Manuscript Journals containing accounts of an Englishman's (or Scotsman's) two fishing trips to Canada, the first in 1874 and the second in 1876, primarily to Quebec and New Brunswick.

Walter A. MacGregor [Canada; Quebec; New Brunswick; freshwater; salmon fishing]
 MS Diary Englishman's (or Scotsman's)  two fishing trips to Canada
Publication details: 
1874 and 1876-7.
SKU: 9372

Both volumes 4to, and uniform in dark-green leather bindings. A total of 195 manuscript pages. The journals reveal the author to be a man of leisure and means, fully able to induldge his taste for freshwater fishing, at camps with 'canoemen', cook, and canoes. The English sections indicate that he was a clubman, that he worked in the City (with possible business interests in Liverpool), and lived in West London with (sister?) 'Lola' and his mother. 'Alick', presumably a brother, is occasionally mentioned. (It may be that he was the Walter A. MacGregor who in the 1920s was living in Amesbury, Walton-on-Thames, having previously lived at Baldrie House, Folkestone.) The first volume, entirely devoted to a sojourn in Canada, contains sixty manuscript pages, numbered 68 to 130, and with the leaves carrying pp. 97-98 and 113-114 missing, the preceding and subsequent pages have been torn out. The remaining text is in good condition, clear and legible. Dated from June to September 1874. The first twenty-six pages describe MacGregor's stay in Grand Cascapedia; thereafter he travels to Little Cascapedia, New Richmond, Nepisiguit, Tabusintac, Bathurst, Bonaventure, New Carlisle, Port Daniel, Palos, Grand River, Little Palos and Percé, before returning to England, 3 September 1874, on S.S. Secret. The first entry gives a fair indication of the journal's tone: 'June 1874 | 22nd. got higher about 1200 ft all wooded. It was quite warm & pleasant. The river is awfully rapid & being very full is now very hard poleing [sic] & the men had to do all they knew to get along she goes at a regular racing pace. I found Mr. Woodman a decent old Farmer & he & his Mrs. gave me some dinner which I was glad of & then I got fixed up & left at 1. I fished steadily till 4 when I caught an 8 1/2 lb fish who was pretty lively, I then got a 17 1/2 lbs who took me some time to kill & after this a 7 1/2 they all turned out to be kelts & were the ugliest looking lean lanky brutes I ever saw so thin & looking. Mr. Almon & his cousin & a Mr. Smith came up this afternoon about 7 so we all went to work & made our tents & ourselves comfortable & it was late before we got any grub. Flies not bad. Almond, Almond, & Smith seem a good lot.' The author's devotion to his sport is indicated in the entry for 18 July 1874: 'At 8.20 hooked a fish which was most pervous & took me over both rapids & at the 2nd. rapid made for one side & then changed his mind & went down the other which was one my men had not been down before & was pretty dangerous but I was in happy oblivion to anything of the kind he took me one hour & an [sic] half to kill & weighed 32. Jock Scott was the tempter'. On one page ('New Richmond | July 1874') he evaluates the men he has engaged, mostly as 'good' or 'poor', but with the entry for John Capelin reading 'Good but old very much so & a great deal too slow, in fact no use at all'. On the S.S. Secret he finds 'no decent passengers' and amuses himself 'with a simple girl from Point Levi'. The second journal (with 'Walter A. MacGregor 1876' at front) consists of an initial section (January to September 1876) of 106 pp (one leaf having sections cut out), followed after a gap by a smaller section (December 1876 to April 1877) of 29 pp. 54 pp of the first section describe a trip with 'Lola' to the United States and Canada, from May to September 1876. They travel from Liverpool on the S.S. City of Chester to New York, whence to Canada, visiting St John, Bathurst, Nepisguit, Dalhousie, Cascapedia, Murray Bay, Quebec, Montreal, Toronto, Niagara, Saratoga and North Creek, and then back to New York, whence he returns to Liverpool on the S.S. Germanic. The second journal is more social and less sporting than the first, but MacGregor's fervour is clearly undiminished: '24th. [July 1876] Rained all day, fished the Parson pool, got 15 fish & lost 7. 3 of the latter carried off my flies. Grey Tandy, Blue & Brown, Durham Ranger, good to day. This is the largest number of fish taken in one day on this river they weighed 367 lbs, the largest was 39 the smallest 12 1/2 it was hard pulling all the time, we did not breakfast till 2. o'clock, I got 11 before breakfast & not loosing [sic] one took them all with a grey Tandy'. Gives table of the 'Total take this Season', pitted against 'Spurr' and 'Kinnear'. Long pencil list of 'Pools' on strip of paper pinned to one page. The second journal begins (January to May 1876, 52 pp) with accounts of MacGregor's doings in Liverpool (with 'Mother, Alick, Anne'), Worcester, London, Brighton, Edinburgh, Cairnbank, Ripon and Bolton, and the 29-page final section describes his activities in London, Liverpool and Herefordshire. In Brighton, on 28 February 1876, he resolves to 'see Miss G- alone & ask her to be mine for ever [...] when we got well into the country I became inqiuisitve & not getting a satisfactory answer to my question I bluntly without any preparative pow wow asked Jessie the momentous question & much to my joy she said Yes - what we did during those glorious few minutes is best left to our own memories as such things ought not to be put on paper.'