The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Argus (Kingston, ON), Nov. 29, 1850

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p.2 Steamer St. Lawrence - The Steamer St. Lawrence, recently purchased at Montreal by Capt. Bowen and several of the Mercantile Gentlemen of this city, arrived here yesterday. We have not learned whether the Bay or River route has been chosen for her. Wherever the St. Lawrence runs, we are confident she will receive her full share of public patronage.

Copper Ore - The Minesota, a schooner rigged vessel of 260 tons register, but capable of carrying 400 tons of cargo, is now lying in the canal basin at Montreal, after a voyage from the Bruce Mines of nineteen days, including detentions. The Minesota is bound for Swansea, but will probably be detained until the spring, in consequence of injury received by taking the ground at the entrance of the Lachine canal.

Wonder which is most profitable to the shippers of freight from the Lakes to England, or elsewhere on the Ocean, to trans-ship in cheap barges at Kingston, and re-load into vessels of suitable burden and sea-worthy, at Quebec, or to attempt to put through, to the sea, flat bottomed, wall-sided, light built schooners intended for inland navigation, incurring the risks of thumping their bottoms, sinking in canals, starting their stems by striking against stone built Locks, and the hundred and one other casualties incident to river navigation of which we hear so frequently? By the time the Minesota returns from Swansea, the gentleman who chartered her will probably be enabled to judge from experience which is the cheapest method of transmitting the mineral exports of Canada to the old country, and would, we conceive, render Canada a real service by making public a statement of the profit or loss of the experiment of through shipments. We would invite the attention of commercial gentlemen at Quebec, Montreal, and the shipping ports of Upper Canada, to a timely and serious consideration of the vexed question of an intermediate transhipment between the Lower Ports and the Lakes. Is it, or is it not advisable, (that is profitable) to continue to send schooner-rigged, or indeed any vessels of great draught of water, through the St. Lawrence Canals, or down any portion of the river navigation? We, in common with very many others, think that the profits of carrying are in favor of trans-shipment at this Port. It may be possible for the Forwarders of long standing in the trade, so to favor a pet steamer or two, by reserving for them the most portable kinds of up freight and the most profitable cargoes of down freight, and providing for the carrying of a few passengers besides, as to realize fair returns for such vessels; but we really think that even this fact being granted, it would still be for the ultimate benefit of all parties that vessels from the Western ports should, generally, trans-ship here.

We know also that in this opinion many experienced masters of lake craft will concur; and many times have we heard them utter expressions of annoyance at the delays, the impositions they have been subjected to in the payment of Harbor and Lighthouse dues at lower ports, and the nuisance of towing by horses on the Beauharnois Canal, and the general state of barrack-damages, in which they have found their vessels after a voyage to Montreal or Quebec. Already several owners of schooners have discontinued the through navigation of the river, and we feel persuaded that most of them will yet make this port the terminus for all their sailing vessels.

The season of navigation is now near its close, and it would perhaps surprise some of our readers were we to recapitulate the various incidents constituting the chapter of accidents on the river, between Kingston and Montreal alone. All gentlemen connected with the carrying trade, or with the export and import trade of Canada West, are in some degree aware of the losses incurred, and the disappointments and delays occasioned by the misadventures of freight steamers and schooners during the past summer, and the causes of such unpleasant occurrences. The last announced is that of the Minesota. The Western Miller made one long voyage last spring to Halifax, and her trip at that time was announced as the commencement of a new era in our trade. It was a long, a very long time ere she reached this port on her return. She was then sold, and has not been sent on that route a second trip. Large schooners, or brigantines, belonging to these lakes have tried the same voyage, but have likewise been withdrawn from the route. Stopping at Kingston, the sailing vessels can navigate all the lakes up to the Sault St. Marie without danger of injury or delay, except from adverse winds, at all seasons of the year when the Harbors are not closed with ice, (only about twelve weeks) and their voyages are performed with surprising regularity. We remember having heard it stated that, some few years since, a schooner belonging to gentlemen of this city, made thirty trips across Lake Ontario in thirty consecutive weeks, arriving, (almost as regularly as if propelled by steam,) at this port every Saturday morning.

No more satisfactory evidence of the advantages of a short and regular route need be cited; but yet we will add another - it is the fact of one of the small steamers plying to and from Kingston, having on Wednesday evening last, accomplished her ninety-ninth trip, of this season! Her route was, tri-weekly, seventy miles and back, so that she has travelled thirteen thousand eight hundred and sixty miles already, and is still running as usual. She has but a small crew, and has cost for repairs scarcely five dollars during the season, has not lost a day's running time, and consequently has, as usual, done a most excellent business. It is with pleasure we perceive our Harbor again visited by a number of sailing craft, and we trust that, hereafter, they will continue to make it, as it should be, the Eastern terminus of their navigation.

p.3 Deaths by Drowning - We have this week to record one of the most melancholy occurrences that we have ever been called upon to announce by which two men lost their lives. Mr. Andrew Dulmage, Mr. John Clapp, and Mr. McCaw were engaged in fishing on the lake shore, south of South Bay, and were on the morning of Monday, the 18th inst., proceeding to take up their nets - the wind blowing violently, and the sea running high at the time, when, one of the oars breaking, the boat capsized, which resulted in the loss of the lives of Messrs. Dulmage and Clapp. Mr. Dulmage lived till after he was brought ashore, but took a fit immediately on landing, and died. Mr. D. is a son of David Dulmage, and leaves a wife and young family to deplore the loss of their only hope and stay. Mr. Clapp was a promising young man, aged about nineteen or twenty, son of James Clapp, of the "Western Mills" Milford. [Picton Sun]

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Nov. 29, 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), Nov. 29, 1850