Quote from Miss Ann Maury, March 9, 1832
Miss Ann Maury was born and raised in England to an English mother and an American father. James Maury, her father, was consul at Liverpool from 1790 to 1829. She kept a diary, and part of it has been published, from the 1830s after her family moved (back) to the United States.
She writes that her American friends asked her to tell them what she thought of the United States, and among her comments is this observation:
Education is distributed here more equally as money & every other comfort is the result so that such persons as Mechanics, Tradesmen, Farmers &c. are better educated than the same class in England & certainly they claim & are entitled to a higher station in society here, but there are very few indeed who receive that high education which is given to so many at the English universities. Some attribute to that cause the appearance of so little American literature, but I think there is another reason for that, namely the cheapness with which books written in England can be published here. The publisher has only to purchase a copy to print from & all he wants is a moderate profit upon the paper & printing. He has nothing to pay the Author – but when an American Author applies to the Book-seller, he expects to receive some remuneration for his labours in addition to the publishers profit spoken of above
Ann Maury, diary, as quoted in Intimate Virginiana: A Century of Maury Travels by Land and Sea, Anne Fontaine Maury, ed (Richmond, VA: The Dietz Press, 1941) 199-200.