For very many years prior to the completion of the G.T. Railroad, it has been our annual custom to take a bird's eye view of the various steamers, brigs, schooners, and other Lake and River craft, preparing for the Spring's business, and embody the same in several days' issues, under the imposing head of "the Spring Walk of the British Whig" . Alas! "Othello's occupation's gone", for we no longer have occasion for such a procedure. One short year has destroyed the shipping trade of Kingston and the Lake ports. The Railroad has swallowed all, and like a half filled, half-famished monster, is calling out for more. To its devouring influence the mightiest have succumbed. Forwarding houses of thirty years' standing, wealthy ship owners, steamboat proprietors, wharfingers, great men and little men, have alike fallen before it, and this not only on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes, but on the longer established American. Witness the forced sales at Oswego and Buffalo. Among the things swept away is our "Spring Walk". For instead of publishing column after column of what is now doing on the Wharves, Docks and Railways of our good city, we shall confine all we have to say within the smallest possible compass.
The Lake and River Line of Mail Steamers will, as last year, form a Daily Through line from Montreal to Hamilton. The Line will be composed of five boats, viz.: The Kingston, Capt. Kelly, the Passport, Capt. Harbottle; tho Banshee, Capt. Howard, the Champion, Capt. Sinclair; and the New Era, Capt. P. C. Crysler. All these fine vessels are in capital order, and nearly ready for operation, to commence on or about the first of May. Very large sums have been laid out in putting these vessels in complete order. Some have been on the ways, and some are now on. New boilers have been put in those wanting them, and no expense has been spared to render this Line in a fit condition, in point of speed and comfort, to compete with the Railroad. The public know these boats well--they are all A No. 1 and the gentlemen who command them are noted for their skillfulness and urbanity. The Line will be daily with the five boats, but should a steamer, sufficiently good enough be disengaged, she will be taken up to form a sixth to make the duty on each boat less.
Two steamers will be placed on the route from Montreal to Belleville, the St. Helen, Capt. C. Crysler, and the St. Lawrence, Capt. Farrell. These vessels are at present employed in running between Cape Vincent and Belleville, stopping at Kingston each trip up and down. When the St. Lawrence Canals open, they will descend to Montreal.
The favorite Bay boat, Bay of Quinte, will be as usual placed on the Bay Route, making a daily trip, up and down.
The three great lines of Freight steamers, those of Hooker & Pridham, Holcomb & Henderson, and H. Jones & Co. will be in partial operation all this year, that is they will not put out all their strength as they will not [ ] demands but make much.
* A Through Freight Line [ ] the steamers Bit[ ] , [ ] Wellington, [ ] Montreal to Hamilton, will be set agoing as soon as the canals open. Meanwhile the several vessels are acting independently.
On the Rideau Canal, we do not hear of anything in contemplation, unless the Prince Albert should resume her route.
Touching the operations of the American Line, the Boats of the Lake Ontario and River St. Lawrence Steamboat Company, the Oswego Palladium thus reports.
The protracted contest in regard to the affairs of old Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence Steamboat Company, has been finally brought to a close. The Receiver's sale of the line took place at Ogdensburgh on Friday last, and the purchase was made by the old company principally, which was organized into a new company. The property disposed of consisted of the steamer New York, Bay State, Ontario, Cataract, Niagara. Northerner, Jenny Lind, Montreal, British Queen, and the engine and machinery of the British Empire which was sunk last season. The Sackett lot property at Oswego, was not included in the sale. The price paid was $73,000.
The arrangements that have been thus far made for running the boats the present season are as follows: - -The steamers New York, Capt. R. F. Child, and the Bay State, Capt. J. H. Ledyard, will constitute an express line from Ogdensburgh to Toronto, touching at Cape Vincent. The steamer Ontario, Capt. J. B. Estes, will run from Ogdensburgh to Rochester twice a week, touching at all the intermediate points.
A proposition is talked of, but no definite determination has been come to on the subject, to run a side line of four boats, running from Ogdensburgh to Toronto, touching at Cape Vincent, Oswego and Rochester. If this line is put on, Oswego will have some accommodation in the new line, and the connection of the Collingwood line will be thus formed. Otherwise, other boats will have to be acquired for the purpose. It seems to us a strange and fatal policy on the part of the new Company to sacrifice everything to the Express line, which has been a losing concern, so far as we can learn, for years past, while the side line has been a source of profit, or could have been with economical management.
But what a sacrifice of property has this sale been, and what a wiping out of interests of stockholders! We should have supposed that those ten boats would have brought at least $150,000. Their cost must have been double that amount. But so we go on.
The steamer Maple Leaf from Rochester to Toronto, calling at the different ports on the lake, commences running on Saturday, the 10th inst.