Baltimore Evening Sun (23 August 1913): 6.


The Hon. William H. Anderson in this morning’s Hot Towel:

The Anti-Saloon League has not taken any action in the United States Senatorial matter.

No action, that is, save to decounce the Hon. Blair Lee as a moonshiner, a yeggman, a burglar, a highwayman, a barn-burner and a pirate on the high seas, and to beg the Republicans to put up a dry archangel against him. No actlon save a public threat, in the tones of the bull of Bashan, to wipe up the firmament of heaven with him! No action save a deliberate and violent effort to stir up all the shyster preachers, bob-tailed Bull Moosers, country bootleggers, fireside boozers, bogus “forward-lookers” and pious Sunday-school superintendents against him.

The people of Maryland now await the result of this curious lack of action. They want to see what will be the effect of the Anti-Saloon League’s eager courting of snide Republican politicians and negro-herders. They want to see whether or not this disgusting alliance between moral sportsmen and yap job-seekers will be strong enough to beat an honest man.

A DAILY THOUGHT. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression, for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.—Thomas Paine.

Read the Maryland Suffrage News! A sinner butchered every week! Free with each issue: a syllogism by Dr. Donald R. Hooker!

The Hon. Charles J. Bonaparte having favored the grand jury with a gratuitous lecture upon its public duties, no doubt it would be pleased to hear from him further on the subject of his own duties as vice-president and senior manager of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, that affecting camorra of self-consecrated saints. The grand jury, I daresay, has learned a good deal about the workings of this society of late, and among its duties not mentioned by the Hon. Mr. Bonaparte has been the indictment of the society’s recent chief agent and sinner-scourger on a charge involving moral turpitude. But so far as I know, it has heard no explanation of the advertisement printed on the first page of The Sun of March 4 last—an advertisement eloquently defending the said agent against the “singularly unscrupulous and disreputable persons” who questioned his virtue, and signed by the Hon. Eugene Levering, president of the society.

No one, of course, expects much from the Hon. Mr. Levering: his definition of virtue, to say the least, is not that of ordinary men. But what of the Hon. Mr. Bonaparte, that colossus of juridic ethics, that reservoir of moral wisdom? What was he doing, as vice-president of the society, when this singular advertisement was drawn up and published? Did he, too, subscribe to the doctrine that “it is indispensable that the counsel of this society should be a man of irreproachable morals and undoubted integrity”? And if so, what steps did he take to make sure that these conditions were being met? Did he, too, in point of fact, take any such steps at all, or did he merely join in the pious psalming of the Hon. Mr. Levering, the Hon. William H. Morriss and the rest of the archangels?

The grand jury, I venture to opine, may have a legitimate curiosity about these matters, whatever the limitations upon its duties under the Code Bonaparte. It is constantly besought to aid in the punishment of sinners snared by the Society for the Suppression of Vice. It is constantly asked to believe that the managers and agents of that society are not only highly moral men, but also men of sound sense and discretion. What if it finds that their own house is not in order, that they are stupid, blind and disingenuous, that they undertake the regulate the affairs of other folks without showing any capacity for regulating their own? What if it finds that the exercise of the police power by such blundering and impudent gentlemen is dangerous to the public peace and against public policy?

It is perfectly competent for the grand jury to look into such things, and to express opinions about them, whatever the objections of the Hon. Mr. Bonaparte. The Police Board may be willing to subordinate itself to a private club of busybodies, but the grand jury is under no obligation to do likewise. Its power is still superior to that of the Society for the Suppression of Vice. It need not take its law from the Hon. Mr. Bonaparte. One of its prime duties, as the grand inquest of this State, is to keep a sharp eye on the doings of all such organizations, that even lawbreakers may get a square deal. And in discharging that duty it need not go for leave or permission to anyone.

The Hon. William H. Anderson is sitting up nights working on his editorial explaining away the election of the Hon. Blair Lee.

Brief note from a critic of the Federated Charities, characteristically anonymous:

Reading an old copy of The Evening Sun, I notice you say that the Federated Charities is one of the city’s best-managed institutions. But for whose benefit is it conducted? What do you think of a charitable society spending as high as 75 per cent. of its gross revenue for salaries?

An ancient and nonsensical objection, voiced perennially by the ignorant. The Federated Charities is a clearing house for all other charities. Its main business is the investigation of applicants, the detection of frauds, the prevention of duplicate giving, the unearthing of the causes of poverty. Naturally enough, that business takes money. It cannot be handed over to volunteer sentimentalists; it msut be done by persons trained to the work, and capable of doing it unemotionally. Such persons earn their salaries. They cut down our communal charity bill by fully one-third; they introduce intelligence and a reasonable restraint into an enterprise highly attractive to tear-squeezers and mountebanks; they give genuine support and aid to all persons of charitable inclination, even to those who are disposed to judge them harshly.

Baltimore needs more such impartial and unecstatic agencies. There is plenty of room for one, for example, in the domain of moral endeavor. A dozen separate societies now engage in the benign business of keeping the City Jail filled with sinners: a hundred nosey old fellows devote themselves ardently to the sport. We need an organization for investigating such efforts, and, in particular, for examining into the rights of the victims. It is just as important that poor people should not be turned into criminals by fanatics as that they should not be turned into beggars by sentimentalists.