Baltimore Evening Sun (23 October 1912): 6.
A judge is an officer appointed to mislead, restrain, hypnotize, cajole, seduce, flabbergast and bamboozle a jury in such manner that it will forget all the facts and give its decision to the best lawyer. The objection to judges is that they are seldom capable of a sound professional judgment of lawyers. The objection to lawyers is that the best are the worst.
In some States the jury is judge of the law as well as of the facts. The objection to this system is that the jury invariably decides that the law is an ass. Hence the courts of appeal.
A jury is a group of twelve men who, having lied to the judge about their hearing, health and business engagements, have failed to fool him. Even a judge, it appears, sometimes has a certain low cunning.
The penalty for laughing in a courtroom is thirty days in jail. If it were not for this penalty the remarks of judges would never be heard.
A defendant is a man who has sought refuge in the courts from the natural consequences of his rascality.
A fine is a bribe paid by a rich man to escape the penalty laid upon poor men. In China and Persia a judge takes bribes personally. In Christendom he takes them as agent for the public treasury. But it makes no difference to the man who pays them--or can’t pay them.
The verdict of a jury is the opinion of that juror who smokes the worst cigars.
A prison is a place wherein clients do penance for the sins of their lawyers.
All honor to the Hon. Emory C. A. Ebaugh, of Carroll county, for his gallant effort to bring about a meeting between the Hon. Satan Anderson and the Hon. Gene Chafin, the Wet Hope. Gene is the one boy who shows any signs of dropping Satan to the mat. The common political sluggers have no chance at all: what is needed is an artist with knuckles like globules of chalcedony and the punch of an automobile crank. Gene, I believe, has both. He is the authentic, the indubitable Wet Hope.
Does money stand in the way? Does Anderson refuse to enter the ring until $1,000 is hung up? Then let us all chip in at once and have done. I myself subscribe $50, and go security for another $50 from Col. Jacobus Hook. Ed Hirsh will come across with $2. The Hon. Bob Crain, if he has a heart, will send in his $4. This battle must and shall go on. Gene must yank the hide off Satan. After he has done so, it will be easy enough to poison Gene.
The more a traitor like Jake traits, the more a patriot like Dan Loden pats.--Adv.
The sweet, sad music of the platitudinarians:
- It is an old truism that if you scratch a Russian you will find a Tartar.--The Hon. James Harry Preston.
- Knowledge is a voyage of discovery.--The Hon. Theodore Marburg.
- If death ends all, then everything is behind for the man who takes the leap into the dark.--The Rev. Dr. Polemus H. Swift.
- We all know how laws lose their force if there is no penalty.--The Hon. James Harry Preston.
The Hon. Mr. Wegg, the Havre de Grace Dr. Orison Swett Marden, in protest against an unsentimental attitude toward social problems:
[The Hon]. Mr. Mencken could have put up a splendid intellectual defense for slavery from facts and figures. It was an ancient evil, it was widespread and tenacious of life, etc., but mirabile dictu, it is gone, never to return. It is faith that does things, Mr. Mencken, especially the big things of life. In real life nothing is so dead as facts. * * *
With all due respect to an earnest and venerable man, Bosh! Sentimentality changed the form of slavery, but it did not change the substance. There are more slaves in the South today than ever there were before the war. Only the appearance of the thing has changed. The slaves of today are mill hands instead of field hands, and white instead of black. No other difference is visible to the naked eye.
Slavery needs no defense. It is an institution inherent in the nature of man. Personally, though I am a slave myself, I have no objection to it. It seems to me necessary that a large proportion of the human beings in the world should do hard work, and in order to bring them to it it is necessary to use force. Not one man in 20, given his free choice, would devote enough time to any useful occupation to gain any genuine skill at it. Pressure is indispensable, and the most convenient way to exert that pressure is by reducing the worker’s compensation to a minimum, and by doling it out in such manner that he can never get enough capital ahead to give him the unproductive leisure he yearns for.
This is cruel, of course, but that is no more than saying that life itself is cruel. The cruelness of life, indeed, is its most salient characteristic. Certainly not even Wegg himself, with all his talent for sentimental enthusiasm, would undertake to defend cholera morbus, or parturition, or blizzards, or mosquito bites as agreeable. In the same way work, save to a few rare human beings, is intensely and incurably unpleasant. But most of us inherit the necessity for doing it from our improvident ancestors, just as we inherit various painful and disgusting diseases and various costly defects and deficiencies in the structure of our kidneys, bones, teeth and cerebrums.
Wegg and his like propose to repeal all of these natural laws by denying them, or, to be more accurate, by restating them in more humane and comforting terms. At one time, for example, all the sentimentalists of the United States got together and decided that slavery was a harsh and irritating word. So they renamed the thing “freedom,” and then announced solemnly that slavery was no more. It made no difference, of course, to the slaves, but it made a lot of difference to the reformers. Many of the latter, by a characteristic joke of fate, are now slaves themselves. I know several veterans of the Civil War who work for newspapers.
Sometimes the change made by suceessful reformers is even less real than that I have just described. Now and then, indeed, they do not change the name of the thing at all, but merely modify their way of spelling it, for example, consider Prostitution. Many earnest men in this town now war upon that ancient evil with a great emission of sweat, brimstone and parts of speech. In the course of time, I have no doubt, Prostitution will be formally abolished by these pious sluggers and a shaft will arise to its obscene memory. But prostitution, with the P changed into p, will still remain.