The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), 24 Apr 1858

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p.2 The Royal Mail Line of Lake & River Steamers - Although the Grand Trunk Railroad has materially injured the business and prospects of the steamboat trade, yet instead of succumbing to the heavy blow, we find the steamboat proprietors making the most strenuous efforts to keep pace with the wishes of the public, and thereby maintain a powerful rivalry with this gigantic opponent. With this view, the utmost labor, with no limit to expense, has been bestowed this spring upon the outfittings of the various steamboats comprising the Royal Mail Line of Lake and River Steamers, at the same time practising the most rigid economy in their management. At no period since the Line has been in operation, have the Boats been in more complete order, than at the present time; the only slow steamer the Magnet, has been discarded, and the five boats now composing it, are five of the very best vessels afloat. Two of them, the Passport and Kingston, are owned and managed by the Hon. John Hamilton, and two others, the Banshee and Champion, are partly owned and wholly managed by Wm. Bowen, Esq., and the fifth boat, the New Era, is partly owned and wholly managed by O.S. Gildersleeve, Esq. Thus the Line is a Kingston Line, owned and managed here. The water will be let into the St. Lawrence and Lachine Canals on the 27th inst., (next Tuesday,) on which day the first start will be made by the Kingston. We shall take an early opportunity to take a careful look at each of these vessels, and in the meantime jot down a few items gathered together by an inspection of Mr. Bowen's boats.

The Banshee is almost a new vessel, having run two or three seasons only. During the past winter she has been on the Marine Railway, having a pair of strengthening arches put in her, to render her more capable of standing the shocks of the angry Lake Ontario. Her engine and boilers are quite new and in the most perfect state of repair. She is a fast vessel, one of the fastest on the lake, and is in every respect, so far as cabin and deck accommodation is concerned, the very model of a steamboat packet. She will be commanded, as heretofore, by Capt. Thomas Howard, than whom, a more gentlemanly and obliging man and able seaman does not sail on Canadian waters. Her purser is Mr. Robert Thibodo, son of Augustus Thibodo, Esq., and her excellent and experienced engineer is Mr. Alexander Somerville.

The Champion, tho' not quite as new a vessel as the Banshee, is, nevertheless, equally as good a boat. Her hull, requiring no repairs of any kind, has not been on the Railway, but in other respects, vast sums of money have been expended on her this year, to make her in all respects, a first class boat. Her boilers have been taken out and entirely made anew, and in order to increase her speed, placed further aft. Her engine is in complete order; she has new wheels and buckets, with new decks wherever needed. The Champion of the present day is as fine a vessel as on the day she was first launched, and it is expected she will go much faster. She will be again commanded by Capt. Sinclair, a careful captain and excellent seaman; her purser is Mr. Neil Dunlop, and her engineer is Mr. John Jacques.

It should be further remarked, that both these fine steamers are fitted out in perfect compliance with the requirements of the late stringent Railroad and Steamboat Act, with additional life boats, life preservers and force pumps. Their engines and boilers are to stand the test of the Government Inspector, and proper certificates will be granted ere the vessels leave their wharves.

-higher demand for grain to Canadian ports and Oswego than to Erie Canal. [Chicago Press]

-The Customs Department - much on salaries, revenue and expenses of different ports.

-steamer Bowmanville takes load from Toronto to Cape Vincent to Ogdensburg. [Globe 23d]

-steamers Boston and Bowmanville take loads from Toronto. [Globe]

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24 Apr 1858
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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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Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), 24 Apr 1858