Liverpool - River and Harbor Convention - Mud Lock - W.C. Bouck - Awful Accident - Baldwinsville - Corn - Fishing, &c.; &c.;
BALDWINSVILLE, JUNE 30,1847
After partaking of a most excellent supper, served up in the admirable style for which the Cerro Gordo Hotel at Liverpool is noted, I sauntered into the bar-room to gather the news and ondits of the day and place.
I found the River and Harbor Convention about to assemble at Chicago, the absorbing theme of discussion. The Onondaga lake in the vicinity of Liverpool is very shallow, and there is a manifest want of piers and light-houses and other improvements to safe navigation. The citizens of the place had that very day, with a very commendable spirit, and without distinction of party, called a public meeting to appoint delegates to attend the Convention. I learn that Col. Mars Nearing, James Johnson, Esq., Capt. John Paddock and Joseph Jaqueth, Esq., are the delegates; and from the character of the gentlemen I am sure they will warmly urge the claims of Liverpool upon the attention of the Convention.
During this forenoon, I made a passing survey of Liverpool, and was greatly pleased at the business appearance afforded by the numerous loads of salt barrels and wood filling the streets. In the afternoon we embarked in the Syracuse and Baldwinsville Daily Packet, Orion, Capt. Smith, for the latter place. Our way was still along the border of the beautiful Onondaga Lake, and continually some striking and picturesque view attracted our attention, while the urbanity and communicativeness of Capt. Smith to myself, and the kindness of the chambermaid to the children, beguiled the tedium of the passage.
At Mud Lock we exchanged out wearied horses for a fresh pair, giving assurance of faster progress, and were let down through the Lock into the Seneca River. Observing that our driver and the few persons standing around a small store near by, appeared rather ragged and destitute, I distributed among them a lot of Tracts, and left in strong hopes of their improvement.
Directly opposite Mud Lock, there lies, partly beached and partly sunk in the river the canal boat W.C. Bouck - a monument of the danger of River Navigation. I ascertained that she ran against a snag early last spring on her trip from Phoenix to Salina, and that her valuable cargo of soft wood was carried down the river and over the dam near Lock No. 1, and destroyed.The wreck made such an impression on my mind that I determined at once, to renounce the narrow views of the Democratic party, and advocate hereafter Internal improvements.
We were now gliding along on the broad bosom of the Seneca River: - the expanse of waters made us all a little fearful. We moved onward safely, though - the way enlivened by views of snug farm houses, green fields and woods, an occasional boat, and now and then a huge dead fish floating on the stream. The principal production of this part of the country is cordwood, for which there is an excellent market at Salina. Wood, like produce, is a ticklish article to deal in; fortunes are made in it, and lost, too.
At present it is in good demand, and great exertions are making by holders to bring it to market. As we neared Baldwinsville, our boat ran aground, and I thought I was about to have a practical demonstration of the dangers of navigation. Mrs. Lum fainted outright, and the children screamed as if the cries of three score years and ten were to be crowded in a few moments.
The coolness and courage of Captain Smith, however, and the able manner in which his efforts were seconded, and commands obeyed by the entire crew, soon rescued us from the appalling danger - we floated, and proceeded to the village. The passengers soon after assembled in the cabin, and organized themselves into a meeting, resolved unanimously, that no blame could be attached to Capt. Smith or his crew, on account of the accident - that to his intrepidity and exertions were they mainly indebted for their escape, and his whole conduct was deserving of great praise - and finally, that it was the duty of a republican government, to render internal navigation safe and easy. I will send you a copy of the resolutions tomorrow.
Baldwinsville is a pleasant and thriving village, situated on both banks of the river. It contains a woolen factory, three flour mills, six stores, and a variety of mechanic shops. Messrs. D.C. Lusk & Co., have benevolently fitted up a a large house for the kiln-drying corn for exportation to Ireland.
The fisheries of Baldwinsville have been this season very productive. "Old Potter," the most ancient and extensive fisherman of the place, informed me that the yield of Catfish was unusually abundant, and prices continued merely nominal; the better sorts, as Pike and Oswego Bass, were in greater demand, and might be quoted at from 3 to 4 1/2 cents per pound.
The Rev. Dr. Raver, was announced to preach at the Methodist Chapel this evening, and I had intended to hear him, but was detained at home. I greatly regretted it, for the Dr. is a "powerful preacher," and I had always been extremely anxious to hear him.
I am indebted to E.A. Baldwin, Esq., (to whom I had letters of introduction) for much valuable information and many curious statistics and facts relative to the village and vicinity.
Stephen Lum, New York City