Baltimore Evening Sun (5 August 1913): 6.
Brief note from a foe to Puritanical snoutery:
It was a great misfortune to America that the Pilgrim Fathers landed on Plymouth rock. If the rock had only landed on the Fathers!
Revolutionary maxims of the Hon. Aristides Sophocles Goldsborough, the Baltimore Nietzsche, in the current Municipal Journal:
No sensible man dare deny the fact that good government is founded upon good morals. Any man, with but a grain of common sense, knows that a city government if operated by a cluster of morally depraved beings would be viciously corrupt. A thief is never shorked when he hears of breaches of the Eighth Commandment. Everybody admits that society and government act and react on one another. The same things that have overwhelmed other communities can overwhelm us. Our community is mot an isolated entity. We are unavoidably influenced by the moral indulations [sic] of the nation at large. The encroachments of immorality are insidious. There is no surer evidence of the decline of moral sensitiveness than the absence of modesty and delicacy of feeling on the part of men and women. Bold wantonness suggestive of the carnal is the deadly worm that eats the life out of moral standards. Immodesty is a surface indication of bad underneath tendencies.
And so on, and so on, and so on. I quote only a few dithyrambs from an exuberant and effulgent series. The Hon. Mr. Goldsborough, indeed, was never more eloquent, never more moral, never more sapient. His facile pen is gaining cunning daily; his mind is working with greater and greater speed and precision. I commend his noble article to all who love virtue and have an ear for word music. It is at once a great poem, a great sermon and a great specimen of English prose. It has the ingratiating twitter of a chorus of nightingales a capella, and the sonorous dignity of a salute of 21 guns. It is the masterpiece of one inspired.
The estimable Maryland Suffrage News, after a month or two of dalliance with parliamentary law and the suffrage, returns in its current issue to the more entertaining subject of prostitution. Of its eight pages two and a half are given over to the report of the Hartford Vice Commission. Why not reprint the famous Chicago report as a serial? Copies of the original grow scarce. My own has been dogs-eared and worn out by borrowing sociologists. The Philadelphia and Syracuse reports are also very racy, and so is the Hon. Mr. Kneeland’s scarlet tome on “Commercialized Prostitution in New York,” which the moralists of that fair city now seek to bar from the mails. The works of Havelock Ellis are even more so, but unfortunately enough, they do not preach orthodox doctrine.
That sonorous bosh which the Hon. William H. Anderson mistakes for logic runs out of his letter in today’s Letter Column like mayonnaise out of a cream puff. He takes 300 words, for example, to prove that Chesapeake Beach is in “wet” territory, all the while well knowing that the original dispute was over what happens there on Sunday, and that the whole of Maryland, without the exception of a single square yard, is officially under prohibition on Sunday. But the boozehounds always conveniently forgot this, particularly when discussing such places as Chesapeake Beach and Back River. Prohibition gets a fair and impressive test at Back River every Sunday. The law prohibits the sale of any alcoholic drinks whatever. But 25,000 Baltimoreans commonly get all they want.
It is true enough, of course (and I have repeatedly admitted it), that prohibition works effectively wherever the people are unanimously in favor of it. It also works where the population is very sparse, even if a few persons are against it. For example, it is easy to enforce prohibition in the remote back woods of Calvert county. No sane man would undertake to set up a beer garden there: the possible patronage is too small to make it worth while. In the same way it is easy to maintain perfect dryness on the higher peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains and on deserted islets in Chesapeake Bay. But it is wholly out of the question where thousands of persons meet together for the deliberate purpose of beating the law. Not all the snouters from Towson and Wetheredsville, and all the hayseed cops from Phœnix to North Point, will ever make Back River dry. Prohibition is now a joke there one day a week. If we ever have the Hon. Mr. Anderson’s hypocritical amendment, it will be a joke all seven days.
The hon. gent. argues me of inconsistency when I accept the evidence of “wet” witnesses in Maine, but refuse to credit the oaths of “dry” witnesses in Kansas. But this is not inconsistency: it is merely common sense. Every intelligent man knows how little the evidence of Puritans is worth. Here in Maryland, for example, they assure us that Ocean City is “dry,” whereas all of us know that Ocean City is actually as “wet” as a bath sponge. Not two days ago a gentleman of the highest virtue told me that he had found seven flourishing speak-easies there. The Puritans view this fact with bile, and so they deny it. That is their inevitable habit: they fit the facts to their tin-whistle morality. A few months ago, for example, they were announcing the “stamping out” of the social evil in Chicago, Atlanta and Philadelphia, and even in Baltimore! But no one is deceived by such pious rumble-bumble.
The Hon. Mr. Anderson’s discovery that the Portland Express is “the greatest paper in Maine” will doubtless cause some surprise among newspaper men. But even supposing it to be true, it proves nothing. Here in Maryland the greatest paper is the estimable Sunpaper, and yet it is in favor of direct elections, sentimental charities, the quack science of penalogy and a dozen other such obvious frauds. I don’t know why the Express defends prohibition. The arguments in its editorial columns are refuted daily by the facts in its news columns. Besides, practically all the other newspapers of Maine are against it. For example, the Bangor Weekly Commercial, which has 50 per cent. more circulation than the Express. It is the Hon. Mr. Anderson’s theory, I daresay, that these other papers are bribed by “the liquor interests.” For that theory he has exactly the same support that he has for all other theories.
Latest claim for the suffrage in the Maryland Suffrage News:
In Australia, since women got the vote, they have reduced the infant death rate one-half.
What is better still, they have prohibited rain on wash day. In Oregon, under the initiative and referendum, the lady voters have made it unlawful for shad to have bones, and in Utah they have passed a constitutional amendment against freckles.