The Englishwoman In America By Isabella Lucy Bird
























































































































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While the avenues to distinction in public life are in great measure
closed against men of honour, wealth offers a - Page 430
The Englishwoman In America By Isabella Lucy Bird - Page 430 of 478 - First - Home

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While The Avenues To Distinction In Public Life Are In Great Measure Closed Against Men Of Honour, Wealth Offers A Sure Road To Eminence, And The Acquisition Of It Is The Great Object Followed.

It is often sought and obtained by means from which considerations of honesty and morality are omitted; but there

Is not, as with us, that righteous censorship of public opinion which brands dishonesty with infamy, and places the offender apart, in a splendid leprosy, from the society to which he hoped wealth would be a passport. If you listen to the conversation in cars, steamboats, and hotels, you become painfully impressed with the absence of moral truth which pervades the country. The success of Barnum, the immense popularity of his infamous autobiography, and the pride which large numbers feel in his success, instance the perverted moral sense which is very much the result of the absence of principle in public life; for the example of men in the highest positions in a state must influence the masses powerfully either for good or evil. A species of moral obliquity pervades a large class of the community, by which the individuals composing it are prevented from discerning between truth and falsehood, except as either tends to their own personal aggrandisement. Thus truth is at a fearful discount, and men exult in successful roguery, as though a new revelation had authorised them to rank it among the cardinal virtues.

These remarks apply to a class, unfortunately a very numerous one, of the existence of which none are more painfully conscious than the good among the Americans themselves.

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