Baltimore Evening Sun (11 June 1913): 8.
The decision of the Supreme Court upholding the Newspaper Publicity law is the best lick ever struck for decent journalism in this country. That law puts no hardship whatever upon honest newspapers; all its weight falls upon the rogues and mountebanks of the business. Its three provisions are prudent, just and fair. In the first place, it requires every newspaper to print a full list of its stockholders and bondholders at least twice a year. In the second place, it requires an honest statement of circulation, under oath. And in the third place, it forbids absolutely the printing of advertisements under the guise of news. What square and honorable newspaper publisher could possibly object to any one of these requirements? What community will not be benefited by their enforcement against its newspapers?
A DAILY THOUGHT. Woman would be more charming if one could fall into her arms without falling into her hands.--Ambrose Bierce.
My sacerdotal spies bring me news that a number of new and stimulating scandals are brewing in Sunday-school circles, and in addition I find pointed hints to that effect in the current number of the Hon. William H. Anderson’s instructive witzblatt, the American Issue. According to the Hon. Mr. Anderson, whose Intelligence Department is far better equipped than my own, the rollers are being deftly inserted beneath at least two very eminent moral matadors of our fair city, and their yells promise to be highly edifying when the signal is given to yeave-ho. One is “a party Prohibitionist who has been mixed up in a deal which has attracted a large amount of attention,” and who has “had dealings as attorney and otherwise with certain notorious politicians.” The other is “engaged in a business that involves a large handling of liquor * * * and has appeared at Annapolis against the Local Option bill.”
Unluckily, I am unable to identify this pair of prisoners at the moral bar. The description of No. 2 fits Col. Jacobus Hook in at least one particular, for the Colonel has “appeared at Annapolis against the Local Option bill,” but the other specifications hang on him like bags, for he has never engaged in any business involving “a large handling of liquor,” nor, indeed, in any business involving its small handling. His fortune has been made by the practice of the legitimate and honorable profession of banking, and by giving away thousands of bales of Vuelta Abajo cigars. Besides, the Colonel is not a Sunday-school superintendent, and never has been, and though he is the most peaceble man imaginable, it is probable that he would knock off the block of any scoundrel who accused him. As a public man, he is willing to stand a reasonable amount of excoriation. Call him a winebibber, and be will turn the other cheek. Say that he has played penuchle in his day, and his denial, though positive, will be without heat. But call him a Sunday-school superintendent, and he will let fling with knuckles hardened by two-thirds of a century of honest toil.
No; the Colonel is not one of the two culprits denounced by the Hon. Mr. Anderson, and neither is the Hon Dan Loden, whose sins, however black, do not include the tort of Tartuffe. In point of fact, I do not know who the accused may be. But I have my suspicions, and my eavesdroppers are on the job. At the first sign of motion in the rollers, they will notify me by telephone, and I shall be glad to pass the news on to the vulgar in general. To make assurance doubly sure, I have set a watch upon no less than 18 different superintendents, including five who have been carrying old-fashioned politics on one shoulder and the Beatitudes on the other, and seven who have played five aces against the Hon. Mr. Anderson in the seclusion of their vestry rooms.
One of the 18 is a celebrated gladiator of the Lord’s Day Alliance, that senate of the pure in heart, and has attained to a considerable moral celebrity by his opposition to Sunday recreations. In particular, he rages piously against Sunday baseball, and is for proceeding against the boys who play it with the full military and naval forces of the State of Maryland. By a curious coincidence, this gentleman is a large employer of boy labor, and on several occasions, unless I am grossly misinformed, he has been disgracefully persecuted by the tattle-tales of the Child Labor Bureau. Such are the burdens that the virtuous must bear! Far greater champions--for example, the Hon Eugene Levering--have suffered from a similar impertinent snouting into their private business.
Another superintendent whose name appears in the secret reports of my scandalmongers is a famous baiter of the Rum Demon, oft and lustily. And yet this same holy man, unless I am deluded by liars, was taken with ethylic convulsions at a public banquet holden during the past winter, and, climbing upon the table, performed there a lamentable muscle-dance, to the horror of the assembled victualers and the damage of the victuals. But let it be said in fairness that learned pathological counsel account for the strange exhibition on grounds not involving the actual ingestion or C2H5OH, at least per esophagus. That is to say, they hold that a guest at a banquet may conceivably get into a state of liquor without touching the horrid beakers of sin to his lips. What happens is that fumes enter his system by radiation from his less virtuous fellows, or by the process known to physics as endosmosis. I have noticed that effect myself when in attendance upon literary meetings of the Elks, and the Hon. Mr. Anderson tells me that he, too, has been made dizzy, and even noisy, by the proximity of the bibuli at Annapolis.
All of this teaches us, beloved, that the evil effects of drink are not upon the drinker alone, nor only upon the wives he beats and betrays, and the children he breeds to crime and insanity. He is a walking plague spot, a radiator of pestilence, a grave danger to the whole community. One may sit beside such a fellow in a street car, or even at an Anti-Saloon League meeting, and absorb enough alcohol in its volatile form to reduce one to babbling booziness. The thing is not only possible: it has actually happened, and the medical literature is full of cases. It is especially dangerous to shake hands with such a man, or to sing from the same book.
Ingenuous remark of the ever-serious Hot Towel:
The City Council is the legislative body of the city, animated, or ought to be animated, without political bias. * * *
Whoops and screams from pit and gallery. A man in one of the boxes begins barking like a dog.