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Individuals of this kind, America
can doubtless furnish, peers of any people in the world; and in every town, groups of people with excellent qualities, like the representatives of middle-class industry and virtue among ourselves.
And a country capable of furnishing such groups will be strong and prosperous, and has much to be thankful for; but it must not take these groups for what they are not, or imagine that having produced them it possesses what it does not possess, or has provided for wants which are in fact still unprovided for.
“ The arts have no chance in poor countries,” says Mr. Lowell
. “From sturdy father to sturdy son, we have been making this continent habitable for the weaker Old World breed that has swarmed to it, during the last half-century.”
This may be quite true, and the achievements wrought in America
by the middle-class industry, the middle-class energy and courage, the middle-class religion of our English race, may be full as much as we have any right to expect up to the present time, and only a people of great qualities could have produced them.
But this is not the question.
The question is as to the establishment in America
, on any considerable