A Mind at Sea: Henry Fry and the Glorious Era of Quebec's Sailing Ships

By John Fry

The trials and tribulations of a Canadian enterprise titan in the course of a desirable interval in 19th-century Quebec.

A brain at Sea is an intimate window right into a vanished time whilst Canada used to be one of the world’s nice maritime international locations. among 1856 and 1877, Henry Fry used to be the Lloyd’s agent for the St. Lawrence River, east of Montreal. The harbour coves lower than his domestic in Quebec have been filled with mammoth rafts of lower wooden, the river’s coastline sprawled with yards the place great square-rigged ships – many owned through Fry – have been outfitted.

As the president of Canada’s Dominion Board of exchange, Fry was once on the epicentre of wealth and impact. His domestic urban of Quebec served because the capital of the province of Canada, whereas its port used to be frequently the scene of uncooked illegal activity. He fought vigorously opposed to the abduction of sailors and the harmful perform of deck loading. He additionally battled opposed to and overcame his own demon – psychological melancholy – happening to write down many send histories and essays on U.S.-Canada family members.

Fry used to be a colorful determine and a reformer who interacted with the well-known figures of the day, together with Lord and girl Dufferin, Sir John A. Macdonald, Wilfrid Laurier, and Sir Narcisse-Fortunat Belleau, Quebec’s lieutenant-governor.

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Yeo was once one of many wealthiest and strongest males in Devonshire and the mightiest guy in Appledore, dominating the village’s economic climate. His domestic, Richmond condo, a sumptuous mansion that he’d equipped at the hill overlooking Appledore, used to be named after the dry dock he’d developed within the port. He introduced dozens of ships, frequently in live performance together with his father, James Yeo, popular Prince Edward Island ship-owner, entrepreneur, and flesh presser, who’d emigrated to P. E. I. from Appledore round 1820. [12] The commercial, the truth: This 1855 poster promoted passenger carrier from Bristol to long island on a “fast sailer. ” years past, Henry Fry sailed on an identical send, the Cosmo. A crewmember was once beaten to loss of life via a jibing increase, the foremast collapsed, the barque back to port for upkeep, and the journey to big apple took a complete of forty-four days. Henry apprenticed on the shipbroker Mark Whitwill & Son whilst undefined. Courtesy of Eileen Marcil. no longer not like his ruthless, hard-drinking father, William Yeo was once a tricky, astute service provider. He had crewed on, then mastered square-rigged crusing ships, and used to be inspired through Henry Fry’s wisdom of send layout. the 2 males take to each other. “There is an exceptional new Brigantine right here at Appledore,” acknowledged Yeo. “If you're keen on her, you shall have 1/2 her and the only administration. ” “But i've got no money,” responded Henry. “Never brain that,” stated Yeo. “I’ll offer you a fresh invoice of sale, and you'll pay me steadily as she earns it, and do what you're keen on along with her. ”[13] Henry jumped on the supply. The brigantine favorite, freshly in-built Prince Edward Island, had simply crossed the Atlantic on her maiden voyage. She fastened masts — the single aft sporting a fore-and-aft rigged sail, the single ahead of it square-rigged, plus sporting jibs. developed of tamarack, the favorite measured 168 lots and was once coppered and able to sail any ocean. She expense approximately �1,400 (about $200,000 today). Henry turned the half-owner. His firm and adventure now got here into complete play. He employed a skipper and despatched favorite to Cuba with a shipment of iron rails. From Cuba she re-crossed the Atlantic again to London with a shipment of sugar and mahogany. She then carried coal to Venice and taken again wheat from the Adriatic to Donegal at the Irish northwest coast. And on it went for a number of years. “She paid very well,” wrote Henry, “but I deemed it top to promote her whilst my well-being broke down in 1851 from over paintings. ”[14] It was once a small merchandise of knowledge: “My future health broke down. ” the explanation? “Over paintings. ” Over a question of labor? A failed company deal? a freelance long past awry? Or an issue of overwork — paintings so extreme, concerning such interminable hours of shuttle and negotiation, that he “broke down? ” Henry’s soreness resembled that of his modern, Charles Darwin. “He desired to paintings, and his paintings helped him upward thrust above his ailment, but it was once paintings that made him ill,” notes the writer of 1 Darwin biography. [15] due to what may take place to him 20 years later, Henry potentially suffered what smooth psychiatrists could classify as an enormous depressive episode.

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