The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), Aug. 31, 1836

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p.2 Marine Railways - We would beg to call the attention of our readers to the article of our friend "Go ahead" in this day's paper. We sincerely hope that the hints thrown out by the writer will not be lost upon the community.

We observe by the Prescott Herald of the 24th inst. that it is in contemplation to construct a Marine Railway in that village without delay; Dr. H.D. Jessup has offered sufficient ground for the purpose and Messrs. Hooker & Henderson have undertaken to furnish an engine of sufficient power to haul out a vessel of the largest class.

p.3 For the Chronicle and Gazette.

Small Beginnings.

Mr. Editor; ....As I was walking forth the other evening, not to hear the birds whistle and the nightingale sing, but to take a squint at Kingston, to see how it looked, and what improvements were going on, I had the satisfaction to see a schooner of 70 tons burthen launched off Mr. McIntyre's small Marine Railway - which schooner had been taken up 8 days before to repair. "Very good, thinks I, for a small beginning," knowing this Railway was only intended for small crafts, such as Durham Boats, of which 7 or 8 had been repaired there since the beginning of June, although the Railway is not finished even as yet. Upon examination and inquiry, I found that if this Railway had been made a little larger, and but twice the little sum it cost expended upon it to make it more substantial, it would have done as good a service as the great Niagara Steam, block and tackle, and all one. This "small beginning" was the sole invention of Mr. McIntyre, and built at his own expense; which Railway has already far exceeded his expectations, although not yet fully finished. Here we see an example of perseverance, genius, and enterprise. There was no fuss about forming a company for it. There was no search after celebrated money-spending Engineers to puff up a Yankee bubble ? about; - no such a thing, it grew up as noiseless as a mushroom in the shade, and its work alone was as yet its principal advertisement. Some of the Editors, to be sure, failed not to report its progress, and no doubt its proprietor feels grateful for their good wishes. Here we see a "small beginning" accomplish a greater object than was anticipated by its inventor and owner. A Schooner of 70 tons, easily taken up, repaired, and launched again in about 8 days, leaving about £20 of cash in town of uncle Jonathan's money, besides what the crew spent for different necessaries in town; and little as £20 may appear, it is very handsome in so short a time from so "small a beginning," especially if we consider the many £20 it may keep in town that otherwise would go to Oswego; and it should not be forgotten that every £20 laid out there of Canada Bills will soon return to demand hard dollars for them here; besides, that the owner of every Canadian schooner must pay a percentage on the other side to pass his bills. It should also be considered, that whatever tends to keep the specie among ourselves must be of good to the public, and whatever gives us the means of demanding specie from our neighbors is no less so; therefore, this "small beginning" ought, in reality, to be by all means brought to that perfection and magnitude as would enable it to accomplish the great end of hauling up all our Canadian Schooners and Steamboats, barring the great Leviathans of the Lake, - that is too pro-di-gi-ous!

I cannot pass unnoticed, in this place, that two large schooners, belonging to Uncle Jonathan, are disappointed of getting repaired, owing to this being found now at the present time rather too "small a beginning." Here is at least £50 loss to the town, in the circulating medium; and if our own schooners and steamboats will get the necessary overhauls, about a dozen of schooners, and 9 steamboats belonging to Kingston and the canal will be disappointed ere long, besides, perhaps, from 50 to 100 belonging to the province, most of which would come here in preference to any other place, owing to the cheapness of the charge and the convenience of the foundry, besides many other advantages. That a larger Railway would pay, there is no doubt, and there are plenty small crafts for the small one now using, 50 belonging to Kingston and the neighborhood, having occasional need of repairs.

Mr. McIntyre, I understand, would undertake to construct a Marine Railway, of a size sufficient for the purposes before mentioned, for about £1000, and is willing to join a company for the purpose, which sum I should think would soon be raised in ten dollar shares, even among mechanics and small dealers in town, if even great people would look down upon little powerful and ingenious things made by ourselves. I hope the Canadian public will begin bye and bye to think more of her ownself than she used to do, and the people of Kingston in particular; and that they will be alive to erecting a sufficient Railway, as Oswego is getting ahead with one, and if Kingston will not, her neighbors down the river shortly will, as there has been

"Cheils amang us takin notes."

To conclude these remarks, which I hastily crammed together, as they presented themselves to my mind this morning, I would add that five or six thousand pounds might yearly be kept and brought among us from the laying out of one thousand; and it is my belief that if liberty was got to build a few feet of the intended new Railway on government ground, on reasonable terms, that Mr. McIntyre, with a few more speculative friends, would fork out a great part of the cash. So, Mr. Editor, I leave this matter in your charge, to be remembered semi-weekly in your Editorial prayers, for a few days at least.

I am yours, respectfully,


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Aug. 31, 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.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), Aug. 31, 1836