Its prosperous citizens were, in a certain proportion, born in the city, but many had come from the centre of the State
, from Cape Cod
, and from New Hampshire
,—men of good stock, enterprising, self-poised, and large-minded.
Some had a pedigree in which they took pride; while others, who could not boast that distinction, fell easily into the fashion of the place.
They educated their children in academies and colleges; and when rare ability and ambition were combined in their sons, they sent them to foreign universities.
They were careful in the training of their daughters, placing them in the classical school of George B. Emerson
, an accomplished teacher, whose devotion to his work for more than thirty years is gratefully remembered.
Before steam navigation had been well developed, or even before it existed at all, they sought the advantages of foreign travel for themselves and their families.
They had Harvard College near by, which has at all times diffused the academic spirit in the city and its suburbs, and raised up scholars and intellectual guides, through whom a humanizing influence has been diffused over the whole community.
Their style of living was sober but generous, with furniture imported from France
; with specimens of art in original work or in copies, which had begun to come from foreign studios with cellars stocked with Madeira
of various vintages, the favorite wine of the day, whose age and quality were the topic of much talk at the table.
They dined at two o'clock, and took at seven or eight a bountiful supper, to which their friends came without ceremony.
Many had country-seats in Brookline
, and Nahant
, to which they drove in private carriages, sometimes in the one-horse chaise.
They were as a class, in private and in business life, men of high integrity, interested in public works, popular and scientific education, social and public libraries, hospitals, charities, and churches.
They were honorable merchants, dealt fairly with customers, kept accurate accounts, and their trade-marks were symbols of good work.1
They were highly conservative; took a harmless pride in their social standing; received consideration from the masses something like that accorded to an English lord or squire; were accustomed to have their own way, and to resent interference from those who had not by family or wealth reached the same