Baltimore Evening Sun (26 October 1912): 6.


The eternal caterwauling of the platitudinarians:

It is a well-known fact that all children do not possess the same ability.—The Hon. James Harry Preston. The child should be born with a sound brain.—Dr. Lewellys F. Barker. The tariff question is an international question.—The Hon. Levn T. Jones, LL. D.


The prize for the sweetest, saddest platitude of the week goes to the Hon. James Harry Preston for the following:

It is a well-known fact that all children do not possess the same ability.

The prize, a bottle of chemically pure Pittsburgh mayonnaise, guaranteed under the pure food and drugs act, awaits the honorable gentleman’s commands. The committee gives honorable mention to the Hon. Theodore Marburg for the following:

Knowledge is a voyage of discovery.

And to the Rev. Dr. Polemus H. Swift for the following:

Your plan to write a book will benefit neither you nor the world if the book is never written.

And to the estimable Evening News for the following:

Profanity is one of the most vulgar of all violations of good manners.

Next week’s prize will be a copy of Baxter’s “Saint’s Rest,” bound in half a calf.

The committee, in its report, gives high praise to the prize-winner. It says:

The Hon. Mr. Preston has here achieved a duplex platitude, or, as Victor Hugo would say, a platitude a double refrain. The latter member, “all children do not possess the same ability,” is a noble platitude in itself, for the proposition it states is plainly self-evident, but the addition of “it is a well-known fact” adds vastly to its charm and penetration. What is well-known is naturally indubitable, so here we have a platitude that is doubly indubitable. Even the best of platitudinarians reach such pinnacles of the obvious only rarely. In brief, we are in the presence of true genius, and it is no less admirable because it is so incessantly and tumultuously self-confessed.

Those correspondents, chiefly anonymous, who keep on sending in platitudes from my own compositions have my sincere thanks, but it must be plain that I can’t enter this competition myself, nor permit any other person to make entires for me. If I did so, and perchance won one of the weekly prizes, there would be an immediate cry of fraud from the Hon. Mr Wegg, the Hon. James Harry Preston, the Editor of the Maryland Suffrage News and other such ardent and assiduous platitudinarians and specialists in invective. But if any person who appreciates my efforts desire to put that appreciation into the form of a small testimonial, I do not hesitate to intimate that I need half a dozen loose, large-waisted shirts, size 15¼, and that my winter stock of chewing tobacco is running low.

The Director of Public Safety of Philadelphia in response to an appeal from Presbyterian ministers for the abolition of Philadelphia’s Tenderloin:

I could close every disorderly house in Philadelphia in two hours, but if I did the inmates would become your neighbors and mine. The policeman’s club will never solve this vice question. Vice has existed since the world began, and we find no means of abolishing it. The best we can do is to make vice unattractive.

The New York World’s comment upon the foregoing:

It is to be wished that these sane and rational conclusions could be read, marked, learned and inwardly digested at every reform headquarters and in every pastor’s study. They express the lesson of years of desultory and hypocritical crusading against an evil which can only be minimized and never abolished. The policy can at any time close up the disorderly houses, but with what gain to public morals? Dr. Parkhurst did it in New York, with consequences that proved the futility of quixotic anti-vice campaigns to do more than make the conditions worse by diffusing the evil. Vice cannot be eradicated by raids. But it can be restricted and its effects lessened by keeping it out of the public vision and making its resorts unattractive.

Respectifully referred to the estimable mad mullahs of the current Vice Crusade.

The Hon. James Harry Preston in Baltimore, the monthly paper of the Honorary Pallbearers:

We want more dumping grounds.

Particularly, it would appear, for ward heelers.

Some even go so far as to say that the Hon. Satan Anderson is the Mr. Wegg of Baltimore.

Boil your drinking water! Cover your garbage can! Think of Chafin’s treachery—and weep!

Which recalls the fact that the village of Brooklyn hasn’t given the newspapers of Baltimore a chance to preach at it for almost six weeks.

Psychotherapy, that benign and romantic science, has lately gained a distinguished convert in the person of the eminent Prof. Dr. S. B. Hartman, inventor and prophet of Peruna. And to the propaganda Dr. Hartman brings a new and revolutionary policy, for instead of seeking free reading notices, after the fashion of Emmanuel Movers, Christian Scientists and other such psychotherapists before him, he boldly takes space in the advertising columns, and there, at his own cost, argues freely and fluently for the influence of the spirit upon the liver and lights. By a strange coincidence his first article bears the beading of “Religion and Medicine,” the exact title of the official textbook of the Emmanuel Movement.

It is a pleasure to see Dr. Hartman come to the aid of Medical Freedom, not only because the cause needs the aid of so ingratiating and plausible a spellbinder, but also because he brings to it a certain frankness it has hitherto lacked. Dr. Hartman, in brief, does not try to conceal the fact that he is trying to sell something. On the contrary, he specifically mentions Peruna as an article of commerce, and insists eloquently that psychotherapy is helpless without its aid. Let us all hope that the other Medical Freedomists, in the days to come, will grow equally honest. All of them have something for sale, and all of them use their frenzy for “scientific” freedom as a device for advertising that something, and yet not one of them, so far, has had the decency to admit it, as Dr. Hartman admits it.

Some day, let us hope, in the intervals of his cruel and incessant murder of the Sunpaper, the Archangel Harry will explain to a curious populace his method of choosing janitors for schoolhouses.

The City of Baltimore now owns 16 automobiles. Advice to the Hon. Fred. Wright: Look sharp when you cross the street.