Baltimore Evening Sun (30 July 1913): 6.


Capt. George Henry’s account of his observations in Gwynn’s Falls Park.

Several couples were holding hands. I did not disturb them.

What! Did not disturb them? Is it possible that any police captain in Baltimore is so recreant to his plain duty, or that, being so recreant, he brazenly admits it? Let Captain Henry take a correspondence course in the New Morality. Let him learn from “experts” that the working girl who allows her beau to hold her hand is a working girl who deserves to be clubbed on the spot and jailed for the rest of her natural life. Let him get it through his head that all manifestations of interest and affection between the sexes are licentious, disgusting, anti-social and irreligious, and in plain conflict with the New Thought in policing.

The Hon. William H. Anderson, that unscotchable fellow, continues in today’s Letter Column his preposterous defense of prohibition. Such arguments as he uses have a powerful effect, I daresay, upon the old maids of the Sunday-schools, but do they convince intelligent and healthy men? Alas, I doubt it. For example, he argues against license on the ground that liquor is sold at Chesapeake Beach on Sundays. Well, what of it? Chesapeake Beach is not under license on Sundays, but under prohibition. The sale of liquor is absolutely prohibited by law. And that law, like all other prohibition laws, is openly and persistently violated.

If the same law is not violated elsewhere in Calvert county, that only proves that the rest of Calvert county is bare of visitors on Sunday. (What sane man, indeed, would care to spend a Sunday there!) We have exactly the same situation in Baltimore county. The Sunday liquor law, I suppose, is actually enforced at Wetheredsville. The people there have no desire to disobey it. But where the people have such a desire--for instance, at Back River--it is violated every Sunday. And it will continue to be violated so long as such people exist. A prohibition law is wholly unenforceable unless an overwhelming body of public sentiment is behind it. Such a body of sentiment is to be found in a few remote and half-dead country villages. It is utterly unknown among the city folk who seek relaxation on Sunday.

As for Maine, it is notorious that the prohibition law is not enforced, and never has been. Governor Haines has lately turned loose a huge force of snouters and catchpolls, but they have been able to accomplish nothing. Day after day, true enough, they raid joints and speakeasies, but the more they raid the more pertinacious and ingenious is the opposition they meet. The people take a sort of sporting interest in evading the law: the very fact that snouters are on the warpath makes them doubly determined to have their fun. On Saturday, July 12, no less than 31 helpless drunks, including 5 women, were picked up on the streets of Portland, a town about one-tenth the size of Baltimore. Have we ever, under license, had 310 drunks on a Saturday night, including 50 women?

The fact is, as everyone knows, that the great majority of the intelligent and law-abiding people of Maine are heartily sick of prohibition and are even now planning to get rid of it in 1914. It was retained by a majority of less than 1,000 two years ago--and by the effort of the joint proprietors. These joint propriotors are all in favor of it. It enables them to sell rot-gut whisky at high prices, and they have no licenses to pay. Most of them are of such evil character that they would be refused licenses in Maryland. Their influence has corrupted and polluted the local politics of Maine. They constitute an organized band of law-breakers. And the Prohibitionists, with characteristic good sense, lie down with them like lion and lamb.

Whose testimony is more likely to be reliable, that of the Hon. Mr. Anderson or that of the Maine newspapers? The Hon. Mr. Anderson says that prohibition is a success; such journals as the Waterville Sentinel, the Portland Argus, the Bangor Commercial, the Biddeford Record and the Biddeford Journal--in brief, the principal papers of the State–are unanimous in their testimony against it. The Biddeford Record of July 15 calls it “a rank failure.” The Biddeford Journal of July 23 testifies that it is “still a farce.” The Portland Argus of July 15, quoting the Messenger of St. Albans, Vt., in which State prohibition has been tried and abandoned, says:

Legislation in advance of public desires and wishes does not bring about the desired results, for if a great majority aren’t in sympathy with a law under which they are supposed to live, that law will be openly and deliberately and continuously broken.

And the Waterville Sentinel of July 15, answering one of the Hon. Mr. Anderson’s favorite arguments, says:

If it is true that the prohibitory law is being enforced in the city of Portland as it has never bewn enforced before, then the arrest of 20 men [it should have been 26] and 5 women in a day is in itself a demonstration that prohibition is not a success.

So goes the testimony of men on the spot. The present debauch of raiding and snouting in Maine is disgusting beyond measure to all decent citizens. Its sole advocates are those hysterical moralists whose one occupation and delight is the chase of their fellow-men. We are having an example in Baltimore, in the case of the current vice crusade, of how government by such violent fellows operates. The Hon. Mr. Anderson wants us to give them another and larger chance. He wants us to submit Baltimore to their intolerable nosing, rowelling and screaming.

The Hon. C. C. Rohr, secretary of the Maryland Society of Social Hygiene, presented his arguments against the segregation of prostitution in The Evening Sun of July 25. So far, so good. But will the Hon. Mr. Rohr now present his arguments favor of dispersion? What, in brief, does he hope to accomplish by keeping prostitutes on the move? Has he any evidence that this system has stamped out prostitution in any large city of Christendom, or even materially reduced it? If so, I venture to believe that the people of Baltimore would be glad to hear that evidence.

From “Germany and the Germans,” by Price Collier, page 217:

We all know him, the smug snob of virtue. You may find him a professor at the university; you may find him leading prayer meetings and preaching pure politics; you may find him the bloodless philanthropist; you may find him a rank atheist, with his patents for the bringing in of his own kingdom of Heaven. These are the men above all others who make the Tammanyizing of our politics possible. Honest men cannot abide the hothouse atmosphere of their self-conscious virtue.

Boil your drinking water! Forward the vice crusade! Watch Bob come back!