Baltimore Evening Sun (23 July 1913): 6.


The Hon. C. C. Rohr, secretary of the Maryland Society of Social Hygiene, in the Evening Sunpaper:

As a saintary and moral measure, the Maryland Society of Social Hygiene is opposed to segregation and bases its opposition upon the findings of many vice commissions and scientists who have given serious thought to the problem.

But if not segregation in some form or other, what then? Does the Hon. Mr. Rohr favor the “total annihilation” recommended by all the vice commissions? If so, how does he propose to carry it out? And can he produce any “scientist” who believes it workable or who otherwise favors it?

It is easy enough to argue, as the Hon. Mr. Rohr does, that “under the present laws of Maryland licensing prostitution is just as impossible as granting permits for any other form of lawbreaking,” but what does the hon. gent. offer in place of tacit licensing? Has he a plan which shows signs of working, or does he take refuge behind the empty moralists of such tedious windjammers as the Hon. Samuel E. Pentz and the Rev. Kenneth G. Murray? What have such empty moralists ever accomplished? Where is the city that has been saved by them?

The Hon. Mr. Ruhr further argues that “medical supervision * * * has been a failure wherever tried.” True enough--in part. Medical supervision, so far, at least, has failed to stamp out the so-called social diseases. But isn’t there fair ground for believing that it has measurably reduced them? Isn’t it obvious that the detection of even one diseased woman has some effect? In that way would dispersion accomplish more in that direction than even incomplete supervision has accomplished?

The vice crusaders are always full of pious protestations. Like the boozehounds, they claim a monopoly on virtue. Every man who presumes to pull them up and call them to book for their wind music is an atheist, an anarchist and a voluptuary. But just what is the remedy they offer? After five years of their snouting and whooping, what would be the result? Would vice be abolished? Would disease be stamped out? Let them give us definite answers to these questions before they ask us to countenance their wild campaign, and let them support each answer, not with pious platitudes, but with reasonable arguments.

Affidavit respectfully offered to the State’s Attorney for Baltimore County, to the venerable signeurs of the grand jury, to the Hon. the County Commissionors and to all other interested persons:

I, Henry Louis Mencken, of the City of Baltimore, State of Maryland, being duly sworn, do hereby and by these presents say, make oath and affirm that on Sunday, the twentieth day of July, in the year 1913 Anno Domini, at or about the time of 9 o’clock post meridian, Eastern Standard Time, I visited, entered and made my way to and in the park, resort or pavilion situate on the southern side of the Eastern avenue road in the county of Baltimore, state of Maryland, beginning for the same at the western end of the country bridge over Back River and running westerly for a distance of fifty yards more or less, the same being known to common repute as Mitchell’s Park, or more simply as Mitchell’s, and being owned, leased, rented or otherwise occupied and controlled by one William E. Mitchell, alias Spot Mitchell, a citizen of the county of Baltimore, State of Maryland, and a registered voter thereof and therein; and do also say that, having entered the said park, resort or pavilion, I hailed a waiter of the African species, there and then engaged in serving beverages and victuals to other persons present, and ordered him to bring me a bottle of beer, ale or other malt liquor, the same containing more than three per cent. of ethyl alcohol by volume; and do further say that the said waiter, by name to me unknown, did neglect, fail and refuse to bring me the said bottle, or any other bottle or vessel, and that I thereupon hailed another waiter, also by name to me unknown, and repeated to him the same order, with sundry commands and exhortations to diligence and that the said second waiter, like unto the first one before mentioned, did neglect, fail and otherwise refuse to bring me the said bottle of beer, ale or other malt liquor, but instead informed me that he was prevented from doing so by the express order of the proprietor or manager or his agents, and that the only liquid refreshment I could get was such as contained less than three per cent. of ethyl alcohol by volume, which is to say, the drinks or alleged drinks commonly called ginger ale, ginger pop, ginger beer, soda pop or sarsaparilla; and I do further say that I Refused to accept any such so-called soft drinks, but demanded audience with the proprietor or manager for the purpose of remonstrating with him, and that I was presently visited at the table where I sat by a woman who informed me that the said proprietor or manager was absent from the said park, resort or pavilion, and who represented to me that she was the agent in his absence, though without telling me her name; and that this said alleged agent of the proprietor or manager, who was apparently accepted as such and her orders obeyed by all the waiters and other employees there and then visible, did specifically and firmly refuse to serve me with any beverage containing more than three per cent. of ethyl alcohol by volume, despite my constant and repeated demands, threats and cajoleries, but did offer me in place of such alcoholic drink or beverage any of the so-called soft drinks before enumerated; and I do further say that I returned her proposal with indignation, and so departed from the said park, resort or pavilion without having purchased, received or otherwise acquired any drink or beverage of any sort whatsoever, whether containing more or less ethyl alcohol than three percentum by volume; and so saying, I say no more.

[Seal.] Henry Louis Mencken.

Subscribed and sworn to before me, a Notary Public for and in the County of Baltimore, State of Maryland, on the twenty-second day of July, one thousand nine hundred and thirteen.

[Seal.] William O. Peirson, Notary Public.

The Hon. William H. Anderson, still steeped in sin, continues in today’s Letter Column his paralogical defense of his late nefarious tempting of the clergy. The new claim, it appears, is that his letter to the church boards, admittedly innocent, and his letter to the pastors, admittedly the reverse, were “both written before a single copy of either one was sent out.” Well, what of it? I do not profess to determine the exact time at which each was written: no doubt the hon. gent. meditated his dark plot a long, long while and drew up many experimental drafts of both letters. The whole point is that the letter to the pastors was sent out (not necessarily written!) after the letter to the church boards had failed, and that it represented an oblique and secret scheme to get around that failure by appealing to the cupidity of penurious men.

Such is the high crime and misdemeanor that I allege against the Hon. William H. Anderson. I act, of course, not in my personal capacity, but as one of the few remaining exponents of authentic Christian morality in this Mohammedanized town. For the Hon. Mr. Anderson as a man I harbor a respect verging upon veneration. But I shall never acknowledge him as a moralist until some of the clergymen who accepted his proposal and became partners in his plot stand out in the open and defend their action. If the thing was moral, why are they afraid to admit it? Why do they hide their good deeds under bushels?