The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), 7 April 1855

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Spring Walk

Talk of "Spring Walks!" here on the 7th day of April, the weather is as disagreeable, as in the middle of January; the harbor is locked up and won't be open for a fortnight: the streets are filled-with slush, ice and snow; and there is nothing to induce a newspaper man to take his Note Book in hand and walk abroad to look about him. Such a tardy season never was seen or heard of.

But such is the variableness of this climate, that, as in less than a month Spring in all its bloom and freshness will be come and gone, and as these annual "Spring Walks" will take more than a month to write and publish, it is high time to begin them. But whence shall the start be made? From Portsmouth, the Dock Yard of Kingston, that rising village, which although not in the city limits, is as much Kingston as Brock Street and the Market Square. Portsmouth be it.

A greater number of steam and sailing vessels are being built, rebuilt, or fitted out this spring, than during any preceding season. There are two Ship Yards at Portsmouth, in full work; -one belonging to Messrs. McPherson & Crane, or at least still going by their name; and the other owned by Mr. Ault, the far-famed Kingston Ship Builder. Let us enter the latter first. Here Mr. Ault is building for Capt Charles Perry and others, a large full-sized Passenger and Freight Steamer, to be launched in June--and intended for the Through Trade, making Kingston its point d'appui. This is a remarkably fine vessel as she appears on the stocks, as symmetrical as the old Comet, with a more beautiful stern. Her length of keel is 174 feet, with 28 feet beam and 10 feet 6 inches depth of hold. Her engine is being put up at the Kingston Foundry, and will exceed 100 horse power. Tunnage 53(3) tons, carpenter's measurement Her intended Captain is Mr. C. Perry (younger brother of Mr. Alfred Perry of Montreal) last season master of the Highlander, by whose industry and enterprize the stock was taken up, and who will make that stock pay thoroughly. Mr. Ault, the builder of this fine vessel has staked his reputation on her fast sailing and good freight carrying qualities. He has also the Banshee to answer for, of which mention will be duly made.

In Mr. Ault's Yard, repairing, are the Rochester, the Charlevoix, and the City of Toronto. These vessels were Steam Tugs last season, and two of them will be again 60 employed; but the Rochester is too good a boat for so ignoble a use, and it is said that her name is to be changed to that of the City of Kingston, and she will be employed in some lucrative passenger business, for which her speed and cabin accommodations well fit her. Several schooners are here fitting out, and among others that fine craft the North Star. In short, Mr. Ault has fifty men in his employ, and all are busy as nailers. Attached to this Yard, is a Marine Railway, capable of taking on any steamer of less than 200 feet keel. Ample repairs are being made to it, and as soon as Navigation opens, it will be in full operation.

In the adjoining Ship Yard, (McPherson & Crane's) is that fine steamer, the Champion. Wanting no repairs, she has none, but is fitting out with great diligence, getting her engine and wheels intoorder, and preparing for an early start. She will be commanded again this season by Capt. Milloy, and her route is between Kingston and Montreal, as one of the Royal Mail Line. The small steamers Charlotte, Otter, and Mercury are also in this Yard, being thoroughly overhauled and made good. And Messrs. Jones and Robinson, of Bytown, are building here a fine first class barge, capable of carrying 1800 barrels of flour.

Mr. Strange has just completed his new Tannery, erected on the Point beyond Fisher's Brewery. It is one of the largest and most complete establishments in Canada, and reflects the highest credit upon the enterprize of its owner. It will be in full work in a week or two, and as upwards of 1000 cords of bark are piled on the premises, there will be no lack of material to work with.

By the way, what are the Canada Tanners to do when the Hemlock baring of the country becomes exhausted, as will very soon be the case? Import Valonea from the East? Why not do it now?

Mr. Patrick Quin's Lime Stone Quarries should not be omitted among the notorieties of Portsmouth. His establishment is on a large scale and can compete with that of the Provincial Penitentiary, on the opposite side of the harbor. Vessels of all sizes can load at his wharf, and the stones he quarries are of all sizes and qualities, fit for the finest cut stone building in Toronto, and fit again to fill the vacancies on that city's Esplanade.

There is a great deal of money made quietly in about Kingston by quarrying and shipping stone, The quarries at Portsmouth are certainly very excellent, and yield the very best of stone, but there is quite as good stone in a hundred other places, quite as easy of shipment, and it is somewhat surprising that so few men of capital embark in the business. Good stone at the head of the lake will be a desideratum for hundreds of years to come; consequently no failure of a market need be apprehended.

The above are all the novelties of the village, but the place itself is growing and increasing in extent far more than the city to which its is attached. It has now a population 600 souls and sends a Councillor to the Township Council. It has many mechanic's shops, much lime is burnt here, and a great deal of miscellaneous business done that cannot be seen at a glance. Many of the Keepers and Guards belonging to the Penitentiary live here, and altogether Portsmouth is some pumpkins. It should be joined municipally to Kingston, and that would have been done, when the city limits were extended, had not the Penitentiary Buildings and Lot been in the way.--Speaking of the Penitentiary, reminds us to say, that the buildings, Work Shops, Hospital, &c. inside the walls are nearly completed, according to the original plan. We hear this, for to the Press of Kingston, the Prison is tabooed. We know of no rascalities therein practiced, nor to say the truth do we hear of any; but wherever there is secrecy there is mystery. It would be better for the reputation of the Prison that its doors were open to all enquiries, and then no cause for suspicion could exist. The two Inspectors don't seem to have much to do, or at least we never hear of their doing anything. One gentleman comes up from Montreal once a quarter, and the other stops here all the while. £100 a year, rather a snug berth.

On the road home, there are many things to look at and admire, and among others Morton's Distillery, one of the sights of Kingston. But this great establishment has been noticed so often in our "Spring Walks" that we fear the reader would tire of the endless repetition.

Should the Maine Liquor Law pass, what a blow to the City would be the stopping of the works here, and what a loss to the farming community, who can always find at J. Morton's a ready sale for their coarse grain. Things look very squally at Quebec, touching this Liquor Law, but surely the Legislature cannot and will not stultify itself by the passage of so much absurdity. If a law were passed shutting up two-thirds of the taverns and grog shops now open, and prevent grocers from retailing spirits to be consumed on their premises, much good would be done, but as the New York Herald says-

"Adopted as this law will be, with its most stringent clauses, the true friends of temperance cannot anticipate much benefit from its operation. No sumptuary law ever proved effective, and still less will a measure armed with powers so directly invasive of the rights and liberties of the citizen, succeed in enlisting the respect and the support of the community."

Still we shall not regret, on the whole, the passing of the bill. Nothing short of the evil results which it will bring about, will succeed in convincing the physical force reformers of the absurdity and impracticability of their theories.

In the proper prosecution of these "Spring Walks," and to make them as useful to the public as possible, specific information is necessary. They will probably engage the editor's time and attention all this month and part of the next; and if businessmen find their matters neglected or improperly noticed, they should bear in mind that the contrary might have been the case had they thought proper to furnish him with particulars verbal or in writing. But before we close this day's Walk, let us look at the

EASTER MEAT IN KINGSTON MARKETS.--The City of Kingston has long been supplied with the very best of Beef, but that local fact has never been patent to the little world of Canada, by reason of the negligence of its Press. While the Toronto, Montreal and Hamilton newspapers on Easter Monday and Tuesday are filled with deserved eulogiums on the excellence of the Beef exposed in Market by the City Butchers, the Press of Kingston is ever silent. The "British Whig" takes shame to itself for past sins of omission, for it is old enough to know better.

The display of Beef in Kingston Market this Easter Monday is but a fair average of former years, and yet it would compete on the scale of size weight and quality with the very best produce of America. It is a credit to a city of Twelve Thousand Inhabitants. Not a single butcher's stall but what is filled with the finest of meat, for emulation acting on butchers as it acts on other trades, has compelled each man to do his prettiest on Easter Monday.

Messrs. Cale and Elliot, at their several s balls have a most splendid ox, six years old, and weighing eleven hundred weight, fed by Mr. P. Murdock. They have also six sheep that are sheep, raised and fed by John Boyce, Esquire, of Amherst Island, and averaging 40 lbs. per quarter. This mutton is as good mutton as ever was killed in England, though probably not so heavy. We strongly recommend our City readers in visiting the Market this morning to stop and examine these sheep, and then say, if they can, that Canada cannot produce good mutton--Messrs. G. and E. have, or rather had, for by this time the pork is probably gone, two of the finest Berkshire Spring Pigs, eyes ever saw, fed by Mr. Gale, and though not three months old, yet 130 lbs. weight. Mr. P. Murdock shows some capital beef, two fine oxen, in particular, fed by himself, and exceeding twelve hundred weight;-

In looking round the market it is hard to say, what man's beef is best, but really in judging fairly one might justly doubt whether or not Mr. Murdock does not bear away the palm. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so of beef--of which more anon. Mr. Murdock has some fine spring lambs, weighing 7 lbs. a quarter; also a calf, averaging 35 lbs. the same. Last, though by no manner of means least, shall we omit Mr. Flanigan's disclay? No, for it is one of the finest exhibitions in the market, taken as a whole. Four fine heifers, of nine hundred weight each, and two fat steers, a little heavier. Lots of fine sheep, good calves, and fat pigs. When anything good is going on, nobody expects Mr. Flanigan to be behind hand, nor is he ever.

Several stalls were vacant last evening when the editor walked through the shambles, the several butchers not having brought down their Easter Meat, Among others that of Mr. Welsh, who is ever foremost in the race, and who probably makes as fine a show this morning as any mentioned. Of several butchers the same may be said., but time and tide wait for no man, neither can the newspaper wait for copy.

THE STALLS.--Messrs. Andrews, Brothers, make a handsome exhibition at the double Stall. What they have on view consists of four splendid oxen, averaging two hundred weight, fed by Mr. Ferris and Mr. R. White, in these counties. This beef is really beautiful, fat, plump and juicy, and fit to lay on any English man's table. Also a lot of prime sheep, a dozen well fatted calves,; and three lambs of 1845. Messrs. Andrews, we are told, are feeding over 500 head of cattle for the Kingston, Montreal and Quebec Markets.

Messrs. John and Wm. Breden have a couple of fine fat steers at their stall, fed by themselves, and weighing full 1300 weight each. Those steers are only five years old, and are quite a picture to look at. While viewing them last evening several gentlemen, judges of good beef, came up and secured their joints by marking them.

Opposite to Messrs. Breden's stall at Mr. Gardner's is a remarkably fine calf, five weeks old, of which the quarters will exceed 40 lbs. There is also a good display of beef, mutton and pork here. At Waddington's, there are several Spring pigs, about 140 lbs. five months old, and perfect beauties. Mr. Waddington also makes a handsome show of beef and mutton.

Mr. P. Seivell has t[?] of very fine sheep, bred and fed by D.M. Starks, Esq., of Pittsburgh, and none of them weighing less than 35 lbs. a quarter. These in addition to a very fair exhibition otherwise.-

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7 April 1855
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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), 7 April 1855