But Captain Smith
's True Relation
impresses us, like Mark Twain
's Roughing it
, with being somehow true to type.
In each of these books the possible unveracities in detail are a confirmation of their representative American character.
In other words, we have unconsciously formulated, in the course of centuries, a general concept of “the pioneer.”
Novelists, poets, and historians have elaborated this conception.
Nothing is more inevitable than our reaching back to the beginning of the seventeenth century and endeavoring to select, among the thousands of Englishmen who emigrated or even thought of emigrating to this country, those who possessed the genuine heart and sinew of the permanent settler.
, for instance, is said to have thought of emigrating hither in 1637.
If he had joined his friends John Cotton and Roger Williams
in New England
, who can doubt that the personal characteristics of “my brave Oliver
” would today be identified with the “American” qualities which we discover in 1637 on the shores of Massachusetts Bay
And what an American settler Cromwell
would have made!
If we turn from physical and moral daring to the