The "Opening of Navigation" makes but little progress, so does the "Annual Spring Walk of the British Whig." The season is dead against both. On St. George's Day, in ordinary years, the communication with Montreal and Quebec is usually perfect; the several steamboats are on their settled routes and the Spring Business is at its height; whereas on this 23rd of April, the St. Lawrence Canals are shut; the Bay of Quinte is sealed still with frost; and nothing is really open but Lake Ontario: So with the "Walk " Long ere this, all the couleur de rose painting had been done; all the bits of fat administered and swallowed; and naught remaining but the receipt of the quid pro quo. What a stupid fellow was he who first raised the terrible tale of Newspapers levying Black Mail! Had the chap ever read the fable of the Sun and the Wind? Sam Slick, with his soft sawder(?) is a much smarter man; one whose example is far better to imitate than that of any Highland Cateian that ever stole a cow.
THE ST. LAWRENCE WHARF.--This, the Centre Wharf of Kingston! continues to be occupied by Capt. Bowen, late of the Passport, who did a very large business here last year, and who bids fair to do a still larger one this season; the situation being undeniable, immediately in rear of the Custom House. This wharf is the regular stopping place of the Toronto and Hamilton Line of Steamers; of the Bay of Quinte Steamers, in alternation with the United States Wharf; of the Rideau Canal steamboat Prince Albert ; and occasionally of other vessels. No wharf can possibly be more convenient for general business, and its bonded Warehouse renders it if possible more so for the storage of Foreign Merchandize.
THE STEAMER MAPLE LEAF.--At this wharf is to be seen, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, this new and beautiful Steamboat, the pride of Kingston Waters. It is a singular fact, that Kingston Mechanics have turned out the most elegant models of steamboats ever built in Upper Canada. The Comet, now the May Flower, the New Era, and the Maple Leaf are by far the handsomest vessels afloat on these waters, and they were all built at Kingston. The Maple Leaf in point of decoration is the most elegant of the three, for nothing can surpass the style of luxury and magnificence with which she is fitted up. She is a perfect palace afloat In addition to a splendid Upper Saloon, extending the whole length of the Promenade Deck, she has a Dining Saloon below, capable of dining one hundred passengers--broad, lofty and capacious; and we have heard that the Maple Leaf is the only "Through Line' Boat fitted with this excellent accommodation. Her Ladies' Cabin is also extremely elegant, and built on a novel plan. The whole appurtenances of the vessel are equally well attended to, and it is impossible to conceive a steamer better adapted to perform her allotted task, than the one attempted now to be described. Her engine exceeds one hundred horse power--diameter of cylinder 45 inches, with eleven feet stroke. To make one of the much talked of "Through Line" is the destination; of the Maple Leaf; but as that Line will not be formed for a week or two, and as the Princess Royal has not yet got her machinery in order, the Maple Leaf will make a dozen trips or so between Kingston and Hamilton; touching at the Lake Ports, and leaving this place every Wednesday and Saturday Afternoon, with the Mail on board. We must not omit to make mention that she is commanded by Capt. Neil Wilkinson, a well known Lake Ontario Steamboat Commander, under whose personal superintendence the Maple Leaf was built, than whom a more popular and pleasing gentleman does not command a steamer. Success say we to the Maple Leaf--may she do credit to the Province that owns her and the City whereat she was built.
THE MAGNET.--This superb Iron Steamer, so long the admiration of Upper Canada and the especial favorite of the Travelling community, made her first appearance in Kingston Harbor this morning, and lies at the St. Lawrence Wharf. The Magnet is in first rate order and looks admirably. Being ____-built, there is no ______ about her--everything is as solid as on the day she was launched except her accommodations for passengers, and they are annually renovated and made good. If there be any new contrivance; any extra luxury, whereby Steamboat Travelling can be rendered more convenient or more pleasant, that is sure to be found on board the Magnet. Elegant and new as the Maple Leaf is, everything is just as elegant and new as on board of her consort, the owners of which are never caught napping. This is the great secret of the Magnet's great success. No expense or pains are spared to accommodate the public; and the public in return, spare no expense or pains to get on board of her. Of her Commander and principal owner Capt. Sutherland, it does not become us to speak--his merits and his long service belong to the community at large, and when we say that they are duly appreciated we say everything in our power. The Magnet leaves for Toronto and Hamilton this Afternoon, and now that she has come to her work will leave Kingston regularly every Tuesday and Friday all the season.
THE AMERICAN LINE OF STEAMERS. -The usual stopping place of this really splendid Line of Lake steamers is the United States Wharf, now occupied by Mr. John Carruthers, but as the first of these vessels this season stayed at the St. Lawrence Wharf, it may not be out of place to say a word or two concerning them now. This year there are to be two distinct Lines of American Lake Steamers: The regular Line, touching at Kingston and all the American Ports on the South side of Lake Ontario, will be composed of the Northerner, the Cataract, the Niagara, and the Ontario. All these vessels are known and stand in need of little eulogy. They are Boats of the largest possible size and officered by men of the greatest and longest experience. Their arrivals and departures will be the same as last season, arriving early in the morning, and leaving again at 8 o'clock, going upwards; and going down the river about three o'clock in the afternoon. Mr. Carruthers will be their Kingston Freight Agent, the same as the late Mr. Ware; but their Passenger Ticket Business will be transacted as usual by Mr. Serle, at his office on the United States Wharf.--The other Line is to be an Express Line from Ogdensburgh to Lewiston, in connection with the Northern Railroad, and will be composed of the Steamer Bay State, and the new steamboat New York, recently built at French Creek. The present intention of this Line is not to touch at Kingston, going or coming, but to make Cape Vincent the resting place, in order to secure the passengers; but as a counterbalance to this desertion of a favourite Canadian port, it is said that coming down the Lake, the boats of the Express Line will put in at Toronto. How far this resolution may be carried out, cannot be told; but that it has given great umbrage to Canadian Steamboat Owners is an admitted fact.
In all probability some arrangement will be made, whereby no injury to Canadian interest could take place, and that dreaded evil--to owners--steamboat opposition, be avoided. It is highly creditable, and reflects much credit to both countries, that although, Lake Ontario is owned and navigated by rival nations, their several lines have never yet come in direct or unfair opposition and the only rivalry has been which can build the best bonds and afford the public the best accommodation. Finding the annexed description of the Cataract in the Ogdensburgh Daily News, and thinking it opposition, with it is concluded No. III of the Walk-
THE CATARACT --This superbly fitted up boat, has been completely overhauled and recently painted and brushed up for the summer campaign. She can boast of as gentleman-like and attentive a commander as Captain Kilby, as ever stand upon the deck of an"American craft," and this is saying a good deal.' The President, E. B. Allen, Esq., is proverbial for the assiduity and attention which he pays to his department in connection with the line, and the travelling public will have every facility and accommodation that can be extended to make them comfortable in this noble steamer. The proportions of the Cataract will show her to be a first class vessel, of heavy horse power. She measures about 220 feet in length--beam 28 feet. The spacious saloon measure 180 feet long, and is superbly fitted out, carpeted and furnished. There are 47 state rooms, and the Captain in the selection of a Steward in Mr. Coney, has only evinced the proper dispention [sic] to have the patrons and friends of the Cataract well attended to, and the different apartments kept As neat as wax." The furniture is chaste and admirably adapted for comfort and convenience in every respect in the main saloon. We now come to the ladies' saloon, or cabin, in which there are sixteen berths, and elegantly fitted up state rooms. The windows and all the appointments are fashioned off to suit both comfort and convenience, and travellers will have nothing to regret in taking up their apartments here. The dining saloon, below, is well fitted up, and the long row of tables, when well freighted with such good cheer as can be furnished from the cuisinier department, must make the traveller feel "pretty comfortable." We learn that in this respect (and it is not the least part of travelling comfort) the Captain can top any boat on the whole route. There are 84 berths, a pantry, and washtubs attached. The smoking saloon is kept by Mr. George Rice, and is well supplied with the most select assortment of every thing in his line. Mr. Burton is the Purser, and Mr. John Hammond acts as Engineer. The engine is well constructed, and its capacity 140 horse power, the cylinder 4.25 inches in diameter, and the paddles 11 feet stroke. The general appearance of the vessel, her build and trim, and though "last, not least" the "shield", she hoists and exhibits on her paddle-boxes, taken in connection with her general claims, will push her a busy trade during the coming season, when we hope to see her again safely in her winter quarters.