Theodore Roosevelt > New York > Page 97
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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  New York.  1906.

Page 97
 
he was a loose liver, fond of luxury, and of extravagant habits; he was therefore continually in want of money, and both he and some of his council were in the habit of receiving valuable gifts—amounting to blackmail—from the different pirate ships. Finally, the scandal grew so great that he was recalled.
  Other causes, however, contributed to bring about the recall. Fletcher was a stanch supporter of the colonial aristocracy, and bitterly opposed to the popular party. He interfered actively against the latter in the elections for the General Assembly, and helped to achieve a triumph which was largely due to wholesale intimidations,—for the partisans of the governor and the richer classes mobbed their opponents, and in many places drove them by force from the polling-booths. He granted the public lands right and left, doing his best to divide the soil of the province among a few rich families. He thus sought to build up a system of gigantic tenant-farmed estates, instead of allowing the country to become filled with small freehold farmers. He also connived at the acquisition by private individuals of great tracts of land from the Indians; and his grants were made to ministers and churches as well as to laymen. In short, his whole theory was to depress the freemen of small means, and to concentrate power and wealth in the hands of the Church and the

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