The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), 18 April 1857

Full Text
Spring Walk
IV (original marked III)

The intention of the Grand Trunk Railroad Company to apply to the Legislature for an additional Two Millions of money has emboldened the Steamboat and Forwarding Interest to put in a claim for a Parliamentary Aid. They say, and they say with reason, if the Parliament grant Two Millions to enable the Railroad to destroy the Steamboats, it is but right that the Parliament should aid the Steamboat Proprietors successfully to resist the Railroad Company. With this view, a Memorial, to be largely signed by the Steamboat Owners and Forwarders, is in the course of preparation. They modestly ask for the sum of Half a Million, but should that be found inefficient, they will apply again next year for a further and a larger grant. Readers may smile at this, but there will be found more truth than poetry in the matter. The public are to be driven deeper into debt, to build non-paying Roads for the Lower Canadians (to keep their Members quiet) and the same public, in order to maintain a balance of power, and enable the Steamboats still to float on River and Lake, are to shell out largely. What does it matter? If the Province become bankrupt, then the English creditors will lose their money; and if not, it is but making our Great Grand Children pay up for their forefathers' folly and extravagance! The thing has to be done, so what's the use of grumbling?

The above was the first intelligence gleaned yesterday, while on "The Walk." It may and it may not be true, but the principle is correct. If the Railroad Company need a farther grant to enable them to finish the Road, and can give security to the province, no great reason exists why the grant should not be made. But if the money granted is to be expended in carrying Passengers and Goods from one end of the province to the other, at rates that scarcely pay running expenses, then it is the bounden duty of the Legislature to resist the grant. If on the Upper St. Lawrence and the Lakes, the same thing is to be attempted that was done on the Montreal and Quebec Branch of the Grand Trunk, viz., the destruction of the Steamers on the Lower St. Lawrence at the time when the Railroad was losing money, then say we, it is time that the people were aroused to a sense of their duty, and their representatives taught a fearful lesson. Buy let us hope for better things. The Americans, notwithstanding their patronage of Railroads, always contrive by their rules and regulations, that Steamboats shall continue to live. There is business enough for both to do, if matters be managed properly. Those who want to travel speedily will always take the Railroad--they should be made to pay for speed. Those who prefer comfort will stick to the Steamer. The same with Goods. It is therefore to be hoped that if the Government ask the Parliament to extend more aid to the Grand Trunk Railroad, that aid should be so restricted, that it shall not lead to a ruinous competition through the reduction of fares and tariff, by which Railroad and Steamboats will both come to a disastrous end.

Going back to tho United States Wharf, there are still to be seen half a dozen Steamers still unnoticed. Imprimis, is the Bay of Quinte, Capt. Carell. This fine vessel, needing no repairs has received none. She has been refitted, put in complete order, and fresh-painted inside and out. On Monday she commences her trips up the Bay to Picton and Belleville, and will run regularly. But whether she will make a daily trip, or one three times a week in conjunction with the City of the Bay. (another of Mr. Gildersleeve's boats) has not yet been finally settled. Meanwhile the City of the Bay has been made all right for immediate work.--She was in excellent order last season, when she was laid up, and everything necessary has been added to her. These two Boats would make a capital Daily line between Prescott and the Head of the Bay.

At this wharf is also lying tho St. Helen, Capt. C. Crysler, and the Transit, Capt. Talbot. Loth these steamers are fitted for passengers and freight, and run independently; the St. Helen between Montreal and the Head of the Bay, and the Transit on the Bay of Quinte. All we can say is, that during the past winter, both vessels having been put in excellent order, are considered Letter A No. 1. -The Transit will be returning from her first trip ere this reaches the hands of the reader; and the St. Helen is preparing to make her first trip down on Monday. Passing the Corra Linn, which appears to laid up, and Messrs. Shaw's Wharf, of which more anon, the next place to stop at is

THE ST. LAWRENCE WHARF.-- At this wharf lie four steamers, the Banshee, the Champion, the New Era and the St. Lawrence. The Banshee Capt. Thomas Howard, is all ready to make her first trip in the Through Line, between Montreal and Hamilton on Tuesday next. She is in capital order, and in good condition for the Lake. Having a first rate Engineer, a good Pilot, and an able Captain, it will be very strange if the Banshee be not the most popular boat on this line.

The Champion, Capt. Sinclair, having had entirely now decks, is also ready for the Lake, but in all probability will not make a start until the River is open between Kingston and Montreal, and the Through Line is in full operation. Of the Champion, nothing can be said to her disparagement, though everything in her praise. Its name indicates the position she held during the existence of the original Through Line.

The New Era, another Freight Line Boat, is also lying at the St. Lawrence Wharf. She is undergoing a complete overhauling, and will be ready for work in a week or two, long before she will be wanted; for the New Era is to be the spare boat, and it is to be hoped that no occasion may occur for her services. Nevertheless, she will be kept in readiness should any break-down in the line take place. Capt. Maxwell was to have commanded her, but the melancholy death of Capt. Colcleugh creates a vacancy on board the Arabian, and Capt. Maxwell is called upon to supply his place.

The St. Lawrence, also lying here, will be used as a Freight Boat between Kingston and Montreal, or Montreal and the Head of the Bay route not definitely settled. All that the "Leader" wrote about this vessel, the Lord Elgin, and the Ottawa is bosh, no Freight River Line being at present in contemplation.

On the St. Lawrence Wharf is the Office of the Banshee, Champion, Magnet and Arabian; Mr. Bowen, General Agent. - And on the same wharf still remains the office of Mr. Doyle, General Forwarder and Wharfinger; whose fine fleet of Schooners are lying in the slips for business.

THE NAVIGATION.- Although some steamers have left for Ogdensburg, Belleville and Toronto, yet the communication with Cape Vincent is not yet open. The Sir Charles Napier, on Thursday and Friday, made two ineffectual attempts to reach the Cape. She will try again today.

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18 April 1857
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Dave Swayze
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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), 18 April 1857