closely connected by intermarriage; and a personal difficulty with one was quickly taken up by the related families,—so that through connections by kin or friendship nearly all the society was likely to take a part.
For instance, the Ticknor, Eliot, Dwight, Guild, and Norton families were connected by marriage; and Mr. Eliot was a near kinsman of the Curtis family.
Similar ties by blood and marriage united the Sears, Mason, Warren, Parker, and Amory families, and also the Shaw, Sturgis, Parkman, and Perkins families.
Another group was the Sturgis, Perkins, Cabot, Forbes, Cary, Gardiner, and Cushing families.
The different groups were often connected by kin or close friendship. Sumner was for a time, at an earlier period, shut out from one house on Beacon Street merely for complimenting, in a lawyer's office, the editor of a magazine who had reviewed a domestic controversy already before the public in judicial proceedings.
The head of the family, learning the circumstance from a
public affairs in America are usually what are called self-made men, this is not the case with our literary leaders.
Among first-class American writers, culture is usually in the second generation; they have usually tumbled about in a library, as Holmes says, in childhood; at all events, they are usually college-bred men. It has been remarked, for instance, that our eight foremost historians — assuming that this list comprises Prescott, Motley, Bancroft, Hildreth, Sparks, Ticknor, Palfrey, Parkman — were all college graduates, and indeed graduated at a single college.
The choice of names may be open to question, but the general fact is undoubted.
Now if it be true that there are fewer among us who rise from the ranks in literature than in politics, it seems not merely to indicate that literature, as being a finer product than statesmanship, implies more elaborate training; but also that our institutions guarantee such training in the one case, and not in the other.