Theodore Roosevelt > New York > Page 23
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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  New York.  1906.

Page 23
 
  Kieft found the New Netherlands in a far from flourishing condition. The Dutch colonists, though stubborn and resolute, were somewhat sluggish and heavy tempered, without the restless energy of their far more numerous and ever-encroaching neighbors on the east (the New Englanders), and lacking the intense desire for what was almost mere adventure, which drove the French hither and thither through the far-off wilderness. Population had increased but slowly, and the town which huddled round the fort on the south point of Manhattan Island was still little more than a collection of poor hovels. The Hollanders were traders and seafarers, and they found it hard to settle down into farmers, who alone can make permanent colonists. Moreover, at the outset they were naturally unable to adapt themselves to the special and peculiar needs of their condition. The frontier and frontier life date back to the days when the first little struggling settlements were dotted down on the Atlantic seaboard, as islets in a waste of savagery; but it always took at least a generation effectively to transform a European colonist into an American frontiersman. Thus the early Dutch settlers took slowly and with reluctance to that all-important tool and weapon of the American pioneer, the axe, and chopped down very little timber indeed. As a consequence, they lived in dugouts or cabins of

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