Baltimore Evening Sun (13 August 1913): 6.


Tip to the Hon. William H. Anderson: Seven of the Democratic legislative candidates are already pledged to a rigid legislative investigation of the Anti-Saloon League. What is worse, four clergymen are thinking of confessing.

Where are the boomers of yesteryear? What has become of all the joy-bringers, the factory-builders, the live-wires? Who let the gas out of that $1,000,000 bank? What ganov stole the bass-drum?—Adv.

A DAILY THOUGHT. Bold wantonness, suggestive of the carnal, is the deadly worm that eats the life out of moral standards.—The Hon. Aristides Sophocles Goldsborough.

Various earnest contributors to the Letter Column, including my distinguished friend the Hon. John F. Clark, the Arlington Plato, accuse me of pleading against the Rum Demon when I plead against prohibition. If it is true, as I allege, that prohibition makes for an easy and unlimited circulation of stimulants, then why am I against it?

My answer, alas, has been printed over and over again, along with my answer to the charge that the man who advocates the regulation of prostitution advocates the ruin of girls, but at the risk of being tedious I repeat it again. I am in favor of license because it is straightforward and honest, because it attempts to make the best of an evil that can’t be stamped out, because it works against graft and blackmail. I am against prohibition because it is hypocritical, disingenuous and ineffective, because it fails to do its work, because it makes for lying, corruption and debauchery.

The blind pig proprietors of Maine are not in favor of license: they are all in favor of prohibition, and joined the archangels in working for it at the last election. Prohibition is highly profitable to them: it enables them to sell eighth-rate whisky at first-rate prices. That whisky suffers little competition from beer and light wines, whose bulk makes it difficult to smuggle them profitably. And the blind pig proprietors suffer no competition from licensed saloon-keepers, who would have to pay licenses and render a regular account of themselves to some lawful authority.

If prohibition really prohibited, then something might be said for it, despite its gross violation of the common rights of the minority and sometimes even of the majority. But no fair and candid man has ever argued that it does work, save perhaps in small and isolated communities. It has been in force in Maine for more than 60 years, and yet Maine is so overrun with speak-easies today that a special police force has been created to deal with them. That special police force is failing miserably. Every issue of a Maine paper that comes into The Evening Sun office is full of accounts of violations. The smuggling of liquor has become a vast and highly organized business, the profits of which are divided between violators and politicians. Maine is drunken and degraded. Worse still, it is hypocritical and dishonest.

The Prohibitionists are always talking about their pious yearning to save the victim of rum, but as a matter of fact, the motive that actually moves them is a yearning to make him jump. They are, in brief, typical moralists—i. e., natural sportsmen. Their chief delight is a “campaign of enforcement,” such as Maine is now enjoying. It gives them a chance to spy and snout, to raid and rowel, to fill the jails and pursue their fellow-men. They know very well that such a campaign doesn’t stamp out the rum traffic, but it does give them the sort of excitement that they crave, and so they are in favor of it.

The vice crusaders, as everyone knows. are moved by the same holy passion and tarred by the same stick. Vice crusading doesn’t put down prostitution. It doesn’t even ameliorate prostitution. But it does give a lot of exhilarating sport to a bunch of wild-eyed old maids of both sexes. It does allow the chase of women under the forms and cover of the law. And so it attracts a good many angelic sportsmen, and they use the police as their hounds and terriers.

It is the duty of every frank and decent citizen to stand against this evil buncombe. It is his duty to protest against the use of the police for purposes of private entertainment. No good is ever accomplished by such monkeyshines. The. theory that men can be turned from bad habits by force is unsound and idiotic. The one thing that such force undoubtedly accomplishes is to make vice secret and surreptitious, i. e., to make it worse. For every man sent to the gutter by the open saloon a dozen are turned into sneaks and swine by the speak-easy.

Headline from the New York Sun of last Sunday:

SMUGGLING LIQUORS INTO DRY MAINE Well Organized Business. Fleet of Motor Boats Engaged in Profitable Trade Along the Coast.

From the article under the above headline, dated Lewiston, Angust 9:

The liquor which is being brought in by theese smugglers is not the most expensive which they can buy, though it costs their customers a good price. It is said that the stuff which they bring costs them from $2 to $2.50 a gallon. It is sold in Maine at 50 cents the half-pint and $1 a pint, which brings the selling price up to $8 a gallon.

The Rev. Dr. W. S. Rainsford, rector of St. George’s Church, New York, to the New York Sun, May 11 last:

Perhaps few men in New York have had better opportunities than I have had for estimating the value of services done the city by private societies organized to hunt down criminala, to suppress vice or to enforce various statutes. * * * Without going so far as you do in your editorial of May 8 and condemning the agents of such private societies as “notoriously corrupt, undependable and dishonest,” I do not hesitate to say that their inefficiency, bigotry and lack of intelligence led them often into mistakes of judgment and intrigues so grave as to be almost if not actually criminal. When this was the case the social power behind them shielded them from exposure and often from even public criticism.

Will the same thing happen un Baltimore? Or will the grand jury disregard all such influences and get at the facts about the so-called Society for the Suppression of Vice? This society has undertaken, of late, to take over the business of the Police Department. Before that illegal and dangerous enterprise goes any further, let us find out how it is operated, and by whom, and to what end.

Four dollars for the name and address of any respectable colored woman who is in favor of osteopathy, Christian Science or the single tax.—Adv.