, of whom something will also be said, when that something is known. But if the proprietors themselves don't know, it would be premature in us to tell. Pass therefore to the vessels lying at the wharf, and see what can be said about them.

THE PRINCESS ROYAL --It will be recollected, that this fine Lake Steamer met with a sad accident late last fall, shortly after leaving Kingston. She broke her connecting rod, which in a few minutes caused the smashing of many other parts of her Engine, including her walking beam, and occasioned her being laid up till next year. During the winter her Engine has been renovated almost completely at Niagara, where it was originally made; and the vessel now lies in apple pie order, to receive the several pieces and adjust them, when they arrived per first vessel from the Head of the Lake. The walking beam was cast at the Kingston Foundry, and a most admirable casting it is. The Princess Royal will make one of the three regular Mail Steamers from Kingston to Toronto and Hamilton, and her days of leaving this place will be Wednesdays and Saturdays; and Capt. James Dick will command her as usual. For speed,- safety and real comfort this fine old steamboat can be surpassed by none and equalled by few. The term old should be qualified--last season, her hull was re-built from the water lines upwards, and this season she bids fair to have an entirely new engine-- her boilers were renovated a year or two ago. So, the Princess Royal is like my "grandfather's knife," two new blades and one new handle, but so great is the reputation of the Black Mail Line" of Lake Ontario, that it is a matter of pecuniary prudence, instead of building entirely new vessels, to renovate them from the keel upwards--new engines and new boilers.

THE HENRY GILDERSLEEVE.--This favorite steamer affords another illustration of the preceding remarks. After having run one term of ten years on the River St. Lawrence without the occurrence of a single disaster or accident of any kind whatsoever, she now is likely to serve another term of like duration on the Bay of Quinte. And this is and will be owing to the admirable state of repair in which she is always kept.' "Better as new," as Mordecai would say, the Henry Gildersleeve now is. During the past winter, her hull has been strengthened with new beams and every necessary addition has been made to render her worthy of the new work cut out for her this season. In addition to the customary tri-weekly trip to Belleville and the River Trent, she will make three trips to and from Kingston and Cape Vincent, thus perfecting a line of ready communication between New York and the Head of the Bay of Quinte, and preventing the necessity of lake travel to Coburg and the places adjacent in bad weather. She will be commanded by the public's old favorite, Capt. McGill Chambers, who has fitted her out this season with every accommodation for elegant travelling. She is quite ready for business.

THE NOVELTY.----This handsome new boat purchased last autumn by Capt. ______ of Belleville, for the Bay of Quinte trade is undergoing some important alterations in her machinery. - Constructed originally to burn coal, her boilers did not suit the fuel of the Bay, and they have been taken out and replaced by one large boiler, built by Mr. Masson of the Kingston Foundry. Her engine, an exceedingly good one of a novel pattern, remains in her; and it is to be hoped, nay, confidently expected, that in every respect she will realize the anticipations of her owner, who has spared no labor or expense in rendering her worthy of the public's patronage. Touching her route, there is no certain information, except she will ply from Belleville downwards, but whether to Montreal, Cape Vincent or Kingston only is not known. Capt. Bonter is said to have chartered or purchased the St. Helens, a Lower Canada boat, for a consort to the Novelty, and until she comes up no arrangement can be perfected. Neither is it determined who is to command her, though Capt. Bonter, Jr., who is fitting out the Novelty, will doubtless have charge of one of the two steamboats. But all this information will be afforded the public shortly, in the usual form, at the rate of four pence a line.

The Bay of Quinte steamboat trade is threatened this year with a fearful opposition but threatened routes like threatened men are proverbally long lived. Firstly, there will be the regular Gildersleeve Line, composed of the H. Gildersleeve, the Prince of Wales, and the New Steamer to be ready in July. Then comes Capt. Bonter's Line, the Novelty, and the St. Helens, or some other boat, if the report of the St. Helens proves untrue. And lastly, the new American Line, from Ogdensburgh to Belleville, consisting of the George Frederick, and another boat. This is said to be a speculation of the Ogdensburgh Rail Road men, in order to get their merchandize into the heart of Upper Canada with the least possible delay. But of the project so little is known, and so much conjectured, that it is prudent to wait for further information ere any credit be given. It appears unlikely, very, that the Canadian Forwarders will permit the Americans to participate in their proper game, without some attempt at severe retaliation, with which very sensible and extremely prudent remark, the First Number of the Annual Spring Walk of the "British Whig" concludes.

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12 April 1852
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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 British Whig (Kingston, ON), 12 April 1852