Baltimore Evening Sun (23 August 1912): 6.


Beware of collectors for the Dashing Harry monument fund! Burns hesitates at nothing!

Better an uncle to Dan Loden in Baltimore than an emperor in Cathay!—Adv.

Tip for the Maryland Antivivisection Society, the mellow, the maudlin:

The Hot Towel has taken to using a cheap grade of tallow, showing 1,000 electrons of corundum to the cc.

Advertisement in the Public, the organ of the Single Taxers:


Getting in ahead of the railroad in Canada and the resulting rise in real estate values is the surest way of doubling or tripling your money. For example, right now there is the biggest chance of a century to invest in town lots in Fort Fraser, in the heart of the choicest section of Canada, and realize immense profits.

Calgary, Alta., had only 4,090 folks in 1901, but has 40,000 today, and its $100 town lots of a few years ago can’t be bought for less than $1,000 to $3,000, and some even go to $50,000 and $60,000.

Fort Fraser is the next in line for this kind of development and promises an even brighter future. Government buildings are being located, and in a short time lots will take the same phenomenal jump in price--$100 to $500, $1,000, $5,000, and even double tha, just as they did at Calgary when it was opened up to commerce.

All of which would seem to indicate, beloved, that the Single Taxers’ lofty rage against rising land values is sometimes mitigated by a quite human desire to get aboard.

What may be expected from the more fanatical advocates of a cemetery Sunday, once they get the upper hand, is well demonstrated in certain cities of Canada, where the so-called Lord’s Day Alliance is all-powerful. In the city of London, which has a population of nearly 100,000, the alliance has gone to the length of stopping street car service on Sunday, and as a result the people are unable to get to the parks on their one day of rest. What is still more ridiculous, this insatiable Puritanism has forced the abandonment of services in at least one suburban church. In another Ontario town. St. Thomas, the people recently petitioned the city government to sprinkle the streets on Sunday, as a measure of relief from heat and dust, but the Board of Works frankly answered that it would not dare grant the petition “until permission be had from the Lord’s Day Alliance.”

Such is virtue at its worst. Here in Baltimore, fortunately enough, the preponderance of public sentiment is strongly against that sort of moral debauchery, and so there is little danger that Puritanism will prevail, despite the fact that its wildest extravagances are embodied in our lingering Blue Laws. Now and then the city and county police make an ironic effort to enforce those laws, but that is only to demonstrate their harshness and absurdity. At other times the people are permitted to spend Sunday pretty much as they please, so long as they keep the peace–which they always do when they are let alone. Last Sunday, for example, the river resorts were wide open and so were the stores along East Baltimore street, and yet the day was wholly free from violence.

The occasional raids upon these East Side stores do no credit to the city of Baltimore. They are all owned and patronized by foreign-born Jews, who keep their own Sabbath very scrupulously on Saturday, and it is certainly unfair to make them outlaws for refusing to keep two Sabbaths in succession. That a weekly day of rest is absolutely necessary no sane man denies, and that all disturbing acts should be prohibited on the day chosen by the majority is also plain, but it is one thing to prohibit wanton disturbances and quite another thing to prohibit acts that are perfectly orderly and decent. No man who minds his business can reasonably complain that those East Side stores break his rest. The people of the neighborhood are satisfied and even eager to have the stores open–and the people of other and distant neighborhoods have no right to interfere.

In such matters the principle of local option, at least within reason, should prevail. A man who gives Saturday to his devotions naturally turns to recreation on Sunday, just as many another man, after giving Sunday morning to his devotions, seeks diversion on Sunday afternoon. To make such persons criminals on account of their human desire to enjoy themselves in their own way is to deprive them of one of the common rights of civilized men. They are entltled to choose their own method of amusement so long as their choice does not invade the rights of other persons. And they certainly do not invade the rights of other persons so long as they remain in their own section and offer no insult to strangers passing through.

In many American States this privilege is formally recognized by law. In New York, for example, Section 264 of the Penal Code says:

It is a sufficient defense to a prosecution for work or labor on the first day of the week that the defendant uniformly keeps another day of the week as holy time, and does not labor on that day, and that the labor complained of was done in such mannrr as not to interrupt or disturb other persons in observing the first day of the week as holy time.

In California it is unlawful for an employer to work his employes more than six days a week, but if they choose Saturday as their day off they may work on Sunday. In Connecticut, the old home of Blue Laws, any man who keeps Saturday as his Sabbath may obtain permission to work on Sunday by filing written notice of his custom and belief with the local prosecuting officer. In Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia such a man may work in his workshop on Sunday, but may not open his store. In Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Wisconsin he may do either--but only so long, of course, as he does not disturb his neighbors. Thus, he may sell food on Sunday, but he may not operate a nail factory.

But Maryland still clings to the ancient statute of 1723, which rigorously prohibits all Sunday labor, save “works of necessity and charity,” and as rigorously prohibits all Sunday amusements, including “gaming. fishing, fowling, hunting or unlawful pastime or recreation.” Baseball was unknown in 1723, but the old statute makes it unlawful on Sunday today. Lawn tennis and golf are similarly unlawful. The latter, however, are now permitted by the police, in the exercise of their privilege of amending all laws which displease them, but baseball is still under the ban.

Strictly speaking, it is unlawful in Maryland to sell a package of chewing gum on Sunday, or to deliver a freezer of ice-cream, or to play a game of lotto. Such absurd prohibitions, of course, cannot be enforced, but the duty of enforcing them lies upon the police, and that fact gives professional moralists a constant opportunity to make trouble. Why not a general revision of our Sunday laws? Why not an effort to make them meet the actual conditions of life in 1912? Why not an end to this demoralizing oscillation from strict enforcement to utter laxity, and then back to enforcement again? Why not try to dispose of the whole pestiferous agitation by passing a statute that will be satisfactory to the majority of decent folks and that will invade the common rights of no man?

As it is, we have organized law-breaking on the one hand and the campaign of the Lord’s Day Alliance on the other. The result is inevitably a growing disrespect for the law, a feeling that its champions are absurd fanatics and its violators praiseworthy rebels.

Geheimrat Prof. Dr. John Turner, Jr., discover of bovotherapy and chief medical adviser to the super-Mahon, sat himself down yesterday and composed another hot and bitter interview with himself. The manuscript, neatly written by the geheimrat’s own hand, reached me this morning, and I hasten to embalm it in type. It opens nobly with the following passage for slip-horns and bass piccolos, in the key of B-flat major:

Mencken, the self-taught egotist of The Sun, asks me if Mayor Preston has made any mistakes.

Unluckily, I don’t remember asking the geheimrat any such question. All inquiries that I have addressed to him have been upon pathological and therapeutic topics. I have asked about bovotherapy, the liver and lights, “the modern appendicitis;” never about the archangels. But let it pass. Allow something for mere rhetoric. And so allowing, hearken unto the geheimrat’s reply:

Yes. The Mayor has made some mistakes. Here are a few. Mencken--the mud slinger. [I preserve the geheimrat’s bovotherapeutic punctuation throughout.]

I do not adopt the flippant cry of “tit for tat” (or the illogical twit of to quo que, but I have seen nothing in Ovids Metmorphoses to compare to Mencken’s gall.

Though a common cigar-roller by trade, he gathers a smattering of English and German, then uses a little free ink in venting his vanity & self appointment as critic, upon the public men, who do more to improve the city in one day, than Tapeworm Menchen does in a life time.

Boost the town, as the Mayor is doing, Mencken, and quit your fool-talk.

Have some fun, but do so by honest truths & wit, not by false premises & low ideas!

Oh! Yes, Mencken, here are some of the mistakes made by our hustling Mayor, James H. Preston.

Mayor Preston queered the old rampant School Board, which has spent several years & the tax payer’s money, rangling & fighting like boys in an alley. He put in poor men, with common sense, with love of peace and with the love of the poor child at heart.

He whipped the Sun and News to a frazzle in last year’s spring election; and keeps them whipped & whining, strange to say.

The Tom-Fool charter, sent down to the Legislature last Fall, he killed; thus showing his power in a quiet way. No frills; only just licked them!

Don’t you Peons know when you’re smashed?

Mayor Preston made a big mistake when he saved the tax payor, $54,000.…on the No. Ave pumping station contract.

Also when he licked the pious Warren Co.…headed by the devout Baldwin. It was charity, shown up truly & swiftly. He spanked the Pilgrim-Baldwin good & hard. Further still, Judge Bond verified the spank, and agreed with the Mayor in his contention.

One of the Mayor’s gravest mistakes is in trying to give Baltimore a first class water supply. He is unalterably opposed to our drinking out of a mud-hole, as the common on a public road. More than that: he is altering that water, & thus making it purer.

Of course, one of his gravest mistakes is in covering the disgracefully rough obsolete cobble stones with smooth decent pavement.

Another is in making Baltimore & Charles Sts a great white way, which is admired by all good & loyal residents, & especially visitors.

A very evident mistake, is the Mayor’s exacting a full day’s work from all the City employees and the Mayor himself leads thin procession.

Certainly, widening Charles St. and too, making these old residenters put concrete pavements down, where the bricked ones were defective, are indeed mistakes of the first water.

Mistakes of the Mayor! Are these, not enough? The new filtration plant, would be enough for one Mayor to complete. He intends that our drinking water shall be clean and germless; so that we can feel a little pride in our drinking water.

Mistakes! Why you moss-back, you never have had a more progressive Mayor. He is not trying to please you or any other half-republican; he is laboring hard, however, to boost Baltimore & to please those who elected him. Mayor Preston is the man who put the boo in boost. Dr Jno. Turner 1814 N. Chas.

Don’t you know that Mr. Preston really courts fair play & candor. He doesn’t mind honest criticism. You know full well, Mencken, you scrub-editor, that if a man hasn’t had the dogs at his heels, he is either very young or a fool.

To win anything, means honorable scars.

Personally, I love Mayor Preston for the enemies he has made. Show me a man without enemies and I will show you a man who never accomplished anything worthwhile. Show me a man without scars and I will show you a man without liberties.

Progressiveness, the modern slogan, is fattened on enemies, and scars. Enemies, round off the rough corners and furbish the public official. Dr. John Turner 1814 N. Charles St Aug 22-12.

An able state paper, worthy of the Hon. Aristides Sophocles Goldsborough himself, better by far than anything the Hot Towel, with all its grease, has ever concocted! And yet, despite its eloquence and sagacity, it has its errors, its imprudences. Why, for example, does the geheimrat lay so much stress on that filtration plant? Why does he allege indecently that we now drink “out of a mud-hole”? Can it be that he has not read the super-Mahon’s celebrated message to the jobhounds? Has he missed page 11, with its incandescent denunciation of the Sunpaper for saying that our drinking water is bad, that we have too much typhoid, that our death rate is too high? Has he missed page 8, with its patriotic declaration that our water “is better than that of the great majority of the cities of our country”?

Certainly the geheimrat grows careless. Certainly he is guilty of an awful fawks pass when he prophecies that our water “shall be clean and germless.” Why that sinister “shall”? How can the clean be made clean? Who will commit germicide on the already germless? Let the good geheimrat answer these questions. I offer him all the space he wants, any day he wants it, and I hereby solemnly promise and declare that his answer will be printed in full, without the change of a word, syllable or point of punctuation.

Meanwhile, it is a pleasure to agree with the geheimrat in other places. His summary of my biography, so far as it goes, is perfectly accurate. His verdict upon my character, while far from flattering, is still not so painful as the truth. And I am with him till the last galoot’s ashore when he argues that the super-Mahon is not laboring for “half-republicans,” and other such scoundrels, but to please “those who elected him.” For instance, the Hon. Dan Loden. For instance, the Hon. Trauty Trautfelter. For instance, the Right Hon. Paving Bob Padgett.