The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Montreal Gazette (Montreal, QC), April 10, 1848

Full Text

p.4 (at Portsmouth ?)


from the Kingston Argus

Messrs. M'Pherson [Macpherson] & Crane's new steamer Commerce, was the first object we inspected. She is a beautifully modelled craft, intended as a freight boat from Lake Erie to Montreal, and is, like every other vessel built by this enterprising House, as strong as wood and iron can make her. Her engines are a beautiful piece of workmanship, made last fall by Messrs. Ward & Brush of Montreal, and are very powerful for this class of vessel. In this class a light draft is the greatest desideratum. An opportunity has been had of testing hers. It is expected that she will carry through the Welland Canal a cargo of three hundred and fifty tons.

In this Yard we also saw a fine new schooner of about three hundred tons burthen, far towards completion. She is of a model and class which, in our opinion, will soon do the whole carrying trade of our Lakes and Rivers. She is not so fine to appearance as the vessels built by this House usually are, but she is exceedingly strong and burdensome with a light draft.

We found the usual number of river steamers and barges on the railways, and at the wharves of this establishment, undergoing repairs for the spring business.

Immediately adjoining the yard of Messrs. Mc. & C. is that of Mr. Thomas Dissett. Here we found the schooner Henrietta undergoing a thorough repair.

We next paid a visit to the yard occupied by Mr. Alt, wherein we saw the large and beautiful hull of a steamer being built for the Friends Platt of Hay Bay. The engines of the steamer Unicorn will be placed in her. This boat will not be out before the month of June or July. It is intended to make her a lake and river boat; and, if we may be permitted to judge from her model, we should say that she will be "a good un' to go."

The Railway and Shipyard of our enterprising townsman, Mr. Samuel D. Fowler, exhibits a scene of business quite refreshing in these dull times. We saw on the blocks a magnificent steamer being built by that veteran steamboat owner, Henry Gildersleeve, Esq. We could not but admire the beauty of her model and workmanship. Having conversed with the officers of the Royal Navy here, and others, our opinion of her has been confirmed; as we have been assured by all of them that she will be equal in every respect to the best of the north river boats. She is of the same size as the Passport or British Empire and will be a credit to her builder and to Kingston. On the ways we saw the propeller Ireland, and the steamer Queen Victoria, both undergoing repairs. The former will be placed as a freight boat on the lake and river route, under the command of her owner, Captain Patterson; and the latter as a passage boat on the Bay of Quinte, commanded by one of her owners, Mr. Henry Corby, of Belleville. We observed the Prince of Wales, also belonging to the Bay of Quinte route, at the railway wharf, where she is being fitted out. Talking of this route, reminds us of a rumor current here, that Capt. Bonter of Belleville is about to charter the Fashion to make a daily trip to and from Belleville. Our Bay of Quinte friends are thus promised great travelling facilities. There were also at this establishment, a large number of barges under repair. We learned that Mr. Fowler had renewed his lease of the premises, together with a lease of the lumber yard lately occupied by Mr. Allan Macpherson; and that it is his intention to build a new set of Ways, in addition to the present ones, for the repair of barges of the largest class. He has also leased, as dwellings for his workmen, the long range of stone buildings, known as railway cottages. On the east side of the railway property, are the extensive new wharves, with large warehouses thereon, built by that public spirited individual, John Counter, Esq. Some of these warehouses are of wood, most of them stone, and fireproof, and all are well adapted to forwarding purposes. On the same premises there are in course of erection by Mr. Counter, a long range of fire-proof stone buildings to be three stories in height, suitable either for Wholesale or Forwarding Warehouses.

We now come to the mainstay of our city - the forwarding business; and first in the order of our peregrinations, comes the firm of Messrs. P.F. M'Cuaig & Co. This firm last fall purchased the steamer Transit, and have repaired her so thoroughly, and lightened her draft so much that she will now be a very excellent river tow-boat. During the past summer and the past winter they have added considerably to the number of their barges, and increased their warehouse accommodations, by which they will be enabled to do a much larger business than formerly.

Next in order comes the firm of J.H. Greer & Co., whose new fireproof warehouses, building on the site of the disastrous fire of last spring, excel anything of the kind in Western Canada. This house will, on the opening of the navigation, be prepared to do a very large business, having, during last summer, made great additions to their means of transportation.

We now come to the Mammoth Forwarding establishment of McPherson & Crane. This House is, as usual at this season, preparing for the spring campaign. We have learned that it is their intention to run all their barges, both up and down, on the front route, that is by the St. Lawrence. Their barges will be towed by powerful steamers, thus ensuring great dispatch. They will have a daily departure of a freight steamer from both ends of the route - some of which steamers will come up by way of the Ottawa River and Rideau Canal, for the purpose of carrying merchandise to, and produce from the different places thereon. The steamer Beaver will be placed, as a passage boat, on the Rideau, between Kingston and Bytown, making two trips a week and plying in connection with their magnificent new steamer the Speed - the fastest in the Upper Province - running between Bytown and Grenville. As this is to be a route of some importance, travelled by all Western visitors to the Caledonia Springs, we would recommend Messrs. Macpherson & Crane to advertise both boats in the Argus, giving in such advertisement a lengthened description of the beautiful scenery of the Ottawa River and some parts of the canal; and also to get some superior style of the Argus Job Printing cards printed for general circulation in the department. A similar course was recommended by us last year, and very wisely adopted. We have every reason to believe that what we then recommended was profitable to the firm; at all events we know it was so to us.

Next to the wharves of Messrs. Macpherson & Crane is the establishment of E. Browne & Co., well known to be the depot of the Lake Ontario American steamers; of the splendid steamer Magnet, of the bay of Quinte Steamboats Queen Victoria and Prince of Wales; and also as the Custom House Warehouse of this port. Things are done in a business like style in this establishment, and every attention shown and accommodation afforded to those transacting business with it. Immediately east of E. Browne & Co.'s wharf is that lately leased by John H. Greer & Co., for the accommodation of the Lake Royal Mail Line of steamers. Passing by the Marine Battery and Martello Tower, erected by the Engineer Department, last season, we come to Scobell's wharf, on which are the premises occupied by Glassford & Smith, as forwarding stores. They will be prepared to do a business in the spring with despatch, having last summer made additions to the number of their barges, which will now enable them to carry 30,000 barrels per month. Next comes the old firm of Hooker, Henderson & Co. They have nearly completed, at Lachine, a large freight steamer capable of carrying about 300 tons. Not having seen this craft we cannot judge of her, but we have been assured by competent judges that she will be inferior to none of her class. This House will, as usual, be well prepared for the spring business, having, also, last summer greatly increased the number of their barges.

The Quebec Forwarding Company next claims our attention. This Company we are informed intend placing the steamers Ontario, Huron, and Quebec on the River, for towing their barges. The establishment is under the able superintendence of Donald M'Intosh, Esq.; and with the additions made, and to be made to the stock in steamers and barges, and the improvements effected, the company will be enabled to do a very large and satisfactory business.

The last of the Forwarding Houses we shall mention, as being at the most easterly part of the city, is that of H. & S. Jones & Co. We learn that they too have had completed a large Freight and Tow-boat, called the Dawn, of about 300 tons burden, to be placed on the route between Toronto, Hamilton, and Montreal, carrying freight and passengers. She will also tow upwards and downwards on the St. Lawrence on each trip. It will be seen by an advertisement in to-day's paper, that she starts on her first trip as soon as the navigation opens. She, with their steamer the Albion, and their barges, will form a first-rate line.

The operations of the River Royal Mail Line will be much the same as last year, and will be formed by the magnificent new iron steamer, the Passport, commanded by Capt. Bowen; the Canada, by Capt. Lawless; the Gildersleeve, by Capt. Maxwell; and the Highlander, by Capt. Stearns.

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April 10, 1848
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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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Montreal Gazette (Montreal, QC), April 10, 1848