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Edward Bellamy (search for this): chapter 24
fs of the nation would rapidly gather in that town, and all honest and frugal life would be at an end. To invest the money in novel enterprises, even for the public good, might be almost as hopeless; because the whole theory of social progress is still so imperfectly worked out that the first attempts must for years be failures. No wonder that the rich man, even if conscientious, is puzzled, and, if fresh from the reading of Howells's Altruria, yet postpones his actual experiments until Edward Bellamy and Henry George have reconciled their warring projects. What socialists find it hard to recognize is that personal wealth rarely comes by accident, but in most cases by natural leadership, by skill, or by inheritance from skill. Of course the rich man uses the laws of nature and the general progress of society, but the trouble is that he often uses them with an ability which his neighbors cannot supply in his place. Corporations do not pay salaries of twenty thousand dollars becaus
William Dean Howells (search for this): chapter 24
sprinkle them broadcast in the public streets. The tramps and waifs of the nation would rapidly gather in that town, and all honest and frugal life would be at an end. To invest the money in novel enterprises, even for the public good, might be almost as hopeless; because the whole theory of social progress is still so imperfectly worked out that the first attempts must for years be failures. No wonder that the rich man, even if conscientious, is puzzled, and, if fresh from the reading of Howells's Altruria, yet postpones his actual experiments until Edward Bellamy and Henry George have reconciled their warring projects. What socialists find it hard to recognize is that personal wealth rarely comes by accident, but in most cases by natural leadership, by skill, or by inheritance from skill. Of course the rich man uses the laws of nature and the general progress of society, but the trouble is that he often uses them with an ability which his neighbors cannot supply in his place.
tural feeling of distrust and even disapproval of wealth, especially on the part of those who have never possessed it. It is natural also that this should be a sliding scale, and that each person should regard the next largest tax-payer as too rich. Thirty years ago, at the sea-side resort called Pigeon Cove, or Cape Ann, there was a village wit known habitually as Old Knowlton, a retired fisherman, who delighted to corner in argument a set of eminent clergymen who then resorted there, as Dr. Chapin, Dr. Gannett, Dr. Bartol, Thomas Starr King, and others. He liked to swear before them, to ask hard questions out of the Old Testament, and to call them familiarly by their last names. One day he was much startled, on asking about Dr. Gannett's salary, to hear that it was $3000, which would not now be regarded as a large sum, but seemed to him enormous. Why, Gannett, said the licensed veteran, what can a minister do with so much money? You can't know how to manage it! Gannett, you ou
Thomas Starr King (search for this): chapter 24
roval of wealth, especially on the part of those who have never possessed it. It is natural also that this should be a sliding scale, and that each person should regard the next largest tax-payer as too rich. Thirty years ago, at the sea-side resort called Pigeon Cove, or Cape Ann, there was a village wit known habitually as Old Knowlton, a retired fisherman, who delighted to corner in argument a set of eminent clergymen who then resorted there, as Dr. Chapin, Dr. Gannett, Dr. Bartol, Thomas Starr King, and others. He liked to swear before them, to ask hard questions out of the Old Testament, and to call them familiarly by their last names. One day he was much startled, on asking about Dr. Gannett's salary, to hear that it was $3000, which would not now be regarded as a large sum, but seemed to him enormous. Why, Gannett, said the licensed veteran, what can a minister do with so much money? You can't know how to manage it! Gannett, you ought to have a guardeen! No doubt we a
Cecil Rhodes (search for this): chapter 24
said the licensed veteran, what can a minister do with so much money? You can't know how to manage it! Gannett, you ought to have a guardeen! No doubt we are all ready, if we personally escape wealth, to offer advice as to its guardianship, but probably the nearer we came to it, the greater the difficulty of deciding how to handle it. There is nothing new in the phenomenon, except in its lately rapid increase among ourselves. Even now it is said that no American is quite so rich as Cecil Rhodes, the South African adventurer, who is wealthy enough to organize piratical expeditions into free states; and, it is predicted, to be elevated to the peerage of England, even after they have failed. No American family is so rich as the Rothschilds, whose nest is still shown-or was till lately — a tottering and shabby house in the Jewish quarter of Frankfort. Matthew Arnold, who shook his head over the comparatively moderate displays of wealth in this country, gloats with delight, in two
Cardinal Retz (search for this): chapter 24
d. No American family is so rich as the Rothschilds, whose nest is still shown-or was till lately — a tottering and shabby house in the Jewish quarter of Frankfort. Matthew Arnold, who shook his head over the comparatively moderate displays of wealth in this country, gloats with delight, in two letters, over the luxurious living of the English Rothschilds. But we all like to philosophize about luxury and give it advice-and all the more the less we share of it; just as it was said of Cardinal de Retz, that he made up for an utter neglect of his own soul by exercising an abundant supervision over the souls of other people. There is doubtless a great drawback on all the direct good done by great riches, although in many respects one has to recognize this good. Mr. Edward Atkinson thinks that all the Vanderbilt wealth is not, as such things go, too large a commission for its founder to have earned by the actual cheapening of the freight on each barrel of flour from the West to the
them with an ability which his neighbors cannot supply in his place. Corporations do not pay salaries of twenty thousand dollars because it amuses them, but because the man whom they pay is worth that to them. If not, he is dropped very rapidly. We have to deal with a world where certain men are born with a certain gift. It is, of course, nobler where a man consecrates that gift to the service of man or the glory of God; where he prefers to live concealed and do his work. Such men are around us all the time, but from the very nature of the case we do not hear much about them. Prominent usefulness soon attracts the reporters and the begging letters. On the other hand, a man may be grandly useful and yet have a petty desire to advertise himself, as it appears from the newly published memoirs of Louis Agassiz that George Peabody once offered to endow a great museum munificently if his own name could be attached to it, and withheld the gift when that proposal was declined. 1896
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