Thus it came about that the English colonists and their American descendants not only had to tame a wild and stubborn continent, and ever to drive back from before their advance the doomed tribesmen of the forest and prairie, but also had to wrest many of the fairest portions of the domain which the English-speaking Americans inherit, from the hands of other intruders of European blood. Many of the cities of the Union bear testimony by their early history to this fact. Albany, Detroit, and Santa Fe´ are but three out of many towns wherein the English reaped what the Dutch, the French, or the Spaniards had sown.
The history of New York deserves to be studied for more than one reason. It is the history of the largest English-speaking city which the English conquered but did not found, and in which though the English law and governmental system have ever been supreme, yet the bulk of the population, composed as it is and ever has been of many shifting strains, has never been English. Again, for the past hundred years, it is the history of a wonderfully prosperous trading-city, the largest in the world in which the democratic plan has ever been faithfully tried for so long a time; and the trial, made under some exceptional advantages and some equally exceptional disadvantages, is of immense interest, alike for the measure in which