The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), June 28, 1834

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p.1 table of distances from Montreal to Toronto, taken from an Inland Forwarding Company's card.

p.2 The triumph and power of steam over those impediments to navigation which nature abounds with on the banks of the St. Lawrence, are every day contributing their aid to scientific experiment, in developing the stupendous resources which that noble discovery supplies in the progress and improvement of the arts, and in facilitating that communication between the sea and the remotest boundaries of Upper Canada, which in a commercial point of view can only be enjoyed for a few transient months in the year; expedition, therefore, is the only remedy for unavoidable obstacles peculiar to the climate of the colony, and which often paralyze the efforts of the most industrious and enterprising merchants, who expend their capital in the importation of property, that the delay of a month or perhaps a week, may deprive them of the opportunity of exposing to the market.

To obviate such difficulties in the way of trade and travel, and to render the ascent of the rapids by steam, a matter of possibility, an experiment has been made by two boats, the Iroquois and Brockville, each expressly constructed for the purpose; and the result, after nearly the experience of two seasons has justified the expectations of the public beyond even the original conception. The Iroquois is at present undergoing some improvements and necessary alterations; therefore, the boat upon which the experiment for so much of this season has been made, is the one upon which we have formed the opinion of the practicability and utility of applying the powers of steam to the hitherto apparently insurmountable obstacles of the Rapids du Plat and Galouse.

The Brockville steamer, the only one of the class navigating that portion of the St. Lawrence appears eminently adapted to the design intended. She is flat bottomed, of dimensions 145 feet in length, and 22 feet beam, with two horizontal low pressure engines of 40 horse power, containing a gentlemen's cabin of 84 feet in length with 22 berths, splendidly fitted, and a ladies' cabin on deck, containing 12 berths, and every luxury that can be found in a lady's boudoir. The descent of a boat of this nature from Brockville to Dickenson's Landing at the head of the Long Sault (12 miles from Cornwall) affords no proof of what might be expected from any vessel gliding under all the advantages of a current gradually increasing, as local circumstances will permit; but it is to the almost miraculous ascent that our attention is rivetted; and the reader will scarcely believe it credible that the voyage from Dickenson's Landing to Prescott is upon an average performed in five hours and a half, a distance of 88 miles, stemming a current of six miles, and in some places more, per hour, and overcoming, as at the head of the Rapids du Plat, a perceptible fall of four feet. Here the tug is great, but still the propelling power never allows the boat retrograde movement. In a moment the pressure of steam is applied, the difficulty (a year or two ago considered invincible) removed, and the omnipotence of steam combined with human judgement, in the management of this great engine, confessed. It may be reasonably enquired, what is saved by this noble discovery. Two years ago the Land carriage from Montreal to Prescott amounted to 75 miles - it is now reduced to 37, on an excellent road. Formerly the stages from Cornwall and Prescott (a distance of 50 miles) occupied at the lowest average eight hours in accomplishing the journey, and according to the roads from eight to twenty four hours; now deducting the twelve from Cornwall to Mille Roche, the remaining 38 are performed by steam, in five hours and a half, seldom amounting to six hours. The very part of the Rapid du Plat now intended for improvement, permitting the Brockville to ascent at the rate of six miles an hour. Under such improvements, and the absolute certainty of others being immediately employed, it is by no means unreasonable to suppose that before the termination of three years an uninterrupted navigation by steam alone, from the Falls of Niagara to the Plains of Abraham, may be in full operation. In fact there is nothing wanting even at present to complete the navigation but speed; the most difficult rapids have been overcome, and when the Burden boat, now building at Prescott is sufficiently forward to develop her powers, the Long Sault will be attempted, and we have no doubt with success sufficient to ensure further enterprise. Upon the construction and design of the latter boat we may offer some observations and we only hope, that it may be the constant care of the Captains of future steamers to imitate the attention, hospitality, and watchful diligence of Captain Hilliard of the Brockville. [Montreal Herald]

Rideau Canal - The excellence of this route from Montreal to Kingston is strongly marked by the following fact, which has been personally communicated to us by our respected friend Thomas McKay, Esq., of New Edinburgh, on the Ottawa.

The Steam Boat left Lachine, on the Ottawa line, on Monday the 9th, at one o'clock P.M., with two Barges in tow, one of which was left at Bytown, and the other proceeded in tow of the Thomas McKay to Kingston, with 25 tons of Goods on board, part of which were put on board the Steamer St. George at Kingston, and arrived here (Toronto) on the 15th, a despatch altogether unprecedented. Many emigrants were on board with considerable luggage, all of whom arrived here at the same time. Six days for the transport of goods from Montreal to Toronto! This settles the question of the value of the Rideau Canal. [Toronto Patriot]

We have transferred to our columns this day, an article from the Montreal Herald, expressive of the possibility of rendering the St. Lawrence navigation by Steam practicable, and the probability of future experiments, still further tending to develop this important discovery in a course, hitherto unattempted. With whatever feelings we may regard the natural current of commerce, in its most primitive form, we cannot but consider the construction of the Rideau as at present peculiarly adapted to a safe, healthy and expeditious medium of transport from the Atlantic to the utmost verge of our Provinces. Every day affords a further specimen of the industry and enterprise of those interested in the line of the Rideau to render that navigation of permanent importance, and if we were to judge by the recent rapid arrivals of Steamers at our port, the number of barges conveying merchandize, the facility of navigation, and the other indispensible advantages, we would willingly concede to the Rideau, that pre-eminence that experience has justified for the present Season.

There are natural impediments in this navigation, which are removable, and are capable of being obviated by further practice; but the popularity of the channel, the absolute certainty of its success, the facility of overcoming difficulties of no ordinary nature, all confirm our faith in the great public utility of this line of transport.

When both these great lines (the Rideau and St. Lawrence) are in full operation, a medium of communication will be completed, that must render each of equal importance, the one supplying every facility to interior commerce, and the other embracing a direct channel, which cannot fail of securing a large portion of the trade of the western portion of the United States of America.

We also learn that a Forwarding Company at Montreal are about diverting to the Rideau line, a portion of their useful establishment, which, combined with that already in successful operation, must materially tend to remove those difficulties of transport which were experienced in the infant state of the Canal.

Coroner's Inquest - emigrant man drowns off steamer Sir James Kempt in harbor.

p.3 Accident - On Tuesday evening last, as the schooner Kingston was on her way down from Kingston to Mellen's Harbor, loaded with timber, one of the crew was knocked overboard by the jibing of the boom of the foresail, and sank instantly before any assistance could possibly be rendered him, as the vessel was under great headway. The seaman's name was William Bird, he was a native of the County of Durham in England, and was about thirty five years of age.

St. Lawrence Canal - plans, profiles and specifications for building canal from from head of Long Sault to Cornwall to be available by July 12th, for those interested in tendering.

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June 28, 1834
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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), June 28, 1834