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

Page 334

pass before it vanishes. The first settlers came to Brazil a century before the first settlers came to the United States and Canada. For three hundred years progress was very slow—Portuguese colonial government at that time was almost as bad as Spanish. For the last half-century and over there has been a steady increase in the rapidity of the rate of development; and this increase bids fair to be constantly more rapid in the future.
  The Paolistas, hunting for lands, slaves, and mines, were the first native Brazilians who, a hundred years ago, played a great part in opening to settlement vast stretches of wilderness. The rubber hunters have played a similar part during the last few decades. Rubber dazzled them, as gold and diamonds have dazzled other men and driven them forth to wander through the wide waste spaces of the world. Searching for rubber they made highways of rivers the very existence of which was unknown to the governmental authorities, or to any map-makers. Whether they succeeded or failed, they everywhere left behind them settlers, who toiled, married, and brought up children. Settlement began; the conquest of the wilderness entered on its first stage.
  On the 20th we stopped at the first store, where we bought, of course at a high price, sugar and tobacco for the camaradas. In this land of plenty the camaradas over-ate, and sickness was as rife among them as ever. In Cherrie’s boat he himself and the steersman were the only men who paddled strongly and continuously. The storekeeper’s stock of goods was very low, only what he still had left from that brought in nearly a year before; for the big boats, or batelãos—batelons—had not yet