1902 Encyclopedia > St Lawrence

St Lawrence

ST LAWRENCE. The river St Lawrence in North America, taken in connexion with the great lakes, offers to trading vessels the most magnificent system of inland navigation in the world. Its total length from the source Length, of the St Louis river, which discharges into Fond du Lac at the head of Lake Superior, to Cape Gaspé is 2100 miles. The river St Louis springs from the same spacious plateau in Minnesota that gives birth to the Mississippi and the Red River of the North. The intermediate distances be*-tween the source of the St Lawrence and its mouths are shown in Table I. According to the most recent surveys the approximate area of the basin of the St Lawrence is 510,000 square miles, of which 322,560 belong to Canada and 187,440 to the United States.
2 The name given by Jacques Cartier, who ascended the river in 1535 as far as Montreal.
Lake Superior, the most westerly of the lakes, is the Lake largest body of fresh water in the world. In addition to Superior, the river Nipigon, which may be regarded as the chief source of the upper St Lawrence, and the Pigeon river, which forms the boundary between Manitoba and Minnesota, it receives its waters from 200 rivers, draining an aggregate of 85,000 square miles, including its own area of 32,000.

== TABLE ==

Its length is 390 miles, its greatest breadth 160, and its
mean breadth 80. Its mean depth is 900 feet and its altitude
above the sea-level 600 feet. Its coast is generally rock-
bound. Numerous islands are scattered about the north
side of the lake, many rising precipitously to great heights
from deep water,—some presenting castellated walls of
basalt and others rising in granite peaks to various eleva-
tions up to 1300 feet above the lake. The Laurentian
and Huronian rocks to the north along the shore abound in
silver, copper, and iron ores. The United States side is
generally lower and more sandy than the opposite shore,
and is also especially rich in deposits of native copper and
beds of red haematite iron ores. Both these minerals are
extensively worked. Unfossiliferous terraces occur abun-
dantly on the margin of the lake; at one point no fewer
than seven occur at intervals up to a height of 33 feet
above the present level of the water. Lake Superior is
subject to severe storms and the effect of the waves upon
the sandstone of the " picture rocks " of Grand Island pre-
sents innumerable fantastic and very remarkable forms.
The lake never freezes, but cannot be navigated in winter
on account of the shore ice. At the west end of the lake,
at the mouth of the St Louis, is situated the city of Duluth,
a place of considerable importance as the eastern terminus
of the Northern Pacific Railway, and of the St Paul and
Duluth Railway, which runs to St Paul on the Mississippi,
155 miles south of Duluth.
gt St Mary's river, 55 miles long, is the only outlet from
Mary's Lake Superior, and its course to Lake Huron is but a river and succession of expansions into lakes and contractions into rivers. St Mary's rapids, which in a distance of half a mile absorb 18 feet out of the total fall of 22 feet between the two lakes, are avoided by a ship canal, constructed in 1855.
1 The distance from Belle Isle to Liverpool is 2234 statute or 1942 geographical miles.
As originally built, the canal was 1 mile long, had a width of 100 feet at the water line and a depth of 12 feet. The locks were two in number, combined, each 350 feet in length, 70 in width, with a lift of 9 feet. At the time the canal was made these dimensions were sufficient to pass any vessel on the lakes fully laden, but by 1870 it became necessary to provide for more rapid lockage and for the passage of larger vessels. Accordingly the old canal was widened and deepened, and a new lock constructed, 515 feet long and 80 wide,—the width of the gates being 60 feet, the lift of the-lock 18, and the depth of water on the mitre sills 17. There is now everywhere a navigable depth of 16 feet from Lake Superior through St Mary's Falls Canal and St Mary's river to Lake Huron. In 1883 the registered tonnage passing the canal was 2,042,295 tons,—the annual increase of tonnage during the previous fifteen years having averaged 107,313 tons. The United States Govern-ment engineers have already presented a project for still further improvements, namely, to replace the old locks by one only with a length of 700 feet and a width of 70, and with a depth of 21 feet on the sill.
Lake Huron is 270 miles long and 105 broad and has Lake an area of 23,000 square miles (the area of its basin, Huront including the lake, being 74,000), a mean depth variously stated at from 700 to 1000 feet, and an altitude above the sea of 574 feet. Georgian Bay on the north-east lies entirely within the region of Canada, whilst Thunder Bay and Saginaw Bay on the west and south-west are in the State of Michigan. The north and north-east shores of Lake Huron are mostly composed of sandstones and lime-stones, and where metamorphic rocks are found the surface is broken and hilly, rising to elevations of 600 feet or more above the lake, unlike in this respect the southern shores skirting the peninsulas of Michigan and south-western Ontario, which are comparatively flat and of great fertility. As in Lake Superior, regular terraces corresponding to former water-levels of the lake run for miles along the shores of Lake Huron at heights of 120, 150, and 200 feet; and deposits of fine sand and clay containing freshwater shells rise to a height of 40 feet or more above the present level of the water. At several places these deposits extend to a distance of 20 miles inland. The chief tributaries of the lake on the Canadian side are the French river from Lake Nipissing, the Severn from Lake Simcoe, the Muskoka, and the Nottawasaga, all emptying into Georgian Bay; and on the United States side the Thunder Bay river, the Au-Sable, and the Saginaw.
> Lake Michigan is entirely in the territory of the United Lake States. It has a maximum breadth of 84 miles and its MichB-length is 345 miles from the north-west corner of Indiana gan' and the north part of Illinois to Mackinaw, where it com-municates with Lake Huron by a strait 4 miles wide at its narrowest part. Its depth is variously stated at from 700 to 1800 feet. Its altitude above sea-level is 578 feet. Its basin is 70,040 square miles in area, of which the lake occupies 22,400. Five of its tributaries are from 135 to 245 miles in length. The country round Lake Michigan is for the most part low and sandy. The rocks are lime-stones and sandstones of the Sub-carboniferous groups, lying in horizontal strata and never rising into bold cliffs. Along the south shore are Post-tertiary beds of clay and sand lying a few feet above the level of the lake, the waters of which probably at one time found their way by the valleys of the Illinois and the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico.
Chicago (population, 503,185 in 1880) is situated at the south-west angle of the lake. In the receipt and shipment of grain and pork it is the largest market in the world. In 1883 12,015 vessels with a tonnage of 3,980,837 tons cleared from the harbour. Com-paring the decades of 1864-73 and 1874-83 the total export in quarters of wheat and corn from Chicago was as follows :—

== TABLE ==

In 1883 the export of grain by the lakes amounted to 6,850,722 quarters (of which 68'1 per cent, were shipped direct to Buffalo and only 6'3 per cent, to Kingston and Montreal) as against 3,146,000' sent by rail. The first appropriation for the harbour of Chicago,
is 313 feet above the level of Lake Superior, and in some parts is up-wards of 500 feet in depth. The lake is thickly studded with islands y. its shores are undulating and sometimes hilly ; and owing to its numer-ous indentations its coast-line measures 580 miles.

made in 1883, was expended in cutting a straight outlet from the Chicago river into the lake. The available depth was only 2 feet, but since then the harbour accommodation has been extended, by means of piers, dredging, and a breakwater, to accommodate vessels of 14 feet draught.
The harbour works at Chicago, as well as at other lake and river ports, are constructed simply of cribs or boxes, composed of logs 12 by 12 inches, filled with stone, and joined to each other, after they have finally settled down, by a continuous timber superstructure raised a few feet above the level of the water. On this plan break-waters, piers at the mouths of rivers, and wharves have been built within the last sixty years at the most important points along the shores of the St Lawrence lakes, as well as at most of the river harbours communicating with the Atlantic ; and experience has proved that no cheaper and better system could have been devised for such localities.
St Clair The St Lawrence leaves Lake Huron by the St Clair river and river at Sarnia, and after a course of 33 miles enters lake. Lake St Clair, 25 miles long, and terminating at the head of the Detroit river, near the city of Detroit in Michigan. Eighteen miles farther on the St Lawrence, with a descent of 11 feet, enters Lake Erie. The naviga-tion through the St Clair river is easy throughout, but in Lake St Clair there are extensive sandbanks covered with a depth of water varying from 6 to 10 feet. Previous to 1858 much inconvenience was experienced in navigating the lake owing to its insufficient depth; but at the end of that year the Governments of the United States and Canada dredged a canal through the bed of the lake, which is of soft material, to a minimum depth of 12 feet, with a width of 300 feet. This channel has since been deepened to 16 feet over a width of 200 feet, and works are now in progress to deepen the rocky shoal called the " Lime-Kiln Crossing " in the Detroit river to 18 feet, to enable vessels drawing 15 feet to pass with safety from lake to lake in stormy weather. Lake The peculiar features of Lake Erie are its shallowness Erie. and tb.e clayey nature of its shores, which are generally low. The south shore is bordered by an elevated plateau, through which the rivers, which are without importance as regards Lake Erie, have cut deep channels. The mean depth of the lake is only 90 feet and its maximum depth 204. Owing to its shallowness it is easily disturbed by the wind, and is therefore the most dangerous to navigate of all the great lakes. Its length is 250 miles and its greatest breadth 60. The area of the basin of Lake Erie is 39,680 square miles, including 10,000 square miles, the area of the lake. Its waters are 564 feet above the sea and 330 above Lake Ontario. The extreme difference observed in the level of the lake between 1819 and 1838 was 5 feet 2 inches, but the average annual rise and fall (taken on a mean of twelve years) is only 1 foot 1J inches. The mean annual rainfall is 34 inches. The navigation of Lake Erie usually opens about the middle of April and closes early in December. Besides the Erie and the Welland Canals, the lake has two other great canal systems on its south shore,—the Ohio and Erie Canal, from Cleve-land to Portsmouth, and the Miami and Erie Canal, from Toledo to Cincinnati.
Buffalo (population, 171,500 in 1883) is situated at the north-east angle of Lake Erie, and is therefore much exposed to the violence of south-west winds, in which direction the lake has a "fetch" of 200 miles. Thus more than ordinary care has been taken to provide safe harbour accommodation for the large fleets of vessels constantly arriving at Buffalo from the upper lakes. The Buffalo river, which has been made navigable for more than a mile, is protected at its mouth by a breakwater, 4000 feet long, built at about half a mile from the shore. The harbour thus formed allows of the entrance of vessels of 17 feet draught as against 13 in 1853. Not only is the port situated at the head of the Erie Canal and within an hour's sail of the Welland Canal, but it is the western terminus of the New York Central, Erie, and several other railways. The possession of these exceptional advantages has constituted Buffalo the great commercial centre of the inland seas of North America. For the six years ending 1883 the yearly average ship-ments of wheat and corn received by lake at Buffalo, by the Erie
Canal, and by rail from elevators was 5,555,000 quarters by canal and 2,320,000 by rail, or 70'20 and 29'80 per cent, respectively. There are 38 elevators in the city, comprising storage, transfer, and floating elevators, with a combined storage capacity of 1,125,000 quarters and a daily transfer capacity of 333,000 quarters. During the ten years ending 1883 the annual average number of lake vessels arriving and departing from Buffalo Creek numbered 7438, the aggregate tonnage was 4,165,098 tons, and the average size of craft 560 tons.
In 1883 the enrolled tonnage of the United States-vessels for the northern lakes, and the enrolled registered tonnage of steam and sailing vessels in the province of Ontario, including tugs and barges on the Ottawa river and barges at Kingston, were as follows (Table II.):—

== TABLE ==

Freight propellers are now rapidly doing away with sailing vessels, or causing them to be converted into barges or consorts. The rapid increase in their tonnage capacity has been remarkable. In 1841 there was only 1 freight-propeller with a tonnage of 128 tons; in 1850 there were 50 with an average of 215 tons, in 1860 there were 197 with an average of 340 tons, and in 1880 there were 202 with an average of 689 tons.
The Erie Canal connects Lake Erie with the Hudson river at Erie-Troy and Albany and with Lake Ontario at Oswego. The move- Canal, ment of freight of all kinds by the canal was 3,602,535 tons in 1873, and 3,587,102 in 1883, and the average annual movement from 1874 to 1883 was 3,447,464 tons. This canal was constructed in 1825 by the State of New York, for the passage of vessels of 60 tons ; but by the year 1862 it was sufficiently enlarged to allow of the passage of vessels of 240 tons. The dimensions and capacity of the canal and its two principal feeders are given in Table III.:—

== TABLE ==

The cost of construction, maintenance, and management of the 455 miles of canal up to 30th September 1873 amounted to £17,460,000. A project has for some time been under serious consideration for the enlargement of one tier of the present locks and the deepening of the canal so that between Buffalo and Albany there would no-where be a less depth than 8 feet. The estimated cost of this work is about £1,600,000.
The Welland Canal flanks the Niagara river and is 27 miles in Welland length from Port Colborne on Lake Erie to Port Dalhousie on Lake Canal. Ontario. It was opened in 1833 for the navigation of small vessels and was first enlarged in 1844. Vessels, however, continued to increase in size until in 1860 there were 341 with an aggregate tonnage of 143,918 tons which were unable to pass through the enlarged canal. In 1870 the number that could not pass had increased to 384, with an aggregate tonnage of 194,685 tons; in 1880 to 460, with an aggregate tonnage of 287,342 tons ; and in 1883 (notwithstanding the completion of the second enlargement in 1882) to 557, with an aggregate tonnage of 398,808 tons. The cost of the canal including its maintenance up to 30th June 1883 was $20,859,605. Its dimensions are now as follows :—number of lift locks, 25 ; dimensions, 270 by 45 feet; total rise of lockage, 326J feet; depth of water on sills, 12 feet. The movement of freight of all kinds by the canal was 1,330,629 tons in 1873 and 827,196 in 1883, and the average annual movement for the decade ending 1883 was 986,441 tons. This serious falling off in traffic is partly due to the numerous competitors by lake and rail which have sprung up during the last ten years for the transportation of products to the east, but principally to the deepening of the channels and harbours of the upper lakes, a work that has encouraged the construction of a class of vessels that cannot make use of the Wetland Canal even after its last enlargement. In order to meet this strong competition the Government of the Dominion of Canada was called upon still further to deepen the canal so as to allow the passage of the largest existing lake vessels without lightering; and in 1886 contracts were concluded for deepening it to 14 feet. River The Niagara river flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario Niagara. jn a northerly direction. Its width between Buffalo and Fort Erie (the site of the international iron-trussed rail-way bridge; see sketch map of Niagara river in vol. xvii. p. 472) is 1900 feet and its greatest depth 48. At this point the normal current is 5|- miles an hour,—the ex-treme variation in the level of the river when uninflu-enced by the wind being only 2 feet. During south-west gales, however, the water occasionally rises as much as 4 feet in a few hours, and at such times the current attains a maximum velocity of 12 miles an hour. Two miles below the bridge the river is divided into two arms by Grand Island, at the foot of which they reunite and spread over a width of 2 or 3 miles. The river then becomes studded with islands, until about 16 miles from Lake Erie, after a total fall of 20 feet, it narrows again and begins to descend with great velocity. This is the com-mencement of the rapids, which continue for about a mile with a total descent of 52 feet. The rapids terminate in the great cataract of Niagara, the fall of which on the American side is 164 feet and on the Canadian side 150 feet. The falls are divided by Goat Island, which rises 40 feet above the water and extends to the very verge of the precipice, where the total width of the river, including the island, is 4750 feet. The Horse-Shoe Fall on the Canadian shore is 2000 feet long, and the depth of water on the crest of the fall is about 20 feet. The American fall is only one-half that length, and discharges less than one-fourth the volume of the Horse-Shoe Fall. United, they discharge nearly 400,000 cubic feet per second or 41,000,000 tons per hour. The upper layer of the escarp-ment down which this enormous mass of water leaps con-sists of hard limestone about 90 feet thick, beneath which lie soft shales of equal thickness, which are continually being undermined by the action of the spray, driven violently by gusts of wind against the base of the preci-pice. In consequence of this action and that of the frost, portions of the incumbent rock overhang 40 feet, and often, when unsupported, tumble down, so that the falls do not remain absolutely stationary in the same spot. Sir C. Lyell in 1842 came to the conclusion that the cataract was receding at an average rate of 1 foot annually, "in which case it would have required 35,000 years for the retreat of the falls from the escarpment at Queens-town to their present site." From the foot of the falls to Queenstown, a distance of about 7 miles, the river descends 104 feet through a gorge from 200 to 300 feet deep and from 600 to 1200 feet wide. Midway in this deep defile the turbulent waters strike against the cliff on the Canadian side with great violence, and, being thus deflected from west to north, give rise to the dangerous eddy called the "Whirlpool." The escarpments end abruptly at Queens-town, where the waters suddenly expand to a great width, and finally, 7 miles farther on, tranquilly flow into Lake Ontario.
About one-third of a mile below the cataract a carriage-road suspension bridge (built in 1869 by Mr Samuel Keefer) spans the river with a single opening of 1190 feet, at a height of 190 feet above the water; and 2 miles lower down Roebling's celebrated railway and road suspension bridge (completed in 1855) crosses the river at a height of 245 feet above the water with a single span of 800 feet. In November 1883 a double-track railway three-span iron and steel cantilever bridge, situated about 100 yards above Eoebling's bridge, was completed for the
New York Central and Michigan Central Eailways. The total length of the bridge is 910 feet and that of the centre span 470 feet. The height from the water to the level of the rails is 239 feet.
Lake Ontario is the easternmost and smallest of the Lake great lakes of the St Lawrence system. Its basin drains Ontario. 29,760 square miles, including the lake surface of 6700 square miles. The length of the lake is 190 miles, its greatest width 52 miles, its mean depth 412 feet, and its elevation above the sea 234 feet. It never freezes except near the shore. Its chief tributaries are the Trent on the north shore and the Genesee and the Oswego on the south shore, and its chief ports, Toronto, the capital of Ontario, 32 miles north of Port Dalhousie, at the foot of the Welland Canal; Oswego, at the south-east angle of the lake; and Kingston, at its north-east extremity, 52 miles north of Oswego.
Trent river navigation is a term applied to a series of reaches which do not, however, form a connected system of navigation, and which in their present condition are efficient only for local use. The series is composed of a chain of lakes and rivers extending from Trenton, at the mouth of the Trent on the Bay of Quinte, north shore of Lake Ontario, to Lake Huron. The new works (which will have locks 134 feet by 33 feet with a depth of 5 feet on sill) will give communication between Lakefield, 9J miles from Peter-boro, and Balsam Lake, the headwaters of the system, opening up a total of about 150 miles of direct and lateral navigation.
The port of Oswego has been in direct communication with the Hudson river since 1822, by means of a canal of small capacity as far as Syracuse, and thence by the Erie Canal to Troy and Albany. It is now proposed by the United States Government to enlarge this route under the name of the Oneida Ship Canal, so that vessels arriving from the Welland Canal with cargoes of 50,000 bushels of wheat may be able to tranship them at Oswego into steam barges holding 25,000 bushels, or into barges to be towed with a capacity of 28,000 bushels. The length of the proposed route by the Oneida Lake and Durhamville is 200 miles, with a lockage of 609 feet; and its estimated cost, including 20 ascending and 47 descending locks (each 170 by 28 by 8| feet), is $25,213,857. The Government of the Dominion of Canada has also under consideration the follow-ing projects to connect the St Lawrence with Lake Huron :—(1) the Ottawa and Georgian Bay Canal, from Montreal, by the Ottawa and Lake Nipissing, to French river; (2) the Toronto and Georgian Bay Canal, by way of Lake Simcoe ; (3) the Hur-Ontario Canal, from Hamilton to Lake Huron, near Port Franks.
Kingston, being the port of transhipment for Montreal Kingston of three-fourths of the grain that arrives from the upperto Mont-lakes, is a place of some commercial importance. Formerly real* lake vessels were sent from Chicago to Montreal through the St Lawrence canals without breaking bulk. But it was afterwards found cheaper to transfer grain at Kingston, and to send it down the St Lawrence in barges, the cost of such transfer being only half a cent per bushel. Kings-ton is also at the south terminus of the Rideau Canal, which connects it with the city of Ottawa.
This canal, 126 miles long, has 33 locks ascending 292 feet and 14 descending 165, and admits vessels 130 by 30 feet drawing 4J feet of water. It was constructed in 1826-32 by the British Govern-ment at a cost of about $4,000,000, chiefly with a view to the defence of the province, but since the opening of the St Lawrence canals it has become of comparatively little importance as a means of transport,—the distance from Montreal to Kingston being 68 miles longer by the Rideau and Ottawa Canals than by the St Lawrence.
Almost immediately after leaving Kingston that part of the St Lawrence commences which is called the Lake of a Thousand Islands. In reality they number 1692, and extend for 40 miles below Lake Ontario. At this point the Laurentian rocks break through the Silurian, and reach across the St Lawrence, in this belt of islands, to unite with the Laurentian Adirondack region in the State of New York. Near Prescott, a town on the Canadian side about 60 miles below Kingston, begins the chain of the St Lawrence canals proper, which were constructed to overcome a total rise of 206J feet,—the number of locks being 27 and the total length of the six canals 43J miles.
The canals are called, in the order of their descent, the "Galops," "Rapid Plat," and "Farran's Point," with an aggregate length of 12J miles (the three forming with their intervening 15 miles of river navigation what is called the Williamsburg Canals), the "Cornwall," 11J miles long, the " Beauharnois," connecting Lakes St Louis and St Francis, 11J miles long, and the "Lachine," 8J miles long. The locks of the first five canals, constructed in 1845-48, are 200 feet in length, with a depth of from 7 to 10 feet on their sills at exceptionally low water, and, with the exception of the "Galops" and "Cornwall," which are 55 feet wide, their width is 45 feet. The Lachine Canal was begun in 1821 and com-pleted in 1824 for the navigation of vessels drawing 4 J feet, but it was not until 1843-48 that it was widened and deepened to the dimensions of the upper canals. It has lately been still further enlarged, and is already provided with locks 270 by 40 feet, with an available depth of 14 feet. The canal was closed on 1st December 1882 and opened on 1st May 1883,—the navigation having been interrupted as usual by the ice for a period of five months. The cost to the provincial and Dominion Government of the six canals, including their maintenance to 30th June 1883, was $14,454,508. The five upper canals are now being enlarged to the dimensions of the improved Lachine Canal.
Near Cornwall, on the left bank, 50 miles below Pres-cott, the intersection of the parallel of 45° determines the point where the St Lawrence and its lakes (Lake Michigan excepted), having been an international boundary from the head of Lake Superior, become exclusively Canadian. Immediately below Cornwall the river flows through Lake St Francis, which has a length of about 30 miles and a width varying from 2 to 5 miles. In the long reach of the river below the lake it has been calculated by the Canadian canal commissioners that the mean volume of water discharged is 510,000 cubic feet per second. Ten miles below the foot of Lake St Francis, near the head of the island of Montreal, the river flows into Lake St Louis, which receives the main body of the Ottawa river, a small fraction of whose waters is delivered into the St Lawrence at the foot of the island 35 miles lower down the stream.
Ottawa The Ottawa river, which is 600 miles long, drains river. 60,000 square miles, and contributes a volume of 90,000 cubic feet per second to the St Lawrence, of which it is the largest tributary. Between Lake St Louis and the city of Ottawa, the capital of the Dominion, and perhaps the largest market for lumber in the world, the St Anne's lock (231 miles from Montreal), Carillon Canal, Chute-a-Blondeau Canal, and the Grenville Canal (63| miles from Montreal) have been constructed, and are now enlarged to 200 by 45 feet, with a depth of 9 feet on their sills, except the Chute-a-Blondeau Canal, whose single lock has still its original dimensions of 130 by 32 feet with only 6 feet on its sill. The total lockage between the Lachine Canal and Kingston by the Bideau Canal (the entrance to which is 119£ miles from Montreal) is 509 feet (345 rise, 164 fall) and the number of locks is 55. On the upper Ottawa—the Culbute Canal and LTslet rapids—there are two locks 200 feet long, 45 wide, and 6 deep, with a lift of 18 to 20 feet. The cost of the Ottawa canals, including the Bideau Canal, to 30th June 1883 was $9,126,125.
After leaving Lake St Louis the St Lawrence dashes wildly down the Lachine rapids, a descent of 42 feet in 2 miles, and 8 miles farther on, after passing beneath the 25 spans of the Victoria Tubular Bailway Bridge, which Mont- has a length of 9144 feet, reaches the quays of Montreal, real. 198 miles below Kingston. In the beginning of the pre-sent century vessels of over 300 tons burden were unable to reach the city, but by deepening Lake St Peter and the shoals in the St Lawrence between Quebec and Montreal the latter has been made accessible to vessels of 4000 tons burden and drawing 25 feet of water. Work is being steadily continued and will not cease until a depth of 27J feet is attained, so as to enable the largest vessels afloat to reach the long stretch of new deep-water quays. In 1883 the tonnage of the 660 sea-going vessels which visited the port was 664,263 tons, of which 605,805 belonged to' 264 steamships, so that only 9 per cent, of the freight arriving from sea was carried in sailing vessels. The St Lawrence has an average width of If miles for 46 miles from Montreal down to Sorel on the right bank, at which point it is joined by the Bichelieu river, a tributary that drains 9000 square miles.
The Richelieu river is made navigable from its mouth to Lake Richelieu Champlain, a distance of 81 miles to the United States boundary, river and by a dam and lock at St Ours, half a mile long (14 miles above canal. Sorel), and a canal of 12 miles in length 32 miles farther up the river, known as the Chambly Canal. These give a navigable depth of 7 feet, allowing vessels 114 feet long, 23 broad, and drawing 6^ feet of water, to pass through the canal from end to end. The cost of the works to 30th June 1867 was $756,249. The total length of navigation between Montreal and New York by the Richelieu Canal, Lake Champlain, the Champlain and Erie Canal, Albany, and the Hudson river is 456 miles. The Richelieu Canal, which already carries a freight of 350,000 tons annually, is to be enlarged, and a canal is to be constructed from Lake St Louis at Chaugh-nawaga, above Lachine, to St Johns on the Richelieu river, in connexion with the Chambly Canal, to connect the St Lawrence with Lake Champlain by a new channel, which it is proposed should have the same dimensions as the improved Welland Canal. The cost of the proposed Chaughnawaga Canal, which would have a length of 32 miles and a lockage of only 29 feet, is estimated at §5,500,000.
Immediately below Sorel the river flows into Lake St Sorel to-Peter, 20 miles in length by 9 in width, through which Quebec prior to 1851 no vessel drawing more than 11 feet could pass. Since then a cutting 300 feet wide has been dredged to a depth of 25 feet. At Three Rivers, 86 miles below Montreal, the St Lawrence first meets the tide and receives from the north the waters from the St Maurice, which drains about 16,000 square miles. Nearing Quebec, the river, which maintains an average width of 1J miles from Lake-St Peter, narrows into a width of three-quarters of a mile at Cape Diamond, on the left bank, 160 miles below Mont-real. The depth here is 128 feet and the rise of spring tides 18 feet.
The lower town of Quebec, which has extensive harbour-accommodation, is built on reclaimed land around the base of the cape, one of its sides being washed by the river St Charles, which here flows into the St Lawrence. At the mouth of the St Charles the Princess Louise embankment, 4000 feet long by 300 wide, encloses a tidal area of 20* acres, having 24 feet of depth at low water. Connected with it is a wet dock, which is to have a permanent depth of 27 feet with an area of 40 acres. On the opposite^ side, at Pointe Levis, the Lome graving-dock is nearly completed. Its dimensions are 500 feet in length, 100 in width, and 25J feet depth of water on its sill. During the year ending June 1884 the departures for sea of vessels from Quebec were 698, with an aggregate burthen of 686,790 tons.
The Canadian Government have sanctioned the proposal to con-struct a railway bridge across the St Lawrence within a few miles of Quebec, at a point where the river narrows to a width of 2400 feet at high water. The area of the waterway at high water is 200,000 square feet and at low water 160,000. For a width of about 1400 feet in the centre of the channel the water shelves rapidly from either shore into deep water, until it attains a maxi-mum depth of nearly 200 feet. The proposed bridge, as designed by Messrs Brunlees, Light, & Claxton Fidler, will consist of three principal spans, entirely of steel, resting on masonry piers founded on the rock. The central span will have a clear width of 1442 feet, the underside of the superstructure being 150 feet above high water.
Seven miles below Quebec the St Lawrence is 4 miles Below wide and divides into two channels at the head of theQueDec-Island of Orleans, nearly opposite which, on the north shore, are the celebrated falls of Montmorency, with a perpendicular descent of 240 feet and a width of 50 feet. At the foot of the island, which is 22 miles long, the river expands to a width of 11 miles. This width increases to 16 miles 90 miles farther on, at the mouth of the river Saguenay, which drains an area of 23,716 square miles.

Aboat 260 miles below Quebec, between Pointe des Monts . on the north and Cape Chat on the south, the St Lawrence has a width of 30 miles, and, as this expanse is doubled . 30 miles farther seaward, Cape Chat has been considered by many geographers as the southern extremity of an imaginary line of demarcation between the St Lawrence ; river and the gulf of the same name. It may, however, be assumed, with more propriety perhaps, taking the con-figuration of the gulf into special account, that Cape Gaspe, about 400 miles below Quebec and 430 miles from the Atlantic at the east end of the Straits of Belle Isle, ; is the true mouth of the St Lawrence river.
It has been calculated by Darby, the American hydro-grapher, that the mean discharge from the St Lawrence river and gulf, from an area rather largely estimated at 565,000 square miles, must be upwards of 1,000,000 cubic feet per second, taking into account the mean discharge at Niagara, which is 389,000 cubic feet per second from a , drainage area of 237,000 square miles, and bearing in mind the well-ascertained fact that the tributaries of the lower , St Lawrence, coming from mountainous woody regions where snow falls from 4 to 8 feet in depth, deliver more _ water per square mile than its upper tributaries.
The great prosperity and growth of Canada are owing
no doubt to its unrivalled system of intercommunication
by canal and river with the vast territories through
which the St Lawrence finds its way from the far-off
regions of the Minnesota to the seaboard. This great
. auxiliary of the railways (by means of which trade is now
. carried on at all seasons) must therefore be prominently
taken into account in considering the transport routes of
the future, their chief use being, as far as the conveyance
. of traffic over long distances is concerned, to augment, in
the shape of feeders, the trade of the river, as long as it
keeps open, and when it closes to continue the circulation
.. of commerce by sledges until the ice breaks up and restores
the river to its former activity. By the published statistics
of the harbour commissioners of Montreal it appears that
, during the ten years 1870-79 the opening of the navigation
.at Montreal varied between 30th March and 1st May, and
the close of the navigation between 26th November and
2d January, and that, whilst the first arrival from sea
varied from 20th April to 11th May, the last departure
to sea only varied from 21st November to 29th November
. during the ten years. (c. A. H.)

Search the Encyclopedia:

About this EncyclopediaTop ContributorsAll ContributorsToday in History
Terms of UsePrivacyContact Us

© 2005-17 1902 Encyclopedia. All Rights Reserved.

This website is the free online Encyclopedia Britannica (9th Edition and 10th Edition) with added expert translations and commentaries