The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Kingston Chronicle (Kingston, ON), June 9, 1832

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p.2 Davies' Mills, 24th May, 1832.

Dear Sir - Mr. Thomas Burrowes and myself are just returned from the Narrows, Rideau Lake, distance from Kingston 50 to 60 miles, after leaving Col. By and his amiable lady, in full speed for Bytown on board the Steam Boat Pumper, and as you are a well known friend to the cause, we have particular reason to give you the earliest opportunity of evincing it to a degree hitherto out of your power. Our time for the tale is but short, as it is already 3 o'clock Friday morning, and the messenger ready to start. Suffice it to say, that every thing far surpassed the most sanguine expectations of Col. By, and other experienced judges who accompanied him. It is true the boat not being intended to ply so soon, if all all, the machinery was a good deal out of order; but the Locks, the depth of water insured through the accuracy of the level's taken, and the necessary buoys and land marks, etc., answered admirably.

This portion of the Canal through which we have passed from Kingston to the Isthmus, always viewed by Col. By and other experienced characters as the most difficult part of this gigantic undertaking, being carried through a country consisting of small lakes, swamps, and creeks, and having to remove great quantities of rock of the hardest kind, to connect the several natural reservoirs, to construct enormous dams, and laid in many instances to differ from the old established maxims laid down by scientific men, in increasing the lifts of many of the locks beyond the approved height; it must doubtless be highly gratifying to learn that it has succeeded to admiration. It would be in vain to attempt to describe the magnificent scenery and beautiful appearance of the several works in a hasty sketch like the present. The degree of excitement produced on the minds of the thunderstruck inhabitants who had an opportunity of witnessing the practicability (so long sneered at by envious and interested persons) of passing with the greatest facility, a Steam Boat through these heretofore unnavigable waters, surmounting and subduing the obstacles of nature, in a manner truly astonishing to the minds of persons who had never seen any thing of the kind before. Their loud and reiterated acclamations at every station rent the air; in short they appeared to think as if they could not sufficiently testify their feeling of admiration and delight. This no doubt was truly gratifying to Lt. Col. By, and his amiable family who accompanied him, as well as to those who had any share in the management of this stupendous work. In a word, a greater pleasure from any earthly cause could not possibly be imagined, than to have been Colonel By for one half hour; in his passing through Indian Lake and the Isthmus, his feelings must have been most extatic.

It was with great pleasure that on passing through Indian Lake, after leaving Chaffey's Mills, we beheld a party of Indians drawn up rank and file on the beach in front of their encampment, having two Chiefs, and Union flags floating among the dark green foliage of the clustering pines. On our approach, they saluted the boat with a feu de joie in most regular order, and in a style that would not discredit a regularly organized corps. We immediately returned the compliment by firing a cannon several times and making a sheer out of the direct course, passed in front of the encampment, when Col. By received them on board to the number of about 40 men, women and children, who went on to the Isthmus with us, their boats and canoes towed astern of the steamer, ten in number - here we were again received with shouts of applause, from a numerous body of people, ready on the rock to receive us. Captain Cole and lady of the number, several firing guns, which we returned by firing the cannon, and a feu de joie, fired by the Indians who stationed themselves on the wings of the boat.

Enough cannot be said in praise of the friendly feelings evinced by these sons of the forest; and the degree of delight manifested by them, to behold the steamer in her hitherto almost solitary waters, indeed it ought to be a lesson to the grumblers, and a convincing proof of the fostering care of that munificent and paternal government, at which they cavil; for if the red man can with delight behold his native solitudes (the haunts of the animals from which he derives his subsistence) invaded by the genius of science in our rage for improvement, and which forces him to retire to other hunting grounds, what ought to be the gratitiude of white men, for whom these improvements are expressly designed.

Having seen the Steam Boat to the Narrows (R. Lake) where the first lock on the descent to the Ottawa is situated, business compelled us to return, after being satisfied that no doubt could be entertained of getting to Bytown in safety, thus incontrovertibly establishing that the Rideau Canal is practicable.

I remain Dear Sir,

Your most obed't servant,


The Great Britain Steamboat arrived here on Thursday morning. She was unable to touch at any of our wharves, having had as is reported twelve hundred Emigrants on board.


Kingston, 30th May, 1832.

Mr. Editor - There is perhaps no place in the world so well adapted to the exhibition of a Regatta as the port and harbour of Kingston; and yet strange to say, year after year has been allowed to roll away without any such scenes having been witnessed in this part of the world. It has often been said there is little to amuse in Kingston - here then is one of the means of entertainment both to spectators and performers pointed out, which ought no longer to lie dormant; and I hope this hint will not be lost upon the gallant officers of the 66th, as well as of the public departments in this Garrison. There are many respectable private individuals here (who are owners of Boats) who would no doubt be happy to contribute their services to so gratifying spectacle as, I hope will henceforth be, the annual Kingston Regatta.


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June 9, 1832
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Rick Neilson
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Kingston Chronicle (Kingston, ON), June 9, 1832