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[159] Mind being always written with capitals and ‘mentioned with reverence, as if it were a distinguished person, hard to move.’ The result of this unconscious selection in the book catalogues is to give us the Nation's Mind in regard to our foremost men. As time goes on, the decision varies; some reputations hold out better, some less well; the relative position of Dr. Channing, for instance, has changed a good deal within fifty years, and so has that of Henry Clay; but in the end the scale settles itself and remains tolerably permanent. And there is this advantage in a hierarchy of intellect and public service thus established, that it does not awaken the antagonism which follows an hereditary aristocracy; and that if the sons of these eminent persons do not distinguish themselves, they are simply ignored and passed by, whereas under a hereditary aristocracy their high position may be a curse to the community. This Westminster Abbey of the newspapers excites no such feelings as Heine confesses himself to have experienced among the graves of the crowned heads at Westminster Abbey in London. He tells us that he did not grudge

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Westminster Abbey (2)
Heinrich Heine (1)
Henry Clay (1)
Walter Channing (1)
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