The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
St. Catharines Journal (St. Catharines, ON), October 27, 1842

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Internal Improvements Of Canada - To a citizen of the state of New York, by far the most interesting feature of Canada, and the British colonial policy, at the present moment, is the vigorous prosecution and the rapid progress of the magnificent public works now pressing forward to completion, in the valley of the St. Lawrence, and the basin of the great lakes, - and all this, too, at a period when a portion of our own people - in reality a very small portion, but, unfortunately, the portion holding the power, for the time being - has become so besotted with theoretic folly; so frightened by financial bug-bears; or so maddened with factious politics, as to have succeeded in suspending our own public works, and actually recommended their discontinuance. A simple statement of the line of canals about to be completed, in Canada, may, at this time, be read with a peculiar interest.

The line commences with the Lachine canal, extending from Montreal to the village of Lachine, a distance of eight miles. This work is about to be enlarged, and it will form the final link of the chain which is to connect the navigation of the St. Lawrence with that of the great interior lakes, through which runs the boundary between the United States and the British dependencies, and to which, therefore, the people and trade of both nations have equal and free access.

At Lachine, you enter an expansion of the St. Lawrence, called St .Louis - similar to that of the Tappan area in the Hudson river - and have a steamboat navigation to the cascades, at the mouth of the Ottawa. At this point, which is the village of Beauharnois, commences the Beauharnois canal, begun this year, and to extend sixteen miles, to a point opposite Coteau du Lac, surmounting the obstacles to navigation caused by several rapids, known as the Cascades, the Cedars, and the Coteau du Lac, which make in all a difference in elevation of about sixty feet.

At this last point you enter another expansion of the St. Lawrence, called lake St. Francis, which takes you to Cornwall, at a distance of forty miles, and on the 48th parallel of north latitude. At this point commences the Cornwall canal, which is expected to be finished this season. It extends to Dickenson`s landing, eleven miles, and passes the Long Sault rapids, which have a total descent of about fifty feet.

This canal is a fair sample of other works. It has locks of solid masonry, constructed in the most durable manner, each two hundred feet long in the chamber, by fifty feet wide, with a depth of ten feet of water. They are designed, therefore, to accommodate the largest class of lake Ontario steamers, and most of the ships that navigate the St.Lawrence, from Quebec to Montreal. From Dickenson`s landing to Kingston, steamers of a large class now ply, though there are two or three rapids below Odgensburgh.

From Kingston, the route is by the lake to the point of connexion with the Welland canal. This work, (now being enlarged) is but a continuation and completion of this great line of works, designed and destined to furnish a continuous ship navigation throughout the whole extent of the valley of the St. Lawrence, and the basin of the great lakes, from Quebec to the falls of St. Marys.

When the chain of communication is finished, and the great route of travel and traffic opened and in use, it will give to the Canadas an exclusive as well as a direct communication between the vast and far north-west, and the Atlantic ocean - a result which, unless counterbalanced by the completion of our own great works, especially the Erie canal enlargement, will give to the British navigation and commerce advantages of the greatest importance, and will operate to the deep and lasting injury of the state of New York. It is precisely in such a relative condition of things - such a posture of that mighty struggle going on for the trade of the west - that this great state has been struck with the topor of Locofocoism, and is compelled to sit chained, and look on with her own eyes, upon the triumphant achievement of the prize by her sagacious and public-spirited rival. - Albany Adv.

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October 27, 1842
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Peter Warwick
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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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St. Catharines Journal (St. Catharines, ON), October 27, 1842