Baltimore Evening Sun (17 October 1912): 6.


Silicaput, n, one with a hard and unyielding head, as of flint or chalcedony; a numbskull; a stonehead; a ward heeler.

A stonehead in his Sunday clothes Becomes a silicaput.--J. Tennyson Botts.

Don’t say them ex-sheriffs ain’t been punished! Just think how hard it was for them io keep from busting out laughing!

Once more the Old Town Merchants prove traitors to the Old Fashioned Administration. Next time it will be three strikes and out.

Pretty soon a posse will be dragging the Severn river for the corpse of the Brooklyn lynching case.

If you do nothing else this fine autumn afternoon, at least give earnest study to the letter of Dr. Howard A. Kelly, the Vice Crusader, in today’s Letter Column. Here we have a perfectly frank statement of the crusaders’ theories and plans, comprehensible to the meanest understanding and with a minimum admixture of theology. If you agree with them in their main premises--i. e., that it is possible and practicable wholly to stamp out the social evil in so large a city as Baltimore--then you must needs approve and support their campaign, for the social evil is obviously one of the great curses of civilization and the world would be vastly better off without it. But if you believe, on the contrary, as many undoubtedly sane men believe, that no campaign of repression will ever entirely repress it, that opposition merely makes it take new and more evil forms, that it will be with us, for good or for ill, until the end of the chapter, then you had better ask yourself calmly whether Dr. Kelly’s campaign is to be laughed at gently, as the harmless fad of estimable gentlemen, or opposed openly and vigorously, as a dangerous running amuck of unthinking and reckless fanatics.

Dr. Kelly’s correspondent voices a complaint heard much of late, and from widely separated sections of the city. The disorderly houses in several of the old red-light districts have been closed by the crusaders and their inmates have been set adrift. What becomes of such inmates? Are they received back into decent society? Do they become useful workers? Nine times out of ten, it must be obvious, they do not. They themselves may be willing to go to work, but society is far from eager to welcome them. They are in the position of discharged convicts: their past is a hopeless and unescapable burden. What, then, becomes of them? Most of them, you may be sure, try at once to outwit their pursuers. That is to say, they try to practice their old profession secretly, as they once practiced it openly, and so they become a double menace, for they are not only as bad as ever they were, but they have added to their badness a specious appearance of respectability and a growing capacity for chicane. In brief, the admitted prostitute becomes a clandestine prostitute, and, as even Dr. Kelly must admit, it is the clandestine prostitute, and not her unblushing sister, who is the greater menace to public decency and the public health.

Already, in Baltimore, we begin to see how this crusade works, The red-light districts are being cleaned up, one by one--and simultaneously complaints are beginning to come in from north, east, south and west. Pretty soon, if the thing goes on, few neighborhoods save the most expensive will be wholly free from infection. In every third block a volunteer committee will be watching a suspected house. And what remedy does Dr. Kelly offer for this wholesale and reckless scattering of the evil? More raiding. But what will more raiding accomplish? Obviously, it will merely force the women to move again. And as they thus move on and on, pursued from pillar to post, they will gain in caution and resource. In the end, it will be next to impossible to get legal evidence against the more clever of them. In brief, we will have defiant prostitution in every tenement house and in every poor neighborhood, as New York has it, and Chicago, and London.

Segregation, of course, has not worked perfectly, but no fair man, I take it, will argue that it has failed entirely. We have had definite red-light areas, known to every adult, and to those areas prostitution has been pretty well confined. True enough, there have been occasional disorderly houses without the bounds, but such houses have made up no more than 5 per cent. of the total number, But under the Vice Crusaders’ plan, all disorderly houses will be without the bounds. Every one will be clandestine and every one will be outlaw. Instead of keeping under the eye of the police and submitting to the regulation of the police, each keeper will seek eternally to deceive and evade or to mollify and bribe the police. Ask yourself if this will be an improvement. Ask yourself if it will tend to diminish the admitted costs and dangers of the social evil.

Boil your drinking water! Cover your garbage can! Subscribe for the Baltimore Democrat!

Sorry days for my great and good friend, the Hon. Jacobus Hook, K. T. First the Old Town Merchants, deaf to his whirls and whorls of speech, declare against the Light street loan for political contractors. And now comes news that the man who shot Colonel Roosevelt is from Munich!

The Constitution of the United States: the last refuge of scoundrels.

Novels that you may safely tackle despite the saleslady’s recommendation:

The one best bet among the new English novels:

“Marriage,” by H. G. Wells (Duffield).

The probable one best bet among the American novels of the winter:

“The Financier,” by Theodore Dreiser (Harper).