The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Kingston Chronicle (Kingston, ON), July 7, 1826

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(available on microfilm at Kingston Frontenac Public Library, and at Queen's University - Stauffer Library, unless otherwise noted)

p.2 Yesterday John R. Glover, Esquire, H.M. Naval Storekeeper, was at home on board the Bull Frog, Yacht, to a party of fifty of the fashionable of Kingston. At half-past ten o'clock, the party had all assembled on board the Bull Frog, and the boats belonging to Mr. Yarwood, Lieutenant Jones, and Surgeon Colls, of the Royal Navy, and Captain Lewis, Royal Artillery, were alongside for the accommodation of volunteer parties. Lieutenant Jones and Mr. Colls seemed to have remarkably good success in obtaining a fair portion of the volunteers. At eleven the fleet sailed, and manoeuvred to the south. At twelve the company reassembled on board the head-quarter vessel, and partook of refreshments, wines, cakes and fruits - for on such excursions it is indispensible to eat every four hours. The boats again received their parties, and the whole fleet sailed for the islands, the Three Brothers. The day was dry and warm - the lake breeze strong ahead - and the crossing and recrossing of the boats with their fair cargoes gave additional interest to the pleasing scene. At five the fleet anchored to leeward of the Brothers - and the parties having landed and reconnoitred to discover whether the natives were friendly, returned to their respective boats and partook of a sumptuous dinner, served up with an elegance and rapidity that resembled enchantment. The first toast given after dinner was - "The Fair Cargo of Mr. Yarwood's Canoe." It contained the Bride, Mrs. Captain Clarke, and the family of our worthy M.P. Mr. Cumming. At half-past six the fleet sailed for Kingston - at twilight the breeze died away - and the friendly calm prolonged the delight of the parties in the boats till nine or ten o'clock.

To the Editor of the Kingston Chronicle.

Being a subscriber to your respectable Journal, I was mortified and surprised to find in that of the 16th instant, a paper headed Lower Canada Canals, containing the grossest misrepresentations. I cannot believe it to be your production, but whether so or not, it is important that the truth should be known, and therefore, I trust that you will insert this in your next Chronicle, that the proprietors of property sent down from Upper Canada may know how it is sometimes sported with in the conveyance.

I shall begin with a statement of the fact, that at the last session of the Legislature of Lower Canada, upon the recommendation of the Canal Commissioners, the tolls were reduced one third from the first established rates, which were equal to those that had been granted to the Stockholders, when the undertaking was to be executed by a Joint Stock Company.

The reduction so recommended, was made after consulting the chief forwarders, who considered that the rates would then be moderate and unexceptionable.

You, however, state that they are extravagant and enormous, and in proof thereof instance the toll paid by a boat of 405 barrels of flour as amounting to four pounds.

That sum is correct, as the boat pays 12s. 6d. and flour 2d. per barrel instead of 3d. as formerly. Now, this statement conveys its own refutation, for no unprejudiced man will consider this extravagant, but the contrary, when the cost of the Canal is considered, and that the tolls thereon will probably not pay one half of the interest of that cost.

The managers too, and the toll collector, are reprobated for not allowing boats to return without payment of tolls, as they might with a favorable wind sail up the rapids, and thereby avoid the Canal. Let them do so, as in such case the boats being empty, the forwarders in evading the toll, would only risk their own property. The complainant, however, shews the cloven foot, by expecting, forsooth, that the Canal is to be subservient to the caprice of forwarders, to be used only when they cannot do without it - and then for nothing.

The tolls down and up are regulated by law, and not by the managers and collectors. They are not paid at the same as is falsely insinuated, as the toll downward is exacted on passing the regulating lock, and the toll upwards, when the boat reaches that lock on her return - so that if she sails up the rapids she pays nothing. The trick of evasion was fortunately anticipated, and as some check to it, a boat which has descended without using the Canal, is liable to an encreased rate in going up through it - that is to say, one third.

The fact is, that the loss of the Durham boat in question, in descending the Lachine rapids, happened from the forwarders of her cargo wishing to save the toll, although, doubtless, they had reckoned upon it in the calculation whereon the charge to their customers for this year was made. Now, this saving is a trifle as respects themselves, and unjustifiable as risking the property of others without their consent. It could only be the difference between the toll of 2d. per barrel, and the hire of additional hands and a pilot for the descent of the most dangerous rapid in the Saint Lawrence. Such saving might be about a half of the toll or one penny per barrel, and for that, the property was to be put in jeopardy, and a false colouring by some one given to the business, as an excuse for malconduct.

As to the question of "what our neighbours will say to the extravagant toll through a Canal of nine miles" - the answer is this, that the rates of toll are never regulated by length, independent of cost. A Canal of 9 miles, where there are many locks and much rock excavation, may cost double of that of another of sixty miles passing through a bed of common earth.

What respects the locks at the Cascades is another misrepresentation. Tolls there are not exacted whether those locks are used or not. The tickets for passing them are given and paid for at Lachine, and if taken and not used who is to blame. Is caprice here again to be the rule; and who ever heard of tolls being regulated by the market price of the commodities which pass through a Canal. The whole statement appears to be founded upon malevolence, in disregard of truth.

To conclude - you, Mr. Editor, either are the author or not of the remarks in your paper. If you are, I have no doubt you will acknowledge your error. If not, you owe it to both Provinces to say who he is, as with other demerits he maliciously attempts to raise a dispute between them without cause, about an undertaking of great utility to each.


Montreal, 30th June, 1826.

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July 7, 1826
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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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Kingston Chronicle (Kingston, ON), July 7, 1826