Baltimore Evening Sun (6 September 1913): 6.


All that remains is for the Harford county grand jury to denounce Archdeacon Wegg!

Having met all the kings of Europe and most of the grand dukes, Col. von Hook is still firmly convinced that the Hon. D. Harry is handsomer than the best of them.

A DAILY THOUGHT. Immodesty is a surface indication of bad underneath tendencies.—The Hon. Aristides Sophocles Goldsborough.

Don’t blame me, gents! Blame my barrister! I am eager to tell you about my sure cure for hay fever the moment he gives the word, but he is still up to his ear in precedents. The penalties for practicing medicine without a license, it appears, are very heavy, and some means of evading them must be devised. I have faith in my barrister! He is a specialist in that department of jurisprudence, and besides, he has hay fever himself. He promises his report tomorrow. Ten minutes after he tells me to go ahead I’ll have my sure cure on the presses, and four hours later there will not be a single sneeze left in Baltimore. Trust to Old Dr. Mencken, the reliable family practitioner!

The Hon. Alfred S. Niles, C. P., on yesterday’s cruel truth-telling about malignant moralists:

The grand jury’s report reflects the views of a committee of five men.

A lovely example of that impudent misrepresentation which passes for argument among virtuosi of virtue. The fact is, of course, that all the evidence presented to the grand jury during its inquiry into the alliance between the Police Board and the Society for the Suppression of Vice was heard before the whole jury in regular session, and that the report handed to Judge Gorter yesterday was approved unanimously. At the start of the investigation, as everyone knows, a good many of the jurymen were disposed to view the vice crusade very favorably. But as the evidence of excess and stupidity piled up before them, they changed their minds, and there was not a single dissenting voice when the time came to make their report. That report represents the unanimous verdict of 23 intelligent and respectable men after two months of diligent inquiry. And unless I err greatly, it also represents the opinion of four-fifths of all the other decent men of Baltimore.

When it began to appear that the jury was really getting down to the uncomfortable facts, the Hon. Charles J. Bonaparte and a number of other archangels undertook the benign enterprise of scaring it off. On the one hand the Hon. Mr. Bonaparte sought to make it appear that the jurymen were exceeding their powers, and on the other hand they were belabored for invading the prerogatives of Dr. Goldsborough’s Vice Commission. But both objections were palpably insincere and neither made any impression on the jurymen. They knew that they had a clear right to inquire into any abuses in the administration of the laws; and they also knew that the emergency confronting them was one with which the Vice Commission could not properly and effectively deal.

An hysterical, unordered and unintelligent vice crusade was in progress, bossed by extravagant and irresponsible men, and helped along by a too-complaisant Police Board. The police were being used for purposes of private glorification and revenge; the town was being entertained with fake raids and other scandalous doings; prostitutes were being scattered in all directions; complaints were pouring in by the score. It was the jury’s duty, in the face of this disquieting situation, to investigate the credentials and methods of the self-appointed purifiers, and to halt all acts of a dangerous character. This work it undertook as in duty bound, and without paying any attention to the bad law and worse morality of the Hon. Mr. Bonaparte and his attendant Holy Rollers. The business took courage. It was bound to bring down the frenzied wrath and coarse abuse of the bogus moralists. But the jurymen had all the courage that was needed, and the proof of it is before the people of Baltimore today.

No sane man expects, of course, that the bosses of the Society for the Suppression of Vice will profit by this sharp lesson. Their conceit in their own infallibility is too vast for that. Both the Hon. Eugene Levering and the Hon. Mr. Bonaparte will continue to proceed upon the assumption that all the virtue in Christendom has its seat in their hearts and that all men who presume to dispute their fiats are rogues and voluptuaries. But in the long run, I venture to opine, even such angels as these will begin to feel the effects of public opinion. Among the less assertive directors of the society there are a number of men of sense, and among the subscribers there are more of them. Upon these men lies the duty of cleaning up the society, of making amends for its past errors and extravagances, of winning back the esteem and usefulness it has lost through the incredible stupidity of its managers.

As for the Police Commissioners, they are certainly intelligent enough to see that they have lost the public confidence, and that they must regain it before they can hope to do effective work. It is not hard to understand how they were led astray. On the one hand they were besieged and belabored day and night by a small but extremely violent and resourceful pack of professional moralists, many of them with a financial interest in crusading; on the other hand they found a public opinion that was mute, and apparently unsettled. But that opinion is now made articulate by the unanimous report of the grand jury, perhaps the most representative of all public bodies. It is opposed to snouting and spying; it is opposed to the woman-hunt; it is opposed to any exercise of the police power by private specialists in persecution. The Commissioners must heed it, or take the consequences.

The Hon. Dan Loden ain’t never been mentioned in no grand jury report. Nobody ain’t never had nothing on Dan.—Political Adv.

The Rev. Dr. John G. Brodt, pastor of Third United Presbyterian Church, of St. Louis, was arrested recently on the charge of five boys ranging in ages from 15 to 17 years, that he bought beer for them and took them to a disorderly resort. One less shining face at Columbus!—Liquor Ring Adv.

Boil your drinking water! Weep for the Hon. Charles J. Bonaparte, LL. D.! Watch Anderson stir up the animals!

Col. Jacobus von Hook enjoys the society of the nobility as much as anybody, but he wouldn’t miss the Baltimore banquet season for all the counts in Europe.