John MacGregor (”Rob Roy”) - Edwin Hodder 1894 - Hodder Brothers, London - Second Edition The comprehensive biography of the father of modern kayaking - John MacGregor (1825-91), known as ‘Rob Roy’.

Son of General Sir Duncan MacGregor, his schooling followed his fathers postings which included Canterbury and Dublin he graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, having shown a talent for mathematics. His ambition to become a missionary was blocked after an argument with a superior who was a second-generation Polish immigrant who argued that MacGregor losing his temper and expressing anti-Polish sentiment was unbecoming of a missionary and he began a career as a Barrister but being of independent means he was able to follow his passion for travel.

MacGregor was a champion marksman but turned to boating when a railroad accident left him unable to hold a rifle steady. He designed his own boat, modelled after Indian canoes, 15 feet long, 28 inches wide, nine inches deep and weighed 80 pounds (36 kg) to be used with a double-bladed paddle. He named the boat Rob Roy after the celebrated Scottish outlaw of the same name, to whom he was related. During the 1860s, he had at least seven similar boats built and he sailed and paddled them in Europe, the Baltic and the Middle East.

MacGregor was a moderate, but very devout, Christian (he was in fact secretary of the Protestant League no less and believed in a ‘muscular Christianity’ based around exploits like kayaking), and was chairman of the Humane Society. He moved in high circles counting Charles Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson among his friends, both of whom he persuaded to take up paddling. More than anything, MacGregor was instrumental in social reform in Victorian London, by association with another important friend, the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury. Together they set up the Shoe-Black Brigade to offer better education prospects to the sort of wastrels that Dickens wrote about and would take MacGregor to see on his famous long, London walks.
  Provenance: Dr. Francis Gray Smart with his armourial bookplate (’Esse Quam Videri’).

Francis Gray Smart 1844 – 1912 (1913) BA 1867 Cambridge, MA 1870 Cambridge, MB, FSA, FLS, FRGS, was an orthodox physician, first President of the Tunbridge Wells Amateur Photographic Association, member of the Royal Meteorological Society, member of Linnean Society of London, member of the Society of Antiquaries of London, member of the British Numismatic Society, member of the Royal Societies Club, who converted to homeopathy to become a Physician at the Tunbridge Wells and West Kent Homeopathic Dispensary, and the founder of the Tunbridge Wells Homeopathic Hospital,

Reference: Toy,
Adventures Afloat 218.

Thick Octavo (23 x 16 cm) pp. [2] xiv 458 [8 publisher’s advertisements] [2]. In publisher’s green cloth, spine lettered in gilt, gilt vignette of rowing boat to front board, green coated endpapers.
  Condition: Fine in near fine cloth, 2mm loss to head of spine.   Ref: 108239   Price: HK$ 900