Champion of the Rapids

Windows into History

niagaraSnippets 106.  Charles Richard Weld (1813-1869) was assistant secretary and librarian to the Royal Society, and is best known for his history of the society, published in 1848. Between 1850 and 1867 he wrote a series of travel journals, one of which was A Vacation Tour in the United States and Canada, published in 1854. He was inspired to write this volume by his half-brother’s visit to the same continent between 1795 and 1797 (published as Weld’s Travels in America) and a desire to see how things had changed over the intervening half-century. The following quote concerns his visit to Niagara Falls, where he learnt just what a dangerous place it could be.

The terrific power of the rapids was made very apparent by a circumstance which happened a short time previous to my visit. A large barge, used for navigating Lake Erie, had, by some miscalculation…

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