Fleet Histories Series Volume Four
The Five Fleets of James Paisley and the Fourteen Fleets of James Playfair
A Historical Narrative and Photographic Depiction of Former and Present Great Lakes Fleets
Author: John O. Greenwood
Publisher/Date: Freshwater Press (c. 1997) First edition. NAP
Format/Condition: New navy cloth hardcover book with gilt lettering with dust jacket in Near Fine: dust jacket has wrinkle at bottom back edge. 165 pages, index; 8.75 x 11.25 inches. Profusely illustrated in black-and-white.
Description: In this fourth volume of the series the nineteen fleets of the James Paisley and James Playfair fleets are detailed. Each vessel is cross-indexed and vital statistics are provided.
Paisley and Playfair shared much in common and seemed to compliment each others abilities. It was Paisley’s coal mining and sales efforts coupled with Playfairs financial ties to Henry W. Richardson of Kingston, Ontario which provided the strength for numerous successful ventures. James Richardson and Sons were key to Plaiyfair’s ventures since they provided much of the financial backing need for Playfair to expand his marine interests. They also ended up owning a substantial share of James Paisley’s coal company. Like the previous three volumes, this book is much more than a recitation of fleet activities. It is the first detailed explanation of Richardson’s “silent” involvement that allowed Playfair to gain the stature he did on the Great Lakes. It also describes how Paisley and Playfair parlayed their individual expertise to become one of the major shipping magnates of their time.
In the general prosperity of this continent, cheap transportation on the lakes has been a factor prime importance. It is, in fact, responsible for the supremacy of the United States and Canada as iron making countries. Were the waters of the lakes dried-up, no railroad, or systems of railroads, nor any land based system of transportation, could hope to handle this traffic. The great iron and steel plants of Ohio, Pennsylvania, the central west, Ontario and Quebec would close and thousands of allied industries would be abandoned. Were it not for these Great Lakes, there would be no possible means of assembling the ore, coal and limestone. Consequently, the economies of both nations, and possibly the world, would have an altogether different course.
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