Prospectus of the St. Lawrence Company.
In detailing the various advantages that will result to the Canadas at large by the immediate improvement of the River St. Lawrence, it is hardly necessary to dwell on the great benefit that will be derived therefrom by the inhabitants of British North America, etc. more particularly by those residing in Upper Canada, to whom, at first view, it appears more directly applicable but it can easily be proved that it applies with equal advantage to the inhabitants residing in other parts of British North America. The trade and resources of this country will be greatly improved, independent of an easy and expeditious mode of access being opened to Upper Canada, a country hitherto very little frequented, owing to the dangers and difficulties attendant on travelling to the Upper Lakes.
The committee would more particularly direct the attention of Capitalists and men of property of this object, by stating that the merchant will derive great facilities in transacting business; the Landholder or Capitalist will increase his income, the forwarder will be enabled to transport property with greater facility and more certain profit; and the community at large will derive incalculable advantages by making the access to the Lakes for Boats carrying five hundred barrels under cover equally easy with that to the Harbours of Quebec and Montreal.
By these means a direct Trade may be opened with the lower Ports of the Gulph and parts adjacent; and were a railroad from Bay Verte to Chignecto Bay in the Bay of Fundy formed, a vessel of the above description might reach the town of St. Johns, N. Brunswick, from Niagara, without breaking bulk in nearly the same time that a Boat can descend to New York by the Erie Canal at a much greater expense. The contemplated improvements it is confidently expected might be effected in the course of the ensuing season. The freight of a barrel of flour from Kingston to Montreal is now 2s. 9d. a boat takes from ten to twenty days in making a trip, with from 5 to 8 men, and other great expenses attendant in towing up, at different places in the rapids, with oxen, horses, etc.
The proposed plan embracing three Steam Tow Boats, with chains and fixtures, will assuredly surmount all difficulties, in returning boats up the rapids, etc. as that the crews of two or three Boats, with the assistance of Horses, most certainly now take up one boat; for it is evident that a Steam Engine of 20 horse power is a greater power than any force hitherto applied at some places in a very injudicious manner; whereas upon the contemplated plan, full and efficient force of the engine will operate in towing. - With respect to the other advantages to be obtained, they are as follow - A Durham Boat or Batteau will make two trips to one in the same given time with half the number of men, that is 5s. 6d. instead of 2s. 9d. down, and 14s. instead of 7s. per barrel up; - The proprietor will save at least 6d. upon a barrel, on all produce down, in cooperage, damages and other et ceteras, independent of that on his freight up, which is incalculable, when breakage, leakage and damages, etc. are taken into account, exclusive of interest, risk and detention on Goods forwarded up and down, with the loss of those great advantages accruing from quick sales and returns, which a facility of intercourse naturally occasions. To obtain those advantages it is proposed that a Company be formed with a capital of not less than £16000, having the exclusive privilege, for a certain number of years of navigating the rapids of the River St. Lawrence with the following allowance, should the wisdom of Government, or the Legislature devise no other mode of proceeding.
A Tonnage duty of 4s. on all measurement Goods down, and 4s. per ton weight on all goods proceeding up the River - 3s. per ton on all coarse Goods sold by weight or measure, such as Salt; Coals, Iron, Lead, etc. up; and 3s. down; with a duty of 4s. per ton, register measurement, on all boats or Batteaux using the Tow-up, none to be entitled to the privilege of using the Tow-up, who do not pay the dues proceeding down the river, otherwise advantage would be taken of the Company, as the principal freight is down, and by the boats returning speedily at a reasonable charge, they will be enabled to double their gains in a short space of time. This, with one shilling on every passenger, the Committee feel assured will enable the Stockholders to derive a profitable interest on the money they invest, which is offered to the public in shares of $25. The Company to have the power of regulating the charge on intermediate distances, as may be deemed most expedient, and at a proportionate rate.
By order of the Committee,
Sec'ty to the St. Lawrence Association.
Quebec, Dec. 10, 1824.