did but comply with the form and pressure of the circumstances and conditions then present.
A feudal age, an epoch of war, defence, and concentration, needs centres of power and property, and it reinforces property by joining distinctions of rank and class with it. Property becomes more honorable, more solid.
And in feudal ages this is well, for its changing hands easily would be a source of weakness.
But in ages of expansion, where men are bent that every one shall have his chance, the more readily property changes hands the better.
The envy with which its holder is regarded diminishes, society is safer.
I think whatever may be said of the worship of the almighty dollar in America
, it is indubitable that rich men are regarded there with less envy and hatred than rich men are in Europe
Why is this?
Because their condition is less fixed, because government and legislation do not take them more seriously than other people, make grandees of them, aid them to found families and endure.
With us, the chief holders of property are grandees already, and every rich man aspires to become a grandee if possible.
And therefore an English country gentleman regards himself as part of the system of nature; government and legislation have invited him so