Baltimore Evening Sun (25 August 1911): 6.


From a gentleman subscribing himself Ford C. Anders comes the following complaint and appeal:

If you really are a free lance, will you please answer for me a question I lately asked the morning edition of The Sun, but which the editor saw fit not to publish? I asked if Eugene O’Dunne’s eccentricities of dress and manner did not show him to be a man who could not be depended on to keep a level head, such as is necessary to the conduct of the State Attorney’s office.

This question, it seems to me, is one that should have been sent to Mr. O’Dunne himself and not to The Sun, but meanwhile it may be well to point out to the impatient Mr. Anders that a position for personal adornment, whatever its humors, is certainly not incompatible with intelligence, industry and integrity, the three virtues demanded by public office. The Right Hon. Joseph Chamberlain, for several years the dominating influence in British statecraft, has worn a monocle and an orchid all his life, and has had his shoes shined four times a day; the Hon. Henry Cabot Lodge goes about in spats, embroidered waistcoats and lilies of the valley; the Hon. Theodore Roosevelt runs to cowboy hats and tiger-claw watch charms; the Hon. Beauchamp Clark sports a string tie and high water breeches. Four sapient, honorable, incorruptible men—and yet each departs, and with great violence, from the common mode for adult males.

Why in the world shouldn’t Mr. O’Dunne wear that crape upon his pince-nez, those chromatic hose upon his ankles, that white duck upon his back, if the wearing delights him? Isn’t it a fact that many of the greatest men the race has over produced have been similarly eccentric in their swathing, similarly partial to sartorial cacophony? Richard Wagner wore a velvet cap and Galway whiskers—and yet he wrote “Tristan and Isolde.” Gen. H. H. Kitchener, halting the battle of Omdurman to curl his magnificent black mustache, yet won that battle hands down. The Hon. Jerry Rusk, founder of scientific agriculture in the United States, wore medicated lingerie and Congress gaiters. The Hon. Thomas G. Hayes, the best Mayor Baltimore ever had, affected dress suits that fitted him like tarpaulins. Dr. Henrik Ibsen, at the age of 70, wore choker collars and patent leather pumps. Bryan has his pantaloons pressed sideways; La Follette wears a pompadour and coattails reaching to his knees; Woodrow Wilson adopts the low-cut vest.

All men of mark, but all heterodox as to their habiliments. Let Mr. O’Dunne amuse himself with his flowing crape. A man must have his recreation—and personal embellishment is about as harmless as any other. If his touch of bizarre be the only objection that can be brought against the magnificent Eugene, then Mr. Anders will do well to vote for him.

From one of the editorials by the people to The Evening Sun of Wednesday:

To their credit be it said that both Messrs. Warner and Mencken started out somewhat entertainingly. Also, that their present pace is not that of old! Mr. Warner’s verse must needs undergo a post-mortem before recognition is possible, and Mr. Mencken’s column acts simply as a space filler. * * * The articles of these gentlemen affect us much the same as the basin. BELLE AYRE.

In this place of late I have made several references to an absurd pamphlet by a person calling himself the Rev. J. Todd Ferrier, in which vivisection is attacked on the ground that dogs and horses have souls and that, in consequence, it is murder to kill them for the benefit of man. The pamphlet is distributed in Baltimore “with the compliments of the Maryland Anti-vivisection Society,” and I presumed to inquire, on Wednesday, if the reverend gentleman’s theology was indorsed by the members of that organization, and if so, on what ground. From the society I now receive a scornful letter and a package of anti-vivisection leaflets, with the request that I read them, digest them and quote from them.

These leaflets are six in number. Two are merely reprints of the orthodox attacks upon vivisection by the orthodox “experts”—Edward Berdoe, author of “Browning and the Christian Faith;” Arabella Kenealy, author of “Some Men Are Such Gentlemen;” Josiah Oldfield, author of “Butchery and Its Horrors,” and other such ancient porformers—with a few misleading quotations from Dr. W. S. Halstead, Sir Almroth E. Wright and other undoubtedly sane men. The third is a report of experiments with thyroid extract made by Dr. Henry F. Barkley at Bayview Asylum 14 years ago. The fourth is a report of experiments made upon dogs at the Johns Hopkins Hospital by Dr. Harvey Cushing and others. The fifth is an “expose” of doings at the Rockefeller Institute in New York and at the Johns Hopkins Hospital by affidavits from former janitors, animal keepers and other such persons.

Interesting stuff—and some of it, perhaps, is true. And assuming it to be true, a very fair question arises—the question, to wit, whether the actual gain to medicine is worth the pain suffered by the animals used for experiment. Personally, I am convinced that it usually is, but I am perfectly willing to admit that a contrary view may be held in all honesty, and that the testimony in favor of that view is worth hearing. The fact is, however, that the anti-vivisectionists never rest content with the submission of such testimony. The objection to them and to their propaganda is that they constantly seek to reinforce this more or less true evidence with evidence that is grotesquely and maliciously false; that they proceed from a comprehensible complaint against cruel and useless experiments to a fanatical complaint against all experiment, however valuable, and that they constantly bring forward, as their chief witnesses and champions, a gang of snide pseudo-physicians, mental healers, theosophists, psychic researchers, New Thoghters, spiritualists and other such tedious and obnoxious frauds.

In brief, the question I asked Wednesday is still pertinent. If the Maryland Anti-Vivisection Society has honest evidence to support its propaganda, why does it distribute such imbecile things as Ferrier’s pamphlet? Why does it deny the plain fact that anmial experimentation has enormously widened the field of medical knowledge? Why does it ask sane human beings to read and heed the childish balderdash of the Kenealys, the Berdoes, the Oldfields and other such clowns? And why does it still accuse Dr. Berkley of murdering a pauper at Bayview, in 1897, when the fact has been long established, beyond all doubt or cavil, that the pauper his thyroid extract is said to have killed actually died of tuberculosis?