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great historical value. He feels the forces he describes; he has been in active alliance with them; he has known in personal intimacy the survivors and present representatives of the victors in that mighty struggle, and the men who are developing what their ancestors won. His imagination is keen, his sympathies intense, his vision unclouded. There is a justness in his deductions that are often almost brutal in their plainness. “It was impossible,” he declares, “long to keep peace on the border between the ever-encroaching whites and their fickle and bloodthirsty foes. The hard, reckless, often brutalized frontiersman, greedy of land and embittered by the memories of untold injuries, regarded all Indians with sullen enmity, and could not be persuaded to distinguish between the good and the bad. The central government was as powerless to restrain as to protect these far-off unruly citizens.” Into this wilderness, where men were as pitiless as the elements, and as savage as the beasts that roamed the forests, Mr. Roosevelt takes his reader with a sweep of a great dramatist and holds him fast with the graphic fervor of his recital. The vigorous personality of the writer gives to the work its greatest charm and most permanent value.
As an essayist Mr. Roosevelt has the distinguishing feature of coining phrases that once heard cannot be forgotten. These short, crisp sentences strike upon the ear like the report of a Gatling gun and force their way into the mind as the leaden missiles of that savage little fighting-machine force themselves into the body. In “The Strenuous Life” selections of this character may be taken at random. Here are a few of the most striking:
“A life of slothful ease, a life of that peace which springs merely from lack either of desire or of power to strive after great things, is as little worthy of a nation as of an individual.”
“Wisely used leisure merely means that those who possess it, being free from the necessity of working for their livelihood, are all the more bound to carry out some kind of non-remunerative work in science, in letters, in art, in exploration, in historical research—work of the type we most need in this country, the successful carrying out of which reflects most honor upon the nation.”
“In the last analysis, a healthy state can only exist when the men and women who make it up lead clean, healthy, vigorous lives.” “The man must be glad to do a man’s work, to dare and to do and to labor; to keep himself and to keep those dependent upon him. The woman must be the housewife, the helpmeet of the home-maker, the wise and fearless mother of many healthy children.” “When men fear work or fear righteous war, when women fear motherhood, they are on the brink of doom; and well it is that they should vanish from the earth, where they are fit subjects for the scorn of all men and women who are themselves strong and brave and high-minded.” “It is a base untruth to say that happy is the nation that has no history. Thrice happy is the nation that has a glorious history. Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory or defeat.” “Thank God for the iron in the blood of our