that when, for instance, I dilate on the benefits of equality, it is to France
that I have recourse for the illustration and confirmation of my thesis, not to the United States
A Boston newspaper supposes me to “speak of American manners as vulgar,” and finds, what is worse, that the Atlantic Monthly
, commenting on this supposed utterance of mine, adopts it and carries it further.
For the writer in the Atlantic Monthly
says that, indeed, “the hideousness and vulgarity of American manners are undeniable,” and that “redemption is only to be expected by the work of a few enthusiastic individuals, conscious of cultivated tastes and generous desires” ; or, as these enthusiasts are presently called by the writer, “rather highly civilized individuals, a few in each of our great cities and their environs.”
The Boston newspaper observes, with a good deal of point, that it is from these exceptional enthusiasts that the heroes of the tales of Mr. James
and Mr. Howells
seem to be recruited.
It shrewdly describes them as “people who spend more than half their life in Europe
, and return only to scold their agents for the smallness of their remittances” ; and protests that such people “will have, and can have, no perceptible influence for good on the real civilization of America