All kinds of political questions are discussed daily in the newspapers and voted on at times at the polls, and it is the duty of every man to try to understand them. For if these questions are not intelligently settled, they will be settled by the ignorant, and the result will be very bad.
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. People sometimes think that, because our national government is called a republic, and we have free schools and free libraries and other such free institutions, our liberty is forever secure. Our government is indeed a wonderful structure of political skill, and generally runs so very smoothly that we almost think it will run of itself. Beware!
In order that the government of the nation, of the state, of the city or the town shall be properly administered, it is necessary that every citizen be watchful to secure the best officers for its government.
The great obelisk in Central Park, New York, is one of the most noted monoliths in the world. It was quarried, carved and erected about the time of Abraham, to commemorate the deeds of an ancient Pharaoh. Five hundred years later the conquering Sesostris, the bad Pharaoh of the Bible, carved on its surface the record of his famous reign.
Now Sesostris, or Rameses II, reigned one thousand years before the Trojan war, so that all the symbols now seen on the obelisk were already very old in the days of Priam, Hector and Ulysses. The Roman poet Horace says that there were many brave men before Agamemnon, but there was no Homer to put their valiant deeds in verse. Sesostris was an exception. He escaped oblivion without the aid of Homer, and the figures upon the hard granite of Cleopatra’s Needle tell us even now, after more than thirty-five centuries, of the reign of that remarkable king.
THE SEA AND ITS USES
It is a common thing in speaking of the sea to call it “a waste of waters.” But this is a mistake. Instead of being a waste and a desert, it keeps the earth itself from becoming a waste and a desert. It is the world’s fountain of life and health and beauty, and if it were taken away, the grass would perish from the mountains, the forests would crumble on the hills. Water is as indispensable to all life, vegetable or animal, as the air itself. This element of water is supplied entirely by the sea. The sea is the great inexhaustible fountain which is continually pouring up into the sky precisely as many streams, and as large, as all the rivers of the world are pouring into the sea.
The sea is the real birthplace of the clouds and the rivers, and out of it come all the rains and dews of heaven. Instead of being a waste and an incumbrance, therefore, it is a vast fountain of fruitfulness, and the nurse and mother of all the living. Out of its mighty breast come the resources that feed and support the population of the world. We are surrounded by the presence and bounty of the sea.