Baltimore Evening Sun (21 July 1913): 6.


How prohibition works in Maine, after 60 years of trial, as described by the Biddeford Record of July 15:

The happenings of a Saturday and Sunday in Portland indicate that it is a rank faitare as far as Cumberland county is concerned. According to the Portland Argus, over two dozen drunks were taken into custody Saturday night in Portland, and of this number five were women. * * * A shining example of how prohibition works under ramrod enforcement was afforded the passengers of a South Portland electric car Sunday night, when two officers brought a man, bare of every shred of clothing to his waist, from the Cape shore to the police station. This young man had loaded up with one brand of firewater dispensed under the present regime, * * * beat and abused * * * his own family, and then started out to do up the whole community. * * * The prohibition law must be recognized even by its friends to be a failure. * * * The great demand in Maine today is for a sane and decent system of handling the liquor traffic.

Portland is one-tenth the size of Baltimore. Have we ever seen 240 drunks arrested on one Saturday night, including 50 women?

SNOUTER SNOUT SNOUTER. First the Police Board hired snouters to snout the cops; then the cops appointed a snouting committee to snout the snouters, and then the Police Board set snouters to snout the snouters of the snouters. Such is civilization under a moral snoutocracy!

The Hon. Charles L. Mattfeldt, M. D., is a man of sense and has an accurate understanding of the moral mind. He knows that the thing the malignant moralist craves is roughhouse, that the raiding and rowelling of harmless folk is the chief end and aim of “social service,” and so he turns his catchpolls loose and exhorts them to bring in scalps. Hence the buffoonish doings at Back River last night, so eloquently described in the Sunpaper of this morning. One pictures the machiavellian Uncle Fred gritting his teeth today. Or perhaps grinning. After all, Uncle Fred has a sense of humor. He has been up against the archangeds himself. He has seen raids at Back River for 20 years, and he knows them for what they are worth.

It so happens that I was personally snared in one of last night’s raids, and in consequence I witnessed the whole affair, from beginning to end. It was one of the most inept and donkeyish in all my experience. The county cops came bouncing in like rubber balls, and seemed a great deal more scared than the persons raided. (Cops do not relish such a job; at best, it makes them look foolish.) As they gathered up a few half-empty bottles of alleged malt liquor and proceeded to manacle two or three waiters, the crowd favored them with a large buzzing snicker. This was at the Hon. Spot Mitchell’s. Then they crossed Back River and tackled Hollywood, finding nothing. Meanwhile, they missed seven 10-cent paddle games within 20 yards of their sunburned. bucolic noses.

It is interesting to relate, by the way, that I was refused all alcoholic stimulants at Mitchell’s, and this before the catchpolls heaved in sight. I arrived at the place in a state of exhaustion, after a grand tour of the nearby games of chance, and called for a modest, medicinal dose of malt. Two separate waiters refused to serve it. Then I sent for the proprietress, and she too refused, offering me the alternative of a bottle of sarsaparilla. I was doing some very earnest refusing myself when the rurales burst in, tripping over their own feet. Let the county grand jury take note of this interesting circumstance: I was refused a drink four minutes before the raid.

Mitchell’s large pavilion was crowded at the time, and the crowd was quiet and well-behaved. The snouters who work the Sunday-schools tell horrible tales of the doings in such places. The innocents who listen to them conjure up pictures of lewd, levintine debaucheries, with murderers and white slave traders smoking opium in corncob pipes, naked nautch girls dancing on the tables, and the dead body of a fresh victim going overboard every 10 minutes. Nothing could be more idiotic. There is no more debauchery at Mitchell’s than at Emory Grove. No form of vice or disorder is tolerated. I have been there half a dozen times this summer, and I have seen but one drunken man–and he was being refused admittance by the head-waiter.

But the folks drink beer! Well what of it? They enjoy that innocuous recreation, and they have the money to pay for it. What right have old maids, male and female, at Towson and Wetheredsvllle to complain? Why should these entirely harmless and well-meaning persons submit themselves to the dictation of a bunch of absurd fanatics, egged on by fifth-rate politicians? Why should their legitimate comfort be made a pawn in a tin-horn game of wirepulling? They are honest, everyday people, even as you and I. They mean no harm. They do no harm, not even to themselves. Why should they pay any attention to insane and oppressive laws, advocated by nickel-plated saints and passed by cowardly and crooked Legislatures? Is this the United States, or is it Russia?

I argue, of course, academically. As a matter of practice, the said laws are incapable of enforcement, and they always will be. Dr. Mattfeldt is well aware of it. He knows that he couldn’t enforce them permanently with less than 500 men. But he also must know that the Sabbatomaniacs, like the vice crusaders and the boozehounds, esteem the raid a good deal more than they esteem the enforcement--that their one dearest delight is to see some one jump--and so he turns his gendarmes loose. He is an honest and sensible man. Give them what they want! No actual harm is done. Back River will be wet again in two weeks, probably in one week. It will be still wet, beloved, after you and I am dry, dry clinkers.

Boil your drinking water! Give us more raids! Read the Democratic Telegram! Swat the fly!

The Hon. William H. Anderson is standing over a volcano. A just retribution, as it were, has drawn a bead on him. Meanwhile, he whoops and kicks his legs. Thus the Back River bibuli make merry while the raiding cops sneak up!

The Hon. MM. Bachrach and Charles J. Ogle throw me to the lions in today’s Letter Column for questioning the wisdom of the ignorant. So many devastating answers to them are possible that I hesitate to answer them at all, for fear of disgracing them before their families. But later on, after the subject of snouting palls, I may deal with them in a gentle and refined manner. It is a pity to see such fine young men go astray.