1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/MacGregor, John

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MacGREGOR, JOHN [“Rob Roy”] (1825–1892), Scottish canoeist, traveller and philanthropist, son of General Sir Duncan MacGregor, K.C.B., was born at Gravesend on the 24th of January 1825. He combined a roving disposition with a natural taste for mechanics and for literature. In 1839 he went to Trinity College, Dublin, and in 1844 to Trinity, Cambridge, where he was a wrangler. He was called to the bar in 1851, but did not pursue his profession. He travelled a great deal in Europe, Egypt, Palestine, Russia, Algeria and America, and between 1853 and 1863 was largely occupied with researches into the history and methods of marine propulsion. He was the pioneer of British canoeing. In 1865 he started on a long canoeing cruise in his “Rob Roy” canoe, and in this way made a prolonged water tour through Europe, a record of which he published in 1866 as A Thousand Miles in the Rob Roy Canoe. This book made MacGregor and his canoe famous. He made similar voyages in later years in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, the North Sea and Palestine. Another voyage, in the English Channel and on French waters, was made in a yawl. He published accounts of all these journeys. He did not, however, confine his energies to travelling. He was active in charity and philanthropic work, being one of the founders of the Shoe-black Brigade. In 1870 and again in 1873 he was elected on the London school board. He died at Boscombe on the 16th of July 1892.