Baltimore Evening Sun (3 April 1913): 6.
The Hon. William H. Anderson, writing in today’s Letter Column, nominates the Hon. John T. Stone as his representative on the Blind Pig Commission. It is a pleasure to approve this choice. I have no personal acquaintance with the Hon. Mr. Stone, but his gallant defense of the Hon. John P. Weyler marks him as a fair man. As for the expenses of the inquiry, I shall be glad to pay my share of them out of my privy purse provided the Hon. Mr. Anderson does the same. I have, as yet, no milk route of Sunday schools, no franchise to pass the plate. And I am in receipt of no subsidy from the brewers and distillers. Certainly, the Hon. Mr. Anderson doesn’t want to oppose to my modest personal resources the massed wealth of all his weeping clients. I will match pennies with a man, but certainly not with a wiskinski.
His letter, by the way, reveals once more his singular talent for immoral representation. For example, he accuses me, by a characteristic innuendo, of bringing liquor salesmen and a “foreign newspaper man” into court as witnesses. The truth is, of course, that I have never put any such witness on the stand. On the contrary, I have been at great pains to bring forward only witnesses who have no personal interest whatever in the fortunes of the Rum Demon. What is more, the Hon. Mr. Anderson knows it. And yet he keeps on accusing me. What a burden of remorse the idea must carry! How his couscience must gnaw at him like a serpent’s tooth!
Incidentally, the hon. gent devotes the leading editorial in the current number of the American Issue to explaining his sinister hostility to the Anti-Cigarette Crusade. His excuse, in brief, is that he is afraid of antagonizing the more licentious members of the Anti-Saloon League. Thus:
[The Hon.] Sir. Mencken would like me to rush to the front on the tobacco question and thereby drive away from local option those worthy individuals who smoke and even chew and may take an occasional nip, but are against the saloon * * *
A frank confession, but one that does not meet the issue. As camerlengo and wiskinski-elect of the Anti-Cigarette League, I do not ask recruits to give up the coffin-nail themselves. All I ask of them is (a) that they pay as much money as they can afford into the treasury of the league, for my personal use and benefit, and (b) that they revile and excoriate all other persons who use cigarettes.
As the Hon. Mr. Anderson himself shows, this is all that any great moral cause demands of its supporters. There are plenty of local optionists, as he says, who keep jugs for medicinal and consolatory purposes. There are some, perhaps, who practice bibbing with almost pathological assiduity. But these, I daresay, are the very ones who attack the Rum Demon with the greatest fuming and fury, and make the most savage efforts to stop the nipping of the other fellow. Their moral splendor has its roots, as it were, not in what they do themselves, but in what they try to make the other follow do--not in any selfish concern for their own souls, but in a moving rage and melancholy over the imperiled souls of the unsanctified.
So with all other great movements in malignant morals. For example, that of the Lord’s Day Alliance. There are plenty of members of the alliance, I venture to opine, who devote at least a part of Sunday to recreation–perhaps automobiling, or piano-playing, or gastronomy, or novel-reading, or the beating of children. But that doesn’t take anything from their noble passion to destroy and prohibit the recreations of the common people. That doesn’t detract from their gallant effort to make the average man’s Sunday a day of tedium and horror, of sullenness and gloom. That doesn’t make the less laudable their vicious and violent attack upon the poor fellows who go to Back River on their one day of rest to sit under the trees and drink a few bottles of beer and hear a happy song or two and get a breath of fresh air.
The Anti-Cigarette League follows the examples of these elder lodges of chemical purity. It does not ask its members to stop smoking themselves; it merely asks them to advocate laws putting heavy penalties upon smoking by others. Its funds will be divided fairly into two parts. One part I shall keep myself, as a modest recompense for my laborious shaking down of the pious. The other part will be devoted to the propaganda. Rabble-rousers will be supplied to Sunday-schools and Chautauquas. Horrible examples will be exhibited to trembling children. Eminent cigarette manufacturers will be denounced by name. Candidates for public office will be browbeaten into line. Literature will be distributed showing that the cigarette is the mother and father of crime, that every cigarette smoker is a potential pirate and murderer, that all the sorrows of the world are caused by the abhorrent coffin-nail.
I am privy to the techn ique of moral endeavor. I know all the professional moralists of Baltimore. What is more, I am in touch with moralists all over the United States. I have a stack of testimony against the cigarette at least four feet in height–testimony of jail wardens, psychiatrists, converted burglars, actors, army surgeons, archdeacons, evangelists, boy murderers, white slave traders, drunkards, dope fiends, muscle dancers, newspaper reporters, bigamists, coronets, ward heelers and bishops. This evidence I propose to lay before the virtuous, at the same time passing around a No. 7⅜ hat. And meanwhile, I am going to address an open letter to the Hon. William Luke Marbury, demanding that he state frankly where he stands upon this great moral question.
Boil your drinking water! Cover your garbage can! Help Goucher!
From the Washington Post’s report of a recent vice meeting at the capital:
Dr. W. C. Woodward, health officer of the District of Columbia, urged the encouragement of early marriage among young men as one of the remedies for the social evil. * * * He approved a suggestion by Senator Beall, of Illinois, of laws placing a tax upon bachelorhood, a graduated tax between the ages of 24 and 42, providing that all men more than 32 years old should pay an annual tax of $100 as long as they remain unmarried.
A sane and just impost, despite the fallacy of its premise. The social evil, as every intelligent investigator knows, is not supported by bachelors. But all the same, they deserve to pay hard cash for their escape from the cares and burdens of marriage, and what is more, 99 per cent. of them are perfectly willing, and even eager to do so. I don’t know a single bachelor, indeed, who is opposed to this proposed tax. The only criticism they make upon it is that it is too low. The majority of them think that a dollar a day would be better.