The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), 17 Apr 1866

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p.2 St. Lawrence Wharf - The Royal Mail Line - The Canadian Inland Navigation Company promise this season greatly increased facilities for freight and passengers. They run their splendid steamers - Spartan, Capt. Thos. Howard; Grecian, Capt. Hamilton; Kingston, Capt. Dunlop; Passport, Capt. Kelly; Magnet, Capt. Fairgrieve; Champion, Capt. Sinclair, - in connection with the Grand Trunk Railway and Steamboat Lines, calling at Kingston every morning bound downwards, and every evening going upwards. The steamers with one exception are iron ones, A-1 first class, and are eminently fitted for the route, being specially built for service between Hamilton and Montreal, and officered by experienced captains. The Company having purchased the well known steamer Banshee, which ran in connection with the Royal Mail Line for many years, have rebuilt her in Montreal, under the superintendence of Mr. Curry, fitting her out again in a superb style, at a cost of $10,000. She serves as a spare boat, - very handy at times - and will probably take the place of the Magnet, while she proceeds to the Saguenay. Owing to the late season, and the lowness of the water in the St. Lawrence River, the steamers of the Line will not commence their regular trips until after the first of May, though this is quite early for a climate like Canada's. The Kingston, Grecian and Passport are fitting out in this port - the two former at H.M. Dockyard, the latter at the St. Lawrence Wharf - and the rest in Montreal. The steamers have been painted and refitted in a handsome manner, and are the very essence of neatness and good trim. In addition to the ordinary outfit, the Passport has been thoroughly renovated from stem to stern, offering increased saloon and deck accommodation. A gentlemen's cabin has also been fitted up in what was formerly a freight hold. The repairs have been extensive and kept a number of workmen constantly engaged since the close of navigation last fall. It is expected the Government will make a good shift of Government stores when these steamers get started, and probably they may have as much work as they can attend to. Whatever may be the upshot the Royal Mail Line must expect a prosperous season.

Dickinson's Line of Rideau Steamers - Mr. M.K. Dickinson's Old Established Line will ply as usual this season between Ottawa and Kingston, connecting here with the Grand Trunk Railway, East and West, the Royal Mail Line, the steamer Bay of Quinte for Belleville and the Bay Ports, and the Ferry steamer for Cape Vincent. The City of Ottawa will be commanded by Capt. Ryan, and the Bytown by Capt. Farmer, whose long services on the Rideau are sufficient recommendation of their capabilities to command. The Bytown has been refitted at Montreal since last fall, and affords increased saloon accommodation. Making two through trips every week each, the City of Ottawa and Bytown will leave Kingston four times in that period. Mr. James Swift is the agent of the Line, and we can promise, on his behalf, the utmost dispatch in forwarding freight to the Capital. Owing to the ice in the Canal and the lowness of the water in the Canal, the steamers will hardly be expected to start as early as usual, though the City of Ottawa is ready to steam up. Mr. Dickinson's steamers are now one of the Institutions of this section of the Province, and we anticipate for the Line a good rush of business this season, if there be any virtue in the increasing trade between Ottawa and Kingston.

The St. Lawrence Wharf - This dock is the 'Head Centre' for a large trade in the forwarding and steamboat line during the season of navigation. Boats are continually dropping in and landing quantities of freight. The Royal Mail Steamers call at this dock and land their freight and passengers; the steamer Bay of Quinte discharges the freight from Belleville and the Bay Ports daily; and Mr. Dickinson's Rideau steamers arrive almost daily. The steamer Osprey will also call regularly the present season, landing freight from all lake and river ports between Hamilton and Montreal. To receive this vast amount of freight, Messrs. Wm. Bowen & Co. have large and spacious storehouses, including a Custom's warehouse - not forgetting the freight house of the Rideau Canal Line. There are also numerous offices on the wharf, for its central position commands attention; and we may enumerate those of the Hon. John Hamilton, Manager of the Royal Mail Line, and Mr. C.H. Hatch, Agent of the same, as well as that of Mr. James Swift, Mr. Dickinson's Agent, located here. Independent of their steamboat agencies, Mr. James Swift carries on an agency for several insurance Companies, (Life and Marine,) and Mr. Hatch as sub-agent for Capt. Hamilton, for the Commercial Union (Fire and Life). Therefore the wharf is the centre of a thriving business. Though not in connection with the dock, the machine shop of Mr. L.W. Jeffers requires notice. From the handsome work he puts out, and his proximity to the docks, his shop is the general resort of vessel masters, and he is thus enabled to keep a large corps at work in the ship smithing business. Vessel owners invariably recommend him for good workmanship and prompt delivery.

Anderson & Ford's Wharf - Messrs. Jacques, Tracy & Co. - The fleet of Forwarding Steamers is to be used this season by Messrs. Jacques, Tracy & Co., of Montreal, comprises six fine vessels, independent of a much larger fleet of Barges and smaller Craft. Two of these vessels are at Montreal, the steamers Huron and Ottawa, the latter of which has been entirely rebuilt, and the latter put in a most efficient state of repair. They are ready to come up the moment the state of the navigation permits. The steamer Bristol lies at Brockville, and when some arrangement is made, this excellent steamer will make an important addition to the line.

At Kingston, Mr. A.B. Tracy, one of the firm, is superintending the fitting out of the three steamers lying in this harbor. The Avon, Capt. Mowatt, has had most extensive repairs, a new arch, covering board and deck, besides other matters renovated. She will be ready in less than a week. Her engine and boilers are in capital order. The steamer Indian, Capt. Vawn, is quite ready for sailing. She has been put in-first rate order, but not needing many repairs, she is first in the field. And of the steamer St. Lawrence, Capt. Rae, the same thing may be said. She looks remarkably well, lying as she does, ready for the Upper Lakes, at Messrs. Anderson & Ford's Wharf, who, by the way, are the Kingston Agents of this Line of Steamers.

-First Arrival of the Season of the Mosquito Fleet - The powerful steamer Scow Agony, alias Hemlock, arrived from Kingston Mills on Sunday afternoon. An admiring crowd on Cataraqui Bridge welcomed her arrival.

-The Harbor - Watertown helps Gazelle get out of drift ice.

-Welland Canal - to open on 17th.

-The Steamer Clifton - to be commanded by Capt. Butterworth. [Owen Sound Advertiser]

-Imports - 16.

-The St. Clair Flats - The Detroit Board of Trade is soliciting the aid of the various lake cities, to obtain a grant of $300,000, and an appropriation of $10,000 a year to cut and maintain a deep channel through the St. Clair Flats, and to erect and support additional lighthouses, so that the passage may be made by night as well as by day. Before 1857 there were between seven and eight feet of water on the bar; and that year Congress voted $50,000, which was employed in making a channel nearly a hundred feet wide, with thirteen feet of water, and in consequence of this improvement a much larger class of vessels was constructed for the trade between Chicago and Buffalo; the carrying capacity being doubled. Since that time through neglect the new channel has been filling up, and is now but fifty feet wide, with a depth not exceeding 10 1/2 feet. The effect is that the trade is greatly impeded by tugs and vessels getting aground, lighter cargoes have to be carried, and heavy expenses are incurred, to the great damage of the commerce of Chicago and Lakes Michigan and Superior. It is said that 22,274 vessels passed through the channel during the season of navigation, carrying cargoes worth $440,000,000.

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17 Apr 1866
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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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), 17 Apr 1866