The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), 17 April 1856

Full Text
Spring Walk

Taking advantage of the fine weather of Monday, we stayed "Our Walk" along the wharves of Kingston, and strolled as far as Hatter's Bay, or as the people of that locality delight to call it, the Village of Portsmouth. Why the Village of Portsmouth? Why not part and parcel of Kingston? It is but a continuation of King Street, with continuous dwellings all the way, interrupted, if it be an interruption by the Provincial Penitentiary. If the farmers and market gardeners along the 2nd Concession road, and those dwelling in and about the Railroad Depot, nearly two miles from the business part of the City, be Citizens of Kingston and obliged to pay heavy rates and taxes, why should not the inhabitants of Hatter's Bay who all gain their living out of Kingston, be placed in the same category? There ever was too much political rascality in the defining of the limits of Towns and Cities. As poor Andrew Maine used to say, those in power "give good law to those they like best." It was political rascality that kept Lot 24 so long without the city limits, and it is the same species of rascality, which excludes Hatter's Bay from contributing to the exigencies of Kingston; since to all interests and purposes, she is part and parcel of it. But all this has nothing to do with "Our Walk."

There are two Shipyards at Hatter's Bay, and two Marine Railways; the first occupied by Mr. Ault, the Ship Builder, and the other by Messrs. Holcomb & Henderson, (McPherson & Crane.) In Mr. Ault's yard, to which is attached one Marine Railway, the fine Steamer New Era, Capt. P. S. Crysler, is on the Railway, undergoing a thorough overhauling and repairing. She is nearly finished and ready for launching, and when again in the water, she will take her place in the River Mail Line of Steamers. Alongside of the New Era is the barge Venture, undergoing like repairs, one of those modern monsters in the shape of barges, of 300 tons burden. Mr. Ault's now laying down for a Kingston Company, a fine clipper three massed schooner for the Chicago trade, to be launched in August. Her dimensions will be-- length of keel 124 feet, over all 137 feet; 25.5 feet beam, with 10.5 feet depth of hold--to carry 15,000 bushels. He also has a whole fleet of schooners waiting for repairs, some to go on the Railway and others not. Among those lying at his Yard and hard to it, we saw the Empire, Mohawk, Two Brothers, D. Williams, Alma, Sarah, and the brig Sir C. Napier. So that his Yard and all hands are likely to be busy for some time to come.

At McPherson & Crane's Yard, Messrs. Holcomb & Henderson have more steamers, schooners and barges than we can well call to mind. So many in fact, as to impress tho beholder with a dread of the fearful destruction of property caused by accidental fire or the torch of an incendiary. Of steamers, there are the Reindeer, Scotland, Western Miller, Otter, Beaver and the Charlotte; of schooners, those fine vessels the Premier and the California; and of barges their name is legion. Some of these are on the Railway, others alongside of it, and others again at the piers and wharves; but all undergoing repairs of some kind of other, and every one on board as busy as nailers.. These vessels, together with those lying at their wharves in Kingston, Prescott, Montreal and Hamilton, show that Messrs. Holcomb & Henderson are determined to maintain the reputation of the late Great Forwarding House of McPherson & Crane.

"L'Home propose, mais le Dieu dispose." In commencing the Walk for this year, we promised ourselves the confinement of it to the Shipping Interests of Kingston solely, but the distant sight of Mr. Strange's new Tannery, on the western point of the Bay, changed our purpose in a minute, and we walked towards it. Mr. Strange has chosen an admirable location for his Tannery, and has put up equally admirable buildings, perhaps the best adopted and most convenient for doing a heavy business of any in Canada. Built of stone, and out of the way of dwellings, they are almost fireproof, and are massive and handsome. He has a dozen men at work, if not more, and his steam engine is at work constantly from one o'clock on Monday morning to twelve o'clock on Saturday night. When a gentleman like Mr. Strange, with a patrimony above mediocrity, leaves the comparatively easy walk of the Law, and betakes himself of the rough and rugged track of commerce and manufactures, he deserves the passing good word of a journalist.

At Hatter's Bay is the great Brewery of Mr. James Fisher. Mr. Livingston, of the City Brewery, taught this plain truth to the Kingston Brewers--that unless they brewed Beer almost equal to his, they could not sell any; and the consequence is, that al though the City Brewery Ale and Beer still maintain their supremacy in Canada, and wherever they can be procured, still its competitors' Beer and Ale, and Mr. Fisher' s commodity in particular, tread so closely on its heels as often to be mistaken for it and even preferred. Certainly Mr. Fisher does make capital malt liquors, and most capital premius, together with the purest of water, has he for their manufacture. Mr. Strange's tannery and Mr. Fisher's. brewery are both a credit and an ornament to Hatter's Bay.

Returning homewards, we looked in at Mr. Morton' s Distillery. Should the Maine Law Fanatics ever carry their iniquitous scheme through the Legislature, the Province will have to pay a pretty penny in the way of compensation money to Mr. Morton; for he has the finest premises and the vest machinery for manufacturing High Wines of any establishment on this continent. Here one thousand gallons of proof spirit are daily manufactured, and here one thousand head of cattle are daily fed, (belonging to the Messrs. Breden) by the slop refuse. Could we say more, were we to write a whole column?

**Just before we reached home, attracted by a crowd of people round about Mr. James Hickey's Fashionable Dry Goods Store. In we went and found his folks opening their Spring Importations. Using the privilege of an old Friend, we went up stairs into his Show Rooms, and aided by the politeness of the Manager, in the absence of Mr. H. were let into some of the secrets of the Fancy Millinery Business. Such lots of Bonnets--in thousands--and of wrought and embroidered muslins no end. Each of his three Show Rooms was filled to repletion, and Mr. H. certainly deserves infinite credit for the promptitude with which he has refilled his Shelves with new Goods from England and France. Some certain styles of his we must confess are not seen worn in the streets of Kingston; but country folks have tastes of their own, and we are told, that in the many country villages in the vicinity of Kingston' the things we noticed are all the rage. Mr. H. picks up strange fashions when travelling in Europe and retails them when at home. But he is successful in business, and that is the main point.

Media Type:
Item Type:
Date of Original:
17 April 1856
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Richard Palmer
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
WWW address
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), 17 April 1856