Baltimore Evening Sun (13 June 1913): 6.


From an “anti-nicotine Sunday-school lesson” circulated by the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, 516 Park Avenue:

There are instances where tobacco-using fathers enjoy comparatively good health while their children suffer from nervousness, epilepsy and feeblemindedness.

The evidence, of course, is on file in the archives of these pious ladies. They would not make such an astonishing statement without having the clear proofs at hand. And if, by any chance, they lack such proofs, no doubt the Maryland Anti-Vivisectionist Society will provide them. The Maryland Anti-Vivisection Society keeps a herd of able medical statisticians on duty day and night. The moment the alarm sounds they come sliding down the pole, drawing on their small clothes as they descend. These statisticians are very accomplished fellows. They have “proved,” on a dozen different occasions, (a) that the Pasteur hydrophobia vaccine will not cure hydrophobia, (b) that the vapor baths of Bath House Jean will cure it, and (c) that no such thing as hydrophobia exists. With such feats behind them, it should be easy for them to “prove” that the use of tobacco by fathers produces feeblemindedness in children.

The estimable Democratic Telegram of this week denounces the Episcopal Convention bitterly for yielding to the slick city ways and oily tongue of the Hon. Young Cochran in the matter of the local option resolution, and predicts that this action will cost the church a good many members. In going in for such schemes, says the Telegram, the church “abjectly professes weakness and inability to lead men through their hearts and minds, * * * and relies upon compulsion, the force of statute.” Such notions, it argues, are neither Marylandish nor churchly, but belong to the extravagant dogmas of New England Puritanism. In addition, the Telegram pays a tribute to the late George Konig, bawls out the Hon. William Luke Marbury, calls the Sunpaper a deceiver, and begins a furious flirtation with the Hon. Isaac Lobe Straus. A varied and entertaining number of a very instructive gazette.–Adv.

The Hon. Isaac Lobe Straus, the celebrated tyrannicide, will have the place of honor in the Domesday Book, immediately following the Hon. Dashing Harry and Dr. Munyon.

The Rev. Dr. S. Lane Batten, chairman of the social service committee of the Baptist Church in Philadelphia:

When I was in Atlanta three weeks ago I had a splendid opportunity to investigate conditions there. While they have eliminated the red light district completely, they have not stopped solicitation on the streets. With Dr. Baley, of Philadelphia, I made a tour of investigation. I was solicited for immoral purposes 19 times, and my brother minister 21 times, always by different women. * * * San Francisco, in her worst days, was no worse than the Georgia city.

And yet it is no more than two months since the moral perunists of Atlanta, after a campaign of unexampled loudness and ferocity, were celebrating their “victory” over the social evil with affecting pomp. In the Literary Digest of May 3 you will find an extensive account of that campaign from the pen of the Rev. Dr William T. Ellis, a famous press agent of the uplift. According to Dr. Ellis, the business of prostitution was then down and out in Atlanta, and no less than 200 fair penitents were in the bull-pen of the reformers. But already, alas, alas, a large number of them seem to have escaped and gone back to sin! Already the town is ripe for another exhilarating crusade!

The Atlanta campaign attracted a great deal of attention among militant moralists in other cities chiefly because of its thrilling theatricality. It was run by a lawyer named Marion Jackson, and the necessary money was provided by one John J. Eagan, apparently a Georgia counterpart of the Hon. Young Cochran. With this money space was bought in the newspapers, and flaming advertisements denouncing the social evil were printed therein. Sometimes they took up no more than two or three columns of space; at other times they rioted over whole pages. But always they were cleverly written, and so their effect was to arouse the town to a high pitch of excitement. Atlanta got as much fun out of the woman-hunt, indeed, as it had ever got out of a niggero-hunt. The red-light district was cleaned up with a rush. The social evil was formally abolished and repudiated. Virtue triumphed.

That is to say, for two or three weeks. At the end of that time the “reformed” and “saved” women began to escape from the moral stockade, at first by ones and twos and then by dozens and scores. And simultaneously, a new red-light district began to show itself--a red-light district spread out very thin, and made up of side-door saloons, snide hotels and such-like insidious aids of prostitution. Today, unless the Rev. Dr. Batten is a liar, the social evil in the town is worse than ever before. The streets are alive with women; they are beyond the control of the police; vice is flaunted before everyone. So much for militant morality. So much for pious perunaism, go much for a campaign which, according to the Rev. Dr. Ellis, was “more fun than a fleet of aeroplanes or a garage full of racing automobiles.”

Unluckily enough, the history of this Atlanta crusade is not unique. The very same thing has happened in every other town that has been “cleaned up” and “purified” by the well-meaning fools. For example, Des Moines. The virtuosi of virtue still point to it with pride, and its “model” red-light law is being advocated in a dozen other cities--and yet, if the United States army surgeon at Fort Des Moines is to be believed, the one effect of the law has been to make prostitution more widespread and disease more prevalent. Here we have an extraordinarily well-informed and competent witness--and his testimony is that Des Moines is worse off after being “reformed” than it was before.

So with Los Angeles. A year or so ago the town was the delight of all moralists, and they never tired of describing its virtuous charms. Nowhere else in Christendom were such savage laws in force. The public parks were fitted out with powerful searchlights, that young lovers might not spoon on the benches. Policewomen were on the prowl day and night. It was unlawful for an unmarried man and woman to sit in a room together, however innocent their meeting. And yet, for all that unparalleled rigor, Los Angeles kept on getting rottener and rottener. When the true condition of affairs was exposed, a month or so ago, even San Francisco gasped. All that the snouting and jailing had accomplished had been to make vice secret and fugitive and extra vicious. The old frank carnality of the Spanish days had been wiped out, but in its place had arisen the shame-faced swinishness which always goes with Puritanism.