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Voyage of The Paper Canoe by N. H. Bishop

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boat was detained one day on the banks of the
canal. On the fourth day the Mayeta ended her
services by arriving at Albany, where, after a
journey of four hundred miles, experience had
taught me that I could travel more quickly in a
lighter boat, and more conveniently and
economically without a companion. It was now about
the first week in August, and the delay which
would attend the building of a new boat
especially adapted for the journey of two thousand
miles yet to be travelled would not be lost, as by
waiting a few weeks, time would be given for
the malaria on the rivers of New Jersey,
Delaware, and Maryland, and even farther south, to
be eradicated by the fall frosts. David returned
to his New Jersey home a happy man, invested
with the importance which attaches itself to a
great traveller. I had unfortunately contributed
to Mr. Bodfish's thirst for the marvellous by
reading to him at night, in our lonely camp,
Jules Verne's imaginative "Journey to the
Centre of the Earth." David was in ecstasies over
this wonderful contribution to fiction. He
preferred fiction to truth at any time. Once, while
reading to him a chapter of the above work, his
credulity was so challenged that he became
excited, and broke forth with, "Say, boss, how do
these big book-men larn to lie so well? does it
come nat'ral to them, or is it got by edication?"
I have since heard that when Mr. Bodfish arrived
in the pine-wood regions of New Jersey he
related to his friends his adventures "in furrin
parts," as he styled the Dominion of Canada,
and so interlaced the facts of the cruise of the
Mayeta with the fancies of the "Journey to the
Centre of the Earth," that to his neighbors the
region of the St. Lawrence has become a
country of awful and mysterious associations, while
the more knowing members of the community
which David honors with his presence are firmly
convinced that there never existed such a boat
as the Mayeta save in the wild imagination of
David Bodfish.

Mr. Bodfish's fictitious adventures, as related
by him, covered many thousand miles of canoe
voyaging. He had penetrated the region of ice
beyond Labrador, and had viewed with
complacency the north pole, which he found to be
a pitch-pine spar that had been erected by
the Coast Survey "to measure pints from."
He roundly censured the crews of whale-ships
which had mutilated this noble government
work by splitting much of it into kindling-wood.
Fortunately about two-thirds of Mr. Bodfish's
audience had no very clear conceptions of the
character of the north pole, some of them having
ignored its very existence. So they accepted
this portion of his narrative, while they rejected
the most reasonable part of his story.

The Mayeta was sent to Lake George, and
afterwards became a permanent resident. Two
years later her successor, the Paper Canoe, one
of the most happy efforts of the Messrs. Waters,
of Troy, was quietly moored beside her; and
soon after there was added to the little fleet a
cedar duck-boat, which had carried me on a
second voyage to the great southern sea. Here,
anchored safely under the high cliffs, rocked
gently by the loving waters of Lake George, rest
these faithful friends. They carried me over
five thousand miles, through peaceful rivers and
surging seas. They have shared my dangers;
they now share my peace.



Inquiries regarding the history and
durability of paper boats occasionally reach me
through the medium of the post-office. After
all the uses to which paper has been put during
the last twenty years, the public is yet hardly
convinced that the flimsy material, paper, can
successfully take the place of wood in the
construction of light pleasure-boats, canoes, and
racing shells. Yet the idea has become an
accomplished fact. The success of the victorious
paper shells of the Cornell College navy, which
were enlisted in the struggles of two seasons at
Saratoga, against no mean antagonists, -- the
college crews of the United States, -- surely proves
that in strength, stiffness, speed, and fineness of
model, the paper boat is without a rival.

When used in its own peculiar sphere, the
improved paper boat will be found to possess the
following merits: less weight, greater strength,
stiffness, durability, and speed than a wooden
boat of the same size and model; and the moulded
paper shell will retain the delicate lines so
essential to speed, while the brittle wooden shell yields
more or less to the warping influences of sun and
moisture. A comparison of the strength of wood
and paper for boats has been made by a writer in
the Cornell Times, a journal published by the
students of that celebrated New York college:

"Let us take a piece of wood and a piece of
paper of the same thickness, and experiment
with, use, and abuse them both to the same
extent. Let the wood be of one-eighth of an inch
in thickness -- the usual thickness of shell-boats,
and the paper heavy pasteboard, both one foot
square. Holding them up by one side, strike
them with a hammer, and observe the result.
The wood will be cracked, to say the least;
the pasteboard, whirled out of your hand, will
only be dented, at most. Take hold and bend
them: the wood bends to a certain degree, and
then splits; the pasteboard, bent to the same
degree, is not affected in the least. Take a knife
and strike them: the wood is again split, the
pasteboard only pierced. Place them on the
water: the wood floats for an indefinite time; the
pasteboard, after a time, soaks, and finally sinks,
as was to be expected. But suppose we soak the
pasteboard in marine glue before the experiment,
then we find the pasteboard equally as
impervious to the water as wood, and as buoyant, if of
the same weight; but, to be of the same weight,
it must be thinner than the wood, yet even then
it stands the before-mentioned tests as well as
when thicker; and it will be found to stand all
tests much better than wood, even when it
weighs considerably less.

"Now, enlarging our pieces, and moulding
them into boats of the same weight, we find the
following differences: Wood, being stiff and
liable to split, can only be moulded into
comparative form. Paper, since it can be rendered
perfectly pliable, can be pressed into any shape
desirable; hence, any wished-for fineness of lines
can be given to the model, and the paper will
assume the identical shape, after which it can be
water-proofed, hardened, and polished. Paper
neither swells, nor shrinks, nor cracks, hence it
does not leak, is always ready for use, always
serviceable. As to cost, there is very little
difference between the two; the cost being within
twenty-five dollars, more or less, the same for
both. Those who use paper boats think them
very near perfection; and surely those who have
the most to do with boats ought to know,
prejudice aside, which is the best."

An injury to a paper boat is easily repaired by
a patch of strong paper and a coating of shellac
put on with a hot iron. As the paper boat is
a novelty with many people, a sketch of its early
history may prove interesting to the reader. Mr.
George A. Waters, the son of the senior member
of the firm of E. Waters & Sons, of Troy, New
York, was invited some years since to a
masquerade party. The boy repaired to a toy shop to
purchase a counterfeit face; but, thinking the
price (eight dollars) was more than he could
afford for a single evening's sport, he borrowed
the mask for a model, from which he produced a
duplicate as perfect as was the original. While
engaged upon his novel work, an idea impressed
itself upon his ingenious brain. "Cannot," he
queried, "a paper shell be made upon the wooden
model of a boat? And will not a shell thus
produced, after being treated to a coat of varnish,
float as well, and be lighter than a wooden boat?"

This was in March, 1867, while the youth was
engaged in the manufacture of paper boxes.
Having repaired a wooden shell-boat by
covering the cracks with sheets of stout paper cemented
to the wood, the result satisfied him; and he
immediately applied his attention to the further
development of his bright idea. Assisted by his
father, Mr. Elisha Waters, the enterprise was
commenced "by taking a wooden shell, thirteen
inches wide and thirty feet long, as a mould,
and covering the entire surface of its bottom and
sides with small sheets of strong Manila paper,
glued together, and superposed on each other, so
that the joints of one layer were covered by the
middle of the sheet immediately above, until a
sheet of paper had been formed one-sixteenth of
an inch in thickness. The fabric thus
constructed, after being carefully dried, was
removed from the mould and fitted up with a
suitable frame, consisting of a lower keelson, two
inwales, the bulkhead; in short, all the usual
parts of the frame of a wooden shell, except the
timbers, or ribs, of which none were used -- the
extreme stiffness of the skin rendering them
unnecessary. Its surface was then carefully
waterproofed with suitable varnishes, and the work was
completed. Trials proved that, rude as was this
first attempt compared with the elegant craft
now turned out from paper, it had marked merits,
among which were, its remarkable stiffness, the
symmetry of the hull with respect to its long
axis, and the smoothness of the water-surface."

A gentleman, who possesses excellent
judgment and long experience in all that relates to
paper boats, furnishes me with the following
valuable information, which I feel sure will
interest the reader.

"The process of building the paper shell-boat
is as follows: The dimensions of the boat having
been determined upon, the first step is to
construct a wooden model, or form, an exact
facsimile of the desired boat, on which to mould
the paper skin. For this purpose the lines of the
boat are carefully drawn out of the full size, and
from the drawings thus made the model is
prepared. It is built of layers of well-seasoned
pine, securely fastened together to form one solid
mass; which, after having been laid up of the
general outline required, is carefully worked off,
until its surface, which is made perfectly smooth,
exactly conforms to the selected lines, and its
beam, depth, and length are those of the given
boat. During the process of its construction,
suitable rabbets are cut to receive the lower
keelson, the two inwales, and the bow and stern
deadwoods, which, being put in position, are
worked off so that their surfaces are flush with
that of the model, and forming, as it were, an
integral part of it. It being important that these
parts should, in the completed boat, be firmly
attached to the skin, their surface is, at this part
of the process, covered with a suitable adhesive

"The model is now ready to be covered with
paper. Two kinds are used: that made from the
best Manila, and that prepared from pure
unbleached linen stock; the sheets being the full
length of the model, no matter what that may
be. If Manila paper is used, the first sheet is
dampened, laid smoothly on the model, and
securely fastened in place by tacking it to
certain rough strips attached to its upper face.
Other sheets are now superposed on this and on
each other, and suitably cemented together; the
number depending upon the size of the boat and
the stiffness required. If linen paper is used, but
one sheet is employed, of such weight and
dimensions that, when dry, it will give just the
thickness of skin necessary. Should the surface
of the model be concave in parts, as in the run
of boats with square sterns for instance, the paper
is made to conform to these surfaces by suitable
convex moulds, which also hold the paper in
place until, by drying, it has taken and will
retain the desired form. The model, with its
enveloping coat of paper, is now removed to the
dry-room. As the paper skin dries, all wrinkles
disappear, and it gradually assumes the desired
shape. Finally, when all moisture has been
evaporated, it is taken from the mould an exact
fac-simile of the model desired, exceedingly stiff,
perfectly symmetrical, and seamless.

"The paper is now subjected to the water-proof
process, and the skin, with its keelson, inwales,
and dead-woods attached, is then placed in the
carpenter's hands, where the frame is completed
in the usual manner, as described for wooden
boats. The paper decks being put on, it is then
ready for the brass, iron, and varnish work. As
the skins of these boats (racing-shells) vary from
one-sixteenth of an inch in the singles, to
one-twelfth of an inch in the six-oared outriggers, the
wooden frame becomes necessary to support and
keep them in shape. In applying this invention
to gigs, dingys, canoes, and skiffs, a somewhat
different method is adopted. Since these boats
are subjected to much hard service, and must be
so constructed as to permit the occupant to move
about in them as is usual in such craft, a light
and strong frame of wood is prepared, composed
of a suitable number of pairs of ribs, with stem
and stern pieces cut from the natural crooks of
hackmatack roots. These are firmly framed to
two gunwales and a keelson, extending the
length of the boat; the whole forming the
skeleton shape of the desired model. The forms for
these boats having been prepared, as already
described for the racing-shells, and the frame
being let into this form, so that the outer surface
of the ribs, stem and stern pieces will conform
with its outer surface, the paper skin is next laid
upon it. The skin, manufactured from new,
unbleached linen stock, is carefully stretched in
place, and when perfectly dry is from one-tenth
to three-sixteenths of an inch thick. Removed
from the model, it is water-proofed, the frame
and fittings completed, and the boat varnished.
In short, in this class of boats, the shape, style,
and finish are precisely that of wooden ones, of
corresponding dimensions and class, except that
for the usual wooden sheathing is substituted the
paper skin as described.

"The advantages possessed by these boats over
those of wood are:

"By the use of this material for the skins of
racing-shells, where experience has demonstrated
the smooth bottom to be the best, under-water
lines of any degree of fineness can be developed,
which cannot successfully be produced in those
of wood, even where the streaks are so reduced
in thickness that strength, stiffness, and
durability are either wholly sacrificed or greatly
impaired. In the finer varieties of 'dug-outs'
equally fine lines can be obtained; but so delicate
are such boats, if the sides are reduced to
three-sixteenths of an inch or less in thickness, that it
is found practically impossible to preserve their
original forms for any length of time. Hence,
so far as this point is concerned, it only remains
for the builder to select those models which
science, guided by experience, points out as the

The paper skin, after being water-proofed, is
finished with hard varnishes, and then presents a
solid, perfectly smooth, and horny surface to the
action of the water, unbroken by joint, lap, or
seam. This surface admits of being polished as
smooth as a coach-panel or a mirror. Unlike
wood, it has no grain to be cracked or split, it
never shrinks, and, paper being one of the best
of non-conductors, no ordinary degree of heat
or cold affects its shape or hardness, and hence
these boats are admirably adapted for use in all
climates. As the skin absorbs no moisture,
these boats gain no weight by use, and, having
no moisture to give off when out of the water,
they do not, like wooden boats, show the effect
of exposure to the air by leaking. They are,
therefore, in this respect always prepared for

The strength and stiffness of the paper shells
are most remarkable. To demonstrate it, a
single shell of twelve inch beam and twenty-eight
feet long, fitted complete with its outriggers,
the hull weighing twenty-two pounds, was
placed on two trestles eight feet apart, in such a
manner that the trestles were each the same
distance from the centre of the cockpit, which
was thus entirely unsupported. A man
weighing one hundred and forty pounds then seated
himself in it, and remained in this position three
minutes. The deflection caused by this strain,
being accurately measured, was found to be
one-sixteenth of an inch at a point midway between
the supports. If this load, applied under such
abnormal conditions, produced so little effect, we
can safely assume that, when thus loaded and
resting on the water, supported throughout her
whole length, and the load far more equally
distributed over the whole frame, there would be
no deflection whatever.

"Lightness, when combined with a proper,
stiffness and strength, being a very desirable quality,
it is here that the paper boats far excel their
wooden rivals. If two shells are selected, the one of
wood and the other with a paper skin and deck,
as has been described, of the same dimensions
and equally stiff, careful experiment proves that
the wooden one will be thirty per cent. the
heaviest. If those of the same dimensions and
equal weight are compared, the paper one will
be found to exceed the wooden one in stiffness
and in capacity to resist torsional strains in the
same proportion. Frequent boasts are made that
wooden shells can be and are built much lighter
than paper ones; and if the quality of lightness
alone is considered, this is true; yet when the
practical test of use is applied, such extremely
light wooden boats have always proved, and will
continue to prove, failures, as here this quality
is only one of a number which combine to make
the boat serviceable. A wooden shell whose
hull weighs twenty-two pounds, honest weight,
is a very fragile, short-lived affair. A paper
shell of the same dimensions, and of the same
weight, will last as long, and do as much work,
as a wooden one whose hull turns the beam at
thirty pounds.

"An instance of their remarkable strength is
shown in the following case. In the summer of
1870, a single shell, while being rowed at full
speed, with the current, on one of our
principal rivers, was run into to the stone abutment of a
bridge. The bow struck squarely on to
obstacle, and such was the momentum of the mass that
the oarsman was thrown directly through the
flaring bow of the cockpit into the river.
Witnesses of the accident who were familiar with
wooden shells declared that the boat was ruined;
but, after a careful examination, only the bow-tip
was found to be twisted in a spiral form, and the
washboard broken at the point by the oarsman
as he passed between the sides. Two dollars
covered the cost of repair. Had it been a
wooden shell the shock would have crushed its
stem and splintered the skin from the bow to the

Old and cautious seamen tried to dissuade me
from contracting with the Messrs. Waters for the
building of a stout paper canoe for my journey.
Harvard College had not adopted this "
newfangled notion" at that time, and Cornell had
only begun to think of attempting to out-row
other colleges at Saratoga by using paper boats.
The Centennial year of the independence of the
United States, 1876, settled all doubts as to the
value of the result of the years of toil of the
inventors of the paper boat. During the same
year the incendiary completed his revengeful
work by burning the paper-boat manufactory
at Troy. The loss was a heavy one; but a few
weeks later these unflinching men were able to
record the following victories achieved that
single season by their boats.

The races won by the paper boats were:

The Intercollegiate Championship:
Freshmen and University.

The International Championship at Saratoga:
Singles, Doubles, and Fours.

The National Championship, N. A. of A. 0.:
Singles, Doubles, and Fours.

The World's Championship at Centennial Exhibition:
Singles, Doubles, and Fours.

The Professional Championship of the United States.

And every other important race of the season,
besides receiving the highest honors at the
Centennial Exhibition. The right to make boats of
paper in Canada and in the United States is
exclusively held by the Messrs. Waters, and they
are the only manufacturers of paper boats in
the world.

It is not many years since Mr. McGregor, of
London, built the little Rob Roy canoe, and in it
made the tour of interesting European waters.
His example was followed by an army of tourists,
and it is now a common thing to meet canoe
voyagers in miniature flotillas upon the
watercourses of our own and foreign lands. Rev.
Baden Powell, also an Englishman, perfected
the model of the Nautilus type of canoe, which
possesses a great deal of sheer with fullness of
bow, and is therefore a better boat for rough
water than the Rob Roy. The New York Canoe
Club have adopted the Nautilus for their model.
We still need a distinctive American type for our
waters, more like the best Indian canoe than the
European models here presented. These
modern yacht-like canoes are really improved kyaks,
and in their construction we are much indebted
to the experience of the inhabitants of the Arctic
Circle. Very few of the so-called Rob Roy
canoes, built in the United States, resemble the
original perfected boat of Mr. McGregor -- the
father of modern canoe travelling. The
illustrations given of English canoes are from
imported models, and are perfect of their type.



My canoe of the English "Nautilus" type
was completed by the middle of October;
and on the cold, drizzly morning of the 21st of
the same month I embarked in my little
fifty-eight pound craft from the landing of the
paper-boat manufactory on the river Hudson, two miles
above Troy. Mr. George A. Waters put his
own canoe into the water, and proposed to
escort me a few miles down the river. If I
had any misgivings as to the stability of my
paper canoe upon entering her for the first time,
they were quickly dispelled as I passed the
stately Club-house of the Laureates, which
contained nearly forty shells, all of paper.
The dimensions of the Maria Theresa were:
length, fourteen feet; beam, twenty-eight inches;
depth, amidships, nine inches; height of bow
from horizontal line, twenty-three inches; height
of stern, twenty inches. The canoe was
one-eighth of an inch in thickness, and weighed
fifty-eight pounds. She was fitted with a pair
of steel outriggers, which could be easily
unshipped and stowed away. The oars were of
spruce, seven feet eight inches long, and weighed
three pounds and a quarter each. The double
paddle, which was seven feet six inches in length,
weighed two pounds and a half. The mast
and sail -- which are of no service on such a
miniature vessel, and were soon
discarded -- weighed six pounds. When I took on board at
Philadelphia the canvas deck-cover and the
rubber strap which secured it in position, and the
outfit, -- the cushion, sponge, provision-basket,
and a fifteen-pound case of charts, -- I found that,
with my own weight included (one hundred and
thirty pounds), the boat and her cargo, all told,
provisioned for a long cruise, fell considerably
short of the weight of three Saratoga trunks
containing a very modest wardrobe for a lady's
four weeks' visit at a fashionable watering-place.

The Aboriginal Type (Kayak)<br /> - The Improved Type (Maria Theresa)

The rain ceased, the mists ascended, and the
sunlight broke upon us as we swiftly descended
upon the current of the Hudson to Albany. The
city was reached in an hour and a half. Mr.
Waters, pointing his canoe northward, wished me
bon voyage, and returned to the scene of the
triumphs of his patient labors, while I settled down
to a steady row southward. At Albany, the
capital of the state, which is said to be one
hundred and fifty miles distant from New York city,
there is a tidal rise and fall of one foot.
A feeling of buoyancy and independence came
over me as I glided on the current of this noble
stream, with the consciousness that I now
possessed the right boat for my enterprise. It had
been a dream of my youth to become acquainted
with the charms of this most romantic river of
the American continent. Its sources are in the
clouds of the Adirondacks, among the cold peaks
of the northern wilderness; its ending may be
said to be in the briny waters of the Atlantic,
for its channel-way has been sounded outside
of the sandy beaches of New York harbor in
the bosom of the restless ocean. The highest
types of civilized life are nurtured upon its banks.
Noble edifices, which contain and preserve the
works of genius and of mechanical art, rear their
proud roofs from among these hills on the lofty
sites of the picturesque Hudson. The wealth
of the great city at its mouth, the metropolis of
the young nation, has been lavished upon the
soil of the river's borders to make it even more
beautiful and more fruitful. What river in
America, along the same length of coast-lines
as from Troy to New York (one hundred and
fifty-six miles), can rival in natural beauty
and artificial applications of wealth the lovely
Hudson? "The Hudson River," says its genial
historian, Mr. Lossing, "from its birth among
the mountains to its marriage with the ocean,
measures a distance of full three hundred

Captain John Smith's friend, the Englishman
Henry Hudson, while in the employ of the
Dutch East India Company, in his vessel of
ninety tons, the Half-Moon, being in search
of a northwest passage south of Virginia, cast
anchor outside of Sandy Hook, September 3,
1609, and on the 11th passed up through the
Narrows into the present bay of New York.
Under the firm conviction that he was on his
way to the long-sought Cathay, a day later he
entered the Hudson River, where now stands
the proud metropolis of America. As the Half-Moon
ascended the river the water lost its
saltness, and by the time they were anchored where
the city of Albany now stands all hopes of Cathay
faded from the heart of the mariner. Englishmen
called this river in honor of its discoverer, but the
Dutch gave it the name of North River,
the Delaware had been discovered and named
South River. Thus, while in 1609 Samuel
Champlain was exploring the lake which bears
his name, Hudson was ascending his river upon
the southern water-shed. The historian tells us
that these bold explorers penetrated the
wilderness, one from the north and the other from the
south, to within one hundred miles of each other.

The same historian (Dr. Lossing) says: "The
most remote source of the extreme western
branch of our noble river is Hendricks Spring,
so named in honor of Hendricks Hudson. We
found Hendricks Spring in the edge of a swamp,
cold, shallow, about five feet in diameter,
shaded by trees, shrubbery, and vines, and fringed
with the delicate brake and fern. Its waters,
rising within half a mile of Long Lake, and upon
the same summit-level, flow southward to the
Atlantic more than three hundred miles; while
those of the latter flow to the St. Lawrence, and
reach the same Atlantic a thousand miles away
to the far northeast."

Since Dr. Lossing visited the western head of
the Hudson River, the true and highest source
of the stream has probably been settled by a
gentleman possessing scientific acquirements and
inflexible purpose. On the plateau south of
Mount Marcy, State-Surveyor Colvin found
the little Lake Tear-of-the-Clouds to be the
loftiest sheet of water in the state, -- four
thousand three hundred and twenty-six feet above
the sea, -- and proved it to be the lake-head of
the great river Hudson. A second little pond in
a marsh on a high plateau, at the foot of Mount
Redfield, was also discovered, -- "margined and
embanked with luxuriant and deep sphagnous
moss," -- which was named by the party Moss
Lake. It was found to flow into the Hudson.
A beautiful little bivalve shell, three-sixteenths
of an inch in diameter, of an undescribed species,
was found in the pellucid water, and thus a new
shell was handed over to conchology, and a new
river source to geography, in the same hour.
This pool is four thousand three hundred and
twelve feet above tide-water, and only a few feet
lower than its sister, Tear-of-the-Clouds -- the
highest source of the Hudson.

Should the state of New York adopt Mr.
Colvin's suggestion, to reserve six hundred square
miles of the Adirondack region for a public park,
the pool Tear-of-the-Clouds will be within the
reservation. The waters of these baby
fountains are swollen by contributions from the
streams, ponds, and lakes of the Adirondack
wilderness, until along the banks of Fishing
Brook, a tributary of the Hudson, the water is
utilized at the first saw-mill. A few miles lower
down the forests are vexed by the axe of the
lumbermen, and logs are floated down the river
one hundred miles to Glens Falls, where the
State Dam and Great Boom are located. Half
a million logs have been gathered there in a
single spring.

It was upon the Hudson that the first
successful steamboat, built by Robert Fulton, made
its voyage to Albany, the engine having been
built by Watt & Bolton, in England.

From Mr. Lossing we obtain the following.

"The Clermont was one hundred feet long,
twelve feet wide, and seven feet deep. The
following advertisement appeared in the Albany
Gazette on the 1st of September, 1807:

"The North River steamboat will leave Paulus Hook (Jersey
City) on Friday, the 4th of September, at 9 in the morning, and
arrive at Albany on Saturday at 9 in the afternoon. Provisions,
good berths, and accommodations are provided. The charge to
each passenger is as follows:

To Newburgh, . . . . 3 Dollars. . . Time, 14 hours.
" Poughkeepsie, . . 4 " . . . . " 17 "
" Esopus, . . . . 5 " . . . . " 20 "
" Hudson, . . . . 5-1/2" . . . . " 30 "
" Albany, . . . . 7 " . . . . " 36 " ."

The trip, which was made against a strong
head wind, was entirely successful. The large
steamers can now make the trip from New York
to Albany in about ten hours.

As I pulled easily along the banks of the river,
my eyes feasted upon the gorgeous coloring of
the autumnal foliage, which formed a scene of
beauty never to be forgotten. The rapid
absorption of oxygen by the leaves in the fall months
produces, in northern America, these vivid tints
which give to the country the appearance of a
land covered with a varied and brilliant garment,
"a coat of many colors." A soft hazy light
pervaded the atmosphere, while at the same time
the October air was gently exhilarating to the
nervous system. At six o'clock P. M. the canoe
arrived at Hudson City, which is on the east
bank of the river, and I completed a row of
thirty-eight statute miles, according to local
authority; but in reality forty-nine miles by the
correct charts of the United States Coast Survey.
After storing the Maria Theresa in a shed, I
repaired to a dismal hotel for the night.

At seven o'clock the next morning the river
was mantled in a dense fog, but I pushed off and
guided myself by the sounds of the running
trains on the Hudson River Railroad. This
corporation does such an immense amount of
freighting that, if their freight trains were
connected, a continuous line of eighty miles would
be constructed, of which sixteen miles are
always in transit day and night. Steamboats
and tugs with canal-boats in tow were groping
about the river in the misty darkness, blowing
whistles every few minutes to let people know
that the pilot was not sleeping at the wheel.
There was a grand clearing up at noon; and as
the sun broke through the mist, the beautiful
shores came into view like a vivid flame of
scarlet, yellow, brown, and green. It was the
death-song of summer, and her dying notes the
tinted leaves, each one giving to the wind a sad
strain as it softly dropped to the earth, or was
quickly hurled into space.

A few miles south of Hudson City, on the
west bank, the Catskill stream enters the river.
From this point the traveller may penetrate the
picturesque country of the Appalachian range,
where its wild elevations were called Onti Ora,
or "mountains of the sky," by the aborigines.

Roundout, on the right bank of the Hudson,
is the terminus of the Delaware and Hudson
Canal, which connects it with Port Jervis on the
Delaware, a distance of fifty-four miles. This
town, the outlet of the coal regions, I passed
after meridian. As I left Hudson on the first of
the flood-tide, I had to combat it for several
hours; but I easily reached Hyde Park Landing
(which is on the left bank of the stream and, by
local authority, thirty-five miles from Hudson
City) at five o'clock P. M. The wharf-house
sheltered the canoe, and a hotel in the village,
half a mile distant on the high plains, its owner.
I was upon the river by seven o'clock the next
morning. The day was varied by strong gusts
of wind succeeded by calms. Six miles south
of Hyde Park is the beautiful city of
Poughkeepsie with its eighteen thousand inhabitants,
and the celebrated Vassar Female College. Eight
miles down the river, and on the same side, is a
small village called New Hamburg. The rocky
promontory at the foot of which the town is
built is covered with the finest arbor vitae forest
probably in existence. Six miles below, on
west bank, is the important city of Newburg,
one of the termini of the New York and Erie
Railroad. Four miles below, the river narrows
and presents a grand view of the north entrance
of the Highlands, with the Storm King Mountain
rising fully one thousand five hundred feet above
the tide. The early Dutch navigators gave to
this peak the name of Boter-burg (Butter-Hill),
but it was rechristened Storm King by the
author N. P. Willis, whose late residence, Idlewild,
commands a fine view of Newburg Bay.

When past the Storm King, the Crow-Nest and
the almost perpendicular front of Kidd's Plug
Cliff tower aloft, and mark the spot where Kidd
(as usual) was supposed to have buried a
portion of that immense sum of money with which
popular belief invests hundreds of localities
along the watercourses of the continent. Now
the Narrows above West Point were entered
and the current against a head-wind made the
passage unusually exciting. The paper canoe
danced over the boiling expanse of water, and
neared the west shore about a mile above the
United States Military Academy, when a shell,
from a gun on the grounds of that institution
burst in the water within a few feet of the boat.
I now observed a target set upon a little flat at
the foot of a gravelly hill close to the beach.
As a second, and finally a third shell exploded
near me, I rowed into the rough water, much
disgusted with cadet-practice and military etiquette.
After dark the canoe was landed on the deck of
a schooner which was discharging slag or cinder
at Fort Montgomery Landing. I scrambled up
the hill to the only shelter that could be found, a
small country store owned by a Captain Conk
who kept entertainment for the traveller. Rough
fellows and old crones came in to talk about the
spooks that had been seen in the neighboring
hills. It was veritable "Sleepy Hollow" talk.
The physician of the place, they said, had been
"skert clean off a bridge the other night."

Embarking the following morning from this
weird and hilly country, that prominent natural
feature, Anthony's Nose, which was located on
the opposite shore, strongly appealed to my
imagination and somewhat excited my mirth. One
needs a powerful imagination, I thought, to live
in these regions where the native element, the
hill-folk, dwell so fondly and earnestly upon the
ghostly and mysterious. Three miles down the
river, Dunderberg, "the thundering mountain,"
on the west bank, with the town of Peekskill on
the opposite shore, was passed, and I entered
Haverstraw Bay, the widest part of the river.
"Here," says the historian, "the fresh and salt
water usually contend, most equally, for the
mastery; and here the porpoise is often seen in
large numbers sporting in the summer sun. Here
in the spring vast numbers of shad are caught
while on their way to spawning-beds in
freshwater coves." Haverstraw Bay was crossed, and
Tarrytown passed, when I came to the
picturesque little cottage of a great man now gone
from among us. Many pleasant memories of
his tales rose in my mind as I looked upon
Sunnyside, the home of Washington Irving,
nestled in the grove of living green, its white
stuccoed walls glistening in the bright sunlight,
and its background of grand villas looming up on
every side. At Irvington Landing, a little further
down the river, I went ashore to pass Sunday
with friends; and on the Monday following, in a
dense fog, proceeded on my route to New York.

Below Irvington the far-famed "Palisades,"
bold-faced precipices of trap-rock, offer their
grandest appearance on the west side of the
Hudson. These singular bluffs, near Hoboken,
present a perpendicular front of three hundred or
four hundred feet in height. Piles of broken rock
rest against their base: the contribution of the
cliffs above from the effects of frost and sun.

While approaching the great city of New
York, strong squalls of wind, blowing against
the ebb-tide, sent swashy waves into my open
canoe, the sides of which, amidships, were only
five or six inches above water; but the great
buoyancy of the light craft and its very smooth
exterior created but little friction in the water
and made her very seaworthy, when carefully
watched and handled, even without a deck of
canvas or wood. While the canoe forged ahead
through the troubled waters, and the breezes
loaded with the saltness of the sea now near at
hand struck my back, I confess that a longing to
reach Philadelphia, where I could complete my
outfit and increase the safety of my little craft,
gave renewed vigor to my stroke as I exchanged
the quiet atmosphere of the country for the
smoke and noise of the city. Every instinct was
now challenged, and every muscle brought into
action, as I dodged tug-boats, steamers, yachts,
and vessels, while running the thoroughfare
along the crowded wharves between New York
on one side and Jersey City on the other. I
found the slips between the piers most excellent
ports of refuge at times, when the ferry-boats,
following each other in quick succession, made
the river with its angry tide boil like a vortex.
The task soon ended, and I left the Hudson at
Castle Garden and entered the upper bay of New
York harbor. As it was dark, I would gladly
have gone ashore for the night, but a great city
offers no inducement for a canoeist to land as a
stranger at its wharves.

A much more pleasant reception awaited me
down on Staten Island, a gentleman having
notified me by mail that he would welcome the
canoe and its owner. The ebb had ceased, and
the incoming tide was being already felt close
in shore; so with tide and wind against me,
and the darkness of night settling down gloomily
upon the wide bay, I pulled a strong oar for five
miles to the entrance of Kill Van Kull Strait,
which separates Staten Island from New Jersey
and connects the upper bay with Raritan Bay.

The bright beams from the light-house on
Robbin's Reef, which is one mile and a quarter
off the entrance of the strait, guided me on my
course. The head-sea, in little, splashy waves,
began to fill my canoe. The water soon reached
the foot-rest; but there was no time to stop to
bale out the boat, for a friendly current was near,
and if once reached, my little craft would enter
smoother waters. The flood which poured into
the mouth of Kill Van Kull soon caught my
boat, and the head-tide was changed to a favorable
current which carried me in its strong arms
far into the salt-water strait, and I reached West
New Brighton, along the high banks of which I
found my haven of rest. Against the sky I
traced the outlines of my land-mark, three
poplars, standing sentinel-like before the house of
the gentleman who had so kindly offered me his
hospitality. The canoe was emptied of its
shifting liquid ballast and carefully sponged dry.
My host and his son carried it into the main hall
of the mansion and placed it upon the floor,
where the entire household gathered, an
admiring group. Proud, indeed, might my dainty
craft have been of the appreciation of so lovely
a company. her master fully appreciated the
generous board of his kind host, and in present
comfort soon forgot past trials and his wet pull
across the upper bay of New York harbor.

My work for the next day, October 27th, was
the navigation of the interesting strait of the old
Dutch settlers and the Raritan River, of New
Jersey, as far as New Brunswick. The average
width of Kill Van Kull is three-eighths of a mile.
From its entrance, at Constable's Point, to the
mouth of Newark Bay, which enters it on the
Jersey side, it is three miles, and nearly two
miles across the bay to Elizabethport. Bergen
Point is on the east and Elizabethport on the west
entrance of the bay, while on Staten Island, New
Brighton, Factoryville, and North Shore, furnish
homes for many New York business men.

At Elizabethport the strait narrows to one
eighth of a mile, and as the mouth of the
Rahway is approached it widens. It now runs
through marshes for most of the way, a distance
of twelve miles to Raritan Bay, which is an arm
of the lower bay of New York harbor. The
strait, from Elizabethport to its mouth, is called
Arthur Kill; the whole distance through the
Kills, from Constable's Point to Raritan Bay, is
about seventeen statute miles. At the mouth of
Arthur Kill the Raritan River opens to the bay,
and the city of Perth Amboy rests on the point
of high land between the river and the strait.

Roseville and Tottenville are on the Staten
Island shores of Arthur Kill, the former six
miles, the latter ten miles from Elizabethport.
The tide runs swiftly through the Kills.
Leaving Mr. Campbell's residence at nine A. M., with
a tide in my favor as far as Newark Bay, I soon
had the tide against me from the other Kill until
I passed the Rahway River, when it commenced
to ebb towards Raritan Bay. The marshy shores
of the Kills were submerged in places by the
high tide, but their monotony was relieved by
the farms upon the hills back of the flats.

At one o'clock my canoe rounded the heights
upon which Perth Amboy is perched, with its
snug cottages, the homes of many oystermen
whose fleet of boats was anchored in front of the
town. Curious yard-like pens constructed of
poles rose out of the water, in which boats could
find shelter from the rough sea.

The entrance to the Raritan River is wide,
and above its mouth it is crossed by a long
railroad bridge. The pull up the crooked river
(sixteen miles) against a strong ebb-tide, through
extensive reedy marshes, was uninteresting. I
came upon the entrance of the canal which connects
the rivers Raritan and Delaware after six
o'clock P. M., which at this season of the year
was after dark. Hiding the canoe in a secure
place I went to visit an old friend, Professor
George Cook, of the New Jersey State Geological
Survey, who resides at New Brunswick. In the
morning the professor kindly assisted me, and
we climbed the high bank of the canal with the
canoe upon our shoulders, putting it into the
water below the first two locks. I now
commenced an unexciting row of forty-two miles to
Bordentown, on the Delaware, where this
artificial watercourse ends.

This canal is much travelled by steam tugs
towing schooners of two hundred tons, and by
barges and canal-boats of all sizes drawing not
above seven feet and a half of water. The
boats are drawn through the locks by stationary
steam-engines, the use of which is discontinued
when the business becomes slack; then the
boatmen use their mules for the same purpose. To
tow an average-sized canal-boat, loaded, requires
four mules, while an empty one is easily drawn
by two. It proved most expeditious as well as
convenient not to trouble the lock-master to open
the gates, but to secure his assistance in carrying
the canoe along the tow-path to the end of the
lock, which service occupied less than five
minutes. In this way the canoe was carried around
seven locks the first day, and when dusk
approached she was sheltered beside a paper shell
in the boat-house of Princeton College Club,
which is located on the banks of the canal about
one mile and a half from the city of Princeton.

In this narrow watercourse these
indefatigable collegians, under great disadvantages, drill
their crews for the annual intercollegiate struggle
for championship. One Noah Reed provided
entertainment for man and beast at his country
inn half a mile from the boat-house, and thither
I repaired for the night.

This day's row of twenty-six miles and a
half had been through a hilly country,
abounding in rich farm lands which were well
cultivated. The next morning an officer of the
Princeton Bank awaited my coming on the banks
of the sluggish canal. He had taken an early
walk from the town to see the canoe. At
Baker's Basin the bridge-tender, a one-legged man,
pressed me to tarry till he could summon the
Methodist minister, who had charged him to
notify him of the approach of a paper canoe.

Through all my boat journeys I have remarked
that professional men take more interest in canoe
journeys than professional oarsmen; and nearly
all the canoeists of my acquaintance are
ministers of the gospel. It is an innocent way of
obtaining relaxation; and opportunities thus offered
the weary clergyman of studying nature in her
ever-changing but always restful moods, must
indeed be grateful after being for months in daily
contact with the world, the flesh, and the devil.
The tendency of the present age to liberal ideas
permits clergymen in large towns and cities to
drive fast horses, and spend an hour of each day
at a harmless game of billiards, without giving
rise to remarks from his own congregation, but
let the overworked rector of a country village
seek in his friendly canoe that relief which nature
offers to the tired brain, let him go into the
wilderness and live close to his Creator by studying
his works, and a whole community vex him on
his return with "the appearance of the thing."
These self-constituted critics, who are generally
ignorant of the laws which God has made to
secure health and give contentment to his creatures,
would poison the sick man's body with drugs and
nostrums when he might have the delightful and
generally successful services of Dr. Camp Cure
without the after dose of a bill. These
hardworked and miserably paid country clergymen,
who are rarely, nowadays, treated as the head
of the congregation or the shepherd of the flock
they are supposed to lead, but rather as victims
of the whims of influential members of the
church, tell me that to own a canoe is indeed a
cross, and that if they spend a vacation in the
grand old forests of the Adirondacks, the
brethren are sorely exercised over the time wasted in
such unusual and unministerial conduct.

Everywhere along the route the peculiar
character of the paper canoe attracted many remarks
from the bystanders. The first impression given
was that I had engaged in this rowing enterprise
under the stimulus of a bet; and when the
curious were informed that it was a voyage of
study, the next question was "How much are you
going to make out of it?" Upon learning that
there was neither a bet nor money in it, a shade
of disappointment and incredulity rested upon
the features of the bystanders, and the canoeist
was often rated as a "blockhead" for risking his
life without being paid for it.

At Trenton the canal passes through the city
and here it was necessary to carry the boat
around two locks. At noon the canoe ended
her voyage of forty-two miles by reaching the
last lock, on the Delaware River, at Bordentown,
New Jersey, where friendly arms received the
Maria Theresa and placed her on the trestles
which had supported her sister craft, the Mayeta,
in the shop of the builder, Mr. J. S. Lamson,
situated under the high cliffs along the crests of
which an ex-king of Spain, in times gone by,
was wont to walk and sadly ponder on his exile
from la belle France.

The Rev. John H. Barkeley, proprietor as well
as principal of the Bordentown Female
Seminary, took me to his ancient mansion, where
Thomas Paine, of old Revolutionary war times,
had lodged. Not the least attraction in the
home of my friend was the group of fifty young
ladies, who were kind enough to gather upon a
high bluff when I left the town, and wave
graceful farewell to the paper canoe as she
entered the tidal current of the river Delaware en
route for the Quaker city.

During my short stay in Bordentown Mr.
Isaac Gabel kindly acted as my guide and we
explored the Bonaparte Park, which is on the
outskirts of the town. The grounds are
beautifully laid out. Some of the old houses of the
ex-king's friends and attendants still remain in a
fair state of preservation. The elegant residence
of Joseph Bonaparte, or the Count de
Surveilliers, which was always open to American
visitors of all classes, was torn down by Mr. Hairy
Beckon, an Englishman in the diplomatic
service of the British government, who purchased
this property some years after the Count returned
to Europe, and erected a more elaborate
mansion near the old site. The old citizens of
Bordentown hold in grateful remembrance the
favors showered upon them by Joseph Bonaparte
and his family, who seem to have lived a
democratic life in the grand old park. The Count
returned to France in 1838, and never visited
the United States again. New Jersey had
welcomed the exiled monarch, and had given him
certain legal privileges in property rights which
New York had refused him; so he settled upon
the lovely shores of the fair Delaware, and
lavished his wealth upon the people of the state
that had so kindly received him. The citizens
of neighboring states becoming somewhat
jealous of the good luck that had befallen New
Jersey in her capture of the Spanish king, applied
to the state the cognomen of "New Spain,"
and called the inhabitants thereof "Spaniards."

The Delaware River, the Makeriskitton of the
savage, upon whose noble waters my paper
canoe was now to carry me southward, has its
sources in the western declivity of the Catskill
Mountains, in the state of New York. It is fed
by two tributary streams, the Oquago (or
Coquago) and the Popacton, which unite their
waters at the boundary line of Pennsylvania, at
the northeast end of the state, from which it
flows southward seventy miles, separating the
Empire and Keystone states. When near Port
Jervis, which town is connected with Rondout
on the Hudson River, by the Hudson and
Delaware Canal, the Delaware turns sharply to the
southwest, and becomes the boundary line
between the states of New Jersey and
Pennsylvania. Below Easton the river again takes a
Southeasterly course, and flowing past Trenton,
Bristol, Bordentown, Burlington, Philadelphia,
Camden, Newcastle, and Delaware City, empties
its waters into Delaware Bay about forty miles
below Philadelphia.

This river has about the same length as the
Hudson -- three hundred miles. The tide
reaches one hundred and thirty-two miles from
the sea at Cape May and Cape Henlopen.
Philadelphia is the head of navigation for vessels of
the heaviest tonnage; Trenton for light-draught
steamboats. At Bordentown the river is less
than half a mile wide; at Philadelphia it is
three-fourths of a mile in width; while at
Delaware City it widens to two miles and a half.
Delaware Bay is twenty-six miles across in the
widest part, which is some miles within the
entrance of the Capes.

October 31st was cool and gusty. The river
route to Philadelphia is twenty-nine statute miles.
The passage was made against a strong head-wind,
with swashy waves, which made me again regret
that I did not have my canoe-decking made at
Troy, instead of at Philadelphia. The
highly cultivated farms and beautiful country-seats along
both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey sides
of the river spoke highly of the rich character
of the soil and the thrift of the inhabitants.
These river counties of two states may be called
a land of plenty, blessed with bountiful

Quaker industry and wise economy in
managing the agricultural affairs of this section in
the early epochs of our country's settlement
have borne good fruit. All praise to the
memory of William Penn of Pennsylvania and his
worthy descendants. The old towns of
Bristol on the right, and Burlington on the left
bank, embowered in vernal shades, have a most
comfortable and home-like appearance.

At five o'clock P. M. I arrived at the city pier
opposite the warehouse of Messrs. C. P. Knight
& Brother, No. 114 South Delaware Avenue,
where, after a struggle with wind and wave for
eight hours, the canoe was landed and deposited
with the above firm, the gentlemen of which
kindly offered to care for it while I tarried in
the "City of Brotherly Love."

Among the many interesting spots hallowed
by memories of the past in which Philadelphia
abounds, and which are rarely sought out by
visitors, two especially claim the attention of
the naturalist. One is the old home of
William Bartram, on the banks of the Schuylkill at
Grey's Ferry; the other, the grave of Alexander
Wilson, friends and co-laborers in nature's
extended field; -- the first a botanist, the second the
father of American ornithology.

William Bartram, son of the John Bartram
who was the founder of the Botanic Garden on
the west bank of the Schuylkill, was born at
that interesting spot in 1739. All botanists are
familiar with the results of his patient labors and
his pioneer travels in those early days, through
the wilderness of what now constitutes the
southeastern states. One who visited him at his
home says: "Arrived at the botanist's garden,
we approached an old man who, with a rake in
his hand, was breaking the clods of earth in a
tulip-bed. His hat was old, and flapped over
his Etee; his coarse shirt was seen near his neck,
as he wore no cravat nor kerchief; his waistcoat
and breeches were both of leather, and his shoes
were tied with leather strings. We approached
and accosted him. He ceased his work, and
entered into conversation with the ease and
politeness of nature's nobleman. His
countenance was expressive of benignity and
happiness. This was the botanist, traveller and
philosopher we had come to see."

William Bartram gave important assistance
and encouragement to the friendless Scotch
pedagogue, Alexander Wilson, while the latter was
preparing his American Ornithology for the
press. This industrious and peaceable botanist
died within the walls of his dearly-loved home
a few minutes after he had penned a description
of a plant. He died in 1823, in the eighty-fifth
year of his age. The old house of John and
William Bartram remains nearly the same as
when the last Bartram died, but the grounds
have been occupied and improved by the present
proprietor, whose fine mansion is near the old
residence of the two botanists.

Without ample funds to enable him to carry
out his bold design, Alexander Wilson labored
and suffered in body and mind for several years,
until his patient and persistent efforts achieved
the success they so richly merited. All but the
last volume of his American Ornithology were
completed when the overworked naturalist died.

The old Swedes' Church is the most ancient
religious edifice in Philadelphia, and is located
near the wharves in the vicinity of Christian and
Swanson streets, in the old district of
Southwark. The Swedes had settlements on the
Delaware before Penn visited America. They built
a wooden edifice for worship in 1677, on the
spot where the brick "Swedes' Church" now
stands, and which was erected in 1700.
Threading narrow streets, with the stenographic
reporter of the courts, Mr. R. A. West, for my
guide, we came into a quiet locality where the
ancient landmark reared its steeple, like the
finger of faith pointing heavenward. Few indeed
must be the fashionable Christians who worship
under its unpretentious roof, but there is an air
of antiquity surrounding it which interests every
visitor who enters its venerable doorway.

The church-yard is very contracted in area
yet there is room for trees to grow within its
sacred precincts, and birds sometimes rest there
while pursuing their flight from the Schuylkill
to the Delaware. Among the crowded graves
is a square brick structure, covered with an
horizontal slab of white marble, upon which I read:







ON THE 23 AUGUST, 1813, AGED 47.

Ingenio stat sine morte decus."

Philadelphia has been called the, "city of
homes," and well does she merit that
comfortably sounding title, for it is not a misnomer.
Unlike some other large American cities, the
artisan and laborer can here own a home by
becoming a member of a building association
and paying the moderate periodical dues. Miles
upon miles of these cosy little houses, of five or
six rooms each, may be found, the inmates of
which are a good and useful class of citizens,
adding strength to the city's discipline and

The grand park of three thousand acres, one
of, if not the largest in the world, is near at
hand, where the poor as well as the rich can
resort at pleasure. I took leave of the beautiful
and well laid-out city with a pang of regret not
usual with canoeists, who find it best for their
comfort and peace of mind to keep with their
dainty crafts away from the heterogeneous and
not over-civil population which gathers along
the water-fronts of a port.



Monday, November 9, was a cold, wet
day. Mr. Knight and the old,
enthusiastic gunsmith-naturalist of the city, Mr. John
Krider, assisted me to embark in my now
decked, provisioned, and loaded canoe. The
stock of condensed food would easily last me a
month, while the blankets and other parts of the
outfit were good for the hard usage of four or
five months. My friends shouted adieu as the
little craft shot out from the pier and rapidly
descended the river with the strong ebb-tide
which for two hours was in her favor. The
anchorage of the iron Monitor fleet at League
Island was soon passed, and the great city sank
into the gloom of its smoke and the clouds of
rainy mist which enveloped it.

This pull was an exceedingly dreary one. The
storms of winter were at hand, and even along
the watercourses between Philadelphia and
Norfolk, Virginia, thin ice would soon be forming in
the shallow coves and creeks. It would be
necessary to exert all my energies to get south
of Hatteras, which is located on the North
Carolina coast in a region of storms and local
disturbances. The canoe, though heavily laden,
behaved well. I now enjoyed the advantages
resulting from the possession of the new canvas
deck-cover, which, being fastened by buttons
along each gunwale of the canoe, securely
covered the boat, so that the occasional swash sent
aboard by wicked tug-boats and large schooners
did not annoy me or wet my precious cargo.

By two o'clock P. M. the rain and wind caused
me to seek shelter at Mr. J. C. Beach's cottage,
at Markus Hook, some twenty miles below
Philadelphia, and on the same side of the river.
While Mr. Beach was varnishing the little craft,
crowds of people came to feel of the canoe,
giving it the usual punching with their finger-nails,
"to see if it were truly paper." A young
Methodist minister with his pretty wife came also to
satisfy their curiosity on the paper question, but
the dominie offered me not a word of
encouragement in my undertaking. He shook his head
and whispered to his wife: "A wild, wild
enterprise indeed." Markus Hook derived its name
from Markee, an Indian chief, who sold it to the
civilized white man for four barrels of whiskey.

The next morning, in a dense fog, I followed
the shores of the river, crossing the Pennsylvania
and Delaware boundary line half a mile below
the "Hook;" and entered Delaware, the little state
of three counties. Thirty-five miles below, the
water becomes salt. Reaching New Castle,
which contained half its present number of
inhabitants before Philadelphia was founded, I
pulled across to the New Jersey side of the river
and skirted the marshy shore past the little Pea
Patch Island, upon which rises in sullen
dreariness Fort Delaware. West of the Island is
Delaware City, where the Chesapeake and
Delaware Canal, fourteen miles in length, has one
of its termini, the other being on a river which
empties into Chesapeake Bay. Philadelphia and
Baltimore steamboat lines utilize this canal in
the passage of their boats from one city to the

After crossing Salem Cove, and passing its
southern point, Elsinborough, five miles and a
half below Fort Delaware, the inhospitable
marshes became wide and desolate, warning me
to secure a timely shelter for the night. Nearly
two miles below Point Elsinborough the high
reeds were divided by a little creek, into which I
ran my canoe, for upon the muddy bank could be
seen a deserted, doorless fish-cabin, into which I
moved my blankets and provisions, after cutting
with my pocket-knife an ample supply of dry
reeds for a bed. Drift-wood, which a friendly
tide had deposited around the shanty, furnished
the material for my fire, which lighted up the
dismal hovel most cheerfully. And thus I kept
house in a comfortable manner till morning,
being well satisfied with the progress I had
made that day in traversing the shores of three
states. The booming of the guns of wild-fowl
shooters out upon the water roused me before
dawn, and I had ample time before the sun arose
to prepare breakfast from the remnant of canned
ox-tail soup left over from last night's supper.

I was now in Delaware Bay, which was
assuming noble proportions. From my camp I crossed
to the west shore below Reedy Island, and, filling
my water-bottles at a farm-house, kept upon that
shore all day. The wind arose, stirring up a
rough sea as I approached Bombay Hook, where
the bay is eight miles wide. I tried to land upon
the salt marshes, over the edges of which the
long, low seas were breaking, but failed in
several attempts. At last roller after roller,
following in quick succession, carried the little craft on
their crests to the land, and packed her in a
thicket of high reeds.

I quickly disembarked, believing it useless to
attempt to go further that day. About an eighth
of a mile from the water, rising out of the salt
grass and reeds, was a little mound, covered by
trees and bushes, into which I conveyed my
cargo by the back-load, and then easily drew the
light canoe over the level marsh to the camp.
A bed of reeds was soon cut, into which the
canoe was settled to prevent her from being
strained by the occupant at night, for I was
determined to test the strength of the boat as
sleeping-quarters. Canoes built for one person are
generally too light for such occupancy when out
of water. The tall fringe of reeds which
encircled the boat formed an excellent substitute for
chamber walls, giving me all the starry blue
heavens for a ceiling, and most effectually
screening me from the strong wind which was blowing.
As it was early when the boat was driven ashore
I had time to wander down to the brook, which
was a mile distant, and replenish my scanty stock
of water.

With the canvas deck-cover and rubber
blanket to keep off the heavy dews, the first night
passed in such contracted lodgings was endurable,
if not wholly convenient and agreeable. The
river mists were not dispelled the next day until
nine o'clock, when I quitted my warm nest in
the reeds and rowed down the bay, which seemed
to grow broader as I advanced. The bay was
still bordered by extensive marshes, with here
and there the habitation of man located upon
some slight elevation of the surface. Having
rowed twenty-six miles, and being off the mouth
of Murderkill Creek, a squall struck the canoe and
forced it on to an oyster reef, upon the sharp
shells of which she was rocked for several
minutes by the shallow breakers. Fearing that the
paper shell was badly cut, though it was still
early in the afternoon, I ascended the creek of
ominous name and associations to the landing of
an inn kept by Jacob Lavey, where I expected to
overhaul my injured craft. To my surprise and
great relief of mind there were found only a few
superficial scratches upon the horn-like
shellacked surface of the paper shell. To apply
shellac with a heated iron to the wounds made
by the oyster-shells was the work of a few
minutes, and my craft was as sound as ever. The
gunner's resort, "Bower's Beach Hotel,"
furnished an excellent supper of oyster fritters,
panfish, and fried pork-scrapple. Mine host, before
a blazing wood fire, told me of the origin of the
name of Murderkill Creek.

"In the early settlement of the country,"
began the innkeeper, "the white settlers did all
they could to civilize the Indians, but the cussed
savages wouldn't take to it kindly, but worried
the life out of the new-comers. At last a great
landed proprietor, who held a big grant of land
in these parts, thought he'd settle the troubles.
So he planted a brass cannon near the creek,
and invited all the Indians of the neighborhood
to come and hear the white man's Great Spirit
talk. The crafty man got the savages before the
mouth of the cannon, and said, 'Now look into
the hole there, for it is the mouth of the white
man's Great Spirit, which will soon speak in tones
of thunder.' The fellow then touched off the
gun, and knocked half the devils into splinters.
The others were so skeerd at the big voice they
had heard that they were afraid to move, and
were soon all killed by one charge after another
from the cannon: so the creek has been called
Murderkill ever since."

I afterwards discovered that there were other
places on the coast which had the same legend
as the one told me by the innkeeper. Holders
of small farms lived in the vicinity of this tavern,
but the post-office was at Frederica, five miles
inland. Embarking the next day, I felt sure of
ending my cruise on Delaware Bay before night,
as the quiet morning exhibited no signs of rising
winds. The little pilot town of Lewes, near
Cape Delaware, and behind the Breakwater, is a
port of refuge for storm-bound vessels. From
this village I expected to make a portage of six
miles to Love Creek, a tributary of Rehoboth
Sound. The frosty nights were now exerting a
sanitary influence over the malarial districts
which I had entered, and the unacclimated
canoeist of northern birth could safely pursue his
journey, and sleep at night in the swamps along
the fresh-water streams if protected from the
dews by a rubber or canvas covering. My hopes
of reaching the open sea that night were to be
drowned, and in cold water too; for that day,
which opened so calmly and with such smiling
promises, was destined to prove a season of trial,
and before its evening shadows closed around
me, to witness a severe struggle for life in the
cold waters of Delaware Bay.

An hour after leaving Murderkill Creek the
wind came from the north in strong squalls.
My little boat taking the blasts on her quarter,
kept herself free of the swashy seas hour after
hour. I kept as close to the sandy beach of the
great marshes as possible, so as to be near the
land in case an accident should happen.
Mispillion Creek and a light-house on the north of
its mouth were passed, when the wind and seas
struck my boat on the port beam, and continually
crowded her ashore. The water breaking on
the hard, sandy beach of the marshy coast made
it too much of a risk to attempt a landing, as the
canoe would be smothered in the swashy seas if
her head way was checked for a moment.
Amidships the canoe was only a few inches out of
water, but her great sheer, full bow, and
smoothness of hull, with watchful management, kept her
from swamping. I had struggled along for
fourteen miles since morning, and was fatigued
by the strain consequent upon the continued
manoeuvring of my boat through the rough waves.
I reached a point on Slaughter Beach, where the
bay has a width of nearly nineteen miles, when
the tempest rose to such a pitch that the great
raging seas threatened every moment to wash
over my canoe, and to force me by their violence
close into the beach. To my alarm, as the boat
rose and fell upon the waves, the heads of
sharp-pointed stakes appeared and disappeared in the
broken waters. They were the stakes of
fishermen to which they attach their nets in the season
of trout-fishing. The danger of being impaled
on one of these forced me off shore again.

There was no undertow; the seas being driven
over shoals were irregular and broken. At last my
sea came. It rolled up without a crest, square
and formidable. I could not calculate where it
would break, but I pulled for life away from it
towards the beach upon which the sea was
breaking with deafening sound. It was only for
a moment that I beheld the great brown wave,
which bore with it the mud of the shoal, bearing
down upon me; for the next, it broke astern,
sweeping completely over the canoe from stern
to stem, filling it through the opening of the
canvas round my body. Then for a while the
watery area was almost smooth, so completely
had the great wave levelled it. The canoe
being water-logged, settled below the surface,
the high points of the ends occasionally
emerging from the water. Other heavy seas followed
the first, one of which striking me as high as my
head and shoulders, turned both the canoe and
canoeist upside-down.

A Capsize in Delaware Bay (100K)

Kicking myself free of the canvas deck, I
struck out from under the shell, and quickly
rose to the surface. It was then that the words
of an author of a European Canoe Manual came
to my mind: "When you capsize, first right the
canoe and get astride it over one end, keeping
your legs in the water; when you have crawled
to the well or cockpit, bale out the boat with
your hat." Comforting as these instructions
from an experienced canoe traveller seemed
when reading them in my hermitage ashore, the
present application of them (so important a
principle in Captain Jack Bunsby's log of life)
was in this emergency an impossibility; for my
hat had disappeared with the seat-cushion and
one iron outrigger, while the oars were floating
to leeward with the canoe.

The boat having turned keel up, her great
sheer would have righted her had it not been for
the cargo, which settled itself on the canvas
deck-cloth, and ballasted the craft in that
position. So smooth were her polished sides that it
was impossible to hold on to her, for she rolled
about like a slippery porpoise in a tideway.
having tested and proved futile the kind
suggestions of writers on marine disasters, and
feeling very stiff in the icy water, I struck out in an
almost exhausted condition for the shore. Now
a new experience taught me an interesting
lesson. The seas rolled over my head and
shoulders in such rapid succession, that I found I
could not get my head above water to breathe,
while the sharp sand kept in suspension by the
agitated water scratched my face, and filled my
eyes, nostrils, and ears. While I felt this
pressing down and burying tendency of the seas, as
they broke upon my head and shoulders, I
understood the reason why so many good
swimmers are drowned in attempting to reach the
shore from a wreck on a shoal, when the wind,
though blowing heavily, is in the victim's favor.
The land was not over an eighth of a mile away,
and from it came the sullen roar of the breakers,
pounding their heavy weight upon the sandy
shingle. As its booming thunders or its angry,
swashing sound increased, I knew I was rapidly
nearing it, but, blinded by the boiling waters, I
could see nothing.

At such a moment do not stop to make vows
as to how you will treat your neighbor in future
if once safely landed, but strike out, fight as you
never fought before, swallowing as little water
as possible, and never relaxing an energy or
yielding a hope. The water shoaled; my feet
felt the bottom, and I stood up, but a roller laid
me flat on my face. Up again and down again,
swimming and crawling, I emerged from the
sea, bearing, I fear, a closer resemblance to Jonah

(being at last pitched on shore) than to
Cabnel's Venus, who was borne gracefully upon
the rosy crests of the sky-reflecting waves to
the soft bed of sparkling foam awaiting her.

Wearily dragging myself up the hard shingle,
I stood and contemplated the little streams of
water pouring from my woollen clothes. A new
danger awaited me as the cold wind whistled
down the barren beach and across the desolate
marshes. I danced about to keep warm, and for
a moment thought that my canoe voyage had
come to an unfortunate termination. Then a
buoyant feeling succeeded the moment's
depression, and I felt that this was only the first
of many trials which were necessary to prepare
me for the successful completion of my
undertaking. But where was the canoe, with its
provisions that were to sustain me, and the charts
which were to point out my way through the
labyrinth of waters she was yet to traverse?
She had drifted near the shore, but would not
land. There was no time to consider the
propriety of again entering the water. The struggle
was a short though severe one, and I dragged
my boat ashore.

Everything was wet excepting what was most
needed, -- a flannel suit, carefully rolled in a
water-proof cloth. I knew that I must change
my wet clothes for dry ones, or perish. This
was no easy task to perform, with hands
benumbed and limbs paralyzed with the cold. O
shade of Benjamin Franklin, did not one of thy
kinsmen, in his wide experience as a traveller,
foresee this very disaster, and did he not, when
I left the "City of Brotherly Love," force upon
me an antidote, a sort of spiritual fire, which my
New England temperance principles made me
refuse to accept? "It is old, very old," he
whispered, as he slipped the flask into my coat-
pocket, "and it may save your life. Don't be foolish.
I have kept it well bottled. It is a pure article,
and cost sixteen dollars per gallon. I use it only
for medicine." I found the flask; the water
had not injured it. A small quantity was taken,
when a most favorable change came over my
entire system, mental as well as physical, and I
was able to throw off one suit and put on
another in the icy wind, that might, without the
stimulant, have ended my voyage of life.

I had doctored myself homoeopathically under
the old practice. Filled with feelings of
gratitude to the Great Giver of good, I reflected, as
I carried my wet cargo into the marsh, upon the
wonderful effects of my friend's medicine when
taken only as medicine. Standing upon the cold
beach and gazing into the sea, now lashed by
the wild frenzy of the wind, I determined never
again to do so mean a thing as to say a
word against good brandy.

Having relieved my conscience by this just
resolve, I transported the whole of my wet but
still precious cargo to a persimmon grove, on
a spot of firm land that rose out of the marsh,
where I made a convenient wind-break by
stretching rubber blankets between trees. On
this knoll I built a fire, obtaining the matches
to kindle it from a water-proof safe presented to
me by Mr. Epes Sargent, of Boston, some years
before, when I was ascending the St. Johns
River, Florida.

Before dusk, all things not spoiled by the
water were dried and secreted in the tall sedge
of the marshes. The elevation which had given
me friendly shelter is known as "Hog Island."
The few persimmon-trees that grew upon it
furnished an ample lunch, for the frosts had
mellowed the plum-like fruit, making it sweet and
edible. The persimmon (Diospyrus
Virginiana) is a small tree usually found in the middle
and southern states. Coons and other animals
feast upon its fruit. The deepening gloom
warned me to seek comfortable quarters for the

Two miles up the strand was an old gunners'
inn, to which I bent my steps along Slaughter
Beach, praying that one more day's effort would
take me out of this bleak region of ominous
names. A pleasant old gentleman, Mr. Charles
Todd, kept the tavern, known as Willow Grove
Hotel, more for amusement than for profit. I
said nothing to him about the peculiar manner
in which I had landed on Slaughter Beach; but
to his inquiry as to where my boat was, and
what kind of a boat it was to live in such a
blow, I replied that I found it too wet and cold
on the bay to remain there, and too rough to
proceed to Cape Henlopen, and there being no
alternative, I was obliged to land much against
my inclination, and in doing so was drenched to
the skin, but had managed to get dry before a
fire in the marshes. So the kind old man piled
small logs in the great kitchen fireplace, and
told me tale upon tale of his life as a
schoolmaster out west; of the death of his wife there,
and of his desire to return, after long years of
absence, to his native Delaware, where he could
be comfortable, and have all the clams, oysters,
fish, and bay truck generally that a man could
wish for.

"Now," he added, "I shall spend my last
days here in peace." He furnished an excellent
supper of weak-fish or sea trout (Otolithus
regalio), fried oysters, sweet potatoes, &c.

This locality offers a place of retirement for
men of small means and limited ambition. The
broad bay is a good sailing and fishing ground,
while the great marshes are the resort of many
birds. The light, warm soil responds generously
to little cultivation. After a day of hunting and
fishing, the new-comer can smoke his pipe in
peace, to the music of crackling flames in the
wide old fireplace. Here he may be
comfortable, and spend his last days quietly vegetating,
with no criticisms on his deterioration, knowing
that he is running to seed no faster than his

The wind had gone to rest with the sun, and
the sharp frost that followed left its congealed
breath upon the shallow pools of water nearly
half an inch in thickness by morning. From
my bed I could see through the window the
bright flashes from Cape May and Cape
Henlopen lights. Had not misfortune beset me, a
four-hours' pull would have landed me at Lewes.
There was much to be thankful for, however.
Through a merciful Providence it was my
privilege to enjoy a soft bed at the Willow Grove
Inn, and not a cold one on the sands of
Slaughter Beach. So ended my last day on Delaware



My first thought the next morning was of the
lost outrigger, and how I should replace
it. My host soon solved the problem for me.
I was to drive to the scene of the late disaster in
his light, covered wagon, load it with the canoe
and cargo, and take the shortest route to Love
Creek, six miles from Lewes, stopping on the
way at a blacksmith's for a new outrigger.
We drove over sandy roads, through forests of
pine and oak, to the village of Milton, where a
curious crowd gathered round us and facetiously
asked if we had "brought the canoe all the way
from Troy in that 'ere wagon." The village
smith, without removing the paper boat from her
snug quarters, made a fair outrigger in an hour's
time, when we continued our monotonous ride
through the dreary woods to a clearing upon the
banks of a cedar swamp, where in a cottage
lived Mr. George Webb, to whom Bob Hazzle,
my driver, presented me. Having now reached
Love Creek, I deposited my canoe with Mr.
Webb, and started off for Lewes to view the
town and the ocean.

Across the entrance of Delaware Bay, from
Cape Henlopen Light to Cape May Light on the
southern end of New Jersey, is a distance of
twelve statute miles. Saturday night and
Sunday were passed in Lewes, which is situated
inside of Cape Henlopen, and behind the
celebrated stone breakwater which was constructed
by the government. This port of refuge is much
frequented by coasters, as many as two or three
hundred sails collecting here during a severe
gale. The government is building a
remarkable pier of solid iron spiles, three abreast, which,
when completed, will run out seventeen
hundred feet into the bay, and reach a depth of
twenty-three feet of water. Captain Brown, of
the Engineers, was in charge of the work. By the
application of a jet of water, forced by an
hydraulic pump through a tube down the outside of
the spile while it is being screwed into the sand,
a puddling of the same is kept up, which
relieves the strain upon the screw-flanges, and
saves fourteen-fifteenths of the time and labor
usually expended by the old method of inserting
the screw spile. This invention was a happy
thought of Captain Brown.

The government has purchased a piece of land
at Lewes for the site of a fort. Some time in the
future there will be a railroad terminating on the
pier, and coal will be brought directly from the
mines to supply the fleets which will gather
within the walls of the Breakwater. Here, free from
all danger of an ice blockade, this port will
become a safe and convenient harbor and
coaling station during the winter time for government
and other vessels.

At dusk on Sunday evening the collector of
the port, Captain Lyons, and his friends, took
me in their carriage back to Love Creek, where
Mr. Webb insisted upon making me the
recipient of his hospitality for the night. A little
crowd of women from the vicinity of the swamp
were awaiting my arrival to see the canoe. One
ancient dame, catching sight of the alcohol-stove
which I took from my vest-pocket, clapped her
thin hands and enthusiastically exclaimed, "What
a nice thing for a sick-room-the best nuss-lamp
I ever seed!" Having satisfied the curiosity of
these people, and been much amused by their
quaint remarks, I was quietly smuggled into Mr.
Webb's "best room," where, if my spirit did not
make feathery flights, it was not the fault of the
downy bed in whose unfathomable depths I now
lost myself.

Before leaving Delaware I feel it an
imperative duty to the public to refer to one of her
time-honored institutions.

Persons unacquainted with the fact will find
it difficult to believe that one state of the great
American Republic still holds to the practice of
lashing men and women, white and black.
Delaware -- one of the smallest states of the Union,
the citizens of which are proverbially generous
and hospitable, a state which has produced a
Bayard -- is, to her shame we regret to say, the
culprit which sins against the spirit of civilization
in this nineteenth century, one hundred years
after the fathers of the Republic declared equal
rights for all men. In treating of so delicate a
subject, I desire to do no one injustice; therefore
I will let a native of Delaware speak for his

"DOVER, DELAWARE, August 2, 1873.

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