The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), 15 May 1858

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p.3 Neglect of Steamboat & Forwarding Interests

The Railroad mania completely blinded the people of Kingston for the time, or they would never have been mad enough to work so hard for the destruction of the chief interest of the city, namely the Steamboat and Forwarding. The only thing which gave Kingston any advantages over the numerous unimportant villages on the lake shore, and for a long time promised to make it the Commercial Metropolis of the Lakes, was its unrivalled harbor, almost the only one deserving the name on these lakes. The railroad as many discerning people foresaw would be the case, has all but deprived the good old city of its advantages, and we have now the pleasure of seeing the thousands and tens of thousands of tons of produce, which in the good old times used to be transhipped at our wharves, passing down the Railroad to the sea at lightning speed, without stopping. Now we are not going to deny that the Grand Trunk has and is conferring immense advantages on the country, and we trust and believe that it will yet prove the high way of nations across this continent, making Canada the most important link of that chain of empire with which Great Britain girths the globe, but we do think the Government should consider the interests of those who have been sacrificed to obtain this great work. These unfortunates are the Steamboat Proprietors and Forwarders, and the citizens of such places as Kingston, who have now the comfortable satisfaction of being taxed to pay for the destruction of their own interests, consummated by the construction of the Grand Trunk Railroad. We are compelled to speak out on this matter, for there is no concealing longer the painful fact, that Kingston stands upon the brink of ruin through the destruction of her chief supports, the Forwarding and Steamboat establishments. This Spring upwards of 2000 persons connected in one way or another with these concerns, have left the city, and as many more are lingering about, who will soon follow if there is not some favorable change, of which there is little present prospect; the consequence is that hundreds of houses are empty on every side, property is falling in value, and even the oldest and staunchest believers in the fortunes of the good old city are beginning to lose hope. Surely under such circumstances Kingston is entitled to look for something to be done to shield if from that ruin which her citizens have brought upon themselves by promoting public improvements. Surely it is not asking too much, that some encouragement should be given to the steamboat and forwarding interests which have been her life and soul, from which thousands of industrious people the very bone and sinew of the country generally derive their support. We do not pretend to say what measures of relief would be best, but we do without hesitation assert, that unless the people of Kingston bestir themselves in earnest and promptly to save their lake and river trade, they may make up their minds to see the loyal old Commercial Metropolis of Upper Canada sink into the position of a third class town, only known as the stepping off place of a side track of the great Trunk Railroad across this continent. [Commercial Advertiser]

- Imports - 13,14; Exports - 13.

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15 May 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), 15 May 1858