The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), 19 May 1854

Full Text
Spring Walk

In former years and in former "Walks," the Steamboats of Kingston occupied a prominent position; whereas this year, they come in at the fag end of the "Walk," and form its concluding Number. This arises from an impossibility, owing to conflicting circumstances, to obtain correct information respecting their movements. Even now, despite of the utmost pains to the contrary, some matters states as facts may turn out to be fictions. When steamboat proprietors don't themselves know how they are to occupy all their vessels, it need occasion no surprise that a newspaper should be in error.

THE PROVINCIAL STEAM TUG LINE COMPANY. --Kingston being the Headquarters of this potential and influential Company, and it being also the depot of the Steam Tugs when unemployed, an enumeration of the several vessels naturally forms the first item of this "walk." The Company is under contract with the Provincial Government to do the Towing of all craft between Lachine and Kingston, at fixed rates commensurate with the size of the vessel and her draft of water, and in strict accordance with the Tariff of the Board of Works.--The number of Steam Tugs owned or chartered by the Company is eight, and comprise the following steamboats, viz., the John Counter, Sir Charles Napier, (late Rochester) Traveller, Canada, America, Gildersleeve, Charlevoix, and Canada No. 2. These vessels, with one exception, are large and powerful, and fully equal to their work. One of them, the John Counter, has been specially engaged to do the Towing between the Head of the Bay of Quinte and Kingston, although such services are not within the letter of the Company's Contract. A steamer leaves Kingston, and another leaves Lachine, every day save Sunday, and the time occupied in running down is three days, and four days in coming up. Capt. Maxwell is the managing man on the Line, and is everywhere, and under him are a score or more of intelligent men, well acquainted with their business. The Provincial Steam Tug Line Company is of vast importance to Kingston, as a source of wealth and revenue, affording constant employment during the season to upwards of two hundred men, whose families are maintained in Kingston by their labor. And this is irrespective of the vast sums of money annually expended in repairs and fittings. The Office of the Company is nigh to the United States Wharf, but the Steam Tugs lie at the northern end of Ontario St., at the wharf once known by the name of David John Smith's Wharf.

THE ROYAL MAIL LINE.--Messrs. Hamilton, Sutherland and Heron, are the Mail Contractors for the present year; and their duty is to convey the Daily Mail, upwards and downwards, between Hamilton and Montreal. The vessels with which this work is done are these, viz., the Arabian, Magnet, Passport, Champion, Ottawa, New Era, Lord Elgin, and St. Lawrence. Three steamers between Hamilton and Kingston, and four steamers on the River, with one spare boat in case of accident or detention. The transshipment of the Passengers downwards will take place this season at Gananoque, eighteen miles below Kingston, it having been found highly inconvenient to turn folks out of their beds at so early an hour as four in the morning, the usual time of the steamers" reaching Kingston. The River Boat will consequently leave Kingston the night before, and lie over at Gananoque until the Lake Boat comes down. The arrangement is good, and one that will meet the views of all fastidious travellers. As some changes have occurred in the command of several of the vessels employed on this double route, it may be as well rapidly to mention them and their officers, premising, in order to save time and avoid tautology, that all the Captains are "urbane," all the Pursers "gentlemanly," and all the Stewards "obliging."

The favorite iron steamer Magnet is commanded by the Commodore of the Lake, Capt. Twohy, than whom a better seaman does not tread the deck of a steamer. Her days of leaving Kingston are Tuesdays and Fridays, and her stopping place is the St. Lawrence Wharf, Mr. Malcomson, the Purser under Capt. Sutherland, remains on board. The Magnet has been put in fine running order this season, and her accommodations for passengers made as perfect as any on the Line. It may be mentioned that Capt. Sutherland's leaving the Magnet is caused by his continued presence at Niagara, superintending the building of two large Steamers for the Great Western Railroad Company, one of which in all probability he will command. The other falls to the lot of Capt. Masson, of Hamilton, late of the Rochester.

The Arabian is another of the Mail Lake Boats, and is commanded by Capt, Coleleugh, one of the most popular gentlemen in the profession. The Arabian is a fine strong, fast sailing steamer, only two years old, and as good a specimen of what a First Class Steamboat should be, as any that floats on Lake Ontario. The Arabian, like all the other steamers of the Mail Line, both Lake and River, has a large and commodious Upper Saloon and State Rooms. The days of leaving Kingston are Wednesdays, and Saturdays, and her wharf is the St. Lawrence Wharf.

The iron steamer Passport is the third of the Lake Mail Line proper, and it would be painting the lily to say ought of the elegance and comfort of this very superb boat. She is as fast as she is beautiful, and being kept in prime order, is a credit to her owner (the Hon. John Hamilton) and to the place she hails from. This year she is commanded by a new man, that is, new to Kingston waters. Capt. Harbottle, a gentleman who is deservedly popular at the Head of the Lake, has the honor to command the Passport, and from the high recommendations he brings down with him, no-doubt is entertained but that he will soon be as much esteemed here as he is liked above. The days of the Passport's leaving Kingston are - Mondays and Thursdays, and her stopping place is at the Commercial Wharf, foot of Princess St.

The Ottawa, Capt. Putnam; the New Era, Capt. Chryslers the Lord Elgin, Capt. Milloy; and the St. Lawrence, Capt. Howard, are the four regular River Mail Steamers, one of which leaves Kingston every evening in the week at nine o'clock. These boats are well known, and their Captains much respected by travellers. Captains Parker and Farlinger have left the New Era, Lord Elgin, and their commands have been assumed by Capt. Chrysler and Milloy. The New Era, is a very superior vessel, and the Ottawa is a very fast one. There is some talk of taking the Lord Elgin off the River Mail Line and replacing her with the Champion of which more anon. The wharf of the Ottawa is the Commercial, while all the others stop at the St. Lawrence.

The Champion is the spare boat of the Mail Line, and being equally fit for lake or river use, is the very boat for the purpose, ready to take the place of any boat that may be disabled. The Champion is truly worthy of her name she is a First Class Steamer in every sense of the word, and pleased would the travelling community be, could she be placed permanently on the River, in lieu of the Lord Elgin. Such possibly may soon be the cases meanwhile, her engaged crew have been paid off, save her master, Capt. Marshall, the Mate, and the Engineer. The Champion lies in harbor at Hatter's Bay. ready for service at a minute's notice.

Such are the Steamers of the Royal Mail Line, and such are the men who manage it.

BAY OF QUINTE STEAMERS.--The number of boats which ply regularly this season on the Bay of Quinte is five, viz., the Bay of Quinte, the Novelty, the Canadian, the St. Helens, and the Citv of Hamilton. The Regular Day Boat is the Bay of Quinte, a large, powerful and fast vessel, with fittings of a First Class Steamer. She leaves the St. Lawrence Wharf every afternoon at three o'clock, and returns hither about a couple of hours ere she starts again. She is commanded by Capt. Carrell, who was her Purser last season. The Canadian, Capt. Talbot, belongs to the same owners, and runs on the Bay, but her hours of arrival and departure are irregular. Her depot is the United States Wharf. The Novelty, Capt. Bonter, is in prime order this season her days of departure are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and her stopping place is also at the United States Wharf. The St. Helens, Capt. Chrysler, makes a weekly trip between Belleville and Montreal, touching at Kingston each way. At present she is on the Marine Railway, owing to the recent accident near Brockville, but in about a fortnight, she will be afloat again, and doing her usual business. Her stopping place is at Whitehead's Wharf. But the Cerypheus of the Bay, the boat of all boats, is the City of Hamilton, expected down daily from Toronto, to run to Belleville and back in a day. Capt. McGill Chambers, late of the Bav of Quinte, has recently formed a company who have purchased the City from Mr Bethune, for the Bay route, and as a matter of course, Capt. Chambers will command her. The City is very fast, and will do her day's work easily; in size she is just suited for the Bay, having been built expressly for it. Much opposition may be expected when she comes down and begins to run; but if the steamboat owners on the Bay study their own interests, they will encourage nothing of the kind. The City of Hamilton has been bought for this route, and whether she make money or lose money, Capt, Chambers will run this season at least. What benefit can therefore accrue to cut down prices and serve an ungrateful public at a loss, more especially in times like these when labour and provisions are so very high. No, let the City come and do the best she can, and let all the other Bay boats do the same. Far better to raise the passage money a trifle to meet increased expenditure, than to lose both time and money in senseless opposition. The wharf of the City has not been determined on.

THE AMERICAN STEAMERS.--The noble Line of Lake Steamers, five in number, are in daily motion, calling at Kingston twice a day, at eight o'clock in the morning going up to Oswego and Lewiston; and at two o'clock in the afternoon, going down to Ogdensburgh. On the first of June, two Lines will be formed: the Express Line, consisting of the Now York, Capt. Chapman, and the Bav State, Capt. Ledyard, between Ogdensburgh and Lewiston; and the Old Line, comprising the Northerner, Capt. Childs, Ontario, Capt. Throop, and the Cataract, Capt. Estus, doing the usual business. This stops at the United States Wharf. Kingston Agent, ----Prentice. Both these Lines of steamers connect at Ogdensburgh, with a very excellent Line of River Steamers, consisting of the Jenny Lind, Capt. Moody; British Empire, Capt. Allen; and British Queen, Capt. Laflamme. These vessels are British bottoms, though American property.

THE OGDENSBURGH STEAMERS.--These are two in number, the Mavflower, Capt. A. McDonald, and the Boston, Capt. A. Sinclair. These . . . lake steamers make semi-weekly trips between Hamilton and Ogdensburgh, touching at Kingston; going up every Tuesday and Friday morning at eight o'clock; and coming down, every Wednesday and Saturday morning at six. Both these vessels are excellent sea boats and handsomely fitted up for passengers. The wharf they stop at generally is the St. Lawrence Wharf, but they have no advertised Agent in Kingston. They form part of the means of Messrs. Stark, Hill & Co.'s New York and Boston Transportation Line, at Boston and Ogdensburgh.

THE RIDEAU CANAL BOATS.--At last after several years interval, a Daily Line is formed on the Rideau Canal, consisting of the Beaver, Capt. Farmer, the Prince Albert, Capt. O 'Neil, and the Firefly, Capt. -------, a newcomer from Montreal. The day of departure of these boats severally are, Mondays and Thursdays for the Beaver, Tuesdays and Fridays for the Prince Albert, and Wednesdays and Saturdays for the Firefly. The St. Lawrence Wharf is the principal depot.

CAPE VINCENT FERRY BOAT.--The new steamboat Star, Capt Creighton, is now engaged on this route in place of the John Counter. She is a very smart little vessel, and makes two trips a day, leaving Shaw's Wharf every morning at half-past seven o'clock, and every afternoon at five o'clock. The Star is a new boat, expressly engaged for this route, as her size will permit her to pass through the Wolfe Island Canal when completed.

FREIGHT BOATS.--Of these steamers, Messrs. Holcomb & Henderson (late McPherson & Crane) possess five, the Huron, Capt. Wells; Scotland, Capt. Patterson; Reindeer, Capt. McGrath; George Moffat, Capt. Twitchell; and the Western Miller, Capt. J. Sughrue; besides the excellent little steam tug, the Porcupine. All these vessels stop at Holcomb & Henderson's Wharf, foot of Clarence St.

Messrs. E. Hooker & Co., have also splendid fleet of large. freight steamers, viz., the Ottawa, Capt. McGrath; Britannia. Capt. Beatty; England, Capt. Hannah; Hibernia, Capt. Moat; Ontario, Capt. Stoker; St. Lawrence, Capt. Savage; Free Trader, Capt. Moore; Lord Elgin, Capt. Bruce; and the John Gartshore, Capt. Reid. One of the above steamers will leave Montreal daily for Kingston, Toronto, and Hamilton, calling at the intermediate ports, and another will leave Hamilton daily for the down ports. These vessels stop at Browne & Harty's new wharf, foot of Princess St.

Messrs. H. & S. Jones have the steamers Dawn and Protection, which stop at Whitehead's Wharf.

And last tho' not least, Mr. Donald McIntosh, with his large steam tug, the Princess Victoria, and six barges, does a large forwarding business, chiefly between Kingston and Quebec. His wharf adjoins the Marine Railway.

Thus it would appear that no less than forty-nine steamboats either belong to or trade constantly to good old Kingston, and yet some wise-acres talk of its decreasing business!

Thus ends the "Spring Walk" of 1854.

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19 May 1854
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Richard Palmer
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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), 19 May 1854