The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 16 May 1834

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p.2 Steamboat Disaster - We are sorry to relate the particulars of an accident that has befallen the noble steam-boat Oswego. During the severe gale in the night of the 12th inst., on her downward voyage, she lay to about 4 miles to the west of Oswego, but owing to the heavy sea, she became unmanageable and drifted ashore, where she now remains. She had about seventy passengers on board who landed without difficulty and proceeded on to Oswego. The Oswego Palladium of the 14th inst. says, "We are happy to learn, she will be got off without difficulty, having sustained little injury, and will be ready to resume her station in the line in about 14 days.

The New Canal Steamboat Thomas McKay, left this port for Bytown early this morning on her first trip. This vessel having been injudiciously puffed, we are at a loss how to describe her as she deserves, without again exciting a smile at her expense. To elegance of structure she has no pretension; on the contrary, she is strongly and plainly built, although well adapted for the purpose for which she is intended; but for comfort and convenience of passengers, few vessels on these waters can surpass her. Her gentlemen's cabin is extremely large for the size of the boat, and is fitted up with a degree of splendor that does credit to her enterprising owners. Her Ladies' cabin is elegant and capacious, and her other accommodations are equally convenient. Her speed is about 6 miles per hour, and she is placed under the able command of our townsman, Capt. Augustus Bennet.

We have copied the following from the Advocate, for the purpose of remarking upon it.

"Steamer Cobourg - We have before spoken favorably regarding this elegant boat, and the more we hear about her, the more satisfied are we of her superiority. About a fortnight ago, while on her passage down to Kingston, she encountered a severe storm, and we are assured by a gentleman who was on board of her at the time, that in no other boat on the lake, ( and he has been in them all) are the inconveniences of a storm so slightly perceptible as in the Cobourg. She has not yet had an opportunity this season of comparing her swiftness with any of those boats that are considered of the first magnitude, but she has passed with the greatest ease all the small steamers about the St. Lawrence, and last week when at Brockville on her way to Prescott, the steamer St. George was fully half a mile out when the Cobourg left the wharf, and without any difficulty she passed her before they went half way to Prescott. To every new boat some trifling repairs about the machinery are unavoidable, but from what we can learn we are inclined to believe the Cobourg is fully a match for any other boat on Lake Ontario."

If Mr. McKenzie wishes to puff the Cobourg, we request him to do it at the expense of other vessels than those trading to Kingston. The Cobourg may be all very well, but as to her being able to outstrip in speed the bay and river boats, he must 'tell that to the Marines, the sailors won't believe him.' The Kingston could sail round the Cobourg twice in two miles, the Black Hawk can do almost as much, and it is doubtful whether the Britannia would not be more than a match for her. The observation, ''that the Cobourg passed with ease all the small steamers about the St. Lawrence," we have no hesitation in pronouncing false; for we know on the authority of a gentleman that came down from Cobourg a few days ago, that she took 13 hours and a half to accomplish the same distance which the Great Britain did in 9 hours and a half, and it is as much as the Great Britain can do, to hold her own with the Kingston. When newspaper editors write steamboat puffs, they should continue to praise their proteges without injuring other vessels.

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16 May 1834
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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pd [more details]
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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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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 16 May 1834