Baltimore Evening Sun (15 January 1914): 6.
My agents in Clarksburg, W. Va., send down thrilling reports of the manner in which the Rev. Dr. Thomas W. Hare, the new superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League, carried West Virginia for prohibition on the fatal day of November 5, 1912. The work was done with the aid of the suffragettes and other militant ladies, and the surrounding steppes being safely dry already, the country women came in to help their urban sisters. Those who had infants in arms brought them along; those who hadn’t any borrowed them from their stay-at-home neighbors or from the orphan asylums and baby farms of the vicinity. The result was that there was a woman worker, armed with a baby, for every voter in Clarksburg.
But why the babies? Attend, and you shall hear. Early on the morning of election day a woman with a baby took her station outside the residence of each voter whose dryness was in doubt. The moment he emerged, the baby was held up before him, and he was besought to help save its father from a drunkard’s grave. If he succumbed at once, and went to his polling place and voted dry, well and good. But if he made any show of resistance, he was followed about town all day. Every time he entered a kaif to refresh himself, the woman dropped to her knees outside and prayed aloud for him. And when, finally, he got to the polls, another alfresco prayer-meeting went on while he marked his ballot. At some of the polling places as many as 20 women, each armed with a baby, thus prayed publicly for the low-flung backward-lookers within.
The result, of course, was an overwhelming majority for prohibition, despite the ancient and apparently hunkerous wetness of Clarksburg. It was helped out by an all-day procession of grisly floats. These floats were simply express wagons with huge banner affixed to their sides. On each banner there was a portrait of a coffin, with a whisky bottle standing on one of its ends and a baby on the other. The coffin bore the word “Papa” in large letters. Many habitual bibbers, viewing the gruesome pictures, fell into expiatory fits. But all of them were revived in time to vote, and all of them, it would appear, voted dry.
Such is a sample of the political technic of the Rev. Dr. Hare, successor to the lamented Anderson. If he tries the same tricks in Maryland, there is not the slightest doubt that the State will go dry. The argument of the baby, particularly if it squawks (which it may be conveniently made to do by the discreet thrust of a pin or nail), will infallibly fetch the bibuli. A man in liquor is a man wallowing in sentimentality. He is ready for pity, sorrow, remorse, tears. He breaks down and sobs at the sight of a bartender with sciatica; why shouldn’t he do the same at the sight of a baby whose father is drinking himself to death, at a poor woman who has already lost half a dozen husbands by that route?
Alcohol, indeed, is the father and mother of sentiment. The races which do not use it—e. g., the Turks and Chinese—are set off from all the races of Christendom by their total lack of what we call “delicate feeling.” But fill a Turk with rye whisky or rice beer and he will be just as sentimental as an American. That is to say, he will be ready to weep over “La Dame aux Camélias,” to attend an Elks’ Lodge of Sorrow, to yell for Bryan, to sing “I’m a-Longin’ for You,” to revere the Constitution of the United States, to put his wife’s portrait in his watch lid, and to believe that she is as beautiful as Maxine Elliott. Sober, he does none of these things, but mildly inebriated (i. e., Americanized, Christianized, civilized), he is ripe for doing them all.
I often wonder, indeed, what will become of romance, once alcohol is abolished. Has anyone ever thought to connect the gradual decline in boozing in this country with the gradual decline in the marriage rate? Nearly 40 per cent. of the male Americans of marriageable age are now unmarried; nearly the same percentage are teetotalers, or practically so. Far be it from me, of course, to argue that inebriety is the sole or even the chief of the causative agents in matrimony. Even if I thought so, it would be hazardous to say so. But it must be plain without argument that a man mildly anæsthetized by ethyl alcohol is in a state of mind very favorable to cupidic ensnarement. On the one hand, his normal alertness is diminished and so he falls an easy prey to designing women, particularly such as make weapons of their tears. And on the other hand, he is full of a false enterprise and pugnacity, and is thus apt to make advances which he would not dare to make while absolutely sober.
Putting these two facts together, the proposition emerges that alcohol, next to loneliness and the dance, is probably the greatest at all promoters of that connubial bliss which it afterward does so much to blast. The fear within me is that a wholly dealcoholized nation will be a far too suspicious and cynical nation—that its males will resist every suggestion that its females are beautiful. Therefore, I argue that the abolition of alcohol, while undoubtedly a benefit in one way, will do far more harm, in the long run, than good. And to that theory I bring the support of 40 years of ceaseless study and observation, and to it I pledge my life, my fortune and my sacred honor.
A DAILY THOUGHT. Sunday is a day not only of prayer, but also of rest, of innocent recreation and pastime, and of healthful diversions which are profitable to mind and body. Sunday should not be a day of gloom, sadness and melancholy.—Cardinal Gibbons.
Not daunted by past bitternesses, the Hon. Isaac Lobe Straus. LL. D., is now showing signs of being converted to the Single Tax, predestination and the Montessori method.—Adv.
Book respectfully referred to the staff theologians of the Maryland Suffrage News:
“Was the Apostle Paul an Epileptic?” By Matthew Woods, M. D., member of the American Medical Association, the Philadelphia Psychiatric Society, and the National Association for the Study of Epilepsy and the Care and Treatment of Epileptics. Published by the Cosmopolitan Press, 31 Eeat Seventeenth street, New York. $1.25 postpaid.
Dr. Woods, on page 71, quotes an early critic who spoke of Paul as “the bowlegged, baldheaded enthusiast who made an aerial flight into the third heaven.” Incidentally, it is interesting to note that Dr. Woods concludes that Paul was not an epileptic. His diagnosis is that the great foe of the suffragettes suffered from a “subacute inflammation of the appendix and its surrounding tissue” (page 130).