The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), Sept. 21, 1833

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p.1 Lake Ontario - a poem [American Monthly Magazine for September]

p.2 Rideau Canal - editorial on need for change in tariffs.

Interval Improvements - a meeting held at Peterborough to discuss improving the Trent River; consideration being given to making a cut across from the Bay of Quinte to Presqu'ile Harbour.

A collision, which we are happy to say was attended with no serious consequences, took place last night between the Britannia and Sir James Kempt steam-boats, about ten miles this side of Brockville. Although the shock was violent, both boats proceeded on their way.

The St. George and the William IV Steam boats, are now pursuing their regular trips. The new shaft of the Great Britain has no doubt arrived at Prescott.


To the Editor of the Chronicle & Gazette.

Sir,- Intending on my arrival at Quebec, to go into Upper Canada by the Rideau Canal, I made every inquiry relative to this work. I was informed it was incomplete - constantly giving way - some twenty or thirty arches of one dam gone - the bottom etc. of a Lock gone, and the whole going to ruin rapidly. Not knowing the good people who so generously gave me the information, I proceeded by the St. Lawrence, and after getting about half way up, began to bless my stars, (notwithstanding a horrible ride of 20 or 30 miles in carriages) that I had been so well advised. I followed this route to York, and returned again to Montreal, and would have returned to England with these stories full in my head, but for meeting a gentleman who had just come down via the Rideau Canal. Upon his advice, I immediately returned to Kingston by that route; and although I never in my life wrote one line for the press previous to this, I cannot do the canal, the public, and Col. By the injustice to remain silent, as others have done who have passed this way. I consider it a bounden duty on every gentleman capable of signing his name, who travels this route and feels as I do - to raise his voice publicly in doing away with the insidious, designing, infamous and false reports, so busily circulated relative to this great work.

The route from Lachine to Bytown is equally pleasant with the first part of the "front" route, and the scene at the entrance of the Canal is one worthy any traveller's attention, even had he to return the same way to Montreal. The grand and beautiful bay of Chaudiere, surrounded by mountains; the picturesque and romantic falls of the same name, the imposing and splendid bridge over them, which here connects Upper and Lower Canada; the timber slide, Mr. Wright's Mills; the cape upon which is erected the government works; the beautiful sheet of water at Mr. McKay's Mills, where the Rideau falls about 30 feet over a flat rock; (these are unequalled mills themselves;) and last, though not least, the eight Locks at the entrance of the Canal; the cut stone bridge over them, and the public offices on either side, form a tout ensemble, a scene, in my humble opinion, if less grand and appalling, at all events not less worthy of notice, or less gratifying to taste, than Niagara.

Immediately upon our arrival, the Steamboat Rideau came along side, and took us on board. She is a neat and well arranged vessel, and capable of conveying about thirty passengers in the cabins; runs about 7 miles an hour, and well adapted to the canal; and would her proprietors pay a little more attention to what men they employ - and furnish their stores a little better, she would (as to comfort) equal any boat in the country. In this boat we ascended the 8 locks into the canal basin; these locks are 130 feet long, 33 feet wide, and have 5 feet of water - each lift is about 10 feet. The whole is of hewn stone, and a finer piece of workmanship I have never seen. From this we passed several locks and dams, finished in the same style, in the first 30 miles; but except for the architectural beauty of the works, this part of the line of canal has little to recommend it - as it is almost all woods, and partly overflowed. A little below Merrick's Mills, however, we entered a beautiful country; large and excellent farms on each side of the river, good houses, and fine orchards - in fact, the banks of the Rideau here for several miles present a country as fine as the Niagara frontier. The village of Merrickville is well situated; has two mills; a church; several stores; and the government has erected a handsome block-house, and covered it with tin, which adds very much to the appearance of the work at this place. From Merrickville, the same fine and highly improved country continues, 12 miles, to Smith's Falls - a village naturally and artificially one of exceeding beauty and capability. The surrounding lands are excellent; the main road from the St. Lawrence to the Ottawa passes through it; its hydraulic privileges are unequalled in any of the surrounding districts. I think from the appearance of the map of the Johnston and Bathhurst Districts, that if the Rideau River was made the division line, (as it naturally should be) Smith's Falls would appear to be the proper site for the county town. But to proceed with the Canal. The next ten miles of route is rather dull, although we were amply rewarded by the view it gave us of the Lower Rideau Lake - a sheet of water about 20 miles long, and varying from 1 to 6 miles in breadth - on the bank of which are several beautiful farms and gentlemen's seats. Oliver's Ferry, about five miles from the foot of the Lake, is a place well worthy of notice, both for its fine situation and its mercantile advantages. Opposite to this, is an elegant cottage, owned, I was informed, by a gentleman in Perth. Whoever he be, he has displayed a princely taste in his grounds and buildings, and deserves the highest praise. Such a cottage I have not seen since I left old England. From Lower Rideau Lake, by one small lock we passed into Upper Rideau Lake, an equally beautiful sheet of water - from it by 3/4 of a mile of rock excavation and one lock, through an isthmus, into Mud Lake - from Mud Lake by a small cut into Clear Lake - from Clear Lake by another small cut into Indian Lake - from Indian Lake by another short excavation and nine lock into Davis' Lake. This place is called Chaffey's Mills, and the lock and work here is deserving of notice. The stone is rather better than any we saw before and the general appearance is more workmanlike, the whole job more highly finished, & displaying more architectural taste than any on the line. From this we passed by one lock to Jones' Falls - one of the most picturesque if not sublime scenes in the world. The dam here is of hewn stone - a regular curve 60 feet perpendicular. The four locks are of the same handsome stone as at Chaffey's Mills, and 15 feet lift each. The two by-washes are cut out of the solid stone 30 feet deep, and the cascades on them are exceedingly beautiful - in short, the work at the falls and the whole view is one, in point of grandeur, seldom equalled, even in the Highlands of Scotland, the scenery of which has brought to mind in a lively manner, by the whole route from Oliver's Ferry to this place. Many remarks I am told, have lately been made public relative to this very job; but I am confident that any unprejudiced man viewing it would deem the contractor not only worthy any reward in Col. By's power to bestow, but worthy of the public gratitude.

From Jones' Falls to Kingston Mills the route is dull, rendered so by the quantity of overflowed land, and the immense number of floating pieces of wood in the Canal, which by two or three day's labor, might be boomed to one side, thus rendering a free passage for boats. It is surprising that the officer now in charge of the work should allow so serious interruptions to occur, when a few hours labor would for ever remove them. We arrived at Kingston Mills in just 30 hours from Bytown, and by the 4 locks at the place, were let down into the Bay of Kingston, the termination of the Canal - a work which for magnitude of design, utility of purpose, and splendour of architecture is unrivalled in the world; and which, (notwithstanding the kind assertions of my friends on the St. Lawrence,) is now in perfect and complete operation - the locks not only well and attentively attended, but in admirable repair and operation, and the time occupied in passing remarkably short. There are now three Steamboats upon the Canal: the Rideau, the Margaret, and the Enterprise of Perth. The latter has just started, but from her trial at Kingston promises to be a very speedy boat - her accommodations are superior, and her Captain one of the most gentlemanly men I have met. Thus it may be seen that travellers visiting Canada need not fear to go this route, and may rest assured it will amply repay them.

Before finishing this notice of the Canal - which has grown far beyond the size intended - I must inform you that one mile after leaving the Canal, in the Bay of Kingston, we ran aground in about three feet water. This impediment must have been considered by Col. By as out of the line of the Canal, else it would have been removed. It is said to be a flat rock, extending nearly across the channel. The estimate for its removal is £300; and surely there is but one thing for the government, the public of Canada, or even the merchants to consider - namely, its removal. Is it possible that a work that cost the British Government more than a Million Sterling, although complete and in perfect order, in other respects, is rendered comparitively useless by a rock at the entrance - the removal of which would not cost more than £300: Where is the boasted enterprise of Kingston - ever first in all great works? Can her inhabitants not do something toward it? Can they not join the Perth and Bytown Merchants, and remove it? and then trust the Government or their own Commons to recompense them? I trust, however, that they require but to be awakened to this subject, and that something will be done immediately to remove this obstacle, and not furnish the envious maligners of the Canal even a ground for scandal.

I am, Sir, Your obd't Serv't,

An Officer Unattached.

Sept. 17th, 1833.


The Merchants, and others of the Town of Kingston, who feel disposed to retain the FORWARDING BUSINESS in this place, are particularly requested to attend at the Court House on Monday, the 23rd inst., at 6 o'clock in the Evening, for the purpose of taking into consideratioin the importance of forming themselves into an Association and FORWARDING COMPANY, and to carry the business into immediate operation.

A very favourable opportunity now presents itself for providing the necessary articles for the above business, which no doubt can be purchased on advantageous terms, at the sale of A. McDonell's effects, advertised to take place on the 2nd of October next.

John S. Cartwright, David John Smith,

John G. Parker, J.W. Armstrong & Co.

Mulholland & Twigg, Wm. Wilson,

Rose & Cameron, Charles Heath,

S. Forster, John Watkins,

Walter McCuniffe, James Macfarlane & Co.,

H. Smith, Thomas Wilson,

E.H. Hardy, A. Bennett,

Geo. W. Yarker, Abraham Truax,

F.A. Harper, Mackenzie, Geddes & Co.

Kingston, Sept. 18th, 1833.



Rideau Canal.

The Steam Boat Rideau will leave Bytown for Kingston every Monday and Thursday; and the Steam Boat Margaret will leave Kingston for Bytown every Monday and Thursday of each week, - the two steam-boats thus making a regular twice-a-week line between Bytown and Kingston. They will meet each other on their respective routes at Pikes' Falls.

For freight or passage apply to the Captains on board, or to


Kingston, Sept. 24th, 1833.

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Sept. 21, 1833
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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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Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), Sept. 21, 1833