The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Upper Canada Herald (Kingston, ON), Aug. 29, 1832

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p.3 Steam-Boat United Kingdom - This fine vessel, which was better known to us under her original name Alciope, made her first appearance here on Sunday last, so completely new modelled as almost to defy recognition. The whole of her enginery has been replaced by high pressure power of 200 horse, constructed upon an improved system that renders, it is said, all danger improbable. The ladies' cabin, which in the primitive state of the vessel was upon deck, is now below, and the former has been fitted up with enclosed double berths, well ventilated and commodious. - In consequence of her limited stay at this port, we are disabled from giving as accurate a description of the United Kingdom as we could desire, and as her enterprizing owner merits, but we shall take an early opportunity of again adverting to the subject. We understand that she made her trip from York to Kingston in 18 hours.

It is proposed to build a small steam-boat at Perth, in the Bathurst District, to navigate the Rideau Canal from Kingston to By Town, touching at Perth on her voyage each way. One hundred and eight shares, at ten pounds each, have already been sold, and any persons in Kingston who are desirous to become stockholders are requested to make an early application at the office of the Upper Canada Herald. - The Boat will be ready to commence her trips on the opening of the navigation next spring.

We are happy to learn that the Tay Navigation Company have almost completed their undertaking. Three locks, 90 feet long and 20 feet wide, will be finished in about a week, and there will then remain only one small lock of three and a half feet lift, to make the river navigable from the Rideau to Perth, a distance of eleven miles.

A new Steam-Boat called the Rideau, the property of Mr. Robert Drummond, arrived here on Friday last for the purpose of receiving her Engine. It is said she will be ready to navigate the Rideau Canal in the month of October next.

It will be perceived that Captain James McKenzie, a gentleman universally known and respected in Upper Canada, died of Cholera on Monday last. He was attacked with the disease in its most violent form on Sunday, and altho' efficient medical aid was promptly procured, every exertion for his recovery proved fruitless.

Died - Of cholera, at his lodgings at Kingston, on Monday the 27th inst., aged 50 years, James McKenzie, Esquire, a Master in the Royal Navy.

Mr. Mackenzie was a man of an intelligent mind, and being at sea in the merchant service from his early youth, his abilities as a seaman were of that order which, on joining the Royal Navy, soon raised him to the first class of officers of his rank. He came to Canada with the first division of the Royal Navy, sent from England to serve on the Lakes during the late war. While the flotilla were making ready at Kingston in the spring of 1813, he, in the arduous duty of boat service, quickly made himself acquainted with the best channels and anchoring ground on the American, as well as on this side of Lake Ontario, so as to be enabled to conduct the squadron to various places between Kingston and Sacket's Harbour, to the entire satisfaction of his Commander-in-Chief. At the conclusion of that war, he returned to England, and was placed upon half-pay; but his active habits led him to consider and study the powers of the steam engine, and he soon made himself acquainted with its complicated machinery. In the year 1816, he returned to Kingston, and assisted in fitting up the Frontenac, the first steamboat used on the waters of Upper Canada, which he commanded till she was worn out - since he has commanded the Alciope on this Lake, and at the time of his death was engaged in the construction of two other steamboats, one at the Head of the Lake, and one at Lake Simcoe; and he was on most occasions consulted respecting the construction and management of steamboats, so that he may be justly called the father of steam navigation in Upper Canada.

In his manners he was mild and unassuming. His memory will be long cherished in the recollection of his numerous friends and acquaintances in this town as well as in other parts of the province, and his death may be considered a great loss to society and to the country.

(Communicated) Kingston 29th August, 1832.

Rideau Canal - A gentleman who has been stationed on the Rideau Canal in an official department, has assured us, that since the opening of that navigation, (little more than a month since,) the tolls have amounted to £2600, a sum of extraordinary magnitude, when we reflect upon the size of the craft that ply along the line, and the difficulties attendant upon a new and intricate navigation. The Grenville canal has been eleven years in operation, and is not near completed, which of course diminishes in a great measure the profit and utility of the former. Amidst all the incongruities and inconsistencies of the present day, that appears the most monstrous, that can affix an official stigma upon Col. By, for expediting a stupendous undertaking in the short space in which he completed the Rideau, whilst the Grenville line is no more than two thirds finished, and is likely to continue an insurmountable barrier from Kingston to Montreal for many years. In the year 1826, the Rideau was commenced, that is, as far as surveying, levelling, and building store houses might be considered a commencement, but no active operations were employed until May, 1827, and in May, 1832, a steamboat passed through the whole extent, a distance from Lake Ontario to Ottawa of about 130 miles, having forty-seven locks, some of which have a rise of no less than fifteen feet. The Grenville passes a series of rapids on the Grand and Ottawa Rivers, in a distance of about fourteen miles, and has a lockage of about 50 feet. The chief part of the excavation is through limestone of a difficult nature. The Rideau, on the other hand, passes with very few exceptions, through an almost impervious wilderness. The officer in charge having had to contend with a rapid and almost unmanageable torrent during the spring floods of the Rideau river every year since its commencement, immense dams have been built, to lull the rapids and convert their sites into navigable waters, under every vicissitude of season. The last fifteen miles of the route passes through a region strictly primitive; in the course of which some hundred thousands of cubic yards of the hardest granite and other rocks have been excavated, to afford space for passing the locks on the necessary canal communication required. The sickness in this part has been unparalleled, far exceeding any thing of the kind experienced in the Country. We have made these comparisons because there appears to us a most unjust censure upon Col. By in the indirect impeachment of the integrity with which he executed his gigantic work. The Rideau cost about £750,000, which has been honestly expended in five years, and is capable of repaying, with interest, in a few years, the whole expenditure. The Grenville has cost about £100,000, and cannot be completed in less than 6 years.

As we before said, Col. By dashed at his work, conceiving time equally valuable as money; and the proof of our position may be adduced from the startling fact, that already the Tolls have amounted to the sum above specified. Neither personal labour or attention were spared by Col. By or any of his officers, and the public of Canada will regard his operations as an imperishable monument of his honour and industry, notwithstanding the efforts that have been made to detract from both. [Chronicle]

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Aug. 29, 1832
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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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Upper Canada Herald (Kingston, ON), Aug. 29, 1832