The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Argus (Kingston, ON), Sept. 17, 1850

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A recent Whig contains a communication by "A Forwarder," in which the writer compliments us on our nobility of nature, in overlooking certain typographical errors in a former letter by him. We are not infallible ourselves, for our optics, tho' numerous, fail occasionally to detect some minute mistakes. We therefore hesitate the less to be generous towards our neighbours, in such small matters. In short, we are of those who care not for the ungainly appearance of a nut shell, providing the kernal is sound; but the external covering, however grateful to our visionary organs, cannot induce us to swallow the kernel, if rotten, as in the present instance.

"A Forwarder" complains of our writing in a manner disagreeable to our friends, by stating that "there probably was some secret selfish influence exercised in favor of Prescott," when it was declared a Terminus of the Tug Line; and he then makes us admit that if there was such an influence, consequently Prescott, that renowned emporium of trade, was not so established because it was the fittest place for the purpose.

We regret to find ourselves unable still to arrive at any other conclusion than that there really was such an influence exercised. We cannot force ourselves into a contrary belief, even to please friends; and if we should acknowledge that we did make the admission imputed to us, not by influence merely, but in direct terms, we do think that we might well be pardoned. With the view of gratifying our friends so far, however, and in justice to our own pertinacity, we shall briefly condescend on the reasons by which our reflective faculties have been led into the untoward line of thought complained of.

They are these: - The forwarding business was at one time mainly centered in Prescott, where those engaged in it acquired a good deal of heritable property, which its removal much depreciated. It is but natural that they should sigh for the good old times, and wish them back again, and having had influence with our present government, as, we guess, they still have, that respected body we calculate, essayed to yield to them the double gratification of having their palmy days restored to them, and of enabling their neighbours on the other side of the wire, to participate in their good fortune by the impetus which Prescott, as a forwarding station, would necessarily give to their contemplated railroad business, - and Prescott, that thoroughly British locality, became a terminus of the tug line accordingly, notwithstanding the possibility of the merchant having to pay agian the 3s. 9d. freight which "A Forwarder" exultingly recalls to our memory. Of course the Government contractor, honest, discreet man, whose stave trade could not be much injured by the payment to him of a bonus for towing craft which were not much more likely to press on his attention at Prescott than at the foot of the Long Sault, could not be expected to object very seriously to the arrangement; though, perhaps as raft tugging is pretty nearly over for the season, he may now desire more earnestly than heretofore, the extension of the tug line to Kingston, where he may be able to "scare up" a stray schooner now and again, to which he can devote a "leetle" more time and courtesy, than he could well have done hitherto.

We do not say whether making Kingston a terminus of the line, would advantage the Province generally, or not, but we think it would not; and we firmly believe the line will end in smoke its natural terminus, after Government and people discover, as they certainly will by and bye, that they are both disappointed by it, - the one finding out that their losses exceed their gains and the other that their gains do not exceed their losses.

Our views on this subject correspond with those of others who have given their attention to it, and who augur that even the distinguished honor of being towed by a royal tug boat, will not induce the dull and unaspiring mariners of the Lakes to go beyond Kingston during the four or five months of the year our commerce is worth prosecuting. Our advocacy of interest being then essentially of a very domestic character, we shall endeavor to make it appear in a few words, that it would not be for the benefit of Kingston to have the line extended to it, and

1st - Because there are no barges to tow from it, saving such as are in possession of parties having their own private means of towage, and who, therefore, are not likely to trouble the government tugs.

2nd - Because transient barges are not to be had, having been mostly put into the board trade, and are now useless for other purposes, and if they were to be had, few are likely to patronize them, if not accompanied by proper means of storage, and even if this were obviated, there are enough of that kind of craft now in operation for all that is to required to be done by them.

3rd - Because government tugs are, for reasons stated, in a promising way to get nothing to tow from Kingston, except an occasional schooner, which may be weaned away from our docks in the absence of a proper knowledge on the part of the owner of the intricacy of the river navigation.

Such pickings are evidently the ojbect of those who would fain make us believe that it is for our advantage to extend the line to Kingston - and we regret that some of our own citizens were green enough to second the views of such parties, by petitioning our Government to extend the line accordingly.

We for our own part cannot prevail on ourselves to participate in the glory of such an achievement.

p.3 Kingston Bay Regatta - We would remind "all the World and his Wife," that the Kingston Regatta is to come off on the 24th inst., (this day week,) when gentlemen and ladies returning from the Fair at Niagara, will be afforded a pleasing spectacle in the aquatic line, such as is not to be witnessed elsewhere on the Inland Waters of this Continent.

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Sept. 17, 1850
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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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Argus (Kingston, ON), Sept. 17, 1850