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4066F UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

Washington, by playing tennis, wrestling,

and boxing, and by taking occasional long

outings in the open. Presidents Taft,

Wilson, and Harding played golf occasionally, but upon the whole, paid less attention

to keeping themselves physically fit. Unfortunately though sensible men realized

the need of a President's taking recreation,

many thoughtless persons were inclined to

jeer at such diversions; even to criticize the

President who played golf or tennis as

stealing time that belonged to the public.

Occasional cruises made by Presidents on

the presidential yacht Mayflower were not

infrequently called "joy rides."

A main factor in breaking down the

health of Presidents is undoubtedly the

terrific strain of responsibility that inevitably attends the office. Even at the irreducible minimum the duties of the place

must constitute a gigantic burden. There

are many things to which the President

must attend that could not be delegated

to others. Furthermore, the President is

not only the executive head of the nation

but he is usually the titular, and often the

real, head of his party. Thus he is not only

responsible for the conduct of the nation's

business but he must keep in touch with

politics as well. Not infrequently the strain

growing out of political complications bears

harder upon a President than do the actual

duties of his office.

When all is said, however, it is beyond

question that it would be possible considerably to lighten the President's duties.

Many decisions now left to him might as

well be made in the various departments;

many purely routine matters, such as

signing commissions and appointments,

could be attended to by others. Thoughtless people make unwarranted demands

upon his time, often out of mere curiosity

or to be able to say that they have shaken

hands with the President. Too many

demands are made upon the President for

speeches-always an exhausting task. Nor

can it be denied that Presidents themselves

sometimes fail to conserve their energies as

they should. In recent times some Presidents have fallen into the habit of traveling

about over the country too much. Long

tours are not only physically exhausting

but often the time would be better spent in

attending to executive duties at Washington. Restlessness, vanity, a desire to win

political strength, are some of the motives

back of some such journeys. President

Taft was the greatest traveler of all; his

total wanderings during his four years in

office amounted to an almost incredible

mileage. This is not to say that a President

should live in cloistered seclusion, that he

should never travel about the country, but

greater moderation in such matters would

sometimes improve the Presidential health

and his general effectiveness.

"It is not only a duty but a solemn duty

of the President to keep himself fit for the

burden he has undertaken to carry," says

George B. Christian, former private secretary to President Harding, in an article written soon after the President's death. "The

method by which he achieves that end is

immaterial. It is a reasonable assumption

that it can best be chosen by those responsible for his physical welfare, and the time

has come when he who makes light of the

President's efforts to keep himself in training, who would turn them to ridicule,

should be regarded as an unpatriotic and

disloyal citizen. Encouragement, not criticism, should be the portion of the President

whose force of character is sufficient to

enable him temporarily to lay aside the

problems and anxieties of his office in order

that he may thereby the better prepare

himself for the further discharge of his

onerous duties."

Vice-President Coolidge was at his

father's farm at Plymouth, Vermont, remote from both telegraph and railway, when

word was brought to him late at night that

the President was dead. Mr. Coolidge

presently issued the following statement:

"Reports have reached me, which I fear

are correct, that President Harding is gone.

The world has lost a great and good man.

I mourn his loss. He was my chief and

my friend. It will be my purpose to carry

out the policies which he has begun for the

service of the American people and for

meeting their responsibilities wherever they

may arise. For this purpose I shall seek