happiness and purity, that the changes which affect the condition of the rich reach them always very slowly, and generally not at all . . . . I witness, therefore, wherever I go, nothing but proofs of improvement,—houses everywhere just built and building; villages and hamlets starting, as it were, from the earth before me; three railroads just opened into this city; steamboats plying in all directions; and all the signs of activity and success, an activity and success which belong not to a few, or to a class, but to the whole people . . . . Education is advancing more rapidly, even, than wealth is accumulated. . . . . Indeed, if we can keep the relations of domestic life as true and as pure as they now are, and continue the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and intelligence through the whole people, I know not that we can ask anything more for the country. Our free institutions will then have a fair chance; and if they fail, they will fail from the inherent faults of such institutions, and not from the unfavorable circumstances under which the experiment will be tried. . . . .
To Miss Maria Edgeworth, Edgeworthtown.
Boston, U. S. A., March 6, 1839.dear Miss Edgeworth,—. . . . We have been at home long enough to feel quite settled; and we are very happy in it. Our family circle is large, and the circle of kind friends much larger. The town, too, is a good town to live in. It is a part of my enjoyments,— and one that I feel deeply,—that in this town of 80,000 inhabitants, —or, with the suburban towns, 120,000,—where there is a great deal of intellectual activity and cultivation, there is no visible poverty, little gross ignorance, and little crime. . . . . The principle, that the property of the country is bound to educate all the children of the country, is as firmly settled in New England as any principle of the British Constitution is settled in your empire; and as it is alike for the interest of the majority, who have but little of the property that is taxed to pay for the education, and for the interest of the rich, who protect their property by this moral police, it is likely to be long sustained, as it is now sustained, by universal consent. But, though I do not foresee the effects, it requires no spirit of prophecy to show that they must be great; and can they be anything but good? The present effect, which I feel every day, is, that Boston is a happy place to live in, because all the people are educated, and because some of them, like Dr. Channing, Mr. Norton, and