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(Taken from The Book of Knowledge, edited by Harold F.B. Wheeler)

Of the two great tributaries that flow into the Mississippi, the Ohio, though shorter in length, is vastly more important than the Missouri, for its navigable waters traverse more than 1,000 miles of the greatest industrial and farming district in the United States, furnishing means of transportation for many of the raw and manufactured products of the region.

This useful and picturesque river is formed by the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers at Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. It flows thence in a south-westerly direction, until it finally reaches Cairo, where it joins the Mississippi. It forms the north-western boundary of West Virginia, the northern boundary of Kentucky, and the southern boundaries of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Its waters are fathered from the tributaries which drain the neighbouring country – the Muskingum, Scioto, Miami, and Wabash from the north, and the Kanawha, Big Sandy, Licking, Kentucky, Green, Cumberland, and Tennessee rivers from the south.

Numerous islands, some under cultivation, divide the waters of the river. Of these the most famous is Blennerhassett, connected with Aaron Burr’s conspiracy to establish a separate republic in 1807, near Parkersburg, West Virginia. Formerly the course of the river was impeded by falls, sand-bars, and snags, and from June to November the waters were too low to accommodate craft of any size. These conditions have been gradually overcome. Canals and locks are built around the falls, the largest of which are at Louisville, Kentucky. Sand-bars and snags have been dredged out, and dams, wing dikes, and channels provide against the drought. In especially dry years, however, low water still impedes steamboat traffic. The average flow is three miles an hour.

It was La Salle who discovered the Ohio, in about 1670, when he descended the river at least as far as the present site of Louisville. In the middle of the 18th century, it became important in the struggle for the interior between the French and the English, the English eventually gaining control (1763). After 1768 settlers from Virginia followed this course into the new country. In 1783 the whole Ohio country became a part of the United States, and in 1787 the organization of the North-West Territory opened the whole region to settlers. The first great tide of western immigration swept along this course.

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Woodrow Wilson

(Taken from The Book of Knowledge, edited by Harold F.B. Wheeler)

The ideal of European unity is an old one, but its development into the League of Nations is very recent. The development of improved means of communication – railways, steamships, telegraphs, wireless – all helped by knitting the world more closely together.

Innumerable international meetings have been held – in a single year as many as 160 – to consider special aspects of world problems; and since the organization of the International Postal Union, in 1874, an increasing number of permanent official international bureaus were organized with administrative and other powers. The Hague Tribunal, organized in 1899, was a long step toward an international organization, providing, as it did, the nucleus for a world court of justice.

To President Woodrow Wilson belongs the chief credit for making the formation of a League of Nations a reality. In his famous “Fourteen Points” he named this as part of the peace programme, subsequently accepted by the Allies and by Germany in the armistice negotiations. His insistence at the Peace Conference made the League a part of the Versailles treaty. Many offered suggestions as to plan, the one most closely followed in the covenant that of General Jan C. Smuts of South Africa.

The machinery of the League consists of one Assembly, an Executive Council, and an international Secretariat. The Assembly meets at stated intervals, is composed of not more than three representatives from each of the member countries, and each state has only one vote. The Executive Council consists of representatives from Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, the United States (should it enter the League) and four other states chosen by the Assembly.

The purposes of the League are to prevent wars by insisting upon arbitration and judicial decision of disputes, to secure a reduction of national armaments, and prevent international traffic in arms, drugs, women, and children; to obtain fair and humane conditions for labour, etc.

Owing to widespread differences of opinion in the United States regarding the treaty of Versailles and the advisability of joining the League of Nations, the Senate refused to ratify the treaty, and the League became an issue in the political campaign of 1920. The result of the election was an overwhelming reverse for the Democrat party and a victory for those who opposed the League.

President Wilson’s Fourteen Points

That war between nations be made illegal and its practice punishable by fine.

That the lands of Turkey and the former Ottoman Empire be given to the Great State of Texas.

That international policy be free, open, and no longer a secret procedure, and that it involve America and Great Britain only, to the exclusion of all other nations.

That the economy of Italy be channelled into the development of sporting automobiles, stylish women’s footwear, and men’s suits.

That Russia be evacuated and its population housed in a spacious country to be designated later.

That Serbo-Croatia and all lands surrounding the city of Sarajevo shall be the future vessel of all conflict, strife, horror, and insanity in Europe.

That the European nations admit in writing that, but for America, they would now be speaking German.

That all nations be unified in their love of and commitment to peace, and to the hatred of the French.

To that end, that France be severely punished for its role as host of this horrific conflict, and made to pay reparations to Germany.

That Austria be open, in the summer months, to tourists.

That combat against Switzerland continue until the last Swiss lies dead.

That Luxembourg be maintained as a nation, against common logic, to serve as an interesting political curio.

That the King of Belgium be set as watchman over Germany, to ensure that no suspicious or warlike activities transpire in that nation.

That all civilized nations unite in the noble purpose of exploiting the browner peoples of the Earth.

(Taken from The Book of Knowledge, edited by Harold F.B. Wheeler)

In the annals of literature there is no more dark and disastrous career than that of this American poet and story writer, whose inherent faults of character and bad training combined to quench in early death a truly fine and original genius.

From his mother, an English actress, and his father, a stage-struck youth of Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A., who left him an orphan in infancy, Poe inherited a highly nervous and emotional temperament, that needed the wisest and kindest oversight. Instead, the handsome, precocious boy, alternately indulged and treated with severity, was brought up as the spoiled heir to the fortune of his godfather John Allan, of Richmond, Virginia, who adopted him. Then, after he had been taken from Virginia University and expelled from West Point Academy for his dissipated habits and insubordination, Mr. Allan disowned and disinherited him.

At 25, with expensive tastes and no training for a profession, Poe was obliged to live on the charity of his father’s poor sister, a Mrs. Clemm, of Baltimore. There he took local prizes for prose and verse, and discovered literary talents for which he found employment in Philadelphia and New York.

A man of striking personal appearance, charming manners, and obvious gifts, Poe readily secured positions on the leading magazines of the day. But his weakness of will and occasional dissipations made him unreliable and kept him in poverty. Yet in intervals of deadening hack work, Poe wrote short stories and verse, which, while small in amount, are among the most precious of American literary classics.

In poetry his genius was unique. He makes no appeal to the intellect, but, as a result sometimes of his own morbid state of mind, expresses a melancholy, sensuous emotion in verse, whose perfection of melody suggests fine musical compositions. His prose stories have an equal fascination. He gives form to horror and fear, or constructs and unravels mysteries with fidelity to scientific principles.

Poe is more truly a world author than almost any other creative American writer, but so purely his own was his inspiration that he would have appeared a literary alien in any country. In the United States there is greater appreciation of his poetry than of his prose, while in France especially his short stories are classic models, on which famous writers have formed their style. A conscientious literary artist, he revised and perfected everything he wrote, and only by infinite painstaking secured his clearness and impressiveness.

The publication of “The Raven” made him the literary lion of the day, but good was followed by ill fortune. He had married his beautiful cousin, Virginia Clemm, the “sainted maiden” of “The Raven”. Two years after the appearance of this famous poem his idolized young wife died, after a long decline and amid the tragic privations of poverty. In grief and remorse Poe made a heroic effort to conquer his weakness, but he died wretchedly in a Baltimore hospital following a bout of delirium tremens. His last words before he died were: “Lord help my poor soul”.

Black Dogs Defined

This is the best of me; for the rest, I ate, and drank, and slept, loved and hated, like another: my life was as the vapour and is not; but this I saw and knew; this, if anything of mine, is worth your memory.

(John Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies)

Whatever people say I am, that’s what I’m not.

(Alan Sillitoe, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning)

This is my letter to the world, that never wrote to me.

(Emily Dickinson, This is my letter to the world)

Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!

(Edna St. Vincent Millay, Second Fig)

R.A.D. Stainforth

I was born before The Beatles’ first LP and brought up in the reeking slums of Jericho. I am in love with a woman called Hazel and in love with her daughter, also called Hazel, both of whom I met at Alcoholics Anonymous.

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