The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), May 11, 1836

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p.1 Lines on the Ship called Coquette - a poem about loss of a sailing ship.

p.3 For the Kingston Chronicle & Gazette.

Mr. Editor, - The Town of Kingston seems not only to have thrown off the drowsiness and gloom of a long, long winter night, but also the apathy and lethargy which had made it a by-word among the towns and villages of the Province, for some seasons past. - What a contrast is between Kingston of 1836 and that of 1835. Last year Mechanics, Labourers, and Store-keepers were leaving us in boat loads to seek employment and their fortune, in some more favoured and prosperous place; mechanics could not find employment at any wages, and some indeed, were obliged to work the whole time of daylight of a summer day, for the sum of four shillings - but such could not last long, while nearly double that sum was given within one or two days' sail from here; consequently we had few or no mechanics of some classes, by the fall of the year - yet there were plenty for all the labor.

In the dead of winter the Ottawa & Rideau Forwarding Company commenced the building of a Steam Boat for the Canal, and gave employment to most mechanics then out of employment, that had any pretensions to handle joiner or carpenter tools, and from that time our shores showed a scene of hurry and bustle which has raised the drooping spirits of the town beyond expectation. The extensive repairs which had been done to almost all the vessels in port, considerably helped to keep almost all idle hands employed - and many houses now on the point of being erected, augurs well for the prosperity of the town for the season, together with the Marine Railway and Stave Forwarding Company.

We hear no word among the people at present about going Westward. There is a bustle and activity about shipping and a Dockyard, when in operation, that tend to enliven the hearts of people more than any thing else; and it was visible to be seen at the building and the launching of the Cataraqui Canal steam-boat, built by Mr. Shay, for the Ottawa & Rideau Forwarding Company, under the superintendence of Captain Brush. - The day was fine, the vessel handsome and the launch beautiful, and all the spectators seemed from their hearts to wish her success, as

"She glided down the sliddery steep,

With gentle motion to the deep;

When gracefully she curtsied

As on the wave she laid her side,

And buoyant as a stately Swan,

Show'd the skill and art of man."

The elegance of the launch and the vessel reflects great credit on the builder, Mr. Shay, who commenced to lay her on the stocks long after the winter sealed up the River - when part of her timber was yet standing in the forest - having to contend with the severest winter we have had for years - with the want of ship carpenters, and the inconveniences of deep and incessant snows, and yet she was launched ere the River was scarcely clear of ice.

Mr. Shay is likely ere this time on his way to Montreal, and it is to be regretted that Kingston has no more use at present for the services of a person so well adapted to make business "go ahead." The activity with which all the boats and barges under the management of Captain Bush, has been put in proper repair and readiness, is certainly a guarantee to the town of Kingston and the public in general, that it will be the want of trade and not the want of exertion, activity and attention, that will prevent success as far as the business on the Rideau Canal is concerned.

'Tis men of deeds, and not of words,

Will stand the dint of pointed swords.'

It is but proper to say, for the information of the public, that this beautiful boat draws only 22 inches forward, and 30 inches aft, with her Engine and boilers on board, and Cabins, etc. in a great state of forwardness.


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May 11, 1836
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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.
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Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), May 11, 1836