Submitted by Christine Gorman
Progress of Shipbuilding in P. E. Island from The Examiner, August 18, 1856.
PROGRESS OF SHIPBUILDING IN P. E. ISLAND
To record evidence of our advancing prosperity must at all times be a pleasing duty to the provincial press. In this Colony shipbuilding has always been considered of paramount importance; and deservedly so, as it has done much to keep up the price of labor, not only in the shipyard, but from the first stroke of the axe that breaks the stillness of the mighty forest, down to the arrival of our ships in the home market, shipbuilding, with its concomitant demands for labor, is continually benefitting our industrial population. In material we have ever had an amount of the best description, equal to the demand; and the low standard of our ships at home can only be attributed to gross incompetency, or, worse still, culpable carelessness on the part of those entrusted with their supervision in building. Last year, that world-renowned establishment, Lloyd's, sent gentlemen out to the Colonies to superintend shipbuilding to suggest improvements, condemn old established errors, and ensure fidelity in mechanical execution. A ship thus superintended is classed when built, and thus is obviated the necessity of large outlay by the owner on her arrival in Britain. C. R. Coker, Esq., was appointed surveyor for this Island, and under the gentleman's supervision, a class of ships have left our shores this summer such as any Dependency of old England might be proud of. On Sunday, (31st August) a fleet of eight sail left the port of Charlottetown, comprising as follows :-
Nelson & Son
J. B. Cox
A. & A. M'Millan
The brig Magic, in the above table, is pronounced by gentlemen highly competent to judge, the best ship ever launched on P. E. Island. She is built wholly of juniper, and copper-fastened throughout; while as to model and workmanship, every previous local effort is fairly eclipsed. She is just such a ship as Mr. Welsh, the owner, may be proud of, and will give the builder, Mr. John MacKinnon, an enviable rank in his profession. The barks Panthea and Elizabeth are splendid ships; the most important sections of the former being of Quebec timber. The brig Boxer is a remarkably pretty vessel, as to her workmanship we have not been informed. The brigantine Marcella is the fourth launched this year from the shipyard of J. B. Cox, Esq., Morell. They are all of superior model, chiefly built of Quebec oak, juniper and pine, and reflect much credit on Mr. Cox's ability. The bark Anne and schooner Alma were either built or too far on to admit of Mr. Croker's supervision, and, consequently, are not classed.
As this fleet hauled out, one after another, from the wharfs, and, under full sail, stretched off on the larboard tack, beating out of the river, the scene was animating in the extreme; and the sailing qualities and model of each was the subject of much discussion. On reaching the harbor's mouth, they bore away before a free west wind for Britain. Those ships, and the men who command and man them, are a glowing type of our approaching elevation to rank and standing among the sister British American possessions. There was a noble superstructure reared by native genius; and now, in many instances, the same hands and heads which hewed the timber and controlled their erection, hold the helm and direct their course across the broad Atlantic. May propitious gales waft them to the haven where they would be, and quick sales at good prices be the reward of our enterprising and ingenious fellow-colonists. - Adv.