Baltimore Evening Sun (10 October 1913): 6.
Enchantment must sit upon the faces of the Southern Maryland plantaers who hear the Hon. Dashing Harry tell his marvelous tale of his trolley line to Point Lookout–a trolley line killed in cerebro by the hellish machinations of the Sunpaper. After all, one may may well believe the story. The man who designed and built the sewerage system, dug Druid Lake and brought the Pennsylvania Railroad to Baltimore should be quite capable of laying a mere trolley line between days. To genii of the harrific bulk such a puny feat is as the malleting of a roach. The hon. gent. does his thinking in terms of millions, principalities and parallels of latitude. He is to Goethals and De Lesseps what Goethals and De Lesseps are to a pair of children playing in the sand. He has an epic mind, and the sob of a wounded aurochs.
But who are the mysterious “financeers” who dissuaded him from his great enterprise, warning him darkly of the bile of the Sunpaper? He fails to give their names, but my spies in South street bring whispers of their identity. They were, if I hear aright, the Hon. Sonny Mahon, the Hon. Francis Kelly, the Hon. Calvert Bank Gwinn and the Hon. Paving Bob Padgett. The Hon. Dan Loden, representing Kuhn, Loeb & Co., and The Hon. Bob Lee, representing the Rothschilds, were in favor of going on, but the preponderence of advice was on the other side. So the Hon. Mr. Harry discharged his engineers, and took to the stomp. There he now whoops and exposes his burns, a pathetic victim of a lewd and libelous press.
The hon. gent. deserves the tears of all human men. Every time he tries to do something for the uplift of the race, his fair plan is crabbed by the hunkerous Sunpaper. ’Twas so, for example, when he essayed to put over his Light street bridge loan, a scheme heartily approved by all the “financiers” in his confidence. The plain people were in favor of that loan by a majority of at least 100 to 1, but the Sunpaper so played upon theur passions that they walloped it by a vote of 3 to 1. And so, too, with his project for consolidating all of the city street paving and all of the appointing of paving inspectors in one bureau, with the Hon. Paving Bob as its chief. And so, too, with his altruistic determination to serve the republic as Vice-President. The Sunpaper hired ruffians to hoot him down, and they did their work so well that the tale thereof is still a marvel in the kaifs.
But no more. The hon. gent. now makes his appeal directly to the voters of the counties, in full confidence that their love of an honest man will be his salvation. No intelligent countryman, contemplating the boons that Baltimore has enjoyed under Harryism, will fail to vote for their extension to the faubourgs. And later on, no doubt, there will be an irresistable demand for its further extension to the whole State. The weather-vane of destiny, in brief, points to the Hon. Dashing Harry as the next Governor of Maryland. The State needs his virtue, his ardor, his brains. In particular, it needs the soft services of the great statesmen who stand behind him–those members of the mythical city “ring” who serve the people out of sheer love of them, and have become only “moderately well-to-do” by the process. The Eastern Shore howls for the Hon. Paving Bob. The peaks of Allegany echo yells for the Hon. Frank Kelly.
Whatever the merits of the blackmail charges now engaging the grand jury, it must be obvious that the campaign of snounting carried on for several years past by the Lord’s Day Alliance has kept the way open for just such scandals. The moment the notion gets abroad that the enforcement of unpopular laws is a legitimate object of private enterprise, an invitation is issued to all sorts of mountebanks to enter the business, and the inevitable result is grafting upon a wholesale scale. This has been pre-eminently true in all the so-called “dry” States, wherein the blackmailing of boottleggers has become an organized and highly profitable industry. In New York, the very stringent adultery law passed several years ago at the behest of wild-eyed moralists, has had exactly the same result. The late Mayor Gaynor, discussing it a short while before his death, said that it was yielding at least $1,000,000 a year to professional blackmailers. Its passage, indeed, wiped out the old panel and badger games. It offered an easier and surer way to get money out of foolish men, and hundreds of criminal prostitutes are now fattening upon it. So with the Mann white slave act. Not many men are being convicted under it, but in every large city, including Baltimore, men are paying blackmail under it.
The Lord’s Day Alliance, it must be obvious, has accomplished nothing along the river. Nine-tenths of the resorts were wide open all summer, and in many of them the law was openly and cynically defied. It is just such a situation that gives opportunitt to fifth-rate politicians and other such grafters. They get a lot of money by professing to “see” the grand jury, and by “fixing” cases in other ways. Most of these cases, of course, would fail anyhow, if only because of the stupidity and ineffectiveness of the county police, but the resort-owner, in the face of constant spying and denunciation, falls an easy victim. And once he has paid for protection, whether to actual snouters or to mere blackmailers, he becomes doubly determined to violate the law. He has squared himself: he has bought something; he must get his money back.
The moral is that unenforcible laws are incentives to crime, and that visionaries who seek to enforce them are public nuisances. The Lord’s Day Alliance has been particularly guilty in this respect. It has undertaken a violent and dangerous campaign in the face of public opinion; it has tried to make thousands of Baltimoreans conform to a code of morals which strikes most men as hypocritical and idiotic. And the sum of its accomplishments may be very accurately represented by zero. If anything, conditions along the river are worse than when it began. Its sole excuse for existence lies in the fact that it has given good sport to a number of gentlemen who get pleasure out of pursuing and belaboring their fellow-men, and that it has given a good living to a small group of talent tear-squeezers. Such organizations, being wholly irresponsible, are dangerous to the public peace. The Legislature, bearing recent scandals in the Society for the Suppression of Vice in mind, should make them subject to official control, and regulate their begging and bullying by a general statute.
Effects of a vice crusade in Copenhagen in 1906, with the discontinuance of medical inspection, as reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association:
cases of social disease reported. 1905............................6,666 1908......................10,249