Baltimore Evening Sun (23 January 1912): 6.


A glance through the rosters of the various convention committees shows that the spring crop of Prominent Baltimoreans promises to be unusually large. Not for many years, indeed, has there been so much stock on the wharves, and not for many years has it been of likelier quality. More than 50 of the yearlings have already sent their photographs to the newspapers, and fully 100 now stand ready to favor the public with their views upon all conceivable subjects. As soon as the Legislature adjourns and the newspaper reporters most skillful at manufacturing Prominent Baltimoreans return to town, a large number of interesting debuts will be witnessed.

One of the objections constantly made to the Prominent Baltimorean is that he never lets go—that once he grabs a favorable pitch in the spotlight it is next to impossible to pry him loose. But a careful investigation proves that this is only partly true. All Prominent Baltimoreans, of course, try to hang on as long as they can, but many of them go down before competition. The age life of the fowl, indeed, is not over two years. Nine-tenths of the Prominent Baltimoreans manufactured this spring will be forgotten by 1914.

All this I state on the authority of the young man who keeps The Sun’s “morgue” or file of portraits and biographies. He goes through his stock at the beginning of every year, throwing out the woodcuts of all Prominent Baltimoreans who have died, moved from the city or sunk back into their original obscurity. Since January 1, he tells me, he has thus disposed of 185. Says he:

The great fire of 1904 made Prominent Baltimoreans by the score. No less than 567 separate and distinct men, most of them hitherto obscure, were appointed to the various wrecking and reconstruction committees. But not more than half of them remain Prominent Baltimoreans today. The ocean of time has engulfed them; they have gone back to work. A sad, sad world!

This young man tells me–a rather surprising thing—that even Honorary Pallbearers occasionally lose their grip and go back into the melting pot. In witness whereof, he exhibits a little list. It shows the names of 17 men who were Prominent Baltimoreans in 1906 and are now forgotten—men who, in their day, served on dozens of committees and sub-committees of the Merchants and Manufacturers’ Association and appeared conspicuously at innumerable obsequies. But it may be said for them, in explanation of their decay, that 14 of them are now far advanced in years, and that the other three are invalids.

News note in one of the morning papers:

A number of City Councilmen are jubilant over the proportions which the boom of Mayor Preston as a candidate for the Vice-Presidency of the United States has assumed.

Particularly, it would seem, those who know just how modest the said proportions are.

Upon the inability of anti-vivisectionists, medical freedomists and other such toreadors of flapdoodle to state even a commonplace fact correctly I have frequently made my lamentation. These pests erode me with their malicious animal magnetism, and even more with their misquotations. On Saturday, for example, I had to issue a pathetic appeal to my old friend, the Hon. Henry A. McMains, beseeching him to quote more accurately in future—the effect and consequence of a long and tedious effort to rectify blunders. Well, in the very same issue of the Evening Sunpaper some virtuous anti-vivisectionist came to the bat with an error even more stupid and annoying. Her (I assume all anti-vivisectionists to be females of the species) exact words:

In proof of the correctness of this definition I offer the following quotation taken from an article in the Archives of Internal Medicine, published by the American Medical Association, May 15, 1908.

Notice the date: May 15, 1908. At once I turned loose three archivists in the library of The Sun, with instructions to find and copy the article quoted. That was on Saturday, at 3.12 P. M. At 4.32 they reported to me that no such article appeared in the Archives for May 15, 1908. I sent them back with a rebuke. At 7.38 they reported again that they were unable to find it. Allowing them 10 minutes for dinner, I ordered them to return to the quest and to stick to it until they found the article. At 3.50 Sunday morning they aroused me from bed and resigned their jobs.

At 7.30 I arose, shaved, put on my Sunday clothes and tackled the search myself. I was at it allday Sunday, all Sunday night and all day yesterday. At 11.45 last night I fell asleep over the moldering volumes and slept until 4.30 this morning, when I resumed work. At 11.48 with a shout of joy I came upon the article. But was it in the number for May 15, 1908? Of course, it was not. The number in which it actually appeared was that for December, 1908. And inasmuch as neither the title nor the name of its author was given, it was necessary to read the whole of the current issue, to find it–a little matter of 250,000 words and 200 gruesome pictures—of 44 hours and 24 minutes!

And was the article, thus found at last, quoted correctly? Naturally not. No anti-vivisectionist can quote anything correctly. The anti-vivisectionist mind is incurably obscurantist and oblique. Its one frenzy is to make all facts and statements, however antagonistic, serve the cause of the dear guinea pigs. Not content with the truth, it almost invariably seeks to embellish and ameliorate the truth. So here. The article in question tells of experiments made to test the diagnostic, not the curative value of tuberculin, and describes how, it order to avoid confusing clinical deductions, the tuberculin was administered without first examining the children inoculated.

Well, how did our sophisticating anti-vivisectionist deal with this report? In a typically anti-vivisectionist manner. That is to say, she first cut out, from the very midst of her quotation, a sentence explaining frankly why the children were not first examined, and then she sought to make it appear (very deftly, I admit) that the cause thereof was the sheer brutality and cannibalism of the experimenting pathologists.

Such is the anti-vivisectionist dialectic. Such is the moral gnosiology. I treat the matter at such length because the local anti-vivisectionists are constantly bursting into the newspapers with exactly similar false quotations, fake statistics and fraudulent, tinpot “authorities.” It is important, therefore, that the public understand how little they are to be believed, even when they profess to give direct quotations from the writings of honest men.