The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Dr. Morton has contributed a permanently interesting and
useful study in the history of Texas, of Mexico, and of inter-
American relations. For this he is entitled to thanks and con-
Southwest Texas State College
The First Frontier. By R. V. Coleman. New York (Charles Scrib-
ner's Sons), 1948. Pp. vi+458. 27 maps and 83 illustrations.
The first half of the seventeenth century witnessed the advent
of the French, English, Dutch, Swedish, and Spanish settlers along
the Atlantic seacoast from Maine to Florida. According to Cole-
man, this is the First Frontier. In the hands of this talented and
conscientious craftsman, there emerges a first-rate, living account
of our colonial forebears. The author shows an unusual grasp
of his subject, and his style is a happy blend of scholarship and
popular appeal. The First Frontier is further enhanced by 83
illustrations and 27 maps.
The First Frontier was inspired by a friend of Coleman's who
complained that there "was no book that would give a busy
fellow the inside story of how this country began, why the first
settlers came, what sort of people they were, how they made their
living, and what they thought about."
Coleman has not only revitalized the familiar aspects of Colo-
nial American History, but he likewise has made some important
new contributions. Historians will find here an excellent account
of the early attempts to settle in Maine; the Dutch and Swedish
colonies are given better treatment than usual; the intrigues by
the English settlers in New Amsterdam, notably John Scott, are
brought into proper focus. Furthermore, the book abounds in
diverting and unusual incidents: Thomas Morton defiantly erect-
ing an 8o-foot Maypole; John Rolfe creating a tobacco empire
in Virginia, and then falling helplessly in love with the barbaric
Indian maid Pocahontas, a romance which Coleman calls one of
the greatest in history; the Spanish ambassador to England, Pedro
de Zufiiga, vainly attempting to persuade his indolent king,
Philip III, to wipe out the English colonies at Jamestown; the


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed July 25, 2014.