undertake to say, that in this very “niggardly New England
,” there have been, and are, not only the most generous efforts for the widest education, for the readiest relief, for the most lavish endowment of all institutions for the public, but we have set the world the first example in many of these.
I believe it would be found, that if we compared New England
, I will not say with the rest of the Union
,--for she may justly disdain such comparison,--but with England
itself, with any country, it would be found that a greater proportion, a larger percentage of private wealth, since its foundation, had been given and pledged to matters of public concern, than anywhere else in the world.
We are educated in that faith.
Money-giving is the fashion,--provided you choose popular objects.
Indeed, to give is so much a matter expected and of course, that the rich man's will which is opened in the latitude of Boston
, or its neighborhood, and found not to contain ample legacies for great public objects, is set down as singular, odd,--so singular as to be marked with the stigma of public rebuke.
It is so much a fashion, that it takes a peculiar obstinacy of stinginess even to hide itself in the grave without giving more than the Jewish tenth to the public.
If, therefore, the projects of State aid to great public intellectual and moral purposes should result-which I doubt — in expense to the State
, they would be justified by the whole tone of the past history of Massachusetts
, and welcomed with proud satisfaction by the community.
I think we have only reached a new level in the gradual rising of public feeling.
Every year,--at least every decade, every generation, certainly,--originates a new step; the standpoint rises; we look at things from a different point of view.
We have reached one now, when it begins to be claimed of government and