The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper (New York, NY), 22 November 1856, page 376, 381

Full Text

KINGSTON, formerly the capital of Canada, is situated in the county of Frontenac, at the foot of Lake Ontario, at the head of river navigation. The name of Kingston was given to it by the English, who first settled here in 1783. It was incorporated in 1838. In 1848 [sic: 1840] Kingston became the capital of the province, and so continued until 1845, when the seat of government was removed to Montreal. The city occupies the site of the old fort of Frontenac, on the north-east shore of the river, opposite Wolfe Island, having the harbor, which is the mouth of the Cataraqui river, and the shipping in front. East of the bay the land projects southward, terminating in Point Sandwich or Navy Point, beyond which is Haldimand Cove, a deep basin of water, protected by this point on the west, and Point Henry on the east, and guarded from south winds by Wolfe Island in front. In this cove are the royal dockyards, shipping, and naval and military stores, Kingston being the naval and military head-quarters of the province, and, after Quebec and Halifax, is the strongest port in British America. There is a fort at Mississoga [sic: Mississauga] Point, and all other accessible points are secured by batteries. There are extensive military works at Navy Point, and on Point Henry is a fortress which completely commands the harbor and the town. A long bridge extends across Cataraqui bay, connecting Kingston and Plattsburg [sic: Pittsburgh], besides which there are the suburbs of Barrifield[sic: Barriefield], French Village, and Williamsville. The city is regularly laid out, the houses are mostly built of blue limestone, the quarry from which it is taken underlying the town. The streets are mostly lighted by gas, and the house's are well supplied with water from the bay and from wells. Among the public buildings may be named the City Hall and market buildings, said to be the most massive structure in Canada West. The government establishments, naval and military, together with the shipping interests of Kingston, are its principal supports. The construction of the Redeau [sic: Rideau] canal, connecting this port with the Ottawa river, has greatly added to its commercial prosperity.

THE river St. Lawrence is one of the largest rivers of North America, and, in many respects, one of the most remarkable rivers in the world. It issues from Lake Ontario, and, flowing in a north-east direction, forms in part of its course the boundary between New York and Canada, falls into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, by a broad estuary, in about 49 deg. 30 min. north latitude. It has received different names in different parts of its course; between Lake Superior and Lake Huron it is called the St. Mary; between Lakes Huron and Erie, the St. Clair and Detroit; between Lakes Erie and Ontario, the Niagara; between Ontario and the sea it takes the name of St. Lawrence. The whole length, including the chain of lakes, is estimated at 2,500 miles. The distance from Lake Ontario to the St. Lawrence is about 750 miles. It is navigable for ships of the line to Quebec, and for vessels of 600 tons to Montreal. Between Montreal and the lake the navigation is considerably impeded by rapids, the most important of which are the Cedar and Lochine [sic: Lachine] rapids, the latter nine miles above Montreal. Owing to the regular inclination of the rapids, steamers drawing seven feet of water descend without the aid of canals. The passage from the head of the lake to Montreal is made by a freighted steamer in two days; the upward trip requires nearly three days. From Lake Erie to Lake Ontario an elevation of 300 feet is overcome by a canal twenty-eight miles in length, with about thirty cut-stone locks 150 feet long by twenty-six feet and a half wide. These locks will pass a craft of about 500 tons burden, while those of the St. Lawrence have double this capacity. The total cost of these canals was over twelve millions. The breadth of the St. Lawrence is very unequal, ranging from less than a mile to three or four miles; across its mouth it is over 100 miles. Our magnificent picture, and those representing the city of Kingston, Canada West — taken from photographs furnished by J. P. Litchfield, M. D., of Kingston — represents Cedar Island and the Martello Tower, points of interest that are among the last objects which strike the traveller down the St. Lawrence river, before he emerges into the vast bay, a hundred miles wide, which forms the river's mouth.

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The three images that accompanied this article are available online in the Great Lakes Images site.
Date of Original:
22 November 1856
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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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Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper (New York, NY), 22 November 1856, page 376, 381