Cruising Canoe and Its Outfit, The


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reprinted from Harper's New Monthly Magazine, April 1878.

When John MacGregor, of the Inner-Temple, published his entertaining account of the Rob Roy's thousand-mile voyage on the lakes and rivers of Europe, he established canoeing as a summer pastime. The idea was not new; it was older than authentic history; but he gave it an overhauling and brushing up that brought it out in a form that was wonderfully attractive. The Rob Roy was so diminutive that her captain was able to transport her on horseback, but what she accomplished made her quite as famous as any ship of her Majesty's navy. The English canoe fleet was soon numbered by hundreds. The crank Rob Roy was superseded, as a sailing canoe, by the Nautilus, and many voyages, under an endless variety of conditions, have since been accomplished. Canoe clubs were organized, and in an incredibly brief time canoeing became in Great Britain a national pastime. The introduction of canoeing in the United States may be said to have taken place in 1870, when the New York Canoe Club was founded by William L. Alden. The Indian birch and dug-out, it is true, belong to the canoe group, but they are, at best, rude craft, unfit for general cruising, and had long before gone into disuse, and come to be valued only as relics of an uncivilized condition. Americans have enthusiastically adopted the pastime, and it is only a question of time when canoes will be as frequently seen on our bays, lakes, and rivers as sail and row boats. Besides our long coast-line, we have an immense system of inland waters, a great part of which is as yet unexplored, and can not for years be explored by any other craft than the light and easily portaged canoe. There is no one of the States in which long cruises may not be made.

16 pages


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