Baltimore Evening Sun (26 August 1911): 6.


Why not put the Poe monument at Pratt and Light streets, where the poet had his last and greatest encounter with Baltimore politics and hospitality?

Another motto for the Old-Fashioned Administration:

On prend le peuple par les oreilles, comme on fait un pot par les anses.

From a member of the Maryland Anti-Vivisection Society:

This society is not a theological one, but is what its name implies. Its membership includes persons of widely different and even antagonistic theological views, who enter the field in a united effort to overcome the moral and scientific evils of vivisection.

This in answer to a request that the society offer reasons for circulating an imbecile pamphlet by one J. Todd Ferrier, arguing that dogs and horses have souls. Unfortunately the answer reached me too late to be published in this place yesterday, and so I give space to it today.

With all due respect to the society, I must still contend that it makes itself ridiculous by circulating such rubbish. If there are sound reasons for criticising vivisection as it is at present practiced--and I am perfectly willing to admit that such reasons exist--why doesn’t the society content itself with stating them? Why does it waste its funds and insult the intelligence of the public by seeking to reinforce them with the balderdash of Ferrier, the absurd theosophical piffle of Arabella Kenealy, the ignorant denials of Charles Bell Taylor? Why does it give countenance to the grotesque charge that experiments upon animals are invariably cruel and invariably useless? Why does it descend to deliberate deception?

A case in point. One of the leaflets distributed by the society is devoted to a bitter attack upon Dr. Henry J. Berkley, of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, for making certain tests of thyroid extracts at Bayview Asylum in 1897--14 years ago. At that time the effect of these extracts was not fully determined, and so Dr. Berkley decided to administer them to eight insane patients, seven of whom were beyond all human help by other means, and observe the effect. In two cases decided increases of mental disturbance followed, and the administration of the extracts was at once stopped. But the excitement continued for some time, and one of the patients eventually died. Thus the leaftet quotes from Dr. Berkley’s report:

Two patients became frenzied, and of these one (Case No. 1) died before the excitement had subsided.

The plain implication here, of course, is that the thyroid extract killed the patient. The society obviously wants “to give the reader that impression: it quotes with applause, from an English anti-vivisection paper called the Zoophilist, the direct charge that the patient was “murdered scientifically.” But what are the actual facts? Simply that the patient died, not of the effects of the thyroid extracts but of tuberculosis--a disease no more to be laid to Dr. Barkley’s treatment than a broken neck might have been laid to that treatment. In the original report the cause of the death was specifically stated. In the Maryland Anti-Vivisection Society’s quotation, that important fact is suppressed. Dr. Berkley’s words, in brief, are mangled to make out a case against him. Once more the anti-vivisection cause resorts to disingenuousness in the presence of truth that sbould be sufficient for its needs.

This case is one of the classics of anti-vivisection propaganda. The original report upon Dr. Berkley’s tests was printed in the Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital for July, 1897, and two months later the Zoophilist opened the attack. Before long guns were thundering from a score of anti-vivisection ramparts. Finally Dr. W. W. Keen, the distinguished Philadelphia surgeon, arose to answer for Dr. Berkley. He showed that the doses of thyroid extract administered to the four patients were much too small to cause death; he showed further that the one patient who actually died was taken off not by poisoning but by tuberculosis. What was the answer of the anti-vivisectionists? Their answer was to continue the circulation of their false cbarge. “A decent sense of honor,” says Dr. W. V. Cannon, in his recent pamphlet on “Some Characteristics of Anti-Vivisection Literature,” “would have impelled the instant correction of this wrong, yet the anti-vivisectionists have coutinued these 10 years to deceive the credulous public without any moving consideration that their imposture involved a man’s good name.” The Maryland Anti-Vivisection Society, as we have seen, is still at it. Its leaflet, dated 1910, shows the same mangling of Dr. Berkley’s report that the Zoophilist first performed in 1897.

The anti-vivisection propaganda, in itself, is far from insane. There may be, and there actually is, a legitimate difference of opinion regarding the wisdom of permitting experiments upon living animals to go on without restraint, and there may be even some difference of opinion regarding the value of many such experiments to medical knowledge, but if these differences of opinion exist, why can’t the anti-vivisectionists present their side with a reasonable degree of sense and a reasonable degree of fairness? Why do they turn so quickly to falsehoods and balderdash? Why do they ally themselves so eagerly with the faith-healers, the food-faddists, the dog-worshippers, the spook-chasers and other such fools? Why do they try to disprove, with evidence so absurd that it would make even a lawyer laugh, the plain fact that experiments upon animals have been of enormous value to man, and that practically all of the medical progress made during the last generation has had its roots in such experiments?

The Maryland Anti-Vivisection Society, I am told by the member aforesaid, pleads only for the Open Door. It is not against vivisection; it is merely against unrestrained and useless and cruel vivisection. Well, if that be so, why does it circulate the childish nonsense of Kenealy and Ferrier; why does it seek, by disingenuous quotation, to give the impression that such men as Dr. W. S. Halstead and Sir Almroth E. Wright, are opposed to experiment, and why does it continue to withhold common justice from Dr. Berkley? The question here is not one of the justice of its cause but one of the decorum of its method. If the truth is on its side, why doesn’t it stick to the truth?

Contributions to the thesaurus of unprecedented similes:

As eager to give advice as Frank A. Furst. As pestiferous as an Old Subscriber. As tenacious of life as a Republican in the Water Department. As belligerently self-respecting as an actor. As ditto as an old-fashioned mayor.