Great wealth is, in its last analysis, powerless to obtain great social prizes in America
, because there are no such prizes.
It can at the utmost spend a great deal of money for a while, but that is all it can do. Let us suppose that it can even buy a Presidency-but what is that?
Four years of torment, and then “the rest is silence.”
Apart from this, the American
wealth must transplant itself to get peculiar and exclusive social enjoyments.
This fact is a great compliment to America.
People who have no visible imagination in any other direction are always ready to be imaginative in their reverence for an hereditary class; and do not see that it is and must be in all but a very small proportion of cases the mere embodiment and perpetuation of wealth.
“All families,” says Lord Murray in Scott
, “have sprung from one mean man.”
There occurred a promotion, sometimes the result of great services, but oftener of magnificent bribes, great frauds, or a woman's shame-all these being measurable in money.
In the English
titled classes we see a constant transfer of untitled riches, if used for the right political party, into ennobled wealth.
It is largely a more gilded and veneered Tammany
Witness the mattercourse