Chapter 18: the future of polite society
Dr. Lyman Abbott
, in a late paper, thinks that polite society, in the exclusive sense, is hardly destined to sustain itself.
His reason is that wealth is superseding birth as its basis.
In this respect, however, his inference is doubtful, while his facts are true.
He says that “some communities, like Boston
, New York
, and Philadelphia
, make a brave attempt to maintain a respect for old families; but this is an inheritance from colonial days, and visibly wanes.”
He might have gone further and have said that in only one of these three cities-Philadelphia — has the “smart set” any particular connection with old families or gives itself any concern about them.
The utmost that it does is to draw a feeble line at the recognized occupations of fathers, while the occupation or social position of the grandfather is pretty thoroughly ignored.