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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Book and heart: essays on literature and life 2 0 Browse Search
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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Book and heart: essays on literature and life, Chapter 20: classes and masses (search)
e a country village, where one distinguishes at a glance the doctor's sulky from the minister's chaise. Take your stand at the main carriage entrance of Central Park and see how vast the transformation implied by this simple reminiscence! In smaller and more compact cities the change is yet more easily illustrated. In Boston, this year, the largest individual estate pays a tax of $60,567. In 1834 the largest individual tax paid was $2225, and the estate on which it was paid, that of Gardiner Greene, was valued at only $360,900. In other words, the largest estate, sixty-two years ago, was only six times as large as the mere tax bill of the largest property of to-day. In 1834 there was not even a semi — millionaire in Boston; there were but thirty-five persons whose property was assessed at $150,000; they were regarded as rich men. In a country town in Massachusetts, at a period a little later, a witness testified in court that by a rich man he meant a man worth $10,000. It is s