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230
FIRESIDE EDUCATION.
But government is not a machine that goes regularly on, necessarily accomplishing its des­tined task. If it be compared to a machine, it is one that needs skilful and diligent care. It may be neglected, get into disorder, and fail of its proper object; or, if wickedly or selfishly managed, it may produce extensive and fatal mischief.
Government, then, though designed for good, is only good when well and wisely managed. When ill managed, it sometimes fails of its real design, and, instead of good, produces real evil. To apply it to our own case, suppose that the government falls into the hands of bad men, who only care for themselves, and are willing to sacrifice the good of the people to their selfish schemes. What then is our situation 1 Why, all our interests, our lives, our property, the peace of our homes and our firesides, the pro­duce of our labor, the great cause of educa­tion, the rights of conscience, the interests of justice, the paramount interests of commerce, agriculture, and manufactures—all the great sources of wealth and prosperity, all the dearest interests of the heart—are committed to the mercy of men who have no mercy: men who look upon the people as their servants and their slaves, to be gulled, and cheated, and used, as their own interests may dictate !
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