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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.

Page 178

undergo every kind of hardship and exertion. Explorers and naturalists of the right type have open to them in South America a field of extraordinary attraction and difficulty. But to excavate ruins that have already long been known, to visit out-of-the-way towns that date from colonial days, to traverse old, even if uncomfortable, routes of travel, or to ascend or descend highway rivers like the Amazon, the Paraguay, and the lower Orinoco—all of these exploits are well worth performing, but they in no sense represent exploration or adventure, and they do not entitle the performer, no matter how well he writes and no matter how much of real value he contributes to human knowledge, to compare himself in anyway with the real wilderness wanderer, or to criticise the latter. Such a performance entails no hardship or difficulty worth heeding. Its value depends purely on observation, not on action. The man does little; he merely records what he sees. He is only the man of the beaten routes. The true wilderness wanderer, on the contrary, must be a man of action as well as of observation. He must have the heart and the body to do and to endure, no less than the eye to see and the brain to note and record.
  Let me make it clear that I am not depreciating the excellent work of so many of the men who have not gone off the beaten trails. I merely wish to make it plain that this excellent work must not be put in the class with that of the wilderness explorer. It is excellent work, nevertheless, and has its place, just as the work of the true explorer has its place. Both stand in sharpest contrast with the actions of those alleged explorers, among