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locks were then established to 200 feet in length, forty-five feet wide and nine feet on the mitre-sills. The modern lock is 270 feet long, forty-five feet wide and fourteen feet on the sills : dimensions held to be the maximum of the navigation attainable on the Saint Lawrence to lake Ontario. On the completion of the Soulanges canal, the Cornwall, the Williamsburg and the Sault Saint Mary canals, it will be possible for vessels of this capacity to make the voyage in British waters from Montreal harbour to the western limit of lake Superior.

A large traffic passed through the canals of 1814. By a return of the house of assembly in 1834, it is shewn that between 1815 and 1833, the nett earnings amounted to $86,385.40: the number of bateaux averaging 900 annually. In 1833, the revenue obtained was derived from 863 bateaux and 612 Durham boats.* In 1830, the money appropriated by the legislature, $40,805-70, was expended in removing large boulders from the river, and, moreover, in excavating at several troublesome points narrow cuts with inclined planes, so as to avoid the current, overcome only with difficulty, the fall being carried onward at a regular grade. Cuts of this character were made at the Cedar village and also at Wind-Mill Point, three-quarters of a mile to the east; the former being 1,080 feet, the latter 2,000 feet in length. No locks were constructed. Works of this character were also carried out at the “pointe au Diable,” a name suggestive of the labour exacted to pass it, at the Rigole, and some other places. An expenditure was also made in the construction of a wooden lock, 120 feet in length, fifteen feet in width, with four feet water on the sills, about a mile west from the Coteau canal. It is questionable if the work, without guard gates to control the current, proved a success. +

* Legislative papers 1842, Vol. II., app. Z.

+ These are the canals which Sir H. Langevin, in his report of 1867, p. 566, unwarrantably described as French works. The account there given of these works is also wholly incorrect. [Ante., Vol. V., p. 245.) I have to acknowledge the kindness of Mr. Monro, M. Inst. C.E., the engineer in charge of the


Private letters are extant, from which we may learn the mode of travel followed at this early date. The freight carted to Lachine was placed on bateaux ; it was customary for several of these boats to make the trip in company, so that in passing trying spots in the rapids, the men of the different craft could readily give each other assistance. When unavoidable, much of the freight was portaged to the landing place above, and the boat thus lightened was forced through the rapids by a tow rope ; one or two of the men remained on board to guide her. The bateau, constructed sharp at the ends fore and aft, wall sided, with a flat bottom, but with a slight inclination upwards at each end, was generally manned by five men, one to steer, and was propelled by four oars, but when the wind was fair a square sail was raised. The capacity of freight was three tons of merchandize or thirty barrels of flour.

When night came on, the crew encamped, to start in the early morning. At Kingston the freight was transferred to schooners. Some of the bateaux, however, ascended to the west of the bay of Quinté, the “Carrying-Place” where the Murray canal has been constructed, and thence followed the north shore of lake Ontario.

The charges for freight were regulated by the price paid for a barrel of rum, the cost of which from Lachine to Kingston was $3.50.

The Durham boat was not known before 1812. It attracted attention during the war, from having been in use in the operations of the United States lake-navy, and was introduced into Canadian waters after the peace.

It was a flat bottomed craft, having a keel and centre-board, rounded at the bow, decked at bow and stern. A wide Soulanges canal, now under construction, who, at my desire, was good enough to examine the present condition of these early works, and furnished me with their measurements. From the recognized ability and long experience of Mr. Monro, full reliance can be placed upon his figures. He has, however, seen fit to draw my attention to the fact that the examination is not free from difficulty, and that he must hesitate in assuming responsibility for extreme precision.

* [Can. Arch., MS. Letters, Vol. 180, p. 19.]




Irale ran the whole length, on which the crew poled w: stream and kept the craft amenable to the tow line. These boats could likewise carry sail in a fair wind. Their capacity was 350 barrels of flour down stream, but only about eight tons upwards, owing to the shoal water inshore. Moreover, there was a deficiency in up-freight. They rapidly displaced the early bateau, as they could carry ten times the cargo. The bateau, however, was afterwards considerably increased in size. The Durham boat never went higher than Kingston. *

This mode of navigating the Saint Lawrence above Lachine, especially for the transport of heavy freight, was followed until the opening of the Beauharnois canal in 1845.

The completion of the Rideau navigation, however, in 1832 changed the course of freight to Kingston. A class of steamer was introduced capable of passing through the smaller locks of the Grenville canal 106 feet nine inches in length, nineteen feet six inches wide. These vessels carried both passengers and freight by the river Ottawa, passing through the Carillon and Grenville canals, to what was then Bytown, the present Ottawa, whence the steamer ascended by the Rideau navigation to Kingston. The return trip was made by the Saint Lawrence. As these steamers were the only boats which at that period descended the rapids, they were generally taken by the travel from Kingston, and there was no want of passengers by the up-route. At this date a line of steamers for passenger travel on the Saint Lawrence was also in operation, but owing to the expense of working it the fares were high.

On leaving Montreal passengers were taken by stages to Lachine. A steamboat ascended lake Saint Louis to the Cascades, about fifteen miles. At the Cascades a second stage carried the traveller to Coteau-landing, sixteen miles, where a second steamboat passed up lake Saint Francis to Cornwall, forty-one miles. A third stage made a connection with Dickenson's landing, twelve miles distant, whence the

I am indebted for this description to Mr. T. C. Keefer, C.E.



the steamboat was taken to Toronto and the intermediate ports.

The Rideau steamer, in order to obtain popularity, became renowned for its cuisine; and those whose tastes were bibulous could not fail to recognize the irreproachable manner in which their wants in this respect were supplied. For the short period of its existence the Rideau passenger steamer had the highest reputation, but it became doomed a few years after the completion of the Saint Lawrence canals.

In describing these first canals, I have not limited myself to the dimensions of their early construction. I have also narrated the form of development which, after an interval of some years, has been attained. The fact however remains, that the province was indebted to Haldimand for their inception, and he may be regarded as the founder of the system. Although the original plan embraced but small dimensions, it was in conformity with the character of works of the class in England, perfected a few years previously by the genius of Brindley, and they were in accord with the emergencies of the time, the bateau being in use for the transport of freight. These early works between lake Saint Louis and lake Saint Francis were not simply the precursors of the enlarged lock and the continuous canals, by means of which, sixty years later, every obstacle to river navigation in the Saint Lawrence has been so admirably overcome ; but it will be gratifying to Canadian sentiment to know that they were the first canals constructed on the continent of America. Such is the indisputable fact. They preceded the canals of the United States by a quarter of a century. Canada can justly claim to have been the first to introduce on the western continent the system of canal navigation now so generally established, and, it may be added, in later years to have carried it to the highest stage of development.*

* In United States encyclopædias, the construction of the Schuylkill Coal and Navigation Canal from Mill Creek to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is dated at 1816; that of the Northumberland, Wilkesbarre, at 1819. The date 1817 is assigned to the Erie canal, New York. The commencement of the Champlain

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In October, 1779 Sir John Johnson proceeded to Oswego with the design of acting against the Oneida Indians, who, with the Tuscaroras, had been engaged on the side of Sullivan in his invasion of the territory of the Six Nations. They had been particularly active in intercepting intelligence and preventing intercourse with the upper posts. Johnson had counted to a great extent upon the aid he would receive from the remaining tribes of the Six Nations, but they had been dispersed by Sullivan's operations, and the Indians of the upper lakes refused all assistance. Johnson found it impossible to carry out the expedition, and returned to Carletonisland.

The want of success in the attempt exercised a depressing influence, and in his letters to England* Haldimand dwelt upon the necessity of sending reinforcements with supplies, so that the preservation of the upper country could be maintained. Plainly, it was the policy of congress to reduce

canal is chronicled the same year. The Erie canal was authorized in 1817 and the work was commenced on the 4th of July. Its whole length of 363 miles was only completed in 1825.

The first locks were but little in excess of those of the enlarged early canals, being ninety feet long, fifteen feet wide and four feet deep. The dimensions of the Canadian lock was 145 feet by twenty-three feet in the chamber, the width at the gates being twelve feet. In 1835 the Erie canal was enlarged to locks 110 feet long by eighteen feet wide and seven feet on the sills; dimensions which, from the insuperable difficulty of obtaining a water supply in the Rome level, may be regarded as the maximum attainable.

The first of the Bridgewater canals was completed by Brindley in 1761 ; the size of the lock was seventy-four seet in length, seven feet wide, with five feet of depth.

These memoranda establish the priority of the introduction by Canada on this continent of the canal system as claimed in the text.

In connection with the subject of canal navigation, I am impelled to direct public attention to the heights above tide water of the Atlantic ocean of the several western lakes, Ontario to Superior, as officially recognized in the dominion. I refer the reader to the note at the end of this chapter, in which I have endeavoured to consider the true heights of these waters. At the same time, I venture to suggest the measures that in my humble judgment it is advis. able the government should adopt, to assure their correct determination in our records.

* (Can. Arch., B. 54, p. 259, 1st November, 1779.]


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